Julia Maserjian, Digital Scholarship Manager in LTS’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL), has announced her retirement.
Maserjian, whose career in Library and Technology Services began as a Digital Library Specialist in 2004 and who has served as Digital Scholarship Manager since 2013, has successfully led the development of innovative approaches to the production and presentation of faculty and student digital scholarship. She has been responsible for the leadership and oversight for the CITL’s Digital Media Studio, DIY recording studios, and the Geospatial Data and Visualization, Media Production, and Digital Library Technical Services teams. Her last day of service was June 5, 2022.
LTS Vice Provost Greg Reihman said, “For two decades, Julia has been at the forefront of advancing Digital Scholarship at Lehigh. She has inspired countless faculty and students with a compelling vision of what’s possible when creating born-digital scholarly works, course-related digital projects, and documentaries as a form of storymaking and scholarship. As part of the CITL Leadership Team since 2013, Julia has always been a trusted voice advocating for student agency, faculty partnerships, and impactful projects. She has been the dedicated manager of our remarkable Digital Scholarship team and I have personally benefited over the years from Julia’s insight, knowledge, and good humor.”
Julia has worked for nearly two decades, digitally curating resources related to the history of the Lehigh Valley and producing documentary videos and oral histories for the projects she managed. In recognition of her work, she was named recipient of the Mellon Digital Humanities Initiative Community Media award in 2018.
Over the years, she has collaborated with many faculty in the department of English and elsewhere on documentary filmmaking projects, such as the student-led Betting on Bethlehem, an in-depth look into the history of the Sands Casino and its relationship with the Bethlehem community, and The First Four, a documentary highlighting four of the first five women faculty members appointed to Lehigh’s English department, which won top honors at the Greater Lehigh Valley Film Festival in 2014.
She worked closely with English professor Edward Whitley and Digital Technologist Rob Weidman on the digital humanities project, The Vault at Pfaff's: An Archive of Art and Literature about the Bohemians of Antebellum New York, a scholarly examination of Walt Whitman's bohemian period. "It's no exaggeration to say that I owe my career as a scholar to the support that I've received from Julia and Rob. Julia's expertise and enthusiasm have been invaluable,” said Whitley.
In 2016, she was awarded a Mellon Digital Humanities grant, along with Lehigh English professor Seth Moglen, to partner with the Steelworkers' Archives to process existing and collect new interviews of women who worked at Bethlehem Steel. These interviews were added as a collection, Women of Bethlehem Steel, to Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture. Maserjian also offered expert advice to a team dedicated to collecting oral histories of LGBTQ+ people in the Lehigh Valley and served as an advisor for web design and development of teaching resources for the Gloria Naylor Archive, an interdisciplinary archival project making the writer’s collected papers accessible to scholars and others around the world. Mary Foltz, director of Lehigh’s Southside Initiative, Associate Professor of English, and co-PI on the Gloria Naylor project said, “These are but a few examples of Julia’s consistent work to support university and community research collaborations that benefit residents of the Lehigh Valley and beyond. In this way, she helped to build a model for activating literary archives for multiple constituencies.”
From 2004 through 2016, she also collaborated with Council on Library and Information Resource (CLIR) fellows on scholarly projects such as I Remain: A Digital Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, and Ephemera and Still Looking for You: A Place + Memory Project, both part of Lehigh’s digital collections.
Maserjian has taught documentary filmmaking at Lehigh, including "Legal and Ethical Issues in Documentary Practice,” part of the LVAIC Documentary Storymaking minor, a collaboration among Lafayette College, Lehigh University, and Muhlenberg College, which she co-founded in 2016. She also played a role in developing the American Studies Graduate Certificate in Documentary Film at Lehigh, and most recently for Lehigh’s Film and Documentary Studies minor. Both the minor and certificate emphasize community stories and the filmmaker's obligation to engage in a moral and ethical practice.
Julia currently serves on the Advisory Board of the South Side Initiative (SSI), founded in 2007 to promote sustained research collaborations among Lehigh faculty, staff and students, Bethlehem residents, local artists, activists, community leaders, and public officials. This year she completed a ten-year term as a board member of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and has served as Digital Historian for the Bethlehem Area Public Library and Project Director for the Bethlehem Digital History Project.
Maserjian earned her Bachelor of Arts in Art and Masters of Arts in History from Florida Atlantic University.
A search committee is being formed to seek a successor.
We wish Julia well in her retirement and thank her for her dedicated service to Lehigh!
Greg Reihman, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services