Record 12 ALA Spectrum Scholarships Awarded to iSchool Students


A record 12 graduate students enrolled in the iSchool’s exclusively online MLIS degree program have been chosen to receive the American Library Association’s 2015 Spectrum Scholarships—more than any other school on the list. Congratulations!

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office of Diversity has announced the winners of its 2015-2016 Spectrum Scholarships, and the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) counts 12 students in its Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) online degree program among those named—more than any other school on the list. The competition for scholarships was notable this year, as the ALA received three times as many qualified applications as available scholarships.

According to the ALA press release, Spectrum Scholars are chosen for “their commitment to diversity, commitment to entering the library profession, demonstrated community outreach, academic ability and achievements and leadership potential.” The goal of the Spectrum program is to increase ethnic and racial diversity in the field of information “to best position libraries at the core of today’s culturally diverse communities.”

Funding for scholarships comes from the program’s endowment, from donations made by organizations and individuals to provide named scholarships, and from a number of organizations in the field of information science such as ProQuest, which gives $52,000 annually to the program, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), and the Medical Library Association/National Library of Medicine (MLA/NLM).

The iSchool students receiving 2015-2016 ALA Spectrum Scholarships include:

  • Sylvia Cecilia Aguiñaga (ALSC Scholar)
  • Nateisha Allen (NLM/MLA Scholar)
  • Clara Asuncion
  • Victor Betts (ProQuest Scholar)
  • Kai Forsley
  • Anita-Marie Martinez
  • Karla Morones
  • Nicole Natividad
  • Michelle Ng
  • Omar Ramirez (Gordon Scholar)
  • Suzanne Sannwald
  • Renee Ting

According to the ALA, Spectrum seeks to address “the underrepresentation of librarians of color within the current workforce,” and therefore the program both recruits and provides scholarships to “American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession and our organization.” More information on the scholarship, including instructions on how to apply to the 2016-2017 Spectrum program, which will open in September 2015, is available on the ALA website.