Endowed Scholarships Support iSchool Students, Reaffirm Dreams


San José State University School of Information awards scholarships endowed or donated by faculty members, students, alumni and friends to exceptional students enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science or Master of Archives and Records Administration degree program. This spring, 12 continuing graduate students of the MLIS and MARA programs earned 14 scholarships totaling $13,750 to be applied toward their fall 2020 course fees.

Faculty Scholarship and H.W. Wilson Scholarship

Erin Fussell was awarded both the Faculty Scholarship and the H.W. Wilson Scholarship, valued at $1,000 each. The H.W. Wilson Foundation, established in 1952, supports libraries, library associations, historical societies, cultural programs and scholarships for library and information science programs accredited by the American Library Association.

Fussell, who won the Librarian Opportunity Scholarship last year, said she was “super grateful for the support,” and had applied for scholarships to help avoid student loans, and offset the cost of tuition.

“We are currently in the middle of not only the global health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, but also experiencing a spotlight on the continued racial injustice in our nation, and I believe we, as future librarians, stand for community equity and service in our very profession. I believe it is our duty as future librarians to stand for justice and be important civic leaders in our communities.”

With 10 units left in the MLIS program before her graduation, Fussell said the pandemic had made focusing on her studies especially challenging. “I really had a hard time focusing on finishing the semester well, much less at all!” she acknowledged. “So, to be recognized for my efforts through these scholarships greatly encouraged me!”

Kaiser Permanente Medical Librarian Scholarship

Renée Torres, MLIS student, was awarded the Kaiser Permanente Medical Librarian Scholarship. Torres, who received her BA from California State University Fullerton and her MA in History from Washington State University, was inspired to consider working as a librarian in a health science or medical library by an instruction-focused internship at Marshall B. Ketchum University, a private health science university specializing in optometry, physician assistant studies, and pharmacy studies.

“I realized during my internship that I was excited and passionate about learning new technologies and information to help future health care providers, and the ongoing pandemic has only affirmed my belief that health science librarians play an important role in the healthcare ecosystem,” said Torres. “Not only does this scholarship help me toward my goal of working in an academic library or special library, specifically a medical library, it also reaffirms my dream of becoming a librarian.”

“It’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of everyday life, particularly as many of us have begun to work at home,” noted Torres. “It’s easy to get sidetracked from goals and dreams when you have bills to pay. But scholarships like these give me hope and reinvigorate my desire to work in a field that truly makes a difference in peoples’ lives. The fact that a healthcare provider like Kaiser Permanente recognizes that means all that much more.”

Torres, who was recently awarded a REFORMA scholarship, said she was “thrilled” to learn she had won the award, and encouraged her fellow MLIS classmates to apply for as many scholarships as they can. “Having spoken with library students at other schools, SJSU’s iSchool is truly unique in its dedication to advising and the promotion of various opportunities.”

Luis C. Leppe Scholarship

Christina Advento received a Leppe Scholarship, valued at $1,000, to support her on her MLIS program path. Established in 2014, the Leppe Scholarship was endowed in honor of Louis C. Leppe, a southern California pharmacist, whose daughters, both teachers, were graduates of SJSU.

Advento enrolled in the MLIS program at the iSchool after a long career as a high school English and Social Studies teacher. “This is my second master’s degree, and my goal is not to go into debt for it,” she said. “I have been taking one class at a time while working full time, and the Leppe Scholarship really helped with the tuition.”

She planned her application infographic based on a several key points: “I wanted the committee to know a bit about me–my career teaching in American schools overseas, repatriating to the US this year, raising two teenagers, and taking care of aging parents. Then, I focused on areas of library science that I am passionate about — research, teaching in an academic setting, and first-generation students, a group to which I also belong.

“I used quotes about research to emphasize what inspires me, including Albert Einstein’s quote: ‘If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?’ Humility is important in being a researcher and information professional!”

Considering the large size of the iSchool’s MLIS program, Advento thought it would be very competitive to receive one of the scholarships, and said she was “surprised, but really happy” to learn she had won. 

Ahmed Jalloh, Carol Ng-He, and Michelle Sarfati also received Leppe Scholarships.

Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship

Tabitha C. Hilliard, principal library assistant at the R. Barbara Gitenstein Library at the College of New Jersey, was the recipient of the Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship. Hilliard was awarded the ALA Spectrum Scholarship last year—a prerequisite for applying to the Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship. Endowed in honor of Dr. Blanche Woolls, former SJSU professor and director from 1997 to 2005, this scholarship awards $1,000 to recipients from diverse backgrounds.

Global Impact Scholarship

Lauren Davidson, MLIS student, was awarded the Global Impact Scholarship, valued at $1,000. Davidson also received a Special Session Scholarship for Continuing Students.

Graduate Student Scholarship

MLIS student Morgan Taylor received the Graduate Student Scholarship, an award valued at $1,000. 

Librarian Opportunity Scholarship

Sophia Fernandez, MLIS student, was the recipient of the Library Opportunity Scholarship, endowed by Diana Lee Morabito and Keith Ball in support of the important part played by libraries in their lives and education. The scholarship is valued at $1,000. Fernandez also received a Special Session Scholarship for Continuing Students.

Terry Crowley Scholarship and Alumni and Friends Scholarship

MLIS student Stephanie Duran was the recipient of the Terry Crowley Scholarship, valued at $750. The Terry Crowley Scholarship was created in honor of the iSchool professor emeritus who specialized in reference and information services. Duran also received the Alumni and Friends Scholarship valued at $1,000.

Thea Estreicher Memorial Scholarship

The Thea Estreicher Memorial Scholarship was awarded to MLIS student Camille Hyatt. Endowed by Estreicher’s daughter Deborah, an iSchool alumna, this scholarship was created in memory of her mother and the important role public libraries played in her education and life.

Scholarship Opportunities and Donations

Congratulations to all of the scholarship recipients! New and continuing graduate students at the iSchool can find more information about scholarship opportunities on the Financial Aid and Scholarships web page. Donations to the scholarship fund can be made by visiting the iSchool’s donation web page.