For immediate release | June 24, 2024

NMRT Announces Annual Conference Award Winners

The New Members Round Table (NMRT) of ALA is pleased to announce the winners of its Annual Conference Awards. The NMRT Awards foster active involvement in ALA through various special events at ALA Annual Conferences. The winners of this year’s awards are listed below.

The Professional Development Attendance Award

The Annual Conference Professional Development Attendance Award is presented to two NMRT members each year. The award provides professional development and networking opportunities to NMRT members by providing a ticket to attend the event of their choice at the ALA Annual Conference. This year’s winners include Theresa Bruce and Sandy Yang.

Theresa Bruce

Theresa Bruce is a champion of students’ voices, educational equity, and teacher wholeness. A native Baltimorean hailing from West Baltimore, she is a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (2005) as well as the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2009). After earning a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago (2011), she knew there would be no better place to advocate for youth than her hometown of Baltimore. Her education career began with teaching 8th grade Social Studies in city schools. In this role ─which she held for over a decade, she demonstrated her passion about student voice & student choice through the infusion of cultural relevance and advocacy into her lessons. Currently, she is the inaugural Library Media Specialist within her school community.

Some of her more recent accomplishments include serving as a 2020 Baltimore City Public Schools Teacher of the Year Finalist, 2021 MD Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year and a 2022 UMBC Alumni of the Year. She also serves as a member of the Baltimore City Mayoral Trauma Informed Care Task Force to support government agencies in operating through a trauma informed lens.

Outside of her passion for education, she enjoys reading, journaling, crafting, and trying different restaurants around the city. These are all forms of self-care that she thoroughly enjoys. Additionally, she is an animal lover with six fur babies (4 cats, a pit bull, and a guinea pig) and an awesome husband who supports all of her out-of-the-box ideas!

Sandy Yang

Sandy Yang is a Library Specialist IV at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, where she helps preserve and provide access to the RAND archival collections. She's currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at the University of Alabama, where her focus is on how libraries and archives can better serve diverse communities. Sandy is also passionate about equitable access and intellectual freedom in library and information science. In her free time, she loves illustrating, cycling, and cooking.

The Professional Development Grant

The Professional Development Grant awards $1,000 to one individual to offset the costs of attending the ALA Annual Conference. This year’s winner is Samantha Archibald Mora.

Samantha Archibald Mora transferred to the library after 20 years of teaching English, Spanish, and bilingual education in public schools. She has her master’s degree. Samantha Archibald Mora is a bilingual teacher-librarian at the Wood River Middle School in Hailey, Idaho. She's the winner of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Innovative Reading Grant for 2022. She has published articles in Booklist and Knowledge Quest. She holds a degree in English Education, is a Boise State Writing Project Fellow, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer (El Salvador, 1998-2001).

The Shirley Olofson Memorial Award

The Shirley Olofson Memorial Award is presented annually in honor of Shirley Olofson, a well-respected former NMRT President, who died during her term in office. This year’s Shirley Olofson Memorial Award winner is Rachel Games.

Rachel Games is the Library Media Specialist at Yukon High School in Yukon, Oklahoma. She got her Bachelor of Science in Language Arts Education from the University of Oklahoma and her Master of Science in Book History and Material Culture from the University of Edinburgh. After teaching high school English for eight (8) years, Rachel transitioned from the classroom to the library. When she isn’t busy reading, Rachel enjoys doing puzzles, exploring new places, and spending time with her boyfriend and their (many) pets.

For more information on the NMRT Awards, visit their webpage.

The ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment serves as liaison for the New Members Round Table.


Kimberly Redd, MSHTM

Program Manager, Certification & Talent Development

Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR)