MLIS Student Soars to New Heights with ARMA Scholarship


After winning the ARMA International Education Fund scholarship, MLIS student Lea Takigawa is confident she made the right decision to change careers from lawyer to records manager and is thrilled her new career is off to such an auspicious start.

There is nothing like winning a prestigious scholarship to validate your chosen career path, and for San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) student Lea Takigawa, it is especially noteworthy. Takigawa, a former lawyer, was recently awarded an ARMA International Education Fund (AIEF) scholarship worth $3,000 to assist her in her pursuit of a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree and is thrilled that her new career is off to such an auspicious start.

After practicing law for several years, Takigawa decided to change careers and find something that would be more personally fulfilling. As a lawyer, she occasionally had the opportunity to analyze metadata, manage case records, and advise clients on records retention statutes, and she found that she really enjoyed these aspects of the job. “Unfortunately,” she explained, “these activities accounted for a small percentage of my work as a lawyer, so my high moments were few and far between. I asked myself, why not do this full time if you enjoy it so much?”

Knowing that she would need additional preparation to work full time in records and information management, Takigawa decided to pursue the MLIS degree at the SJSU iSchool. “I chose to pursue records management because I felt that it was the perfect intersection between the law and information science,” she remarked.  “I still find the law interesting and have not lost that component. At the same time, the day-to-day of records management is exciting and enjoyable on a personal level.”

Takigawa is currently completing an internship in the records management group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where she has been able to confirm her enjoyment of the field of information science. As an intern, she stated, “I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from a knowledgeable records manager and team and gain real world insight into implementing an effective and cutting-edge [records and information management] program.”

Along with MLIS coursework at the SJSU iSchool, Takigawa feels that the internship was instrumental to her winning the scholarship. “For my [application] essay, I drew upon what I learned from real world practice and then used course knowledge to apply what I learned. A large part of earning the scholarship is due to the support I received from my professional peers and academic professors.” Takigawa noted that Dr. Robert Boyd has been especially supportive of her career in records management has been “a source of fantastic encouragement throughout the whole process.”

Takigawa took Boyd’s INFO 204 course last spring, and he noted that she brought “a remarkable skillset and breadth of experience to the online discussions, projects and teamwork required” in the class. Mentioning also the value of the internship with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Boyd commented, “No pun:  the sky’s the limit for Lea!”

The goal of ARMA’s graduate education scholarship is to help shape the future of records management through educational opportunities. Winning the scholarship from highly respected ARMA International has been a great honor for Takigawa, and she stated that, on a personal level, “it was uplifting to know that I was on the right path and that the scholarship funds were going to help me to stay on it.”

Changing careers can be a daunting proposition, but Takigawa has seen that dedication and perseverance can really pay off. “All in all, I think I would advise my fellow students to try not to lose sight of what you’re passionate about,” she advised, “and continue to pursue what you love to do. It will be worth it.”

Applications for the AIEF graduate education scholarship are due in August of each year. For more on scholarship opportunities for new and continuing graduate students at the SJSU iSchool, visit the iSchool scholarships web page.