Orange Pride: Sheena Perez
Sheena Perez probably knows more about the historic Route 66 than anyone on campus.
As digital services librarian for the OSU-Tulsa Library, she maintains the university’s archival collections related to Cyrus Avery, known as the ‘Father of Route 66,’ and Michael Wallis, historian and author of Route 66: The Mother Road.
She also represents the university in the Research Route 66 initiative, a collaboration between 10 archival institutions along the route – including OSU-Tulsa and the Oklahoma Historical Society – and the National Park Service to make research materials on the Mother Road accessible to scholars, historians and the general public.
Oklahoma boasts the nation’s longest drivable stretch of the 2,448-mile Mother Road with nearly 400 miles of the iconic highway making its way past small towns, roadside dinners and quirky attractions throughout the state.
“Route 66 has such a distinct and vibrant history. The purpose of the Research Route 66 group is to foster interest in the road and support research,” Perez said. “I have really enjoyed being part of this.”
Perez is the latest recipient of the Orange Pride Award for Employee Excellence at OSU-Tulsa. The award recognizes OSU-Tulsa employees who go above and beyond their normal job duties and embody the Cowboy spirit.
Perez joined the library staff at OSU-Tulsa in 2008.
“Sheena is the person behind the scenes making sure that each database and online platform is working at peak performance,” said OSU-Tulsa Library Director Lynn Wallace. “She is self-directed, intrinsically motivated and her end results are high quality. I nominated her for the Orange Pride award because she is a quiet influencer among the library team and consistently provides great service.”
Aside from her integral role in maintaining and promoting Route 66 history, Perez works on what she calls “the back end” of the library’s digital system.
She maintains the online catalog and database subscriptions and helps students and faculty access the information they need for their research.
“We’re paying for access to those databases so I encourage students to take advantage of that,” Perez said.
She grew up in Broken Arrow and earned her bachelor’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis. When she isn’t in the library, she is ferrying her 8- and 5-year-old daughters to school and extracurricular activities.
Perez says being a librarian is fulfilling, especially because of the opportunity to build relationships with students.
“This is a unique campus in that many students are coming back to college after many years. It can be overwhelming for them. I enjoy helping them find what they need,” she says. “It’s a good feeling.”
Perez encourages students to ask for assistance if they need it.
“Don’t struggle on your own,” she says. “We want to help and we want you to succeed. That’s why we’re here.”
To recommend an OSU-Tulsa staff member for the Orange Pride award, complete a nomination form. Orange Pride recipients are selected quarterly and receive a framed certificate and $100.