New Knowledge River students gathered on Friday morning to get another dose of information about the KR program. The now annual Fall KR Orientation was designed to give students additional information about their financial aid, their graduate assistantships, their access to professional development and conference travel funds, as well as a chance to meet with and learn from students from previous cohorts. Wanda Davila, KR8 student, gave a very thorough presentation on campus and diversity resources, while Jeff Cruz, also a KR8 student, presented additional information about the University Library services.
As Program Manager of Knowledge River, I want the students to understand that this program is more than just a financial aid package. It's about joining a community of others who are also interested in issues affecting the cultural communities of Latinos and Native Americans. It's about taking time to learn how be an advocate for our target communities. And it's about planning to give back, possibly to future Knowledge River cohorts, as well as giving back to the communities. One of the highlights of the event was the "We've Been in Your Shoes" panel of KR students from previous cohorts. Panelists included Andrea Goodrich, Janice Nez, Wanda Davila, Jeff Cruz, charley Dejolie, Jackie Macias, Azul Gomez, Alexandria Caster, and KR alumni Francisco Vargas and Cecilia Tovar. While students asked questions about courses and conference travel, many of the panelists emphasized the need to acknowledge the community of learners they will become this semester in the IRLS 550 course and to take advantage of the time they will have together. Francisco Vargas, KR3 alumni, spoke about the need to know yourself, your core values, and to stick to those values. He also spoke about the urgent need for more librarians who understand the issues of providing library and information services to the underserved Latino and Native American communities, and how this is a great opportunity for students to hone their skills in these areas.
A host of Knowledge River supporters joined us in the SIRLS patio for a KR9 Welcome Luncheon. Our luncheon guests included representatives from the Pima County Public Library, the University Library, the Arizona Health Sciences Library, as well as Karen-Francis Begay, Special Advisor to the President on Native American Affairs at The University of Arizona, Dr. Jennie Joe, professor in Department of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Medicine (DFCM) and faculty in the American Indian Studies, and Debbie Golden Davis from the Financial Aid office. Other guests included current Knowledge River students from Cohort 8 and 7 and alumni. Dr. Bryan Heidorn, director of SIRLS, Patricia Montiel Overall and Tom Wilding, SIRLS faculty members, and SIRLS staff members Polly Lindeman Mitchell, Geraldine Fragoso, and Kris Hogeboom also welcomed the new KR cohort. The day was a great success! Thank you to all who helped plan and present at the orientation, and all who came to support and welcome the new Knowledge River students!
Sandy Littletree, MA, MSIS
Knowledge River Program Manager
School of Information Resources and Library Science
1515 E. First Street, Tucson, AZ 85719
520.621.5220 (direct office line)
Hispanic and American Indian Library and Information Issues