Leep program, scholarship help student realize goal of LIS degree

Erica Halpern

As a young professional working to advance her career, Leep student Erica Halpern appreciates the flexibility and convenience of the iSchool's online MS/LIS program. She also is grateful for the George Bonn Scholarship that she received from the School, which removed a "huge financial burden" and has allowed her to focus on her studies.

Halpern works full time as the development director for the YMCA of Greater New Orleans. Once a week, she volunteers at The Historic New Orleans Collection, and she will soon start volunteer projects at The Jazz and Heritage Foundation Archive and Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections and Archives.

"Thanks to my scholarship, I can continue spending one day a week focusing on internship and volunteer opportunities," Halpern said. "In the future, I would like to work in archives or rare books, perhaps within an academic setting. Right now, I am open to all possibilities and enjoy finding opportunities around New Orleans to put my learning to good use! I figure any experience is good experience, so I am open to them all as I work to build up my professional resume."

Halpern graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English and creative writing. During her undergraduate years, she worked at Penn's Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, where she grew to understand and appreciate what librarians, archivists, and other information professionals do.

"After that experience, I always knew I would pursue my LIS degree. Life did take me down another path for about seven years before I decided to return to school, but this goal was in the back of my mind the whole time," she said.

Halpern values the variety of course offerings offered by the iSchool and the synchronous online learning environment in the Leep program.

"Being in class ‘live’ with fellow students and an instructor makes class more enjoyable and personally helps to keep me accountable to myself and my peers," Halpern said.

On top of her full-time job, volunteer work, and MS/LIS coursework, Halpern is busy planning her April wedding. In her limited free time, she enjoys reading, catching up on favorite TV shows, and baking seasonal treats to share with friends and coworkers.

Thank you to our alumni and friends who contribute to iSchool funds that support our students.

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