Scholarships Lessen Financial Worry and Reaffirm Career Path
Spring 2022 Scholarship Winners Announced
This spring, the School of Information at San José State University awarded a total of 44 scholarships valued at $124,000 to new and continuing students enrolled in its master’s degree programs. Eligible students had the opportunity to apply for the Special Session Scholarship for New Students, the Special Session Scholarship for Current Students, and the Director’s Scholarship for Excellence.
Emma Aspenson, who is enrolled in the Master in Library and Information Science program, is one of the recipients of the Special Session Scholarship for New Students. Aspenson, like many of the scholarship recipients, expressed that the scholarship is a source of financial relief. The scholarship will allow her “to step into each semester without worrying about the costs of materials.”
The ability to take classes part time and complete them on her own time was something that appealed to Aspenson when she was considering graduate schools. She works full time as a bookstore manager, and the online MLIS program made the iSchool “an easy choice.”
New student Jason Balistreri is pursuing his dream career as a teacher librarian. He previously worked as a high school history teacher. “Leaving teaching was the hardest decision of my life, but one I do not regret. I love working with students and staff as a librarian,” he says.
He chose the iSchool because it was “highly recommended by new librarian colleagues” in his school district. Being a recipient of the Special Session Scholarship for New Students has helped out with finances “as a single parent” and has allowed Balistreri to take on a heavier course load during his first semester.
Destiny Martin, who is a recipient of the Special Session Scholarship for Current Students, describes herself as a “first-generation low-income student.” With plans to work as a children’s or teen librarian, Martin’s favorite course in the MLIS program so far is INFO 269: Early Childhood Literacy with Beth Wrenn-Estes. “I learned a lot about the importance of childhood literacy with regards to things such as story times and programming,” Martin said.
Martin’s project to apply for the scholarship outlined a re-opening plan for the library during the COVID-19 pandemic. Martin served on a commission that oversaw the re-opening of the Downey City Library located in Downey, CA. Parts of the plan included alternative ways for patrons to access the library during its closure and staff training. Martin states the key takeaways from working on the commission were “how to voice my opinions,” “research is crucial” and “listening to others’ thoughts can help you expand on your own ideas.”
Receiving a Special Session Scholarship for Current Students is “a step closer to my dream in becoming a future librarian,” says Camellia Sun. A self-proclaimed “amateur artist,” Sun’s website was part of the winning scholarship application and featured Sun’s art, photography and videos.
Sun’s plan after graduation this summer is to seek full-time employment in a public or academic institution. Sun credits the iSchool faculty with providing guidance for choosing a career path. “The subjects they taught inspired me to become a librarian, and my goal is to support the community and make the world a better place,” says Sun.
Director’s Scholarship for Excellence recipient Eori Tokunaga was working in the psychology, public health and social work sectors prior to starting her MLIS journey in January. She did not have much experience with working in a library setting and wasn’t sure if her “work experience or education would translate well into the field of librarianship.” Winning the scholarship “reaffirmed that the MLIS program was the right path for me,” she says.
Jackson Wright used his experience working at a medical library to create an infographic on health literacy as his application for the Director’s Scholarship for Excellence. Health literacy is needed for people to make informed decisions, and communication between patients and healthcare professionals is vital, according to Wright. “The Director’s Scholarship for Excellence has helped me give voice to the ongoing issue of low health literacy across the world, for which I am beyond grateful.”
Wright plans to work in a medical library while completing his courses. After receiving his MLIS degree, he wants to continue working with the public. “Helping patients, their families, and the public is an incredibly rewarding experience,” says Wright. He “can’t imagine” working in any other field.
New and current students enrolled in the iSchool’s master’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs can apply for scholarships twice a year. The next round of scholarships is currently open for fall 2022, with the application deadline of May 1. In addition, current students may be eligible for endowed scholarships that are awarded each spring. The application period for endowed scholarships is March 1 through March 31.
Spring 2022 Scholarship Recipients
Special Session Scholarship for New Students
Sarah Gray Isenberg
Minh Anh Mai
Special Session Scholarship for Current Students
Kristi Ann Bryant
Stacy L Vandenput
Sue Jean Woodmansee
Director’s Scholarship for Excellence Recipients