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Meet our BIPOC LIS Student Awardees!

Posted by on January 11th, 2021 Posted in: Announcements, Blog, Funding, Outreach

We are excited to announce the recipients for the NNLM PSR BIPOC LIS Student Professional Development Award. Introduced in September 2020, this award provides resource support for LIS students and recent graduates interested in health science information librarianship and engagement.  

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Renée A. Torres 

San Jose State University 

Project Title: Graphic Medicine and Medical Libraries 

Renée A. Torres, a Southern California native, is finishing a master of library and information science (MLIS) degree at San José State University (SJSU) this fall. In 2017, she earned an MA in 20th-century United States history, specializing in women’s and gender history, from Washington State University. Her current interest is in health sciences librarianship, particularly focusing on how LIS professionals can help support, expand, and improve culturally competent healthcare information for the healthcare industry as well as academic and local communities. Support from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), REFORMA, and SJSU’s iSchool has reaffirmed her commitment to working in an academic library and serving historically marginalized communities by empowering them with access to information. When she’s not dreaming of working in a library, you can find her reading and reviewing novels, planning her next trip, and patronizing local businesses. Renée’s project will investigate how comics and graphic novels, in the form of Graphic Medicine, can be used in patient care and health sciences education to help nurture culturally competent care and empathy within the healthcare industry and provide credible health care information to underrepresented communities. 

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Nicole Greer

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee 

Project Title: School Librarians Supporting Teens with Health Information 

Nicole is the library director and interim equity and inclusion coordinator at an independent school in the Bay Area. She has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, and she will complete an MLIS program this spring. Nicole began her undergraduate studies as a biology pre-med major; her interest in health sciences came full circle when she attended a session on health information and programs for teens at the 2019 YALSA Symposium. A certified school librarian, she has experience in incorporating library instruction into her school’s health and wellness curriculum. In her work, she has observed gaps in students’ health literacy and in the consumer health information that is available to teens. Her project will focus on the information-seeking behaviors of marginalized and minoritized teens. She is interested in leveraging the school librarian’s skillset to meet students’ health information needs. In collaboration with health sciences librarians, she will design a training module for school librarians to develop more inclusive health-related collections, programs, and instructional services.

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Mayra Fuentes 

San Jose State University 

Project Title: Raising Our Voices: Speech Therapy Services for Spanish-Speaking Youth 

Mayra Fuentes is a first-generation college graduate from South Los Angeles who completed her Master’s in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She first began working in libraries as a middle school volunteer and later found a renewed interest after graduating from UC San Diego with a Bachelors in Linguistics with a specialization in Cognitions and Language. In line with her interest in linguistics, she thereafter completed a post-baccalaureate Certificate in Speech-Language Pathology from California State University, San Marcos and volunteered as a Spanish translator. Currently, Mayra works for the Los Angeles Public Library where she has actively volunteered on various committees and participated in its Diversity and Inclusion Apprenticeship program. In addition, Mayra serves as Student Representative on the California Library Association’s Board and as the Public Information Officer for the REFORMA Los Angeles Chapter. 

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Alejandra Reyes 

San Jose State University 

Project Title: Mental health in Spanish-speaking communities 

I applied for this award because when I finish my MLIS program, I want to be able to tell a story. Besides story time, I want to share and tell my own personal story to my community so that I, like books, can become a mirror or a window to those who need it and give back to my community and meet their needs. I want to empower my community and be an advocate to build bridges to have equitable access in all formats in my community. I want to learn other areas besides public librarianship where I can get informed and where I can improve the access to health information to my community. The topic of my project is mental health in public libraries, specifically in low income, Spanish speaking communities. It is a taboo in that community to talk about mental health and I want to provide exercises or a bilingual infographic about the importance of self-care and mental health. Due to COVID, I would want to be able to share it in my social media and to my peers. I would also like to find free resources to share the information to the community. 

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Kate Pham 

University of California, Los Angeles 

Project Title: Academic librarianship and Student Outreach, Organizing, and Coalition Building 

Kate is currently a graduate student pursuing a MLIS degree at UCLA, specializing in library studies. She hopes to become an academic librarian in the future to support individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences in their paths to pursuing higher education and research. In her work, she highly enjoys engaging in projects that center around student outreach and engagement, such as supporting and connecting with underrepresented student communities at the university. Her outreach work with different student organizations and campus partners through the UCLA Sciences Libraries has prompted her interest in researching trends, practices, and frameworks for student outreach within academic health sciences libraries. Through this research project, she aims to critically analyze and discuss libraries’ institutional roles in supporting and facilitating student efforts around issues of community and coalition building and activism. In her free time, Kate enjoys staying inside, reading, cooking and gaming.   

We are excited to support BIPOC LIS students and early career professionals, and look forward to sharing their experiences later in the year.

Image of the author ABOUT Sharon Han
Sharon Han (she/her) is a NLM 2nd Year Associate Fellow with the Network of the National Library of Medicine Pacific South Region, located at UCLA. She focuses on public health outreach and engagement, as well as advocates for access to quality public health information in various information environments.

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Phone: (310) 825-2183
Email: psr-nnlm@library.ucla.edu

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This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Cooperative Agreement Number UG4LM012341 with the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.

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