Leep student Marian Ekweogwu is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Diversity Scholarship from Atla, a professional organization committed to advancing the study of religion and theology. The scholarship, worth $4,000, includes the option of a travel grant to attend and participate in the Atla annual conference.
Ekweogwu, who lives in Los Angeles, is enrolled in the online MS/LIS program. She chose the iSchool at Illinois because she felt that "as a distance learner, I could count on the iSchool." She earned her BA in English from Columbia University in 2005.
"After a hiatus of 15 years from school, a confluence of circumstances had me thinking about my life, work, and general direction. The thing that kept coming to mind was my love of reading and my interest in teaching/sharing information and stories," Ekweogwu said.
In the Spring 2020 semester, Ekweogwu took the iSchool's Theological Librarianship course (IS 582TL) and was introduced to Atla by her instructor, Carisse Berryhill.
"The class was a wonderful mix of lecture and guest speakers—members of Atla—that expounded on the world of theological thought, diversity in the profession, information literacy, and various other aspects of librarianship," she said.
Outside of class, Ekweogwu is involved in the iSchool Students of Color; University Senate's Committee on the Library; American Library Association’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Assembly; Research Data Access & Preservation Association's Education and Resources Committee; and the grassroots organization Lifelong Information Literacy. She is also a volunteer on the Mapping Prejudice Project, which is working to identify and map racial restrictions buried in historic Minneapolis property deeds.
After earning her master's degree, Ekweogwu would like to become a reference librarian, cataloguer, or instruction designer—all of which "serve as gateways that can broaden the accessibility and availability of information." She would also consider working behind the scenes, creating and evaluating description standards or ensuring proper tagging with metadata.