Spectrum Doctoral Fellowship - Building Change

The Spectrum Doctoral Fellowship Program: Building Change seeks to reinforce and expand efforts to recruit racially and ethnically diverse individuals to the LIS professorate. In 2006, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, the American Library Association (ALA) launched the Leaders Wanted: Spectrum Doctoral Fellowship Program and oversaw the recruitment of twelve doctoral candidates. Under the current project, ALA continues its efforts and is partnering with participating academic programs to support six doctoral fellows in the attainment of their degree.

Follow our Fellows:

  • Mario H. Ramirez presented Never Neutral: Archives and Archivists in Post-Conflict States at the International Council on Archives 2013 Annual Conference in Brussels, Nov. 23-24, 2013.
  • All six Spectrum Doctoral Fellows convened at the first Spectrum Doctoral Institute held in conjunction with ALISE 2014. View the agenda.
  • All six Spectrum Doctoral Fellows convened for a 2014 Spring Retreat at UIUC GSLIS, hosted by inaugural Fellow Dr. Nicole A. Cooke in Champaign-Urbana April 5-7. View the agenda.
  • Mario H. Ramirez presented 'Being assumed not to be: a critique of whiteness as an archival imperative' at the Centre for Archive and Information Studies conference Memories, Identities and Communities in Dundee, April 23-25, 2014.
  • LaVerne Gray spoke on the Cultivating Diversity in LIS Education panel as part of the ALA 2014 Annual Conference Doctoral Options Fair, which was also attended by Mario Ramirez and Elnora Tayag. Also at the conference, RaShauna Brannon presented "Branding You! Matching Your Brand to Your Career Plan" as part of the Spectrum Leadership Institute and Elnora Tayag presented a poster on the "Filipino American Library/Serve the People Institute" at the Diversity Fair. The ALA Annual conference was held in Las Vegas, June 26-July 1, 2014.
  • Elnora Tayag presented at the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) San Diego Chapter's 15th Biennial National Conference July 31-Aug. 2, 2014.
  • LaVerne Gray and RaShauna Brannon presented “The Social Justice Imperative in Library and Information Science Education and Research"at the IFLA Section on Education and Training (SET) Summit, and RaShauna Brannon, LaVerne Gray, Miraida Morales, Mario Ramirez, and Elnora Tayag presented their poster "Transformative Pedagogy: The Social Justice Collaboratorium" at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Lyon, Aug. 16-22, 2014.
  • All six Spectrum Doctoral Fellows convened for a 2015 Spring Retreat held in conjunction with the iConference held March 24-27, 2015 in Newport Beach, CA. Additionally the Fellows jointly presented a poster at the iConference.
  • All six Spectrum Doctoral Fellows presented on the Social Justice Collaboratorium at the 2015 ALISE Conference and the 2015 Midwinter Meeting, held in Chicago, IL January 27-31, 2015.
  • ALA, ALISE, and the University of Maryland hosted a Design Symposium to discuss sustaining the Social Justice Collaboratorium beyond the Fellows’ activities. The Symposium was organized and co-hosted by the six Spectrum Doctoral Fellows and the University of Maryland iDiversity initiative and was held June 6-7, 2015 in College Park, MD.

About the Current Fellows:

RaShauna Brannon - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

RaShauna’s research interests include digital literacy, digital inclusions, and diversity issues in libraries. RaShauna has experience working in multiple library and educational settings including school, public, and academic libraries serving diverse communities, with most recent experience as an Electronic Resources Librarian. She holds a B.A. in English and African American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She obtained the Master of Library Science from North Carolina Central University.

LaVerne Gray - University of Tennessee Knoxville

LaVerne Gray earned her MLIS in Library and Information Science (Dominican University), MSEd in Educational Psychology (Northern Illinois University), and BA in Rehabilitation/Child Development at (Wilberforce University). LaVerne most recently was the Learning and Outreach Librarian at Texas A&M University. She previously held positions at University of Illinois at Chicago (Assistant Reference Librarian) and University of Tennessee-Knoxville (Diversity Resident Librarian). She was inspired to become a librarian from her Peace Corps Service in West Africa. She served as an Education Volunteer in Cote D’Ivoire and Girls Education and Empowerment Volunteer in Togo. Her librarianship focused mainly on areas of public services including: information literacy instruction, coordinating outreach events, and reference services. She most recently developed a Freshmen Seminar on Hip Hop Culture. In the course she uses media, digital, information literacy to facilitate student critical thinking. LaVerne was a fellow in ARL’s Leadership and Career Development (2011-2012), participated in ALA Emerging Leaders Program (2008), Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Underrepresented Groups(2006), ACRL Immersion Teacher(2008) and Assessment(2012) Tracks. LaVerne has published on themes related to outreach, teaching, and information literacy. She has presented at state, national, and international conferences. She has had various committee appointments with ALA, ACRL, and was an elected Executive Board member with BCALA. Her broad research interests include information literacy, critical theory, culturally responsive pedagogy, diversity, and academic library leadership.

Miraida Morales - Rutgers University

Miraida received her MLIS from Rutgers in May 2012 with a certificate in digital libraries. As a student in the library program at Rutgers, she worked on a variety of digital library projects including launching a digital library of heraldry at the National Library of Puerto Rico in 2011. Since graduating from Rutgers, she has been the taxonomist at 1stdibs, a curated online marketplace of antiques, design, fashion and fine jewelry. This fall, she will be returning to Rutgers for a doctoral program in Communication, Information and Library Science where she will be focusing on the information seeking behavior of multi-lingual users. Prior to the MLIS, Miraida worked in trade book publishing for 9 years. She focused mostly on international export sales to Latin American and the Caribbean, as well as importing Spanish language books for the US market. She has presented on digital libraries and taxonomy at NJLA and SLA, as well as presented posters at IFLA and NJLA. Miraida lives in Brooklyn, NY, where you can often find her running in Prospect Park.

Myrna Morales - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A teacher and librarian by training, Myrna Morales spends her time maintaining websites, supporting internal technology systems, and integrating new technologies into community organizations and governmental agencies. Prior to her work as a technology diffusion specialist, she worked as educator in the Newark Public School System, Jersey City Public School System, Patterson Public School System and the Boston Public School System as a teacher of reading, algebra and a director of an after school program. She used the writing process and capoeira to capture the imagination of the youth to connect with the world around them. Myrna has a rich background in medical education, education and library and information science. This has helped her understand that information is not only a tool that enables, permits and creates injustices, but is one of the pillars in structural racism. As a result, Myrna Morales looks for opportunities to impart her technology skills to those who organize to bring injustices to light.

Mario H. Ramírez - University of California – Los Angeles

Mario H. Ramírez is currently a Project Archivist at the University of California, Berkeley. From 2003-2011, he was a Project Archivist at the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños at Hunter College, CUNY. Starting this fall, he will be a doctoral student in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles where his research interests will include the role of states of repression in the creation of documentary evidence, the archiving of human rights violations in Latin America and the construction of memory and national identities in post-conflict societies and their Diasporas. He is author of “Witness to Brutality: Documenting Torture and Truth in Post-Civil War El Salvador” in Archiefkunde, “The Task of the Latino/a Archivist: On Archiving Identity and Community” in Interactions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, and co-author, with Laurence Lepetit and Patrizia Lapiscopia, of “The Role of Social Media and Web 2.0 Technologies in the Protection of Cultural Heritage.” He is a founding member of the U.S. Chapter of Archivists without Borders, co-chair of the Displaced Archives Project and is a steering committee member of the International Archival Affairs Roundtable and the Manuscript Repositories Section, both of the Society of American Archivists. In addition to an M.S. in Library Science and Certificate in Archives and Records Management from Long Island University, C.W. Post, he holds a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.A. in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to working as an archivist, his studies and research focused primarily on film, art history, psychoanalysis, philosophy and racial politics in the U.S. and Latin America.

Elnora Tayag - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Elnora Kelly Tayag is an Associate Librarian/Professor at California State University Channel Islands where she teaches a critical thinking course and coordinates library outreach. Her research interests include creating digital mechanisms to document and access collective memory, cultural heritage, and community-based collections, and exploring the role of media and cultural materials in developing social capital and information networks. Elnora published her first book, Filipinos in Ventura County, as part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing, 2011. She also serves on the Filipino American Library (FAL) Board of Directors. A native of Los Angeles and former middle school teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Elnora earned her Bachelor’s degree in Art History from UC Irvine, Master’s degree in Religion from Claremont School of Theology, and Master’s degree in Library Information Science from UCLA.

Resources for Prospective Doctoral Students

The ALA Office for Diversity partnered with doctoral students across the country to develop a series of webinars on preparing for doctoral studies.

You can also connect with current and potential doctoral students via the Doctoral Recruitment Network in ALA Connect. You do not need to be an ALA Member to join ALA Connect. Use the Community to post questions about specific doctoral programs and to stay connected with researchers in the field as you pursue your studies.

ALA Connect

Thanks to our partner:


The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.


Please contact Gwendolyn Prellwitz, ALA Office for Diversity & Spectrum at 1.800.545.2433 ext. 5048 or email us at spectrum@ala.org with questions regarding the Spectrum Doctoral Program.