Kumi Watanabe-Schock: Bringing a global view on media

Kumi Watanabe-Schock, HSU’s library media coordinator, is passionate about collaborating with people and groups on campus to bring effective resources to the library, university and community. Watanabe-Schock’s work has been recognized with her earning the 2019-2020 Staff Recognition Award.

“It’s really quite an honor because I feel like there are so many deserving people on this campus, and they can only select 10 people each year,” said Watanabe-Schock. “It’s nice to have the award and be recognized, but then I always think, just because you got the recognition, you’re not the only 10 people on campus who do great work.”

Her work is centered around social justice and she is passionate about the Campus and Community Dialogue on Race. She joined the CDOR planning committee 15 years ago.

Watanabe-Schock works alongside fellow staff, faculty, students and Eureka National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to bring CDOR to life.

It is truly a gift to work with someone who is both visionary and pragmatic, someone who gets things done, works in coalition, and has an incredible track record of effecting institutional change.

Christina Accomando, Ph.D, HSU professor in the English and Critical, Race, and Gender Studies department

Watanabe-Schock was nominated for the Staff Recognition Award by HSU assistant English professor Janelle Adsit, Ph.D. Adsit said that Watanabe-Schock was one of the first people she met on campus, and they have worked together in planning events for CDOR.

Adsit said, “Kumi is an extraordinary leader on our campus, and she models what it means to be a dedicated educator. She is involved in so many wonderful projects and she makes things happen that benefit our students and community immensely.

“Bringing exhibits and guest speakers to campus, facilitating essential conversations about equity, curating our film and media collection in the library, developing programs that change our campus in the best ways, Kumi does so much!”

As the media coordinator at the library, she is in charge of getting movies to campus. Watanabe-Schock tries to apply social justice with everything around her. With movies being another passion of hers, she believes that movies and films can be a helpful educational tool.

“We can educate each other on history,” said Watanabe-Schock. “Books are great, speakers can be great, but I think that using short video clips seems more approachable. I like movies with some type of messaging.”

If there are any films needed for a class, if any on-campus screening is happening or if any media is needed, Watanabe-Schock will find a way to make it accessible to anyone on campus.

“Kumi has been the single most important figure in expanding and diversifying the library’s media collection, which is vital to my own
teaching, and to the teaching and organizing that happens across campus,” said Christina Accomando, Ph.D, HSU professor in the English and Critical, Race, and Gender Studies department.

“It is truly a gift to work with someone who is both visionary and pragmatic, someone who gets things done, works in coalition, and has an incredible track record of effecting institutional change,” Accomando said.

Watanabe-Schock is originally from Tokyo, Japan but was drawn to Humboldt’s natural landscape. She was so drawn to the landscape that she wanted to stay here after she graduated from HSU after attending in the 80s.

Watanabe-Schock graduated in 1987 with a Spanish major. She applied for a job that opened up in media services, got it, and has been in Humboldt ever since.

In her time here, she strives to make the university and community a place of unification and inclusivity.

“I feel like, in all the programming I do, I don’t want to just do it for the library or for me,” Watanabe-Schock said. “It’s great to collaborate as much as we can, it’s nice to connect with people.”

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