iSchool Students Awarded ALA Spectrum Scholarships
Nine San José State University School of Information students pursuing Master of Library and Information Science degrees have been awarded the 2016-2017 American Library Association’s Spectrum Scholarships.
Nine San José State University School of Information (iSchool) students pursuing Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degrees have been awarded the 2016-2017 American Library Association’s (ALA) Spectrum Scholarships.
“A prestigious committee of 10 jurors selected this year’s Spectrum Scholars based on their commitment to diversity, commitment to entering the library profession, demonstrated community outreach, academic ability and achievements and leadership potential,” the ALA press release stated.
Karla Vasquez, a special education teacher assistant for the Ontario-Montclair School District in Ontario, Calif., believes the main reason why she was chosen for the ALA Spectrum Scholarship is because of her passion for helping people and her community. She began volunteering at her local city library two years ago and is currently the treasurer for the Friends of the Library.
“I’m very grateful I was able to discover what career path I wanted to take when I started volunteering,” Vasquez said. “I was not expecting to get picked since it was the first time I applied for any scholarship.”
“I believe that this scholarship is going to open doors for me and possibly help me network with the right people for future employment opportunities,” she added. “I love the fact that as an information specialist or librarian you have the opportunities to work anywhere in the world and are not limited to the area or state that you live in!”
For Mahasin Abuwi Aleem (pictured left), the inspiration to become a youth services librarian is rooted in family, both her ancestors and her own children, and in communities of color and with people who have been marginalized.
“I am passionate about what I do because I am working in honor of the struggles (of those) who came before me,” Abuwi Aleem said. “As I wrote in my scholarship application, my paternal grandfather, who lived in the Jim Crow South, was illiterate, but he made sure my father and uncle could read. My maternal great-grandmother, born at the turn of the 20th century in rural Georgia, picked cotton to help support her family.”
Abuwi Aleem has spent two years as a library aide at the Oakland Public Library (OPL) in Oakland, Calif., and as a weekly volunteer story time reader/presenter through the OPL’s Books for Wider Horizons program, which places volunteers in Oakland preschools.
Ramon Calhoun (pictured left) has aspirations to work as an academic librarian in a community college to assist older, underrepresented and lower income students in research and information needs, as well as educate them about information literacy.
“The Spectrum Scholarship will obviously help me financially and get me closer to finishing the program,” Calhoun said. “The benefits of being a scholar – the Spectrum Leadership Institute, mentoring opportunities, networking with other scholars and library leaders and participating in a national library diversity initiative – will also help me achieve my goals. All will allow me to learn new ideas and best practices to assist students, in particular those who need the most support.”
Vasquez, Abuwi Aleem, and Calhoun are joined by six of their iSchool peers, who were also selected for the 2016-2017 ALA Spectrum Scholarships, as follows:
- Carla Bywaters
- Jane’a Johnson
- Emilly Prado
- Crystal Van Dee
- Chloe Van Stralendorff
- Roger Chesley
ALA provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander students “to increase the number of racially and ethnically diverse professionals in the field of library and information science to best position libraries at the core of today’s culturally diverse communities.” A total of 61 students received 2016-2017 Spectrum Scholarships.
To learn more about the Spectrum Scholarship program, please visit the ALA website. The application period for 2017-2018 ALA Spectrum Scholarships will open in September.