UNT students awarded with Spectrum scholarship

UNT students awarded with Spectrum scholarship

UNT students awarded with Spectrum scholarship
July 29
10:03 2013

Renee Hansen / Senior Staff Writer

The American Library Association’s Office for Diversity recently awarded 51 recipients across the country with the prestigious Spectrum Scholarship awards, with four of those winners representing UNT—reflecting the most out of any Texas university that is a part of the program.

Offered since 1997, the ALA has awarded more than 800 Spectrum Scholarships with an aim to encourage racially and ethnically diverse professionals in the library and information sciences field to build up a strong workforce that reflects the community, said Gwendolyn Prellwitz of the ALA.

Represented by Rebecca Calderon, Marco Veyna-Reyes, Robert E. White and Carlito Sanchez, who just received confirmation of the $5,000 award last week by the ALA after another scholar dropped out, UNT adds to the tally of winners, now reaching 20 since 2009.

The scholars were chosen by a six-person jury who based their decisions on commitment to diversity, working within the library profession, devotion to community outreach and academic achievements, according to the ALA website.

The website also reflected the diversity within librarianship through the various aspects of professions, including information specialists, Internet guides or reader’s asvisors.

Yvonne Chandler, associate professor in the Department of Library and Information Sciences, who taught or advised each of the four winners, was overjoyed at the announcement of the awards, especially that of Veyna-Reyes and Sanchez.

According to Chandler, the two both work in the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District and became “study buddies,” supporting each other throughout the semester, even in their decision to apply for the Spectrum Scholarship.

Veyna-Reyes is a first generation student from Nevada, working towards his master’s in library sciences in addition to a certificate in advanced management. He reflects a love for children by working as the children’s services assistant in the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

Not only did Veyna-Reyes claim he wants to be an example to other arriving families, but also “to be a visible role model in the community by working in the public library with kids.”

Fellow award-winner Rebecca Calderon of El Paso, Texas, shares similar sentiments in working with children.

Struggling with a reading disability since she was young, Calderon received her master’s degree in reading with the purpose to be an example to children that they, too, could overcome a learning disability.

“I wanted to be that person that would lend the support that they need and give encouragement.”

Now she is working towards a second master’s degree in library sciences through UNT to continue her efforts in helping kids. Yet, with all her work, she said she was surprised by her reward from the ALA.

“I don’t feel like I’m more deserving than anybody else,” Calderon said. “I was honored.”

Photo: One of the winners of the Spectrum scholarship, Rebecca Calderon of El Paso. Courtesy of Calderon.

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