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School of Information Studies offers new graduate assistantship to support student organization
School of Information Studies offers new graduate assistantship to support student organizationMarch 08, 2007Margaret Costello Spillettmcostell@syr.edu
Kathryn Buturla G’08 was working as a court clerk at the Onondaga County Courthouse when she learned about the master’s degree program in library and information science at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University. Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Le Moyne College in 2003, she saw the possibility to find a career that fed her interests in history and continual learning. Through her application to the library and information science program, she received a new graduate assistantship dedicated to helping the student organization Black and Latino Information Studies Support (BLISTS). The award provides 25 credits a year as well as a stipend.
Funded through a family foundation gift, the new graduate assistant position provides a variety of supportive services to BLISTS, including planning the group’s annual alumni reception in the spring, coordinating its fall leadership training program, and organizing its annual general elections.
“We are extremely delighted to now be in a position to provide academic, pre-professional and financial support to our student members,” says Jason D. Mills ’95, G’96, chairman and CEO of BLISTS Inc., who helped orchestrate the gift. BLISTS was established in 1992 as a student-based organization at the iSchool that focuses on educating underrepresented ethnic students in information science and technology, providing technology literacy support, and building a corporate and alumni network. Today, BLISTS is forging partnerships with other universities to make it a nationally known organization.
“It is our vision to raise the level of awareness in ethnic communities about the importance of science and technology,” says Mills, who serves on the iSchool’s Board of Visitors. “We are working with private and corporate foundations to increase our funding to be able to provide more support to our students and alumni as we bridge the gap in technological knowledge and access. Our next major project is an online mentoring and career development system for corporations to access diverse candidates.”
Buturla, who reports to the BLISTS advisor, information studies professor Martha Garcia-Murillo, spends much of her required 20 hours a week researching scholarship and internship opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students. She maintains a website,http://istgroups.syr.edu/blists, with a list of such available opportunities, especially ones targeting women and racial minorities. “It’s really amazing how much money is out there to support students,” she says. “The hard part is knowing where to look for the scholarships and identifying the ones you might be eligible for. I am hoping to help students with that part.”
This semester, BLISTS will host several workshops on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to getting internships to applying for graduate school. Buturla will also assist the group in creating a virtual portfolio, an online resource where members can showcase their work for potential employers to see. “The funding that Jason has secured for us has raised the level of the organization,” says Garcia-Murillo. “His support enables us to reach more students and generate more exciting and consistent opportunities for the members. In the future, we will also connect with high school students with the hope that they will be founding members of BLISTS chapters in other universities.”
Buturla, who is half Puerto Rican, says she is happy to be working for a student group that supports the education of students of color, as well as others in the school. “This is a wonderful organization, and I hope to do everything I can to support its activities,” she says. “I am so appreciative of the GA-ship. It is enabling me to do something I really love.”
For more information on BLISTS, visit http://istgroups.syr.edu/blists.