Alumni Spotlight - May 2022
Sometimes you meet people in life who are so extraordinary and so passionate about social justice and education, that it inspires you to get out and do more in the world. One such person is Oregon Tech alumna, Loriene Roy. Loriene grew up in the small town of Carlton, Minnesota, with a population of 500 people at the time. She stayed there through high school and attended a small liberal arts school, Saint Benedict’s, in Minnesota for her first year of college before leaving the state. Loriene’s boyfriend at that time had relatives who lived in Oregon and when he was offered a job near Klamath Falls as a teacher, Loriene decided to join him in the move to southern Oregon. Originally in a textile design program at St. Benedict’s because of her love for the arts, Loriene reviewed the class offerings at Oregon Tech and changed direction. The nursing program sounded attractive, but was full, so she pursued a medical imaging technology degree instead. As an Anishinabe, enrolled on the White Earth Reservation, and member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Loriene’s tribe helped cover the costs of her undergraduate college education. She worked hard to earn both her AA and BS degrees from Oregon Tech in Medical Radiologic Technology in 1977. She specialized in both the teaching track and the business management track of her imaging program, which would come in handy later. Loriene still fondly recalls her professors and shares stories from her time at Oregon Tech with the students she currently teaches.
After completing her externship at the community hospital in Klamath Falls, Loriene moved to Yuma, Arizona, and worked in a hospital for a couple of years. She then realized she wanted to do something different with her career, possibly staying in healthcare but focusing more on patient information support or in a medical library setting. Loriene knew a friend who was a librarian, and he inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in library sciences at the University of Arizona. Initially, Loriene only had enough money for one semester. Not letting finances be a deterrent, she interviewed for and received a federal fellowship from the Higher Education Act and additional funding from the Los Angeles County Medical Association to complete her studies. Her path at the time was that of medical librarianship, but that path changed when Loriene was offered a public library position in Yuma.
Loriene continued her quest for continuing education by applying for a fellowship she learned about from the American Indian Library Association (AILA). She received a scholarship for the doctorate program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and earned her Ph.D. in 1987. Loriene began working at the University of Texas at Austin in 1987 in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (now, the School of Information) and has been there ever since.
Loriene’s career has consisted of so much more than being a university professor. She is the founder and director of a national reading program for American Indian students called “If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything.” She has served as the President of the American Library Association and AILA and has won countless awards for her leadership, excellence in teaching, and various contributions to society. She has also traveled locally and internationally, delivering over 700 presentations. Loriene has appeared on the Today Show, on NPR, and has conducted over 200 media interviews about her work. Her extensive writing and research are also notable, with numerous articles and publications that she has lent her talents and experiences to.
Loriene is the 2022 Distinguished Alumna Award recipient at Oregon Tech, and we are very proud to call her an Owl. To meet her is to be inspired, and there isn’t enough space to do her story justice here. You can learn much more about this extraordinary and accomplished woman by visiting: https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~loriene/. Loriene is also featured, along with eleven other women, in the Native Trailblazers Series, Native Women Changing Their Worlds by Patricia J. Cutright.
~Becky Burkeen, Director of Alumni Relations