Congratulations to our graduating students

With May 2016 commencement, Digital Production Group (DPG) loses eleven highly experienced and accomplished student employees.  We congratulate them on the completion of their successful UVa careers and wish them well in their new endeavors.  Graduating this spring are:

  • Divya Babu, BSN, Nursing
  • Kaila Grenier (DPG student supervisor), BS, Biomedical Engineering
  • Allison Hackel, BS, Civil Engineering/Global Sustainability minor
  • Muhamad Khalid, BA, Biology/Cognitive Science
  • Kim Mellon, BS, Civil and Environmental Engineering/Global Sustainability minor
  • Amelia Peacock, BA, Women, Gender, & Sexuality/Media Studies minor
  • Robert Rust (DPG student supervisor), BA, Political and Social Thought
  • Karen Shufflebarger, BA, Art History/Architectural History minor
  • Tatiana Sokolova (DPG student supervisor), BS, Mechanical Engineering / Global Sustainability minor
  • Barbara Trein, BA, Media Studies/Foreign Affairs minor
  • Marianna Zabkowski, BS, Commerce with concentrations in Finance and Accounting

In addition to requesting their future plans, we asked each graduate if they had a take-away and a memorable person or project from their DPG experience.  Here are their responses:

Divya Babu begins her career as a Registered Nurse with Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX.

Take-away:  Having digitized numerous fragile books from the McGregor Collection, she sees parallels with the meticulous care she provides to her patients.  In fact, she says “you will be surprised how Nursing and Digitization have so many skills in common.”  This includes the attention to detail.

Memorable person:  Christina- Christina is one of the most compassionate leaders I’ve worked for. She genuinely cares for her students and therefore makes the work environment more comfortable. I am thankful for the experience I had with her.

Kaila Grenier, who’s worked in DPG for four years, will attend University of Pittsburgh for a Masters in Rehabilitation Science and Technology.

Take-away:  I think learning how to tackle all of the technological glitches or color issues has been challenging but a good skill to have. It has definitely been difficult at some points but helped me learn how to problem solve.

Memorable person: I don’t think I could choose just one, but if I have to, definitely Christina! She has been a wonderful person to work under for the last four years, and she is always extremely supportive in and outside of the work office. Thank you for everything, Christina!

Allison Hackel will join StonebridgeCarras, a real estate development firm in Bethesda MD this July.

Take-away:  Paying attention to details, but knowing which details are important and which are not worth stressing over.

Memorable project:  The live media feed of the JFK assassination, and scanned and live tweeted the feed on the 50th anniversary (see

Muhamad Khalid plans to apply to medical school, specializing in neurology and endocrinology. First though, he’ll take an exploratory gap year.

Take-away: A good eye for detail and an increased curiosity.

Memorable person: Christina showed me the vault and the passageways that connect the three libraries.

Kim Mellon will join Kimley-Horn, a civil engineering design and consulting firm in Reston, VA, where she will work on their land development team.

Take-away: After four years with DPG, patience! There were so many times when the cameras got finicky, Capture One crashed in the middle of a catalog, or I scanned a couple hundred pages only to find a dust spot on every one of them during the QA. It’s easy to get frustrated when that happens, so patience is definitely key with this job.

Memorable project: The first book I ever scanned was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and I remember thinking it was the coolest job ever. I think that’s still the most memorable book I have scanned, but there have been so many really interesting projects over the years.

Karen Shufflebarger will work in the Center for Marriage, Family and Life in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, VA.

Take-away: Working at DPG I’ve really gained a sense of the importance of history and rare documents.  This department is really unique in that there is so much emphasis on learning from the past and preserving the physical evidence of those who came before us.  After working here I definitely appreciate rare materials and documents and the stories they can tell us.

Memorable project: The Civil War Diary I scanned with conservator Quinn Ferris was quite a project!  The pages were hand-stitched together and no two leaves were the same.  I enjoyed learning from Quinn about conservation techniques and am glad that the project came together really well!

Marianna Zabkowski is starting as an analyst for Cornerstone Research, an economic and financial consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

Take-away: I’ve gained a greater attention to detail and patience to work on long projects, which will be valuable wherever my career takes me.

Memorable person: One of my favorite things about working at DPG has been the opportunity to meet and get to know other students from different years, majors, and backgrounds.

Tatiana Sokolova, after a summer of travel in Europe, will become a public sector Global Business Services Analyst for IBM in Washington, D.C.

Take-away: Always be ready and flexible for change. The first summer I worked here we dealt with a lot of camera/software glitches during installation of new cameras and software updates. If the summer team was less responsive to the changes or was unwilling to work together to troubleshoot problems, we would have never been able to accomplish as much as we did.

Memorable projects: We have had some really cool stuff come through the office. One day we had a piece of skull from a Civil War veteran come through which was apparently cut out of his skull after he got shot. The cavity was then filled in with silver and the person survived, wearing the skull piece as a medal. I recall he lived to be 84. The amount of history lessons I learned both from the items we scanned and the students working here with superior history knowledge than I, an engineering major, has been incredible!

My favorite scanning project was a scrapbook from a WWII nurse about her war experiences. I got a real glimpse into someone’s life during the time and felt like I really got to know her (and her wonderful sense of humor) leafing through the pages as I scanned them. I would have never had an opportunity like that anywhere else, unless I went to a museum. Even then, I would be only getting the parts that the museum would have wanted for us to see and not the whole raw experience.


Again, our congratulations and best wishes.