Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies is proud to announce our 2021 Impact Award Recipients: Jon Martens G’79 and Betsy Martens G’78, Ph.D. ’04, Mark Pollitt G’02, Brian Garber ’14, G’16 and the founding members of the Black and Latinx Information Science and Technology Support Club (BLISTS): Jason Mills ’95, G’96, Myra Miller ’95, Lisa Lindsay ’93, and Anthony Percival ’95, G’97. These awards honor and recognize the career achievements, generous support, and impact the recipients made on the Syracuse community. 

“We are so grateful for our alumni award recipients, their continued support of our beloved iSchool, and the future generations of students that they have impacted,” says Dean Raj Dewan.

Jon and Betsy Martens met as graduate students at the iSchool in 1975. Jon worked as a software engineer at IBM for 25 years. Upon retirement, Jon earned his Ph.D. in Adult Workface Education and spent many years teaching at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he taught classes in adult learning principles and practices, curriculum design, and online learning and technology. Betsy worked at MIT’s Center for Advanced Engineering Study before earning her Ph.D. from the iSchool in 2004. She then worked as an Electronic Marketing Manager with Cornell University Press before transitioning to assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma. Jon and Betsy continue to show their commitment and generosity toward the university and its future generation of students. They have been long-time annual donors, and in April 2019, they made a significant bequest pledge to the iSchool to fund a LIS scholarship in memory of the former iSchool Dean Robert Taylor.

Read the full story: “An iSchool Love Story

Mark Pollitt spent 35 years with the Federal Government as a military officer and FBI Special Agent. He investigated organized crime, narcotics, white-collar fraud, and computer crime cases. As Director of the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory Program, Pollitt worked with law enforcement agencies to build cutting-edge digital forensic labs throughout the United States. He earned his masters’ degree in Information Management from the iSchool and has continued to shape the future of digital forensics and technology through his research and role as a professor at Syracuse University. In addition to teaching, Pollitt is the President of Digital Evidence Professional Services, Inc., and serves on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) Digital and Multimedia Sciences Scientific Area Committee. Pollitt also generously supports the Veteran’s Legacy Fund to ensure future student veterans have access to an iSchool education. 

Read the full story: “Sharing 70 Years of Computer and Information Management Experience

After graduating from the iSchool, Brian Garber headed to Silicon Valley and built a successful career at Google as a Site Reliability Engineer. Brian earned his undergraduate degree in Information Management and Technology from the iSchool in 2014 with minors in Spanish, Psychology, and Global Enterprise Technology. Brian also received a Certificate of Advanced Study in Information Security Management. He earned his M.S. in Telecommunications & Network Management from the iSchool in 2016. Brian is a favorite host on our annual Spring Break in Silicon Valley immersion trip, graciously showing iSchool students the Google Headquarters and inspiring them to dream big. Brian is a tireless advocate to the iSchool and continues to help students network and find their passion within information and technology. 

Read the full story: “A Young Alumnus’ Impact

The Black and Latinx Information Science and Technology Support Club (BLISTS) has been a source of support for iSchool students for nearly 30 years. Through mentoring, networking, and opportunities to learn and grow, BLISTS has transformed from a student club to a community of students and alumni, coming together to support each other. BLISTS started at the iSchool in the ‘90s with Jason Mills, Myra Miller, Lisa Lindsay, and Anthony Percival. The four students saw a need to support their fellow Black and Latinx students. Through their vision, generations of iSchool students have felt the care of the BLISTS community, which has recently chartered a new path and is expanding to a national organization. 

Read the full story: “The Founding of BLISTS

“It’s been such an inspiration to see how an iSchool degree has launched so many amazing alumni who have truly made an impact on the world,” says Dean Dewan. “I am touched to see Jon and Betsy reflect so fondly on their time at Syracuse University. I am inspired to see Mark still so passionate to learn and spread his knowledge to others, to see Brian help future iSchool students to follow in his footsteps, and to see the legacy that Jason, Myra, Lisa, and Anthony have left on the iSchool and the generations of Black and Latinx students that came after them.”