YALSA Board Fellow Program

The YALSA Board Fellow gives YALSA members an expanded opportunity to be involved in the leadership of the association. Each year one fellow will be selected from that year’s pool of applicants. The selected candidate will serve a one-year term, from June to July of the next year, on the YALSA Board as a non-voting member. While a non-voting member, the fellow is expected to participate fully in the year-round work of the Board including attending and participating in all meetings and discussions. The Fellow will receive a stipend up to $500 for each of three ALA/YALSA conferences to help defray travel, registration, and hotel costs. Funding for this fellowship comes from Friends of YALSA.  This opportunity is recommended for a member who has a track record of involvement in YALSA and who is ready to step up into a leadership position.

Benefits of Serving as a YALSA Board Fellow

Those who are selected to be a YALSA Board Fellow will have the opportunity to:

  • Enhance leadership, management, and administration skills
  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the association and how associations work
  • Experience what YALSA Board service entails and if a longer-term leadership position in YALSA is of interest
  • Network with association leaders
  • Give back to the association through service in a leadership position

Read more about the benefits of board service.

What Does a Board Fellow Do?

As a member of the YALSA Board, the fellow participates fully in all of the year-round work of the board including face-to-face and virtual meetings. During the application process, potential fellows will be asked to list skills he or she would bring to the board as well as skills he or she would like to gain from board service. Specific work on the board will be assigned to Fellows based on responses to those questions. To learn what the basic responsibilities of board members are, visit the Governance section of YALSA’s website.

The board fellow will be assigned a mentor, someone currently serving on the YALSA Board in an elected position. The mentor will be available throughout the fellow’s term of service to answer questions, provide feedback and advice, and support the fellow as he or she serves the one-year term of service on the board.

The fellow will be expected to sign and abide by all of the documents that elected and appointed board members sign including the conflict of interest policy and the board contract (see the Handbook on YALSA website for information on each of these).

Throughout their year on the board, the fellow will share their experiences with the membership through YALSA’s social media and communication channels, such as the YALSAblog, YALSA E-News and YALSA’s Twitter account.

At the end of their service, each board fellow will be asked to complete an evaluation of their term by taking part in a phone interview with the immediate past president of the association.

Term of Service

The term begins approximately 6 months after the Board Fellow application deadline. The Board Fellow serves a one year term, beginning at the June ALA Annual Conference, and concludes one year later at the following Annual Conference. The total term of service includes three conference attendances: two ALA Annual Conferences and one ALA Winter Meeting (TBA). 

Requirements for Applicants

  1. Personal membership in YALSA and previous YALSA involvement in some way, such as interest group participation, blogging, committee work, or another volunteer role
  2. The ability to:
  • attend all meetings of the Board at ALA’s Meetings/Annual Conference, and any virtual meetings, if scheduled
  • actively participate in monthly virtual discussions and decision making
  • participate in the year-round Board work as assigned by the President
  • serve and participate on a Standing Board Committee
  • participate in periodic trainings held virtually throughout the year
  • write and reflect on the Board Fellow experience and share that with the membership via YALSA’s communications and social media channels
  • complete an evaluation of the Board Fellow experience
  1. Interest in and willingness to learn more about association governance and the role of nonprofit boards
  2. The applicant cannot have served a term on the YALSA Board previously either as an elected or appointed ex officio member. 
  3. In compliance with the “Conflict of Interest Policy for YALSA’s Awards and Selection Committees,” members whose term on these committees that coincides with the term of board service are not eligible to serve as a Board Fellow that year. Section 1 B states, “Any member who is already on a YALSA award or selection committee may not serve on an Association Board or an ALA jury (ex. the Schneider Family Jury).”
  4. To be eligible as a Board Fellow the candidate needs to not exceed the number of groups within ALA on which members are permitted to serve at one time. ALA Policy 4.4 states:  “No person shall concurrently serve in more than three separate positions.  Governing board, committee, liaison, subcommittee, and other responsibilities that require service in another position (e.g., service on a committee which entails assembly representation) are not in conflict with this policy.”  Those serving on a YALSA process committee, advisory board or jury (either as a member or chair) are eligible to apply as a YALSA Board Fellow. It is important, however, to consider the time commitment required of committee work and Board work.  YALSA will provide the Board Fellow with up to $1,500 total to attend the 2 Annual Conferences and 1 Midwinter Meeting during their term as Fellow.  Funding is provided by the Friends of YALSA.

Application & Deadline

Completed application forms must be submitted online by April 1st. Supporting statements from a professor or employer must be emailed separately to the YALSA Interim Executive Director at lburks@ala.org and received by the same date. Be sure your name and “supporting statement” appear in the subject line.

Announcement of Winner


Criteria for Selection

  • Candidate's leadership potential
  • Candidate’s commitment to YALSA
  • Candidate’s desired learning outcomes
  • Strength of supporting statement
  • The degree to which the candidate’s abilities and experiences complement those needed on the Board to support the Organizational Plan. Board members from a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise are sought with the objective of achieving balance.


Questions can be directed to LaMoya Burks at lburks@ala.org

Board Fellows

2022 - 2023: Morgan Brickey-Jones

2021 - 2022: Elizabeth Molina

2020 - 2021: Rebecca Denham

2019 - 2020: Traci Glass

2018 - 2019: Josie Watanabe

2017 - 2018: Heather Sparks

2016 - 2017: Trixie Dantis

2015 - 2016: Abigail Phillips

2014 - 2015: Nicola McDonald

2013 - 2014: Carla Land

2012 - 2013: Carrie Kausch

Read about previous Board Fellows’ experience on the YALSAblog via this post and this one. Learn more about the benefits of board service.