More than $28,000 awarded in Spring 2018 Special Session Scholarships


Twenty students pursuing a master’s degree at the San José State University School of Information were each awarded a $1,422 scholarship for their creative presentations that showcased their skills and commitment to the information profession.

Using presentation software such as Prezi, PowToon, or emaze, Special Session Scholarship applicants presented their thoughts on the theme of global impact or professional leadership in the form of descriptive text, data points and visual elements.  

The scholarships are open to both incoming and continuing students enrolled in the iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science and Master of Archives and Records Administration degree programs.

Spring 2018 Special Session Scholarship Recipients

  • Kristin Brandt
  • Candice Carnahan
  • Jewel Cheng
  • Kristin Chesnik
  • Jessica Clark
  • Kimberly Crail
  • Summer Dahlmanns
  • Caitlin Dempsey Morais
  • Farima Kafai
  • Julia Larson
  • Jasmin LoBasso-Spencer
  • Lori Looney
  • Crystal Mercado
  • Keshi Nash-Johnson
  • Sharaya Olmeda
  • Kristina Olsen
  • Lyndsey Silveira
  • Shelby Silvernell
  • Cassandra Smith
  • Anna Sokolova

Cool New Tools: Scholarship Recipients Share their Experiences

With several software options to choose from, Cassandra Smith decided to try out something new and went with PowToon. She compared the program to Prezi, but felt the tutorials provided by PowToon’s creators helped give her the look she wanted in her presentation.

Using her experience in graphic design, a voice recorder, and the newly implemented Zoom technology to create a screen-capture of a website she launched last year, she was able to create her “Serving Diverse Communities” video.

“I was incredibly excited to learn I had been awarded the scholarship after all that hard work. I immediately called my husband to tell him the news. I was happy to just have learned how to use a cool new tool, but ecstatic to actually be awarded the scholarship, too.

“Having the scholarship will assist me as I wrap up my studies at SJSU. Having just one less class to pay for opens the door for other opportunities for our family,” Smith said.

Lori Looney is just beginning her MLIS journey at the iSchool. She created her scholarship presentation using Prezi by first outlining her ideas as individual slides on paper, and then choosing a template. After she was satisfied, she asked others to review it for feedback.

“That was really helpful as it became apparent that the ‘story’ in my head wasn’t necessarily coming across to others. By further exploring the editing features, I was able to visually move the narrative along in the way I had intended,” she said.

After working in the information services profession for 15 years, Looney felt the spring semester was right time for her and was prepared for the challenge of pursuing an MLIS degree with a focus on digital and emerging technologies.

“I was ecstatic when I received the news I had been chosen as a [scholarship] recipient. It confirmed for me that I had made the right decision and that my apprehensions about being an ‘older’ student while working full time and juggling family responsibilities could be overcome. Financially the scholarship is a help, for sure, but the boost to my conviction and self confidence means so much,” she explained.

Caitlin Dempsey Morais created her video using FinalCutPro, a video editing software for Macs. She filmed herself against a flat background, so she could include picture-in-picture visuals highlighting some of the work she’s completed while at the iSchool. As a digital librarian, she believes access to data and information tools can allow her to visualize information, and those visualizations can cross language barriers.

“I feel very honored and grateful to the scholarship committee for this award. It’s a nice recognition of the work I have completed so far in the program. I have been self-funding my tuition by working throughout the program, so it’s nice to have a break in paying tuition,” she said.

During the spring semester, Dempsey Morais will be finishing up her MLIS studies with the culminating ePortfolio project. She has a background in geographic information systems, which combines cartography with spatial analysis. She hopes to hybridize her career by using her MLIS degree to work as a digital librarian.

Inspired by her fascination with banned books and the motivation people have to remove texts from circulation, Jessica Clark created a PowToon video for her scholarship application.

“It’s the passion librarians and the information community has to keep materials accessible for the community, keeping freedom of speech and expression intact, and resisting attempts of censorship,” she explained.

 “I was shocked to have won the [scholarship] and I also felt honored and very thankful. Since I am receiving this scholarship, I feel a responsibility to use my degree to serve my community and help bring access to people who need it. Financially, it is a big help and I am grateful to the faculty,” she said.

To be eligible for a Special Session Scholarship, incoming and continuing students must have a GPA of at least 3.2 and either actively enrolled or plan to take at least three units in the semester assigned to the scholarship award.

Applications for a Special Session Scholarship for the fall 2018 semester will be accepted until May 1, 2018. The scholarship committee will review all submissions, select recipients, and notify recipients in mid-July 2018.