Six Graduating Students Receive Awards for Excellence


Class of 2022Graduation festivities are in full swing, and six students from the San José State University School of Information will be graduating with one more award to put on their resumes. Stephanie Duran, Natasha Finnegan, Ayana Sarrieddine, Ariell Lomax, Jaime D. Zullo, and Kristin Peace were selected by the faculty to receive one of the Director’s Awards for Excellence.

Duran is “thrilled and humbled” to receive the Director’s Award for Excellence in International Contribution. This award is given to a student who has “demonstrated outstanding involvement in library and information science on a global scale.” Receiving the Director’s Award for Excellence in International Contribution has provided Duran with the satisfaction of working in a global setting. Duran plans to continue to work with “organizations that are committed to providing equitable access to information on a local and/or global scale.”

Finnegan’s work while earning her Master of Library and Information Science degree focused on strengthening the relationship between the academic and public library. She was selected for the Director’s Award for Excellence in Building Community, which is awarded to a student who has shown skills in collaboration and strengthening communities. Finnegan believes that the “the library’s focus must always be on supporting the users and community at large.” She plans to continue this work at an academic library through equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives such as “expansion of an initiative begun last semester at my job on student employees self-selecting activities that broaden their experience in those arenas.”

Sarrieddine credits the faculty from the School of Information for her interest in informatics. “Their guidance enabled me to think critically about the legal, ethical, and practical implications of the way we use information today in public health and biotechnology,” Sarrieddine states. It is this critical thinking that was valued when Sarrieddine was awarded the Director’s Award for Excellence in Intellectual Inquiry. Sarrieddine looks forward to “embracing the unknown” and continuing to make discoveries. “In the continuous pursuit of knowledge, I truly believe that the willingness to ask questions about oneself and the world around them is our greatest asset.”

This year the Director’s Award for Excellence in Innovation went to Lomax. This award is for a student that has shown “strong ability to develop and implement novel approaches to services and the use of technology.” Feeling both “honored and inspired,” Lomax’s plan post-graduation is to “work with an institution with a belief in the importance of digitized and online collections and to work to improve discoverability of information for all.”

Zullo has provided evidence of “outstanding leadership through a work or community service innovation, internship or scholarly research effort benefiting an economically, linguistically or otherwise diverse service population” and received the Director’s Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. This award “reinforces the importance of working toward excellence in diversity and inclusion in everything I do,” says Zullo. The 2nd grade teacher believes the knowledge she has gained in the MLIS program will allow her to “teach others kindness, advocacy, acceptance, and understanding.” 

In addition to the Director’s Awards for Excellence, the Ken Haycock Award for Exceptional Professional Promise is awarded to a student who demonstrates flexibility in program delivery modes, excellence in academic performance, ability to think theoretically and practically and ability to analyze and communicate the results of knowledge gained. The faculty chose Peace for this prestigious award, and she served as the Outstanding Student speaker at the iSchool’s May 20 virtual convocation celebration.

Peace notes that, “Dr. Haycock appreciates the impact librarians make on their communities, whether serving in public, academic, school, or special settings.” This idea is the reason that Peace decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Peace plans to continue her work as a volunteer reference and instruction librarian at Los Angeles City College, which is a continuation of her internship. Peace also states that her time in the MLIS program has inspired her to focus on working in an academic library setting.