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Professional Development

MLA Rising Stars

The MLA Rising Star program has been developed to give members the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics needed to  become a leader in MLA.  The yearly leadership development program matches each Rising Star with a mentor in a curriculum that includes:

  • Monthly classes led by MLA member leaders.
  • Experiences and training to develop self-awareness of skills and dispositions as a leader.
  • Opportunities to discuss, reflect upon, and apply concepts from classic leadership texts.
  • Opportunities to gain a comprehensive, intimate view of all aspects of MLA, from Board meetings to MLA history, with a focus on strategic planning.
  • Individualized projects that contribute materially to improving MLA.
  • Structured exercises to give and receive the gift of effective feedback.
  • Structured exercises to gain skills in effective and persuasive communication.
  • Guidance in finding and working with a career mentor.

Rising Star Criteria

  • The applicant must be a MLA member throughout the duration of the program.
  • The applicant is considered ineligible if they have held a national level MLA position as chair of a committee, jury, or task force; elected officer of a section; or have served on the MLA Board of Directors.
  • The applicant must have attended at least one national MLA annual meeting.
  • The applicant must have demonstrated interest and commitment to professional service through participation in activities or conferences related to medical librarianship.

Rising Star Program Requirements

  • To fully participate in the one year program, complete all assignments, and participate in 10-12 virtual meetings (90 minutes each).
  • An estimated time commitment of 8-12 hours per month.
  • Attendance at MLA'18 in Atlanta to meet program members and fellow Rising Stars is encouraged, but optional.
  • Attendance at MLA'19 in Chicago to present your achievements is required.
  • The recipient assumes all costs of attending the annual meetings (funding may be available to arrive early to the MLA Annual Meeting, if Rising Stars present their work to the Board of Directors).

Rising Star Applications

  • Online application form, including all supporting documentation, must be completed no later than November 1. 
  • A brief (one page) personal statement describing the applicant’s background, previous professional service, goals for MLA involvement, how applicant would benefit from the program, and potentially contribute to the group’s learning;
  • A current curriculum vitae or resume;
  • A letter of support from the applicant’s library director indicating support for time to participate in all aspects of the program and attendance at the annual meetings;
  • A current photo (optional).

The recipients will be notified in March before the annual meeting at which the project announcements will be made.  If there are no appropriate applicants, the association may elect not to run the program in a given year.

Ready to Submit an Application for the Program?

  • The Rising Star application process is closed. 
  • Applications will open next in August 2018 for the 2019-2020 Rising Star Program.  

Rising Stars


  • Rising Star: Alexandria Leigh Brackett, AHIP
  • Rising Star: Rachel Helbing, AHIP
  • Rising Star: Liz Kellermeyer
  • Rising Star: Terry Kit Selfe, AHIP


  • Rising Star: Rachel Keiko Stark, AHIP 
    Mentor: Gail Yokote, AHIP, FMLA
  • Rising Star: Laura Menard
    Mentor: Michael Kronenfeld, AHIP, FMLA
  • Rising Star: Hanna Lee Schmillen
    Mentor: Ruth Holst, AHIP, FMLA
  • Rising Star: Nicole Theis-Mahon
    Mentor: Derek Halling, AHIP


  • Rising Star: Phill Jo 
    Mentor: Linné Girouard, AHIP
  • Rising Star: Rachel Charlotte Lerner
    Mentor: Karen Liljequist, AHIP
  • Rising Star: Tony Nguyen, AHIP
    Mentor: April Schweikhard, AHIP
  • Rising Star: Gregg A. Stevens, AHIP
    Mentor: Michael Kronenfeld, AHIP, FMLA


  • Rising Star: Roy Eugene Brown, AHIP
    Mentor: Helen-Ann Brown Epstein, AHIP and the Hospital Libraries Section leadership team
    Project: Hospital Libraries Section VALUES@ Initiative
  • Rising Star: Lisa Huang
    Mentor: Laurie L. Thompson, AHIP, FMLA
    Project: MLANews Feasibility Study
  • Rising Star: April Joy Schweikhard
    Mentor: Angela Dixon, AHIP
    Project: Chapter Council Roundtables
  • Rising Star: Debra Werner
    Mentor: Linné Girouard and Linda Hasman
    Project: Public Policy Toolkit for Members, Sections, and Chapters


2012–2013 MLA Rising Stars were hosted by MLA Board of Directors.
  • Rising Star: Heather L. Brown
    Mentor: Julia Shaw-Kokot, AHIP
    Project: Work with a Chapter Council team to implement recommendations for interactive web features in the communications plan drafted by 2010 Rising Star Karen L. Hanus, AHIP.
  • Rising Star: Elizabeth V. Fine
    Mentor: Diane G. Cooper, AHIP
    Project: Work with the Federal Libraries Section web committee to evaluate the section's website.
  • Rising Star: Rolando Garcia-Milian
    Mentor: Mary Riordan, AHIP
    Project: Work with the Awards Committee to increase the number of nominations for MLA awards.
  • Rising Star: Kristi L. Holmes
    Mentor: Jerry Perry, AHIP
    Project: Serve on and work with the Task Force on MATE. 
  • Rising Star: Annabelle Nunez
    Mentor: Nancy Allee, AHIP
    Project: Work with the Leadership and Management Section's New Members/Emerging Leaders Survey Project,



Host: MLA Board of Directors
  • Rising Star: Karen Hanus
    Mentor: Julia Shaw-Kokot
    Project: Communications Plan for Chapter Council
  • Rising Star: Emily Hurst
    Mentor: Connie Schardt
    Project: Evaluate CORE Toolbox
  • Rising Star: Bob Johnson
    Mentor: Rikke Ogawa
    Project: Assist in planning section programs for MLA '11
  • Rising Star: Rex Robison
    Mentor: Julia Kochi
    Project: Review MLA benchmarking program and recommend ways to use data more effectively


  • Summary Report, MLA '11 Open Forum on Emerging Leaders
  • Karen Hanus: "Reflections on my experience as a Rising Star"
  • Karen Hanus: Communication Plan for Chapter Council
  • Emily Hurst: MLA CORE Toolbox Assessment & Recommendations
  • Rex Robison: Benchmarking interviews report: "Tracking Trends in Hospital Libraries" (please contact via email for copy of report)

Have a question? Contact MLA's awards coordinator.

MLA Webinars

Plan to Succeed: The Basics of Library Project Management

Aligning the Three Pillars of Effective Instruction: Outcomes, Teaching, and Assessment for Health Sciences Librarians