A record seventeen iSchool master's students were named 2020-2021 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. This "Spectrum Scholar Spotlight" series highlights the School's scholars. MS/LIS student Ruby Martinez holds a BA in psychology and criminal justice from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU).
Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?
My desire to pursue an LIS degree stems from my experience working at the Special Collections and Archives at TAMIU. I was inspired by the head librarian, who served as an agent of change and progress through her collection development practices and management style. This experience allowed me to connect with the history of my hometown and surrounding regional area in a more involved way. More importantly, I learned how archives share a valuable social role with libraries by serving as a gateway to knowledge and culture. From that point on, I was motivated to find a career path that would be both enriching and rewarding. My culminating experiences led me to realize that an LIS degree would allow me to engage with institutions and organizations working to preserve and increase the availability of resources on a professional level.
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?
The iSchool at Illinois represented an opportunity to immerse myself in an experience tailored to my professional goals of becoming an archivist with a specialization in asset and data management. I was eager to be situated in a rich learning environment that I was certain would create a strong foundational pathway towards a successful career.
What particular LIS topics interest you the most?
I am interested in the role of metadata on accessibility, history of selective collection development practices (especially in archival institutions), and current developments in email archiving.
What do you do outside of class?
When I'm not working in one of my three jobs, I am rewatching a few of my favorite TV series (currently The Magicians and Doctor Who), doing unnecessary shopping, or trying to cook some of my favorite meals that I like to order from restaurants. I am happy to say that the cooking adventure has been quite successful!
What does being a Spectrum Scholar mean to you?
Becoming a Spectrum Scholar means that I am empowered in my pursuit to have an enriching and rewarding career with the support and guidance of individuals who are already a part of the librarianship profession. I am excited to be connected to a network that will only continue to grow and welcome more members committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity from within. It also gives me the chance to embrace my cultural heritage and reflect how my experiences influence my professional goals.
What career plans or goals do you have?
My goal is to take on a role where I can have an impact on the accessibility of resources important for areas like research, information literacy, and public programming. My graduate experience and current job positions have helped me realize there are many avenues I can take to work towards this goal. Whether it be through research, helping organizations develop sustainable data management practices, or making records more comprehensive and inclusive, I am confident that I will continue to grow into my potential.