CONGRATULATIONS to Rai Yiannakos!!! Rai is the recipient of the Bellevue Friends of the Library’s Endowed Scholarship in Library and Information Science for the 2021-2022 school year. Each year, Bellevue Friends of the Library awards this scholarship to one promising student in the University of Washington’s Masters of Information and Library Science program. Rai, an employee of KCLS, a very worth recipient. Please join us in congratulating Rai and wishing her continued success with her studies and career in the information and library sciences.
A message from Rai:
As a non-traditional student, I knew that school would be a challenge for me. While I was encouraged to pursue an MLIS by my coworkers at the King County Library System, I hadn’t taken a class in 10 years and had never really taken virtual classes before at all. I also knew that it would be difficult financially. While my job with KCLS gives me a lot of stability and fantastic benefits, the Seattle area is very expensive, and as one of the top programs in the country, tuition at UW’s iSchool is not cheap, either. I am considered “low-wage” and live far below the poverty line in Seattle. But I also knew how committed I was to the work and mission of libraries, and so I took a leap of faith straight into UW’s MLIS program.
Receiving this scholarship means everything to me. It shows that the scholarship committee sees potential in me for success—so much so that they are willing to financially support me. It shows that graduate school is not out of reach for low-income people. During my time in the program, I’ve already learned so much. I’ve taken some wonderful classes on Indigenous librarianship and Indigenous systems of knowledge. I joined ALISS, the Association of Library and Information Science Students, to advocate to iSchool leadership on behalf of my classmates. I’ve also worked for two years as a peer advisor so that I can help other students who may be struggling for a variety of reasons and help contribute to student success.
While I love working for KCLS, my time in academia has made me interested in working with students. I would love to take my skills and experiences to a community college library, and the Seattle area has some wonderful community colleges to choose from. I have been given so much help and so many opportunities during my time at UW, and I’ve seen how important faculty and staff are in a student’s success. I would love to pay it forward to future generations of students. Your gift has helped make my dreams possible. Thank you so much for this opportunity.