Exceptional School of Information Students Awarded $23,800 in Endowed Scholarships


Every spring, the San José State University School of Information awards scholarships endowed or donated by faculty members, students, alumni and friends to exemplary 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 16 scholarships totaling $23,800 to help fund their education.

Dr. Cheryl Stenstrom, chair of the Student Scholarships and Student and Alumni Networking Committee, was pleased to announce the awards and acknowledge the merits of the recipients.

“As these awards are for continuing students, I get the opportunity to see them develop and excel as they work through the program and on to graduation. Their applications and the recognition they receive are proof that the profession will continue to be served by some very talented individuals,” Stenstrom said.

Alumni and Friends Scholarship and Graduate Student Scholarship

Emily Mercer, winner of both the Alumni and Friends Scholarship and the Graduate Student Scholarship, each worth $1000, is a full-time MARA student dedicated to pursuing a career she really enjoys. Currently working part time, she is looking forward to fulfilling the role of records manager upon graduation.

Mercer will use the scholarship funds to pay for tuition, allowing her to graduate without student loan debt. She said, “My experience thus far at SJSU’s iSchool has been incredibly rewarding and transformational. I am a first-generation student, and I wanted to strengthen my connection with the SJSU legacy and showcase my efforts in the program.” 

Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship

Alejandra Alfaro, recipient of the $1,000 Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship, was awarded the ALA Spectrum Scholarship last year—a prerequisite for applying to the Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship—and was also awarded a Leppe Scholarship and a Special Session Scholarship for Continuing Students. Endowed in honor of Dr. Blanche Woolls, former SJSU professor and director from 1997-2005, this scholarship awards $1,000 to deserving recipients from diverse backgrounds.

A first-generation student pursuing her MLIS degree, Alfaro is grateful for the scholarship funds that will help pay off her student loans. Alfaro’s commitment to her education, and to libraries, is clear: “I’m currently an assistant librarian at a high school and pursuing a job as a high school librarian, and I’m particularly interested in becoming a head school librarian,” she said.

Leppe Scholarships

Established in 2014, the scholarship was endowed in honor of Louis C. Leppe, a Southern California pharmacist, whose daughters were both teachers and graduates of San José State University. Five scholarships were awarded, each worth $2,360.

While working part time as a library assistant in San José, MLIS student Elizabeth Borges supplements her income by driving for Zum, a children’s driving service. Explaining her motivation for applying for the scholarship, she said, “As a former teacher and someone who still wants to work in the education field to support underserved students, the Leppe Scholarship seemed like a perfect fit for me, if I could get it!”

Eager to share her enthusiasm for education with her fellow students, Borges serves as co-events coordinator and blogging assistant on the executive board of the ALA’s Student Chapter, and plans to be an INFO 203 Peer Mentor this fall. “I’m excited to give back to the school and community that has given me so much,” she said.

Leppe Scholarship recipient Terry Schiavone is pursuing his MLIS while working full time at Penn State University Libraries as a digital processing specialist in the digitization unit. He’s also a content editor for the iSchool’s Student Research Journal.

Passionate about history, libraries, and education, Schiavone holds a Master of Arts from West Chester University in History and a Bachelor of Arts from Wilkes University, also in History. Grateful to be a scholarship recipient, Schiavone said the funds are “integral to continuing my experience at SJSU and completing my degree by May 2020.”

In her role as a production specialist and archive manager in the Imaging department at the Art Institute of Chicago, Leppe Scholarship recipient Shelby Silvernell helps create and manage assets that document the full scope of work at the museum, and also oversees the digitization, metadata creation, and rehousing of the museum’s physical archives.

This fall, Silvernell will enroll in two classes that will continue rounding out her archives and digital asset management pathways in the MLIS program: Applied Research Methods: Evaluating Programs and Services and Seminar in Archives and Records Management: Tools, Services, and Methodologies for Digital Curation. Silvernell noted, “This scholarship will enable me to focus on my studies, which is much appreciated!”

Amanda Cronkright and Courtney Hopkins were also awarded Leppe Scholarships.

Terry Crowley Scholarship and H.W. Wilson Scholarship

Brandi Veal received both the Terry Crowley Scholarship and the H.W. Wilson Scholarship, each worth $1,000. The Terry Crowley Scholarship was created in honor of the iSchool professor emeritus who specialized in reference and information services. 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 ALA.

Veal, a first-generation student currently working as a school library assistant, recently completed the course work for her teacher librarian credential and is planning to pursue a career in school libraries.

“Getting to this point in my studies, a year from attaining my master’s, would not be possible without financial help from generous donors such as the H.W. Wilson Foundation and the Terry Crowley Scholarship offered through SJSU,” she said.

This fall, Veal will complete an internship at a public library to diversify her resume and get firsthand experience in the library sector. Thanks in part to these two scholarships, Veal is optimistic about her prospects.

“As it stands, I will hopefully be graduating in May 2020 debt-free and am extremely excited because it opens the possibility to pursue a future dedicated solely to fulfilling my dreams and those of the public that I will be working with,” Veal said.

Global Impact Scholarship

A stand-out for her stellar academic achievement and her passion for libraries, Katie Olding was selected as the recipient of the Global Impact Scholarship, worth $1,000. Olding envisions herself becoming a children’s or young adult librarian after graduation, and by maintaining a 4.0 GPA while working two jobs with two different library systems, Olding’s proving she’s intent on achieving her goals.

“Teaching children to be active library users at a young age is pivotal to encouraging a love of books and literacy that has an everlasting impact. I am committed to using my education and experience as an information professional to impact communities and organizations on a global scale,” Olding said.

The Global Impact Scholarship funds will allow Olding to work less and concentrate more on completing her degree. “In a world where practically nothing is free, the access libraries provide to information should be preserved and enhanced. It is my mission to obtain a role as a librarian and dedicate myself to the enrichment of libraries. The Global Impact Scholarship has brought me one step closer to reaching that goal by providing the financial support I need in order to complete my degree,” she said.

Thea Estreicher Memorial Scholarship

Angela Campbell, MLIS student, was the recipient of the Thea Estreicher Memorial Scholarship. 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.

Echoing the sentiments of the scholarship’s founder, Campbell stated, “The Thea Estreicher scholarship spoke to me specifically because this award was created to recognize the difference public librarians make in their communities. My intended career path lies in public libraries and I have already had my eyes opened to the need for public libraries and their important role, building and inspiring community connections.”

Campbell, who decided to earn her MLIS after an almost 20-year career as a letter carrier, was thrilled to receive the scholarship. “Being honored with the Thea Estreicher Scholarship has encouraged me to continue upon the path to public librarianship,” she said.

Pursuing her degree while raising a family and working part time as an information technician at Brampton Library in Ontario, Canada, Campbell is intending to use the scholarship funds to offset schooling costs; receiving the scholarship has allowed her to add an additional course to her fall schedule. Sharing Thea Estreicher’s dedication to public libraries, Campbell was a perfect match for the Thea Estreicher Scholarship.

Librarian Opportunity Scholarship

Erin Fussell 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.

Fussell, who was awarded the Special Session Scholarship for New Students last year, applied for the scholarship to offset the cost of student loans.

“I’m an assistant librarian at the Brand Library and Art Center in Glendale, California, where I get to be around tons of art and music materials, as well as participate in the extraordinary public programs in music, art, and dance,” Fussell said.

Friends of the Leisure World Library Scholarship and Kaiser Permanente Medical Librarianship Scholarship

Greta Snyder was honored with both the Friends of the Leisure World Library Scholarship, for Southern California students pursuing careers in public libraries, worth $2,000; and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Librarianship Scholarship, worth $1,000. Last year, she was awarded the Librarian Opportunity Scholarship.

“As a Southern California resident, I see the extraordinary value and impact public libraries bring to my community. Through my course work and special studies with Dr. Michael Stephens in public library leadership and employee experience, community engagement and marketing, and creative programming, I have become committed to service, involvement and support in this field,” Snyder said.

Snyder received her Master of Arts in English from San Francisco State University, serves as a student representative on the MLIS curriculum committee at SJSU, and blogs about professional opportunities for the iSchool’s Career Blog

Reflecting on her reasons for applying for the Kaiser Permanente Medical Librarianship Scholarship, she said, “I am deeply invested in the importance of librarianship work, skills, data management, identity management and research capabilities in the medical field and in providing equity of access to medical and scientific information to all.”

Faculty Scholarship

Courtney Hopkins, who serves as vice chair of the Society of American Archivists, also received the Faculty Scholarship, worth $1,000.  

Congratulations to all of the scholarship winners! 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.