Three iSchool Students Win REFORMA Scholarships


Rosa PenaThe Los Angeles Chapter of REFORMA has awarded three scholarships to students completing their Master of Library and Information Science degree program at the San José State University School of Information. Rosa Pena and Lauren Kime were both recipients of the Dr. Karin Duran Scholarship. The scholarship is given to MLIS students interested in academic or archival fields. Kimberly Villalba received the Elizabeth Martinez Scholarship, which is awarded to MLIS students living in LA County.

Thanks to the scholarship award, Pena has been able to add one more class to her schedule. Pena has enjoyed her time in the iSchool’s MLIS program, citing that “many of the students I have met through projects or student associations have helped me learn more about the information field.”

Currently, Pena works at the LA County Library and volunteers at La Historia Historical Society Museum. Her volunteer work at the museum, as well as taking INFO 284 with Dr. Leigh Gleason, has given her “practical ways to set up our upcoming exhibit.” Pena plans to use these skills to continue her career and “gain more experience in the archive/museum field as I continue to expand my knowledge.”

Kime was initially drawn to REFORMA by all of the resources provided to the local Latino and Spanish speaking communities. “In my family, the Spanish language largely died out with my grandparents as a result of the lack of resources (and the shaming) that came with being primarily Spanish speaking,” she explains.

Lauren KimeKime hopes “to make it a priority wherever I go to make sure that no one else needs to give up speaking their native language because of a lack of resources.” Kime is also currently the president of the Special Libraries Association Student Chapter of San José State University. “The whole time I’ve been with the group has been so rewarding and fun. I can’t wait to see where the next year takes the SLASC.”

Being part of REFORMA and winning the Elizabeth Martinez Scholarship aligns with Villalba’s mission to bring “multicultural, multi-sensory, diverse and inclusive programming in children’s library services.” Villalba has picked up skills and methods that help advance her career by taking classes such as INFO 240: Information Technology Tools and Applications and INFO 237: School Library Media Materials.

Kimberly VillalbaVillalba aspires to become an international teacher librarian and plans to take the skills used in the program to further her career. “I love working with our youth and empowering them in the library. I know working at a school library is the destined career path for me,” she states.

All three winners are members of SJSU’s REFORMA Student and Alumni Group. The group’s purpose is to “cultivate a welcoming environment to develop, engage, and support students and alumni who are interested in working with Spanish-speaking communities.” Students and alumni are provided with resources and opportunities to connect with other professionals.