Leanna Balci, PhD
I was born in Boise, Idaho, moved to upstate New York as a toddler, and spent some time living in the D.C. area in elementary school, but I really grew up in Provo, Utah. As the daughter of a professor, academia, research, and learning has always been a part of my life. I think I was born knowing that not only did I want to receive an education but I also wanted to be an educator.
I earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University. After spending some time in Ukraine, I returned to BYU and earned an MA in English (Creative Writing—I actually wrote a collection of poetry). I then moved to the US/Mexico border and taught composition at a college there. I loved teaching writing, but I also had a passion for information literacy. I returned to school and earned an MS in Information Studies from Florida State University, culminating in an internship at the American Library in Paris (talk about dreamy). I then found my way to Turkey for a few years of university teaching and librarianship. I worked a stint at a public library before really settling into academic libraries. So much of my library work has centered around instructional design that I enrolled in a PhD program and graduated in 2019 with a degree in instructional design specializing in second language acquisition (ESL).
I am a travel junky and want to visit everywhere I can. I am raising a bicultural, bilingual family, and we enjoy playing games, reading books, and making a lot of messes (which I always seem to clean up).
I have a passion for information literacy and love working with students. I have a special interest in designing curriculum to help students find the information they need and working with ESL and international students.
Amanda Bezet, MA
I grew up in Zephyrhills, FL known both as “The Friendly City” and “The City of Pure Water.” My interest in collecting and reading books began at a very early age when my mother bought me Little Golden Books as a reward for good behavior. I continue to add to that collection, now as a stepmother to three and a mother to a daughter.
I attended the University of Florida where I earned a B.A. in Anthropology. Next, I completed an A.A. in Zoo Animal Technology Santa Fe Community College. This specialized degree led to a diverse zoo career involving the care and training of various species including otters, emus, venomous snakes, cheetahs, Komodo dragons, parrots and birds of prey, porcupines, goats, and many more. I left this career to complete my M.A. in Library & Information Science at the University of South Florida. After completing a Supervised Field Work at the Mote Marine Laboratory Library in Sarasota, FL, I began my career in academic librarianship. I truly enjoy helping students to find the resources that they need to be successful in their degree programs. I also look forward to becoming a student again myself one day.
Today I live in South Florida and enjoy spending my time reading, watching movies, going to the gym, shopping in thrift stores, eating vegetarian food (especially Indian), and just relaxing with my family and three cats--Pepperoni, Peanut Butter, and Pistachio.
Jamie Diermier, MLIS
I love working for the NCU Library and helping students achieve their educational and professional goals. As a California bay area native, I attended Diablo Valley College and Cal State East Bay, graduating with a B.S. degree in Health Sciences. During my undergraduate studies, I worked closely alongside the campus library staff as a writing tutor and was drawn to the library as a helpful place of learning. Upon graduating, I decided I wanted to work in academic libraries. I completed my Master of Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) degree from San Jose State University in 2015, a fully online graduate program, and soon landed at the law library at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. The JFKU Law School was adopted by NCU in 2020, and here I am!
My time at JFKU was amazing – I had great mentors and enjoyed mentoring students, and I became a returning student as well! I chose to continue my studies and obtain a MA in counseling psychology at JFKU while working as a librarian. This led me back to Diablo Valley College, where I did my practicum, counseling a wide variety of students from all walks of life. When JFK’s law school transitioned to NCU, I was thrilled to officially join the NCU family and bring my legal research skills to the NCU community. I’m really excited to help prepare future legal professionals for their journey ahead - what an exciting and interesting time to enter the legal field!
When I’m not helping students at the library, I enjoy hiking and exploring the beautiful landscape of California with my Australian shepherd, trying new teas, doing artwork, and hanging out with my family and friends.
Taylor Duncan, MLIS
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which is better known as the “Steel City,” “City of Bridges” or simply “the ‘Burgh” to local residents. I currently reside in Regent Square which is a close-knit and walkable neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
I graduated from Duquesne University with my B.A. in English Literature. I then went on to pursue my M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University. While earning my graduate degree, I worked in the Engineering & Science Library at CMU. Working in the library sparked a passion for librarianship which bloomed into a full-fledged career. CMU’s neighboring campus, University of Pittsburgh, offers one of the most recognized programs in the nation for Library Science. In 2009, I earned my Master of Library & Information Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s prestigious program. In my free time, I enjoy working out (especially powerlifting), training my American Bulldog, experimenting in the kitchen, attending rock concerts, and kicking back with my family. I hope to one day be a student again as well.
The world of libraries has greatly transformed over the past couple of decades. While brick-and-mortar libraries are certainly still in existence, NCU has set a precedent for the transformative online library landscape. I am very excited to be a part of the NCU Library team and to contribute to your academic success.
Marisha C. Kelly, MLIS
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, but despite growing up with year-round sand, surf and sun, I wanted to experience the seasons. I made a move to upstate New York, but three winters were all that I could handle. Today, I live in Dallas, Texas.
I attended Syracuse University where I earned a B.S. in Magazine Journalism. Following graduation, I worked as a freelancer writing articles for various publications. I spent a fair amount of time researching story content and digging for details in libraries, which opened up my love and my appreciation for information work. I went on to pursue an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Drexel University and completed the program as an online student. My personal experience as a distance learner prompted my interest in virtual reference. I had the opportunity to work with the Internet Public Library, where I provided research and technology support remotely to diverse users. I have since worked in academic libraries and have enjoyed collaborating with students and faculty to help them achieve academic, professional and personal success. Each interaction is a chance to learn something new, and supporting library users has taught me how I might solve a technology issue or find research on an obscure topic.
In my free time, you might find me exploring a new restaurant, attending a ballet, or hanging out with my three dogs—a Yorkipoo and two Siberian huskies.
Overall, I am excited to be on the NCU library team. If you are ever in a research rut or have a question, keep calm and ask a librarian. We’re here to help!
Amanda Ziegler, MLIS
I grew up in northern Minnesota in a small town with lots of lakes- 412 within a 25-mile radius of the center of town! Since leaving there when I went away to college, I’ve lived in big cities, medium-sized cities, and now in a small town in New Mexico! Along the way, I’ve lived in Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Kansas and loved them all.
I graduated from Macalester College with a B.A. in Hispanic Studies. After working in public and academic libraries through high school and college, my first job after completing my B.A. was with the Pikes Peak Library District, a public library district in Colorado Springs, Colorado. That was where I fell in love with librarianship as a profession where helping people, learning new things, and a strong professional set of ethics were emphasized. I pursued my Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas and worked in public libraries in Texas and Florida before making the transition to academic libraries. I didn’t think I could love libraries more than I had when working in public libraries, but working with students and helping them in their academic endeavors is even better! My professional research interests are online students, first-generation students, military-affiliated students, and gendered language amongst library professionals.
In my free time I enjoy reading (cliché but true!), Star Wars, exploring new places with my family, and drinking cold brew coffee. I’m also an avid podcast listener.
I’m thrilled to be working with NCU students, and can’t wait to help you find the resources you need to pursue your academic goals.