Alumni Society Scholars
The Alumni Society is proud to introduce the 2106 Alumni Society Scholars.
Elizabeth Stefanski is a full-time master’s degree student in Library Science at the UNT College of Information, with plans to graduate in the spring of 2017. Her love for the library blossomed at a very young age, when her mom would spend hours at the public library and read aloud any book Elizabeth pulled from the shelves. In fact, Elizabeth learned how to write her name at age four just so that she could sign her very own library card. Since that young age, Elizabeth’s love for reading and the library has only grown.
After graduating from high school in Katy, Texas, Elizabeth pursued undergraduate majors in both elementary education and history through the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. During two of her summers in college, she had the fortunate opportunity to intern at the Katy Branch of the Harris County Public Library system, where she worked closely with the children’s librarian and realized that she had a passion for librarianship. Thus, after graduating summa cum laude from college in May 2015, Elizabeth entered graduate school through the University of North Texas to immediately pursue her dream of becoming a librarian.
Currently, Elizabeth focuses on her full-time classes, while working as a teaching assistant for the UNT course Introduction to Information Organization and continuing to volunteer at the Katy Branch Library. She is very honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Lady Kate Medders Alumni Society Scholarship, which will allow her to continue learning from the wonderful UNT professors and help her complete her final year of graduate school. After graduating, Elizabeth hopes to pursue a career as a children’s librarian in a public library, although she is very interested in the many different paths that a librarian can take. By serving as a librarian, Elizabeth hopes to apply her elementary education degree to positively impact the literacy of young children, while serving all generations by providing access to important library resources and programs. She appreciates the support of the alumni who have provided this scholarship and helped further her progress on the path to her dream career.
Jennifer DePino is the 2016 recipient of the Lady Kate Medders Endowed Scholarship. She is currently in her second semester at UNT and enjoying the program immensely. She is a member of the UNT-Manchester City Library New England Cohort.
Jennifer has a previous English Master's degree. After teaching various English classes, including Freshman Composition I and II, College Writing, Research Methodologies, Oral Communication, Mystery Writing, Intro to Literature, and Intro to Journalism, as an adjunct instructor for some 20 years, she found the LIS field. The college where she taught closed in December 2015, but when the impending closure was announced in summer 2015, she happened to see an ad for the program at my local library, she says, “I decided to take a leap and make a change--I had always thought that in another life, I might like to be a librarian, and when the opportunity presented itself, it was too good to pass up!” Jennifer has also worked as an editor of supplemental educational materials (K-12) and as a freelance editor and writer of K-12 teacher resources and ESL materials, all in the K-12 scholastic market.
Ms. DePino lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, two children, and two cats. She love the beach and lakes in the summer and skiing in the winter, and in their free time (what little there is of it these days!) the family loves to putter in my garden (mostly perennials and annual flowers, some herbs, and tomatoes)
Outstanding Alumni Awards
Since the first UNT School of Library and Information Sciences (LIS) Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Marilyn Gell Mason in 1979, an additional 45 LIS graduates have received the honor plus 20 recognized as platinum and rising stars during the 70th Anniversary in 2009. In 2010, the Alumni Society bylaws were revised to include outstanding alumni awards from both departments within the new College of Information: LIS and the Department of Learning Technologies (LT). The award names were changed from Distinguished to Outstanding Alumni Awards.
2016 UNT Department of Library and Information Sciences Outstanding Alumna: Virginia Rey (MS '89)
Ms. Rey was the keynote speaker at the College of Information Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony on May 13, 2016. She is a first generation, four year college degree recipient and attributes her hard work ethic to her immigrant parents. Ms. Rey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1984, and a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas in 1989. Ms. Rey has 30 years’ experience in public school education at the elementary, middle, high school, and district level in the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, Texas. The Ysleta ISD is the third largest school district in El Paso, Texas, and was named after the Isleta Indians who resided in the area for one thousand years. The first school in Ysleta opened in 1880. YISD was the first urban school district in the state to become a “recognized school district” based on student performance on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Test. Ms. Rey is a proud product of the Ysleta ISD, having graduated from Ysleta High School in 1980. She began her career as a 2nd and 4th grade teacher and pursued a calling to become an English as a Second Language Teacher in Nagano, Japan for one year. It is during this rewarding year in Japan that Ms. Rey discerned that her next step would be to pursue an MLS degree from UNT so she could instill a love of reading in children and focus on literacy efforts. This higher education degree from UNT has opened many doors for Ms. Rey. As a middle school librarian in 2005, Ms. Rey was named Campus Teacher of the Year, and a Top Ten District Teacher of the Year Finalist. The following year, she was nominated for a Disney Teacher Award for creativity in teaching. Her passion for librarianship and advocacy efforts have led to her being named Border Regional Library Association Librarian of the Year in 2011, serving on the State Senator’s Education Advisory Committee in 2012, the Texas Library Association Legislative Committee from 2013 to the present, and the Texas Library Association Awards Committee in 2016. Ms. Rey is most proud of serving the 58 librarians under her care as Coordinator of Library Media Centers, advocating for libraries at the local and state levels, and assisting in promoting literacy to the over 42,000 students in 62 campuses in the Ysleta District of which 93.02% are of Hispanic ethnicity and 80.48% are economically disadvantaged.
2016 Learning Technologies Outstanding Alumna: