Alia Gant, a 2014 University of Iowa M.A. graduate in international studies, has been selected as a diversity scholar for 2014-2016 by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Gant is currently studying for her Master of Science in Information Studies (MSIS) degree at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information.
Gant is one of 13 MSIS students to be honored by the diversity scholars program, which is part of the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce. 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.
Gant’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, Gant 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, Gant 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."
Read more about Alia and other UI students who conducted research abroad in this Phil's Day 2014 story