Four Graduating Students Honored with Director’s Awards for Excellence


The San José State University School of Information proudly recognizes four graduating students from the Class of 2020 for their exceptional work with Director’s Awards for Excellence. During their grad school studies in the Master of Library and Information Science degree program they demonstrated leadership, ingenuity, compassion, and commitment to bettering our communities. Congratulations Elizabeth Borges, Amanda Cronkright, Bijan Nowroozian and Shelby Silvernell!

Director’s Award for Excellence in Building Community

Elizabeth BorgesBorges received the Director’s Award for Excellence in Building Community for demonstrating an ability to work collaboratively and strengthen communities of all types.

“As the event coordinator for the American Library Association Student Chapter and a former peer mentor, I’ve been involved in a lot of community events and met a lot of people,” said Borges. “When I started at the iSchool, I didn’t think I was going to engage with my peers beyond discussion boards. I thought I’d log onto Canvas, do my work, and log off. Once I started getting involved, I realized how much I liked meeting and interacting with my classmates. The community is now one of my favorite things about the iSchool, and I’m going to miss it!

Upon learning she’d won the award, Borges was “so excited and grateful,” and called it “the perfect ending” to her iSchool experience.

Borges recently landed her “dream job” as the education librarian at San Francisco State University. “I’m a former teacher, so supporting the Graduate College of Education is the perfect blend of my two careers. I am so grateful that the iSchool helped me get here.”

Director’s Award for Excellence in Innovation 

Amanda CronkrightDuring her time at the iSchool, Cronkright, who currently works at the Library of the City College of San Francisco, demonstrated a strong ability to develop and implement novel approaches to services and the use of technology. She represents the Class of 2020 with the Director’s Award for Excellence in Innovation.

“My course work and work experience has shown me that innovation is critical for information organizations. Society and technology are constantly evolving, and libraries have to always be looking to the future for ways to innovate and transform. I’m very honored and proud to be granted the Director’s Award for Excellence in Innovation and will continue seeking out ways to innovate and grow as I move forward in my career.”

Cronkright decided to apply for the Director’s Award for Excellence in Innovation after previously applying for the Special Session and Leppe scholarships, an experience which helped her to clearly see all the work she’d done to positively impact her library community.

“Being awarded the scholarships was extremely validating,” said Cronkright. “This experience gave me a lot of confidence in my work and my contributions, and encouraged me to continue applying my education to the real-world in innovative ways.” 

With grad school behind her, Cronkright will put her energy toward “meaningfully impacting the library community in new ways,” she remarked, adding, “I would love to work toward library management where I can help lead change and provide mentorship and encouragement to others in the field.” 

Director’s Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion

Bijan NowroozianNowroozian, whose daily work as youth services librarian at the San Diego Public Library benefits an economically and linguistically diverse service population, was selected as the recipient of the Director’s Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion.

“I have a background in providing services/helping youth in economically and ethnically diverse communities,” Nowroozian said. “My approach to librarianship is deeply rooted in inclusion for people of all backgrounds.”

Despite his relevant experience and demonstrated commitment to working with diverse communities, Nowroozian was surprised to learn he’d won the award. “After the initial shock, it sunk in that I was being honored with the Director’s Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion,” he said.

Overcome with joy, he couldn’t contain himself. “I contacted my parents immediately to give them the news and they shouted with glee,” he enthused. “Being a mixed child of ethnically and racially diverse parents, this award meant a great deal to my family and me. It acknowledges the initiatives I’ve created at work and the education I received at SJSU.”

Nowroozian said his short-term goal is to excel in the San Diego Public Library’s ranks, where he hopes to become supervising librarian within the next four years. “My long-term goal is to run a library organization as a library director, or, run an organization that teaches and/or helps impoverished youth. Many of the programs I’ve created at my library focus on promoting literacy and education for impoverished youth in the community. I aim to take larger strides in this approach over time.”

Director’s Award for Excellence in Intellectual Inquiry

During her time at the iSchool, Silvernell, recipient of the Director’s Award for Excellence in Intellectual Inquiry, served as the organizational liaison and subject expert for the final class project for INFO 247-10 Vocabulary Design, for which she helped create a thesaurus for use at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Institutional Archives where she works as an assistant director.  

One of her project team members noted that Silvernell “excelled connecting the lessons from our course with her professional experience at AIC in order to have greater relevance and accuracy for implementation,” and acknowledged her “organizational awareness and excellent technical expertise.”  

Silvernell’s demonstration of intellectual curiosity above and beyond her required course work, a passion for learning, and continued learning made her a prime candidate for the award.

Graduating students are honored annually with Awards for Excellence, offered in a variety of categories. Recipients of the awards receive a gift certificate and a citation. All of this year’s Graduating Student Award winners are listed on the iSchool’s 2020 Virtual Convocation website. A full list of award recipients from over the years is available on the iSchool’s web page.