Three SIS students named 2021 American Library Association Spectrum Scholars

Three Wayne State School of Information Sciences students have been awarded 2021 Spectrum Scholarships from the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services.

Selena Aguilera, Saba Al-Hachami and Valerie Salazar (ProQuest Scholar) were among the 61 students selected by a committee of jurors in recognition of their commitment to community building, leadership potential and planned contributions to making social justice part of everybody's everyday work in library and information science careers.

Selena is pictured in front of a brick wall. She is wearing a white and black striped blouse and gold wire rimmed glasses. She has long dark hair with golden highlights.
Selena Aguilera

Since 1997, the ALA has awarded more than 1,300 Spectrum Scholarships to exceptional students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies. During the 2021 application cycle, the Spectrum Scholarship Program received four times as many applications as there were available scholarships.

Selena Aguilera is pursuing an MLIS degree with a focus on public librarianship. She expects to graduate in 2023 and hopes to work with diversity and inclusion collections. Aguilera is the Diversity Graduate Student Assistant for SIS and president of the school’s Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity student organization.

"I am thrilled to be a member of the Spectrum community.  I am eager to begin my experience with this community that embodies my motivations for wanting to become a librarian in the first place, which is to make library work social justice work,” Aguilera said. “I cannot wait to meet and learn from other students and professionals who share this goal and who can help me become the librarian I want to be."

Saba is an Arab American woman pictured in front of a brick wall. She is wearing a teal blue head scarf and a wide smile.
Saba Al-Hachami

Saba Al-Hachami is a second-semester student in the School of Information Sciences’ MLIS program and a librarian at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. She uses her Arabic language skills to ensure Arabic speaking patrons have the same access to information as others.

"I am honored to be chosen as a Spectrum Scholar this year. I am very excited to be part of a community that shares my passion and dedication to ensuring that all library patrons, no matter their background, have equitable access to library resources," Al-Hachami said.

Valerie Salazar is a first year MLIS student who expects to graduate in Spring 2023. She is interested in library systems and infrastructure, data analytics, and user experience and looks forward to the networking and mentorship opportunities she will receive as a Spectrum Scholar.

Salazar is standing in front of a picturesque snowy mountain landscape. She is wearing a puffy winter coat, wire-rimmed glasses and a broad smile.
Valerie Salazar

When asked what her dream job would be upon graduation, Salazar said that she is torn between public and academic librarianship.

“I have worked in both before and have had wonderful experiences. I think that at the end of the day I would like to feel like I am helping the community so both public and academic librarian jobs would help me accomplish that,” she said. 

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.

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