Who's Who of Professional Women


Cheylon Woods

Cheylon Karinna Woods, Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS), developed a fascination with Black history starting at age 6. Jumping ahead to 2015, it is the year she would enthusiastically take on her current positions as the director and archivist of the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In her leadership roles, Ms. Woods is responsible for research, public programming, community engagement, outreach, and librarianship.

Among her achievements since joining the center, Ms. Woods takes pride in having created a vital online blog to help bridge the information gap for international students. In addition, she works as a graduate faculty member and collaborates with graduate students at UL Lafayette to help them develop their dissertations and theses. She is especially grateful to have played an instrumental part in launching the Ernest J. Gaines Heritage Stamp in 2023. To bring this historic honor to fruition, she worked closely with the U.S. Postal Service to plan and execute the program—a highlight of her career.

Prior to her time at UL Lafayette, Ms. Woods was a national fellow of the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences from 2011 to 2012. She garnered experience as an archivist at the Alabama Department of Archives and History and later worked with the Project Main Street Historical Society from 2014 to 2015 as an archival consultant. Between 2013 and 2015, Ms. Woods was a museum curator for the Enchanted Mansion Doll Museum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Solidly preparing for her journey, she graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science in 2009. In 2011, she earned a Master of Arts in public and applied history from Northwestern State University, and in 2015, she graduated from Louisiana State University, securing her MLIS. Even with her impressive academic accomplishments, Ms. Woods remains committed to her professional development and continuing education by pursuing a doctorate in folklore.

Ms. Woods has been recognized with awards for her library professorship on multiple occasions. In 2023, she earned a 20 Under 40 Leadership Award from Acadiana, and for the 2018 to 2019 academic year, she was honored with an Outstanding College Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year award. Further, she is proud to be the first tenured librarian of color at UL Lafayette. Looking ahead, after she completes her doctorate, she plans to transform her dissertation into a book with a prospective release in 2026.


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