7 iSchool students win ALA Spectrum Scholarships

Seven University of Washington Master of Library and Information Science students were among the 62 winners of 2018-19 Spectrum Scholarships, the American Library Association has announced.

iSchool winners include Jazmine Applin, Amanda Chin, Riko Fluchel, Karen Sánchez, Julie Varee, Kelli Akemi Yakabu and Nam Jin Yoon.

Applin, who lives in Berkeley, California, is an online student beginning the MLIS program this fall. She hopes to combine her interests in systems building and digital tools with her desire to serve others and support marginalized communities. She currently is a senior manager of academic programs at the California College of the Arts in Oakland.

Chin is a second-year residential student in the MLIS program, living in Seattle. She provides training in literacy and English as a Second Language to adult immigrants. She said she is pursuing an MLIS degree to combine her passion for education, immigrant services and information literacy with public or academic librarianship.

Fluchel is entering his second year in the residential MLIS program. He works as a Research and Learning Services Specialist in the UW’s Odegaard Library. He hopes to create meaningful experiences through information architecture and experience design, while advocating for critical information literacy. Fluchel's scholarship is given by the Library and Information Technology Association to a scholar with a demonstrated interest in library technology. The Online Computer Library Center has supported a LITA scholarship since 1991. 

Sánchez is a third-year online MLIS student living in Los Angeles, where she works as the law librarian for the Los Angeles County Counsel. Her goal is to transform a largely in-print library to a virtual library with more robust electronic resources and digital learning opportunities. She plans to continue mentorship opportunities with inner-city high school youth to expose them to government law libraries. 

Varee, who lives in Anchorage, Alaska, is an online student starting at the iSchool this fall. After working in philanthropy and development for almost 30 years, she hopes to engage and serve diverse communities in Alaska and help promote libraries’ vital role in a democracy.

Yakabu is entering her second year in the online MLIS program. Her goal is to become an archivist dedicated to increasing accessibility to digital collections that sensitively represent and empower communities of color. She lives in Seattle and completed her undergraduate degree at the UW.

Yoon is entering the Law Librarianship program this fall after coming to the UW from Boston. Yoon, who grew up in Toronto and has been working as an attorney, hopes to become an academic librarian.

The ALA has awarded more than 1,100 Spectrum Scholarships since 1997, according to its press release. In the 2018 application cycle, the Spectrum Scholarship Program received three times as many applications as there were available scholarships. The awards committee of 10 jurors selected this year’s Spectrum Scholars based on their commitment to equity and inclusion, demonstrated community outreach, commitment to the library profession, academic achievements, and leadership potential.

The Spectrum Scholarship Program recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession and ALA. The aim is to increase the number of racially and ethnically diverse professionals in the field of library and information science to best position libraries at the core of today’s culturally diverse communities.