Fifteen iSchool students named 2020-2021 ALA Spectrum Scholars

A record-breaking fifteen iSchool master’s students have been named 2020-2021 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. Since 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program has promoted diversity among graduate-level students pursuing degrees in library and information studies through ALA-accredited programs.

This year’s scholars were selected based on their commitment to community building, leadership potential, and planned contributions to incorporating social justice as part of everyday work. The highly competitive scholarship program received four times as many applications as there were available scholarships.

The Spectrum Scholarship recipients at Illinois are:

  • Megdelawit Abebe
  • Alex Aspiazu (ALSC Scholar in honor of Ellen Fader)
  • Danielle Luz Belanger
  • María del Carmen Cifuentes
  • Tacia Díaz (LIRT Scholar)
  • Amanda He
  • Kyra Lee (ALSC Scholar)
  • Luisa Leija (ProQuest Scholar)
  • Krystal Madkins (MLA/NLM Scholar)
  • Anthony Martínez
  • Ashley Mitchell (Turock Scholar)
  • Chinyere E. Oteh
  • Rayyon Robinson
  • Mayra Rosas (Gordon Scholar)
  • Mimosa Shah

Each scholar receives $5,000 to assist with educational costs as well as more than $1,500 to attend the Spectrum Leadership Institute held during the ALA Annual Conference. In addition, the iSchool provides each recipient with a tuition waiver, and Illinois residents receive a grant from the Sylvia Murphy Williams Fund, given by the Illinois Library Association. Other benefits include continuing education and professional development opportunities, peer mentoring, and access to a large alumni network.

"One of our recruitment and admissions goals is to be the primary destination for ALA Spectrum Scholars," said Moises Orozco Villicana, director of enrollment management. "The iSchool has welcomed 101 Spectrum Scholars since 1997, and the incoming class will break our previous highest number of 10, which was set in 2017. As a group, the Spectrum Scholars have been highly successful in completing their programs of study and making significant contributions through their work in the field after graduation."

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