iSchool Announces Scholarship Recipients

Each year, the School of Information makes an effort to award scholarships to students with a variety of interests. Students interested in applying for next year's scholarships should visit the School of Information's scholarships page.

Below are the awards and award winners who have received our acclaim for 2023.

Headshot of Tiffany Whitman


Tiffany Whitman

Alumni and Friends Council Endowed Minority Scholarship

Tiffany Whitman is pursuing a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree, with a goal to secure a position at a 4-year institution with primary responsibility for research, instruction, or special collections. She is drawn to the call within library science to increase information literacy among diverse communities and preserve the stories of marginalized populations who are missing in archives and collections.

Tiffany is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Bowling Green State University. She has worked in higher education administration in various capacities for over twelve years, focused on the first-year experience and creating inclusive learning environments for students of color and other untapped populations. Through her work in education and public service, she has advocated for youth development, safe and healthy neighborhoods, and diverse economic development. Tiffany resides in Toledo with her husband Kurtiss, son, Jeremiah, and twin daughters, Layla and Malia.





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Selina Tremmel

J Allen Oakum Scholarship; Jesse H Shara Memoriam Scholarship; A Robert Rogers Scholarship

I was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2014, I graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Anthropology. I had issues finding work where I could use my degree and had to take dead-end jobs. I managed to obtain work at Highmark Health Insurance. This inspired me to change careers to healthcare and I enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University which I graduated from in May 2022 with a degree in Healthcare Administration. I also worked as a contract employee with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services in charge of the communications for the Promoting Interoperability (PI) Program. Currently, I work at Capital Blue Cross as a Medicare Compliance Analyst, and it is my hope that when I finish my degree I can move up to an executive position. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and listening to music. I also have three dogs (Austin, Cienna and Stella) who are spoiled rotten.



Headshot of Courtney Hardy


Courtney Hardy

James E Cook Scholarship

Hello, everyone! My name is Courtney Hardy and I have been awarded the James E. Cook Scholarship in Young Adult Librarianship. I am a first year graduate student at Kent State University and received my Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Bowling Green State University last spring. I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Library and Information science with a focus on Youth Services. I am employed at the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library as a Children's Associate. I hope to one day become a Teen Librarian so I can further support and program for this age group, as well as promoting Young Adult literature. Some of my favorite YA authors include: Julie Murphy and Rainbow Rowell! I would like to sincerely thank those involved in the selection of scholarship recipients, I greatly appreciate this support in the pursuit of my MLIS degree. 



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Tracie Pickett

Marian Porter Huffman Scholarship

Tracie Pickett is a student in the MLIS program in the School of Information. She is following the Information Access and Discovery pathway and plans to graduate in 2024. Tracie is a native of Akron, Ohio where she attended Akron Early-College High School and graduated from the University of Akron in 2015 with her high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree of Arts. She graduated from Kent State University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts and double-majored in Pan-African Studies (now Africana Studies) and Sociology. Tracie has worked in various public libraries and a law library in Northeast Ohio, and an academic library in Western Michigan. She now lives in Akron and works as a library associate in Adult Services at a public library. She plans to pursue another graduate degree in Africana Studies to one day become an Africana studies librarian at an academic institution.


Headshot of Christina Stowers

Christina Stowers

Marian Porter Huffman Scholarship

Christina Stowers has worked in the school setting for over two decades as an elementary classroom teacher, ELL teacher, and professional learning coach. She currently works at an international school in Asia that uses an American curriculum and this is her eighteenth year abroad. She loves the courses at Kent State because of how practical and relevant they are to her current job as a Library Media Specialist.







Headshot of Maraya Wahl


Maraya Wahl

Marian Porter Huffman Scholarship

My name is Maraya Wahl. I am studying Kent's Library Science and Business Administration graduate program. In 2018, I graduated from Wilmington College with a Bachelor's in Business Management and Political Science, and a Spanish minor. I pursued various work positions, travel opportunities and learning experiences in the four years post-undergrad. I held positions as a barista and live-music organizer at the start-up Kairos Coffee; as the Women's Department Coordinator at T.J.Maxx; and as a team member of the Quaker Scenic Byway project at my alma mater's Quaker Heritage Center. I consider myself a traveler, most recently to Morocco and Spain in 2018 with the International Model Arab League and Plan My Gap Year, both academic and volunteering purposes. Post-COVID, travel has been limited to personal visits throughout the United States, but I seek further academic and volunteer-based travel. I look forward to opportunities this financial gift may grant me.




Headshot of Odessa Jackson


Odessa Jackson

Mary T Kim Scholarship

Odessa entered her undergrad career bright-eyed and full of dreams of becoming a librarian one day. Shockingly, she was lured away from library sciences by English professors driving her to follow in the footsteps of academia and reading books about very serious people. Confused, Odessa graduated unsure of what to do. After almost a decade at a veterinarian office, Odessa realized that it was library sciences that she wanted. She put away a litter of kittens and promised to begin fostering after she had graduated. Odessa was especially interested in research, information needs, and comic books. She wanted to ensure that libraries met the needs of disabled patrons who had for too long been left out of the conversation on information needs, seeking, and use. She also really likes comic books and believes that more people should read them.

Odessa currently lives in Kent, Ohio with her two cats: Bruce (pictured) and James.




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Josie Cotton

Petta and Ron Khouw Scholarship

Josie Cotton lives in the Cleveland area and works as a Library Assistant at Case Western Reserve University. She plans to finish her MLIS degree during the summer 2023 semester. She also has a bachelor's degree in history from the College of Wooster. Her goal is to become a librarian at an academic library, and her main interests are reference services, accessibility, and assessment. In her free time, she enjoys listening to historical fiction audiobooks, traveling, and going on walks with her dog. 





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Brittany Cole

Priscilla Drach Children's Librarianship Scholarship

"It was a pleasure to read," would be an apt first sentence of a biography about Brittany Cole. Having become an avid reader and library patron at a young age, she considers books to be her life force. In high school, she acquired her first job as a shelver at the Chardon Public Library, where she worked until moving to Kent to earn a Bachelor of Arts in English and minor in writing, graduating summa cum laude and with University Honors. After realizing her passion for community empowerment, she became a student in the Library and Information Science graduate program at her alma mater Kent State University. Currently, she works full-time in the Youth Services department at Reed Memorial Library creating programs and developing services for children and teens. Her hobbies include reading, writing, yoga, photography, and her newest interest, crocheting.




Headshot of Kennedy McKain



Kennedy McKain

Rose Vormelker Scholarship

Kennedy is a student in the Kent State University Master’s program for Library and Information Science. She has a bachelor’s in violin performance, and currently works in arts management for The Cleveland Orchestra. Her many fond memories of libraries and museums growing up, as well as her experience in music library work as an adult, inspired her to pursue her masters with the KSU program. She looks forward to a future of working with specialized collections and incorporating her skills she’s learned in the MLIS program in her arts work in the future.



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Gena Reynolds

Rose Vormelker Scholarship

Gena Reynolds is the Special Collections and Preservation Assistant in the Oberlin College Terrell Main Library. She is currently in her first year at Kent State University in the School of Information Science. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2015 with a degree in history, and since that time has worked in several positions at libraries that led her to pursue a degree in Library and Information Science. Her interest in history and preserving the past was fueled by work in book preservation as a student, as well as with rare books and special collections in her current position. She hopes to continue to learn more and work in the areas of special collections and preservation during her time at Kent, and beyond as a professional librarian. 





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Jessyca Berkley

School of Information Director's Scholarship

I’m Jessyca, known affectionately as Jessyca-with-a-y. I am currently an online student, enrolled in the User Experience masters program. I got my undergrad in fine arts and have 10yrs experience in graphic design. I currently work as a product and visual designer at General Motors, where I do graphics and software testing for infotainment and digital clusters. GM is my absolute dream job, as we work to build an integrated and digital future. 

I chose to pursue my masters degree because I want to expand my horizons and embark on a path that takes me to the next level with user experience. The UX program at Kent State has been engaging and has really sparked my interest to learn and grow as a subscriber to the UX community. I’m truly grateful to the Director of the School of Information for the Director’s Scholarship and look forward to more engagement and learning. 


Headshot of Hannah Smith


Hannah Smith

School of Information Director's Scholarship

My name is Hannah Smith and I am a Masters of User Experience Design student at Kent State University. 

In addition to my master’s studies, I work full-time as a motion graphics designer for a software company, while raising my three children. 

In 2017, I chose to resign my inflexible position in the field of geology to care for my newborn son. During this time as the primary caregiver, I decided to shift my career and pursue my longtime passion by getting a degree in art. While completing my illustration and design degree, I was introduced to the field of user experience (UX) design. I found that I could combine my background in science with my newly developed design skills to provide a solid foundation as a UX designer.

My goal upon completing my degree, is to jumpstart my career in a new field to help better provide for my family.


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Nicole Clarkson

Vanita Scholars in Youth Librarianship

I started volunteering in my hometown library when I was 17. Around 21 years old, I began working for Cuyahoga County Public Library as a Page and became a Clerk Sub for the system three years later. In 2021, I graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in English and came right to Kent State’s iSchool for my MLIS. For the Fall 2022 semester, I continued subbing for CCPL while also cataloging as a Student Worker for KSU’s Technical Services department. In 2023, I am set to be our ALA Student Chapter’s President. I also co-lead a writing group at the Willian N. Skirball Writers’ Center in South Euclid. I plan for my future to include Teen librarianship, disability advocacy, and Young Adult authorship.




Headshot of Shandra Myers




Shandra Myers

Vanita Scholars in Youth Librarianship

Hello! My name is Shandra Myers. I live in Bucyrus, Ohio with my husband, daughter, son, and dog. I have been employed as a children’s assistant librarian for the past 5 years with a wonderful library system in Mansfield, Ohio. I love working with children and designing programs and storytimes for them. I am particularly happy to work with low-income and homeless families to show them all the ways that the library can be a safe, friendly place to play or seek information. I truly believe that children’s librarians can change a child’s life.

I am beginning my fourth semester here at Kent. Earning my MLIS degree will allow me to take on more responsibilities within the library so that I can become even more involved within my community.  I am so appreciative of the Vanita Scholars in Youth Librarianship donors for awarding me with this scholarship, and I promise to put it to good use!



Headshot of Finn Schalk



Finn Schalk

Vanita Scholars in Youth Librarianship

Finn Schalk (They/Them) graduated from Baldwin Wallace University with an undergraduate degree in English. They have worked in the Cuyahoga County Public Library system since 2016.  They currently work in the Children’s department, facilitating programs and leading storytimes. They are enrolled in the dual degree program pursuing a Master of Education degree in Educational Technology and an Master of Library and Information Science with a School Library Media K-12 focus. After graduation, they hope to continue to work with children and teens, and move to a school library setting. 




POSTED: Wednesday, January 18, 2023 02:30 PM
Updated: Friday, March 3, 2023 05:08 PM
Tyler Hilbert