Natalia Lopez, an incoming Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has been awarded a 2015 Spectrum Scholarship from the American Library Association.
Offered through the ALA’s Office for Diversity, the Spectrum program aims to increase the number of racially and ethnically diverse professionals working as leaders in the field of library and information science to better position institutions at the core of today’s culturally diverse communities. Spectrum Scholars receive a $5,000 scholarship, as well as other benefits including free admission to the ALA annual conference, free attendance to the Spectrum Leadership Institute, and mentorship opportunities.
Originally from Queens, N.Y., Lopez holds a B.A. in Latino studies from Hunter College of the City University of New York. For the last eight years, she has worked at non-profits that support immigrant youth in accessing quality education.
Lopez plans to pursue a career as an academic librarian, and is especially interested in exploring techniques that instructional librarians employ to increase information literacy and impact student success. She is also dedicated to working with diverse student populations that have lacked adequate access to resources in order to help create a more equitable education system. Her commitment to library and information science grew from her personal experiences.
“As the only child of a working single mother with limited English proficiency, libraries and access to information that I could independently reach have been critical to my success academically and in the job market,” she said. “Throughout my life, libraries have offered a safe space for me to learn and access information on my own. I'm excited to pursue a career where I can use my past experiences and love for research skills and technology to better support students in becoming information literate.”
In addition to being named a Spectrum Scholar, Lopez has been selected as a 2015-16 Carolina Academic Library Associate (CALA) by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library. She will be providing reference, instruction, and outreach assistance in the Digital Research Services department.