For Kelly Ferreira, receiving a Leep Scholarship has made "a world of difference." When she enrolled in the MS/LIS program, she was employed at the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, Illinois. However, she had to leave her position when she recently moved with her partner across the country. Now working as a library technician at Eastern Florida State College's Palm Bay campus, Ferreira appreciates the flexibility of the Leep online option as well as her scholarship.
"With this scholarship, I can continue to put money towards my education when I otherwise couldn't,” she said. "Of course, I didn't predict that this move would happen when I first applied for the scholarship, but the timing was wonderfully serendipitous, and it helps ease my mind by cutting down my educational costs. You can't measure the kind of impact giving has to a young person's education, especially in an age where higher education holds a hefty price tag."
Libraries have always been a part of Ferreira's life. Her first job was working as a page in her local library in Warsaw, New York. Before receiving her BA in English from Daemen College in Amherst, New York, Ferreira had planned to major in secondary education and teach English but found it wasn't the right fit.
"I went to the campus library and talked to the reference librarian about spending some time shadowing in library instruction sessions and maybe working during the summer, and this experience gave me the chance to solidify my place in the library world," she said.
Ferreira describes herself as happiest when helping others, and "what better place to do that than in the library?" She is especially interested in developing resources for minority young adults. It was because of this interest that she chose the iSchool for her master's degree.
"At the iSchool, I have access to numerous library science scholars who have continuously advocated for the development of resources for minorities," Ferreira said. "Because I'm in the Leep program, I get the perspective of returning learners, which is always really cool to see. I'm learning from peers, incredibly intelligent people, who have been in the field for years or have come from a variety of backgrounds. The peers, the flexibility, and the caring faculty set a standard for MS/LIS programs that I don't think other schools could truly meet like the iSchool does."
She appreciates the financial support she has received from the Leep Scholarship Fund and donors who care about contributing to future library science professionals.
"Because of this scholarship, I am able to focus more on my education and less on financial burdens, and for that I'll be forever grateful."