8 iSchool students awarded ALA Spectrum Scholarships

Eight University of Washington Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students were among the 60 winners of 2019-20 Spectrum Scholarships, the American Library Association has announced.

iSchool winners include returning students Joan Hua, Conrrado Saldivar and Meneka Thiru as well as incoming students Joanne Chern, Taylor Healey-Brooks, Courtney Nomiyama, Tania-María Ríos Marrero and Karen Wang.

Hua is a third-year online MLIS student. She has been working in instructional design at an academic library in Washington D.C. She hopes to incorporate digital methods in the management of information in ways that help solve human problems and effect social change. She is currently conducting an internship with Washington State Department of Transportation on open data publishing.

Saldivar works as an adult services specialist at the Natrona County Library in Casper, Wyoming. His goals include advocating for libraries as essential services, reaching out to underserved and underprivileged communities, and increasing technological literacy. 

Thiru hails from Anchorage, Alaska, and works at the University of Alaska Anchorage Consortium Library reference desk. She aspires to work at the intersection of librarianship and social justice.

Chern currently lives in Davis, California. She is interested in learning, through the residential MLIS, more about how libraries can be empowering and collaborative learning spaces, especially for young people who face barriers.

Healey-Brooks is a library assistant in user services and technology support at Georgia State University in Atlanta and will be moving to Seattle in the fall for the residential MLIS program. She wants to become an academic librarian—a dedicated advocate for critical information literacy in support of student success and retention efforts, with a focus on first-generation college students.

Nomiyama lives in Waipahu, Hawaii and works for the Hawaii State Senate. She hopes to position librarians as storytellers for change in order to promote community engagement, protect information, and normalize attitudes towards diversity, equity and inclusion.

Ríos, who lives in Philadelphia, currently works as a community organizer with the Free Library of Philadelphia. Her interests and goals in the field of LIS pertain to the advancement of information systems and places for Latino and Spanish-speaking communities in the US and abroad.

Wang lives in Tucson, Arizona. Her goal is to transform university archives, libraries and museums to be more diverse, equitable and mindful. She also seeks to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, especially between traditionally siloed fields, such as ecology and art. This summer Wang is assisting research on plant evolution and volunteering with the natural history collections at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory before relocating to Seattle.

The ALA has awarded more than 1,100 Spectrum Scholarships since 1997, according to its press release. In the 2019 application cycle, the Spectrum Scholarship Program received three times as many applications as there were available scholarships. The awards committee of 21 jurors selected this year’s Spectrum Scholars based on their commitment to equity and inclusion, demonstrated community outreach, commitment to the library profession 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.