ALA Awards Spectrum Scholarships for 2021

For Immediate Release
Fri, 07/09/2021


Amber Hayes

Program Officer, Outreach and Communications

Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services


CHICAGO — Today, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services awarded the 2021 Spectrum Scholarships to 60 exceptional students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies.

Since 1997, the ALA has awarded more than 1,300 Spectrum Scholarships. During the 2021 application cycle, the Spectrum Scholarship Program received four times as many applications as there were available scholarships, and the majority of this year’s applicants were deemed highly fundable. A prestigious committee of 28 jurors selected this year’s Spectrum Scholars based on their commitment to community building, leadership potential and planned contributions to making social justice part of everybody's everyday work in LIS.

The 2021-2022 Spectrum Scholars are:

  • Israa Abbas (Gordon Scholar), University of Wisconsin
  • Precious Abujana, University of Maryland
  • Selena Aguilera, Wayne State University
  • Saba Al-Hachami, Wayne State University
  • Josselyn Atahualpa, Queens College, City University of New York
  • Ashley Bolger, University of Illinois
  • Nikole Brown, University of Missouri
  • Brittany Butler, San Jose State University
  • Karina Cardenas (NCNMLG Scholar), San Jose State University
  • Isabel Carlin, University of British Columbia
  • Sheridan Cazarez, University of Illinois
  • Okunyi Chol, San Jose State University
  • Helen Christian, San Jose State University
  • Diana Dawson, University of Oklahoma
  • Beatrice Downey (LIRT Scholar), Texas Woman's University
  • Bonita Dyess, University of Illinois
  • Laila El Mugammar (NLM/MLA Scholar), Western University
  • Philip Espe (Calloway Scholar), University of North Texas
  • Laquanda M. Fields, University at Buffalo
  • River Freemont (Turtle Mountain Chippewa and Omaha) (ProQuest Scholar),   Emporia State University
  • Whitney Garcia, Emporia State University
  • Zahra Garrett, Simmons University
  • James Glenn, University of North Texas
  • Andrea Gutmann Fuentes, University of Maryland
  • Brandi  Hart (ACRL Scholar), University of Illinois
  • Cordiah Hayes (YALSA Scholar), University of Illinois
  • Randy Dantrell Heath, University of South Carolina
  • Truc Ho (ProQuest Scholar), University of Washington
  • Leslie Lopez Holder, Dominican University
  • Hikaru Ikeda (Rainbow Round Table Scholar), University of British Columbia
  • Vidhya Jagannathan (YALSA Scholar), Florida State University
  • Jerrell Jones (ProQuest Scholar), University of North Texas
  • Ikaika Keliiliki, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
  • Kathryn Kuppens, Simmons University
  • Elizabeth Lafont-Hurtado (ALSC Scholar), University of North Texas
  • Jessica Nombrano Larsen (ProQuest Scholar), San Jose State University
  • Diona Eberhart Layden (NLM/MLA Scholar), University of Tennessee
  • Jessica Lee, San Jose State University
  • Tina (Tianyi) Liu, University of Toronto
  • Kimberly Nguyen (ALSC Scholar), University of California
  • Amrita Patel, University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Deborah Alejandra Popowski, Rutgers University
  • Valerie Salazar (ProQuest Scholar), Wayne State University
  • Isaac San Miguel, Texas Woman's University
  • Kristina Santiago, University of Arizona
  • David Satten-López (OCLC/Core Scholar), Drexel University
  • Kaitlin Srader (Navajo Nation) (ProQuest Scholar), University of Washington
  • Victoria Sun (Turock Scholar), Rutgers University
  • Lily Susman (Tuliao Scholar), Pratt Institute
  • Berenice Sylverain, Simmons University
  • Chantra Tham (ALSC Scholar in honor of Ellen Fader), San Jose State University
  • Kaila Thomas, University of Illinois
  • Ide Thompson, University of Illinois
  • Celina Tirona  Dominican University
  • Lauren Turner (ProQuest Scholar, in honor of Ron Clowney), University of Denver
  • Patricia Ledesma Villon, University of California
  • Cynthia Wade, University of Illinois
  • Kelly West (MPHSLC Scholar), Louisiana State University
  • Kellie Willis (Giles Scholar), University of Missouri
  • Ryan Zohar (ProQuest Scholar), Long Island University

The Spectrum program funds scholarships through its endowment and the generous contributions of individuals and organizations whose donations support named scholarships in the Spectrum Family of Funds. For 2021-2022, scholarships have been awarded in honor of the following supporters: Leo Albert, the Calloway family, Louise Giles, William R. Gordon, and Dr. Betty J. Turock.

ProQuest continues its generous support of the Spectrum Scholarship Program through a $53,000 annual gift. Support for Spectrum is not new to ProQuest. Since 2001, ProQuest has funded over 200 Spectrum Scholars through sponsorship of the Scholarship Bash and now through their direct support of eight scholarships a year, including one dedicated in memory of Ron Clowney, a former ProQuest executive.

The Medical Library Association & National Library of Medicine (MLA/NLM) supports two scholarships annually. The MLA/NLM Spectrum Scholarships support students with an interest in the field of medical or health sciences librarianship.

The Mountain Pacific Health Science Libraries Conference (MPHSLC) is sponsoring a 2021 scholarship for a student with an interest in the field of medical or health sciences librarianship. Collaborating organizations are the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association; Northern California Nevada Chapter of the Medical Library Association; Health Libraries Association of British Columbia; Southern Alberta Health Libraries Association; and Northern Alberta Health Libraries Association.

The Northern California & Nevada Medical Library Group (NCNMLG) is sponsoring a 2021 Spectrum Scholarship to support a student interested in a career in health sciences librarianship.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) established the ALSC Spectrum Scholarship through funding from the Frederic G. Melcher Endowment in 2010. Two ALSC Spectrum Scholars interested in library service to children are currently designated annually; three ALSC Spectrum Scholars will be designated annually as of 2022. Ellen Fader, past-president (2005-2006) of ALSC has generously donated to the Spectrum Scholarship Program. Her support has provided follow-up grants for Spectrum Scholar alumni to accelerate their path toward graduation and an annual Spectrum Scholarship in her name since 2014.

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is supporting one 2021 Spectrum Scholar pursuing a career in academic and research libraries.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsor OCLC, ALA’s Core is supporting a 2021 Spectrum Scholar with a demonstrated interest in library technology. OCLC has supported a LITA/Core scholarship since 1991.

As part of the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Organizational Plan goal to lead the transformation of teen services and its commitment to supporting ALA’s diversity, equity and inclusion goal, YALSA annually funds two Spectrum Scholars pursuing a career in young adult librarianship or secondary school librarianship.

The Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) has committed to sponsoring one Spectrum Scholar annually from 2020-2022, supporting a student with an interest in library instruction and information literacy.

The Rainbow Round Table is sponsoring one Spectrum Scholar for the 2021-2022 year.

Miriam Tuliao, a library marketing manager at Penguin Random House who has led multiple fundraisers on behalf of Spectrum and raised over $6,500 for Spectrum in 2020, will swim the Grimaldo's Mile, a one-mile open water event in New York City to raise funds for the Spectrum Scholarship Program.

ALA offers thanks to the Spectrum Scholarship Jury for its work in selecting the 2021-2022 Spectrum Scholars: Chair Michelle McKinney, reference/web services librarian at the University of Cincinnati’s Blue Ash College Library; Chair Nicola Andrews, instruction and first-year experience librarian at the University of San Francisco; Angela Barnes (lead juror), branch manager at the Brooklyn Public Library; Edith Campbell, reference/instruction librarian at Indiana State University; Ivonne S. Cintron, technology/library media specialist for the New York City Department of Education; Carla-Mae Crookendale, arts research librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University; Jesus I. Espinoza (lead juror), student success librarian at the University of Michigan; Criss Guy, instruction, research support, and digital literacies librarian at Warren Wilson College; Jasmine Kirby, instruction and engagement librarian at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar; Nia Lam, media studies librarian at UW Bothell & Cascadia College Library; Melinda Livas, physical sciences & engineering librarian at University of California- Davis; Hilda H. Loh-Guan, library director at Alhambra Civic Center Library; Dina Meky (lead juror), global campus outreach and online learning librarian at Northeastern University; Jhani Miller, assistant branch manager at Brooklyn Public Library; Alanna Aiko Moore, librarian for Sociology, Ethnic Studies & Gender Studies at UC San Diego; Daisy C. Muralles, equity & open access librarian at Cal State East Bay; Janice D. Murray, library director at Merritt Island Public Library; Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada, adult services assistant manager at the Palos Verdes Library District; Sara Powell, early books and manuscripts at Houghton Library, Harvard University; Gwendolyn Prellwitz, assistant director for retention and recruitment, ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services; Margaret Puentes; Ashley Shifflett McBrayne, library associate at University of Guelph; Monecia Samuel, research services librarian at George Washington University Libraries; Jasmine C. Sykes-Kunk, special collections reference associate at New York University; Brandi Veal, teacher librarian at San Jose State University School of Library & Information Science; Sandy Wee, library services manager at San Mateo County Libraries; and Alicia Zuniga, media library specialist at California Tobacco Control Program.

The Spectrum Scholarship Program actively recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession and ALA. Through Spectrum, the American Library Association affirms its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion by seeking the broadest participation of new generations of racially and ethnically diverse librarians to position ALA to provide leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services. To learn more about the Spectrum Scholarship Program, please contact the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 4294 or visit The application period for 2022 Spectrum Scholarships will open in September 2021.