An incoming graduate student in the Library and Information Science master’s program at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) has been awarded a Spectrum Scholarship by the American Library Association (ALA).

Amanda Aguilera is one of 60 recipients of the competitive scholarship, awarded to students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies by the ALA Office for Diversity. Aguilera received her B.S. in sociology from Purdue University – Calumet in May. 

This year, the ALA’s Spectrum Scholarship Program received three times as many applications as there were available scholarships. Recipients were selected based on their commitment to diversity, commitment to entering the library profession, demonstrated community outreach, academic ability and achievements, and leadership potential. 

“To be recognized for a diversity award from the organization that oversees the field I hope to one day be part of was a moment in my life I’ll never forget,” said Aguilera, recounting the telephone conversation where she learned of her award earlier this summer. 

As for choosing Syracuse as the place to pursue her graduate degree, Aguilera made the decision after weighing her options, and with a strong eye towards the faculty and their work in the library and information profession.

“I could see the dedication the faculty had to the field and to its future,” said Aguilera. “When I compared Syracuse to the other schools that had admitted me, I felt that the faculty here was by far the most innovative and contemporary. I think this will give me a much better chance of achieving my own goals within the profession, as well as being an asset to the community that I end up working in.”

 “At the iSchool, we recognize that it is important that our libraries reflect the communities which they serve,” said Jill Hurst-Wahl, director of the Library and Information Science program. “Community members need to see people who are like them on staff. We have continued to work to increase the diversity among our students, and are pleased to have attracted Amanda. Having ALA recognize and work towards a more diverse workforce helps the students as well as the communities that they will work in.”

ALA’s Spectrum program recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession.  Their goal is to increase the number of racially and ethnically diverse professionals in the field of library and information science to best position libraries at the core of today’s culturally diverse communities.