The Alumni Office at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) held its 3rd Annual Alumni Awards & Recognition Luncheon event during Syracuse University’s Orange Central alumni weekend festivities on Friday afternoon. 

The Awards & Recognition Program serves to highlight members of the iSchool community and showcase their contributions and talents. This year’s event recognized 5 iSchool alumni, each selected for their involvement in their community or career field, and their close ties with the iSchool.

“We started the program in 2016 as a way to highlight the great work of our alumni,” said Kim Pietro, Assistant Dean for Advancement at the iSchool. “iSchool alumni are doing wonderful work for their community, for their industry, and for our current students. They’re involved with us in many different ways; they advise and mentor our students, recruit them for jobs and internships and host them for company visits, and this is a good way to recognize what they give back.” 

This year, the following alumni were recognized: 

Dean’s Award – Shay Colson G’10

The Dean’s Award is given to individuals who have demonstrated exemplary service to the iSchool or University. Awardees have achieved broad recognition for extraordinary creativity, advancement of knowledge or technology, performance, or the advancement of mankind through application of their Syracuse education.

Shay Colson is currently a Vice President in Duff & Phelps’ Global Data Risk Practice. Shay joined Duff & Phelps from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to build and lead the Assessment Team for CyberClarity360, Duff & Phelps’ third-party risk assessment software platform.

In his role with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Shay led vulnerability identification and technical security efforts, including serving as Security Lead for Treasury’s cloud-based Integrated Talent Management Platform. He has over a decade of experience in cybersecurity and information assurance, with a focus on designing and building secure scalable systems. Shay is a proven innovator in exponential technologies, having been inventor of dozens of patents around 3D printing, self-driving cars, drones, blockchain, and smart-contract technologies.

He has held numerous other information assurance positions including with the United States Senate, the Cloud Security Alliance, as a consultant to critical infrastructure and private aviation firms, and has co-founded and worked for several startups in both San Francisco and New York. He formerly served as the Director of West Coast Relationships for the iSchool, building bridges between the iSchool and employers & alumni on the West Coast, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla, Twitter, and dozens of others.

Shay holds a Master of Science in Information Management and a Certificate of Advanced Study, Information Security Management from the iSchool.

Bridge to Success Alumni Award – Cameron Dixon G’13

This award recognizes individuals that have excelled early in their careers and have shown potential for continued success. These awardees have received recognition as emerging leaders through their professional and community achievements, and serve as outstanding role models for current and future iSchool students.

Cameron Dixon works in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, managing an internet scanning service called “Cyber Hygiene.” His efforts have caused a significant decrease in the time it takes federal agencies to fix critical flaws, and have assisted the civilian US government in moving to a clear majority use of HTTPS. He was the lead author of a recent Federal cybersecurity policy which mandated that executive branch agencies maintain web encryption and email authentication best practices, and managed the development of open source tools to track the directive’s progress. This policy was recently codified into law, requiring the Department of Defense to also comply.

Cameron was awarded the Homeland Security Secretary’s Award for Exemplary Service in 2017, and recognized by the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) in 2018.

For the last year, Cameron has also served as the deputy program manager for the .gov top-level domain at the General Services Administration, where he runs day-to-day operations.

Cameron graduated with a master’s degree from the iSchool in 2013, majoring in Telecommunications & Network Management. He began government service while at Syracuse through the National Science Foundation’s Cybercorp®: Scholarship for Service. 

Innovation Alumni Award – Emily Drabinski G’03

This award recognizes an individual that has shown creative and innovative ways to improve a process or business model unique to their organization. This may be technology, customer or process driven.

Emily Drabinski is Coordinator of Library Instruction at Long Island University, Brooklyn, where she also serves as president of the Long Island University Faculty Federation, the faculty union for the campus. Her research interests include critical information literacy, gender and sexuality in information studies, and the place of organized labor in higher education.

Drabinski sits on the board of Radical Teacher, a journal of socialist, feminist and anti-racist teaching practice, and edits Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, a series from Library Juice Press/Litwin Books. Emily was recently awarded the Harold Lancour scholarship for foreign study on behalf of the Beta Phi Mu international library and information studies honor society.

She earned her M.S. in Library and Information Science in 2003.

Impact of the Year Award – Eliza McLeod G’94

This award celebrates an individual who has made a significant contribution to the iSchool in the past year. The contribution may be through volunteer activities with the iSchool, the Alumni Office, partnership with faculty, or other form of engagement.

Eliza McLeod manages the World Bank Group’s Library, headquartered in Washington, D.C.  She has been a reference and research Librarian for over 20 years and became the Program Lead for the World Bank Group Library in 2013.

Eliza enjoys the challenges of serving a global workforce, leading teams of information professionals in D.C. and in World Bank Group offices in Vietnam, India and Kenya. Eliza has traveled to Rwanda, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, India and Kenya to deliver training to World Bank Group staff and to engage with information professionals for joint knowledge sharing and workshops.

She participates regularly in the UN Library and Information Network for Knowledge Sharing annual events, focusing on the Library’s role in supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Eliza earned a B.A. in French from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and holds a Masters in Library Science from the iSchool.  

Outstanding Alumni Service Award – Dev Sundarasekhar G’10

This award recognizes the service of volunteers who have had a major impact on the University, its schools, colleges, departments, or faculty, or to the iSchool Alumni Office.

Dev Sundarasekhar is a Manager in Ernst and Young’s Financial Services Advisory practice and serves as a “Thought Leader” in the Robotics and Intelligent Automation practice, leading Ernst and Young’s relationship with Automation Anywhere, a developer of robotic process automation software.

With over 12 years of experience, Dev has worked with leading financial institutions and other industry clients in their robotics, business process improvement and delivery needs. In addition, Dev returns to the iSchool to talk with students and recruit future team members on behalf of Ernst & Young.

Dev graduated from the iSchool in 2010 with a master’s in Information Management and a Certificate in Advanced Study in Information Security Management.