Three SILS students selected for SAA awards

June 20, 2013

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) will award three scholarships to graduate students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the organization’s annual meeting in August.

SILS Master’s student, Lori Harris, will receive the Harold T. Pinkett Award. Two SAA Mosaic Scholarships will go to Barrye Brown, Master’s student and Carolina Academic Library Associate in the Southern Historical Collection/Stone Center Library; and first year Master’s student, Rhonda Jones.

The Harold T. Pinkett Award was created in 1993, to recognize and acknowledge “minority graduate students, such as those of African, Asian, Latino or Native American descent, who, through scholastic and personal achievement, manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of the Society of American Archivists.”

Students eligible for the Harold T. Pinkett Award must be a full-time minority student with at least a 3.5 grade point average while enrolled in an archival management program. Harris will receive full registration and related expenses for travel and hotel to attend the SAA Annual Meeting this August. She will also receive a complimentary one-year membership in SAA.

Harris’ passion for building partnerships between communities of color and archival institutions is apparent through her involvement with Project RIGHT Now–Carolinas!, an organization dedicated to preserving local African American history in North and South Carolina. Her involvement with the organization has involved collaborating with individuals and community organizations to facilitate workshops, exhibitions and project consultations that helped to preserve and promote resources related to African American history.

One recommender noted that Harris “takes an interest in every aspect of our work and is developing the skills and abilities needed to become an excellent archivist and a leader in her chosen profession.”

“I have always been inspired by the contributions made by Harold T. Pinkett to the archival field specifically and to our nation overall," said Harris. "Winning this Award is a confirmation that by ensuring diversity within our profession whether through our academic or public institutions we uphold the commitment, professionalism and legacy that Harold T. Pinkett embodied.”

According to the SAA Web site, “The Mosaic Scholarship was established by the SAA Council in August 2008 to advance SAA's Diversity Strategic Priority: To provide financial and mentoring support to minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science, to encourage students to pursue a career as an archivist, and to promote the diversification of the American archives profession. The award is given to applicants who demonstrate excellent potential for scholastic and personal achievement and who manifest a commitment both to the archives profession and to advancing diversity concerns within it.”

Brown and Jones will receive up to $5,000 each, along with complimentary registration to the SAA annual meeting as well as complimentary membership to the SAA during the scholarship year.

Brown, who is enrolled in the UNC–CH Archives and Records Management Program, holds a BA in American history from Dillard University and a MA in Atlantic world history from Rice University. She has immersed herself in the archives profession, is active as a volunteer and is currently working as a Carolina Academic Library Associate (CALA) with a dual appointment in the Southern Historical Collection and the Sonja Haynes Stone Center Library. One recommender noted that Brown “take[s] advantage of every professional development opportunity she is able to.”

In her scholarship essay, Brown wrote, “As servants of the public, I feel that archivists need to be ever mindful of the diverse perspectives within their holdings. Along with promoting diversity within collections, I also hope to inspire and encourage diversity within the archival profession.”

“For me, the Mosaic Scholarship represents the ongoing efforts and commitment of the SAA to advancing diversity concerns within the archival profession,” said Barrye Brown. “As a minority graduate student pursuing a career as an archivist, I am elated and thankful to have been chosen as a recipient for the 2013-2014 SAA Mosaic Scholarship Award.  I am excited that this scholarship award offers so many opportunities to connect with other graduate students and professionals who are just as concerned with diversity as I am.”

Jones serves as an assistant professor and the director of public history at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), which offers an archives track in conjunction with the university’s School of Library and Information Sciences. Prior to NCCU, Jones managed the Behind the Veil oral history collection at the Center for Documentary Studies.

Obtaining a graduate education in archival studies is just another step in Jones’s already impressive professional career. One recommender wrote that Jones is a “person who loves facilitating information to wider groups of people.”

The awards will be presented at a ceremony during the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) and SAA Joint Annual Meeting in New Orleans, August 11–17, 2013.

Upper right photo is of Lori Harris. Lower left photo is of Barrye Brown.