Feature Friday: Meet Yasmeen Shorish

Posted on: November 20, 2020

yasmeen and daughter

With this week’s feature, we’re shining the spotlight on Yasmeen Shorish, who is working hard to protect our privacy, promote open access to information, and help us consider publishing rights. Through dual roles, Yasmeen helps to promote equity and inclusion in the world of scholarly publishing and at JMU Libraries.

As Head of Scholarly Communications, Yasmeen leads our scholarly communications team, which promotes open educational resources (online textbooks, etc.), author’s rights, and sustainable publishing models at JMU and beyond. As head of this team, she oversees the ways we support faculty and students in scholarly publishing, knowledge sharing, privacy, and equitable access. 

This fall, in response to the Provost’s call for empowering more diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders across Academic Affairs, she also took on the role of Special Advisor to the Dean on Equity Initiatives. In her Special Advisor role, Yasmeen works closely with Dean Nowviskie and her cohort of peers to foster cross-campus action and help identify areas where the Libraries can live its values and meet its pledge.

Yasmeen joined JMU Libraries in 2011. Prior to these roles, she served as a science liaison librarian and data services coordinator.

Q&A with Yasmeen

Q: What excites you most about your new role?

A: “I’m excited to work across the Libraries in two new positions: leading a small but mighty scholarly communications team and advising our Dean on equity initiatives. These two roles actually work well in concert with one another because so many aspects of the scholarly communications landscape are built on inequitable power structures. Helping the Libraries support more inclusive and equitable systems of scholarship, while also thinking strategically about how we foster a more inclusive and equitable JMU Libraries is challenging and invigorating work. It is especially gratifying work because I have such supportive and energizing colleagues to do this with!”

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant or local attraction?

A: “I can’t pick favorites since my tastes are so variable, day by day. But I will say that I have soft spots for Heritage Bakery and Magpie Bakery for their delicious baked goods. Whenever I am craving comfort food, I hit up Taj of India as my Afghan food surrogate. Afghan cuisine is very unique and there’s nothing like it in town, but there’s enough regional similarities in North Indian cooking to be a delicious substitute.”

Q: What would you like everyone at JMU to know about you?

A: “My father always impressed upon me that education was a means to freedom and that freedom is a struggle. I often think about that when I think about the work we are all doing at a university. I do this work because I genuinely enjoy helping people make discoveries and I think it’s exciting to learn something new. But I also believe that this is all in service to empowerment – for an individual, a people, and a society. And that it is something to be cultivated and cared for. The struggle is constant, but there can be joy and beauty there too. To have access to information, and the ability to make use of it, is something that I never take for granted. So please do reach out – I love problem solving and discovering new things!”

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