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Employee Spotlight


Terry Ahmed

Terry Ahmed, Head of Reference and Web Services

Please describe your educational and/or professional background.
I wanted to be a restaurant owner/manager, so I got a BS in Food Systems Management from Buffalo State College while I also worked at the library there. But, as time went on, I realized I really enjoyed the library work, and then went on to get an MLS from SUNY Buffalo. Like many undergrads, this may look like a drastic change in career path, but it’s what I wanted to do. I started at NLM as a contractor for the customer services operation, and now I’m the Head of Reference and Web Services.
What do you enjoy most about your job at NLM?
I like being a part of the section that oversees MedlinePlus, the main Website and our customer service operation. It’s gratifying to know that we are serving the public by creating and managing content that will provide them with needed health information. It’s also very satisfying to know that we can help our users navigate through our vast Website and also assist them with using our premier products including PubMed, MedlinePlus, NIHSeniorHealth, many others.
What is your typical work day like?
It starts with responding to tons of email from staff, colleagues and senior management. Much of my job is management, administration, policy development and interpretation. I might be reviewing a draft document or presentation created by my staff or I could be asked to provide advice on a document from a colleague or by management. Or, I could be working on a project plan for some new system we hope to implement. I might be having a brainstorming session with staff about promoting services of the library or I could also be listening to concerns from one of our users in the Reading Room.
What skills have been most useful to you in your job?
People skills serve me best. I like talking with staff and helping them find solutions to problems, or listening to their ideas about how to proceed on a new project. I think my experience from working in special, academic and public libraries have all been helpful to me in my positions here.
What do you like about work life at NLM?
I like the versatility of the work. The projects that come to me are varied. I also manage a wonderful group of people who are full of ideas and who care about the NLM mission and enjoy their work. Being a part of an organization with an important mission is a fantastic experience for me.

David Anderson

David Anderson, Systems Librarian

Please describe your educational and/or professional background.
I have an MLS from University of Maryland and a BA in History from William and Mary. I have worked previously in a variety of roles in academic libraries including reference, managing digital collections and technical services. I am currently a Systems Librarian in the Technical Services Division at NLM.
What do you enjoy most about your job at NLM?
I get to work with massive amounts of data and solve problems I would not encounter anywhere else. The medical community and the world at large really value our data, and I take pride in the fact that we are a major source for the world’s medical information.
What is your typical work day like?
Every day is different. I resolve problems with systems and software. I make batch data changes. Sometimes I look at code. I do testing for upgrades. I make sure technology works.
What skills have been most useful to you in your job?
Problem solving skills, general technology skills and communication skills help me the most. We face some unique problems as a large national library with a number of novel systems, so it helps to be able to think creatively about solutions.
What do you like about work life at NLM?
Everyone is good at their jobs and willing to help. I am constantly learning something new. I also like that telework is an option.

 

Dianna Adams

Dianna Adams, Head, Desktop Services Section

Please describe your educational and/or professional background.
I have a Master’s Degree in Computer Systems Management, a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems Management, and an Executive Chief Information Officer (CIO) Certificate. I began my career as an active-duty soldier in the United States Army working as a circuit systems technical controller. After serving 20 years in the United States Army, I retired from active duty and started my civilian career as a federal contractor, working as an IT Operations Manager.
What do you enjoy most about your job at NLM?
I truly enjoy working with my team and interacting with the customers. We are a team of professionals who work hard to get the job done. I like that no two days are ever the same. Because IT is ever-changing, there is always something new to learn. As a young soldier in the military, I said I wanted to learn something new every day of my life. So far, I have been able to continue doing this.
What is your typical work day like?
I start each day in a meeting with my Team Leads. We discuss projects, high priority issues. Then we work with the relevant teams to make sure things go smoothly.
What skills have been most useful to you in your job?
My soft skills such as management, customer service, time management, listening, and communication have helped me a lot. Because our customers should receive no less than the best service, it is important that I communicate often and effectively with my team and our customers.
What do you like about work life at NLM?
Working at NLM inspires me and contributes to my overall growth. I love the diversity and synergy of the NLM community, which promotes diverse experiences. My supervisor and team have helped me to develop and grow as a leader. I have the best team -- they are very smart, supportive people. I enjoy the team building activities that we have. We always find reasons to have a potluck!

Preeti Gokal Kochar

Preeti Gokal Kochar, Indexer

Please describe your educational and/or professional background.
After completing my Bachelor’s in Life Sciences in India, I came to South Carolina for my graduate studies. I worked on gene transcription for my thesis and earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology/Biochemistry. After a couple years of post-doctoral research, I taught various biological subjects like genetics and anatomy & physiology to undergraduate students. For the last ten years I’ve been indexing – first at a private company and for the last 7 years I’ve been at NLM, indexing for MEDLINE.
What do you enjoy most about your job at NLM?
I enjoy working with the Index Section staff – a group of highly educated professionals. We perform the complex task of analyzing articles in biomedical journals and creating MEDLINE citations by assigning controlled vocabulary terms (MeSH) and adding gene links, publication types, etc. We are a culturally diverse group and have the best potlucks!
What is your typical work day like?
Like most staff in the Index Section, I am allowed to telework. I work from home 3 days a week! My time is split between basic duties like indexing, training & revising contract indexers and special projects like the Medical Text Indexer (MTI).
What skills have been most useful to you in your job?
Sound biomedical knowledge and ability to work with different people are crucial. It also helps to have basic computer skills and be a life-long learner.
What do you like about work life at NLM?
I like being part of the world’s largest medical library and contributing in a small way to the vast biomedical information resources NLM provides. I also like being part of the NIH and attending seminars and symposia at the different Institutes.

Lori Harris

Lori Harris, Associate Fellow

Could you describe for us your educational and/or professional background?
I received my MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I have a BS in American Studies and with two Certificates, one in Archival studies and the second in Museum studies. For the past five years I have worked in academic libraries in either special collection centers or embedded archival repositories.
What do you enjoy most about your job at NLM?
The opportunity to interact with the people who make up the NLM organization. I have met a diverse range of people with different backgrounds. Whether they have worked at NLM for over 20 years or 2 years the overarching theme is one of collaboration, support and engagement.
What is your typical work day like?
For the past three weeks, my colleagues and I have been participating in a curriculum rotation which is presented by various departments throughout NLM. Each curriculum unit includes a full day of instruction and some of the units offer hands-on practical experience. In the afternoons we meet with division heads to hear about current projects in their departments or about future plans and how those plans fit in with the overall strategic plans of NLM.
What skills have been most useful to you in your job?
I am similar to most graduates coming out of a library science or computer science program. I come with the requisite knowledge of social media, research methods, database knowledge and the organization of material. However, I think my most useful skill thus far is to listen and learn.
What do you like about work life at NLM?
I am excited about the diversity of opportunity and people who make up the NLM community. I also enjoy the congenial atmosphere of the people and getting to campus early enough in the morning to watch the deer meandering over the campus grounds!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am happy to be back in the Washington, DC area because of the cultural richness offered. I have a love of opera, modern dance and any type of food that one can think of. I enjoy exploring new restaurants and small art galleries.