Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Alyssa Brown

Alyssa Brown

Seventeen iSchool master's students have been named 2023-2024 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. MSLIS student Alyssa Brown earned her BA in environmental studies from Middlebury College.

Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree? 

After working as a litigation assistant at an environmental nonprofit for a few years, I decided to shift my career path towards LIS to better accommodate my personal skillset and build a career through the lens of community care.

Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?

I'm from St. Louis, so in addition to the great MSLIS program at Illinois, being close to home was a huge factor in my decision. I also appreciated how the iSchool offered students the opportunity to gain hands-on, professional experience, like my graduate assistantship in the University Library’s Conservation Lab. 

What particular LIS topics interest you the most? 

I'm interested in the role that memory institutions play in preserving our history, especially as it relates to climate change. I am also passionate about individuals' life stories and how they can enrich and contextualize our understanding of historical events. 

What do you do outside of class?

In my free time, I enjoy birding, playing ultimate frisbee, reading, and spending quality time with friends. 

What does being a Spectrum Scholar mean to you?

I appreciate the ALA's support of diverse LIS students through the Spectrum Scholarship because ultimately it serves all users of information centers to have professionals that come from a variety of backgrounds. I'm happy to be part of a cohort of thoughtful students with unique stories and experiences to share. I hope that the work my peers and I do will lead to a shift in the structures of libraries and information centers to better accommodate not only diverse users but also diverse staff.

What career plans or goals do you have?

By the end of the program, I hope to be able to call myself an archivist and oral historian. This summer, I'll be interning with the Archives of American Art's Oral History Program in Washington, DC, where I'm excited to develop my oral history management skills.