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MSIS Student Alia Gant Awarded 2014-2016 ARL Diversity Scholar

iSchool Masters student, Alia Gant, has been selected as one of 13 MLIS/MSIS Diversity Scholars for 2014-2016. The Diversity Scholars program is part of the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW) by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

Underwritten by ARL member libraries, the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce offers numerous financial benefits to program participants as well as leadership development provided through the annual ARL Leadership Symposium, a formal mentoring program, career placement assistance, and an ARL research library visit. This program reflects the commitment of ARL members to create a diverse research library professional community that will better meet the challenges of changing demographics in higher education and the emphasis on global perspectives in the academy.

Alia's interest in the field of library and information studies was sparked at the University of Iowa, where she worked as a Graduate Research Assistant for a professor working on two books. Her academic research utilizing a variety of databases, periodicals, and other library resources fueled an interest in learning more about the field. Now as a first-year student in the MSIS program, Alia is interested in pursuing many facets of the field including reference services in government and international studies, as well as preservation and digitization.

As a Diversity Scholar, Alia, will receive mentoring from an ARL librarian or library professional, a tuition stipend, a trip to the ARL Leadership Symposium, a visit to Purdue University Libraries, and other unique leadership, development, and professional association opportunities.

"I think the library in itself represents a diverse collection of materials varying from so many subject matters and the same should reflect for librarian professionals - including individuals from different ethnicities, age groups, areas of expertise, professional backgrounds, general interests, and much more", said Gant. "In recent years there have been initiatives from libraries, as well as many library and information organizations, to ensure that there is diversity among library professionals. I think these initiatives are great and really illustrate our national and international community."