Information access a priority for Leep Scholar Alex Brown

Alex Brown

It was while she was serving in the Peace Corps that Alex Brown's eyes were opened to the need for reliable access to quality information and education. She didn't realize it at the time, but this experience would one day lead her to the iSchool, where she is now a student in the MSLIS online (Leep) program.

"When I started the application process, I thought I'd take classes in person, and so I expected to attend an information school closer to home," said Brown who holds bachelor's degrees in anthropology and English from the College of William and Mary. "I applied to Illinois mostly on a whim; I figured I'd keep my options open."

Then, a librarian friend told her about INFOcon, a three-day conference that showcases various traditional and nontraditional careers within LIS. Brown attended as many sessions as she could and discovered that "just about every single one of those presenters taught at Illinois, or was an alum, or was in some way connected." Suddenly, it felt like everything was pointing her in a new direction. After being admitted into the program, she found the iSchool's admissions staff to be friendly and helpful, cementing her decision to choose Illinois for graduate study.

Brown is receiving financial support for her studies through a Leep Scholarship.

"Higher education is expensive, and for better or worse, the jobs in which I've been most interested have never been the most lucrative," she said. "Receiving financial support represents a looming burden lifted, and that's a huge relief. In addition, the fact that the iSchool saw my potential and cared to invest in my education feels wonderful and helps to energize me as I move forward with the program."

After earning her MSLIS, Brown wants to find a position where she can make a positive impact and, hopefully, maintain a good work/life balance, so that she has time for her favorite activity—creative writing.

"Lately, I've been especially focused on writing children's stories," said Brown. "I'm also a runner, and happily, some of my best writing ideas come to me when I'm out on a run! I tend to stop paying attention to where I'm going when that happens, so I get lost a lot."

Brown appreciates the opportunity to earn her degree remotely and the support of donors who made her scholarship possible.

"I honestly have no idea how to adequately thank someone for providing such a meaningful gift, but I hope the donors know that these scholarships really, really do make a difference. I feel honored and grateful to be a recipient and am just floored by their generosity. In the future, I hope I'm able to pay it forward by giving back in a similar way," she said.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Han to host workshop for youth to learn Chinese American history

PhD student Yingying Han is helping youth learn about Chinese American history and take action to preserve their cultural heritage. Through a multi-session workshop, which will take place the next four Saturdays from 10:00-11:30 a.m. at the University YMCA in Champaign, Han hopes to teach children about the contributions of Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans to the history of the United States.

Yingying Han

Psi Eta Mu offers professional, social opportunities

Students from the iSchool and other majors who are interested in data science, information sciences, and information systems are welcome to join Psi Eta Mu, the School's official co-ed professional fraternity. Psi Eta Mu is currently holding its rush for the spring semester and plans to accept up to twenty new members.

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Wardah Mohammed

MSLIS student and ALA Spectrum Scholar Wardah Mohammed earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy with a focus in bioethics, global studies, and Arabic language and culture from Loyola University Chicago.

Wardah Mohammed

Koval Scholar committed to her community, youth librarianship

Since she was a child, Myriam Ramos has enjoyed helping organizations that give back to her community. Over the years, she has volunteered in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago, mentoring players in the Holy Cross Marimba Ensemble and planning and hosting book giveaways for youth.

Myriam Ramos

New book exploring provenance authored by iSchool PhD student, alumni

Documenting the Future: Navigating Provenance Metadata Standards, a new book authored by PhD student Michael Gryk and alumni Rhiannon Bettivia (PhD '16) and Jessica Yi-Yun Cheng (PhD '22), explores provenance, which is the study and documentation of how something has come to be. Provenance documentation is critical for authenticity, trustworthiness, and reproducibility in science. 

Michael Gryk