By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

Lauren Weldon initially hadn’t planned on going to graduate school after completing her undergraduate degree. Dania Souid found a new career path after working as a promotions assistant at a library. The New York State resident tuition award at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) has made it possible for both women to enroll in graduate programs in library and information science, to pursue new career paths, and to plan their professional futures in New York State.

The School’s New York State tuition award, which offers 25 per cent tuition assistance, “has been a bit of a lifesaver,” Lauren said. Though working full time, Lauren still needs financial assistance to complete her master’s program in library and information science, where she currently is “loving every minute of it,” she stated.  

Lauren graduated from Syracuse University with an undergraduate degree in English and Textual Studies. She then moved to New York City and worked for Harper Collins for two years. While it was a great experience, Lauren decided “New York City wasn't really the place for me.” She moved home, went to work for her family’s business outside of Rochester, and took a part-time job in a library. There, she realized, “my future lies in becoming a librarian.” With that clarity, she enrolled in the iSchool’s master’s program in library and information science with the help of the award.

Ever since, “the professors and all of the students have been so great. I knew from day one of the residency requirement in the summer that I had chosen the perfect program,” Lauren noted. When finished with school, Lauren would like to become a public librarian near Rochester, she said. “One thing is for sure, I'm definitely a New Yorker for life. I simply can't imagine living and working anywhere else!”

Similarly, Dania received her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University in broadcast and digital journalism and French, even though she recognized late in her undergraduate studies that she didn’t want a career in journalism. She had been working in a marketing and promotions role and was considering pursuing a master’s degree in marketing. Instead, her work as a promotions assistant at the Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) interceded.

“I really like the environment at the FFL and saw the variety of programs, activities and classes librarians offer the community. I was surprised by all librarians were doing. After helping with some of the library programs, I decided I wanted to go back to school to get my MLIS,” Dania realized.

Now in her first year in the master’s degree Library and Information Science program at the iSchool, Dania is grateful for the NYS Tuition Award. “Applying and receiving the NYS award was a huge push for me to attend Syracuse University, again, for my master's degree,” she noted. “The award made it possible and significantly easier to budget my tuition, work and other expenses. Without the award, I don't think I could have attended the program.” Now, after finishing her master’s degree, Dania “would like to work at a public library in New York, probably with children.”

The goal of the NYS Resident Award program is to attract permanent residents of New York State to library, information, and technology-related careers, enhance the information technology workforce of New York State, and sustain the state and local industry for the benefit of future graduates.

At the iSchool, students can pursue master’s degree programs in Information Management, Library and Information ScienceLibrary and Information Science – School Media; and Telecommunications and Network Management. The School also offers certificate of advanced studies programs in Cultural Heritage Preservation, Data Science, and Information Security Management. The iSchool's top-ranked master's and certificate of advanced study programs can be pursued on campus, online, on a full- or part-time basis, and via any blend of those options.