Western Michigan University Libraries awarded two scholarships to library student employees this fall. Leah Latumaerissa and Luke Halladay received $1,000 scholarships to support their academic journey. The scholarship also recognizes our library student employees' impact on our patrons’ experiences.
"Our student employees are a critical part of our library team," says Julie Garrison, dean of University Libraries. "Working at the Libraries helps students gain knowledge and work experience in a professional environment. This scholarship is just one way we recognize them as students and their outstanding contributions and impact on our mission."
Learn more about our 2022 University Libraries Scholarship Recipients
Leah Latumaerissa hails from Amsterdam, Netherlands, and is completing her degree in anthropology at WMU. Latumaerissa plans to continue her research on the Moluccan people while pursuing a master's in cultural anthropology at Utrecht University after graduating from WMU.
While working at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center, Latumaerissa created an exhibit on first-generation Moluccan families that came to the Netherlands as a result of decolonization, which was displayed in Waldo Library. Latumaerissa gained several skills while preparing and planning for her exhibit.
"I learned to assemble various documents and produce exhibit texts to translate the narrative of the Moluccan peoples to a college library audience. These skills are relevant to the field of cultural anthropology," says Latumaerissa.
Latumaerissa's exhibit included several personal photos and documents from her family, serving as both an educational exhibit about Dutch colonialism and a tribute to her great-grandfather.
"The exhibit includes a tribute to my great-grandfather Ekliopas Latumaerissa as he was one of the indigenous Moluccan KNIL soldiers that unrightfully demobilized during his arrival in the Netherlands," Latumaerissa says. "To this day, 70 years after his arrival and 13 years after his death, his services to the Dutch Kingdom have still not been recognized nor acknowledged. Unfortunately, this is the case for most of the former Moluccan KNIL soldiers who have long passed since their arrival in the Netherlands."
The scholarship will support Latumaerissa's academic journey at WMU as she continues her research on the Moluccan people.
"It is an honor that my personal cultural heritage is recognized by WMU Libraries," Latumaerissa says. "I am greatly appreciative of how the mini-exhibit has been received as it allows for the amplification of the voices of my ancestors and my family."
Luke Halladay is pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering at WMU and hopes to launch a career in the aerospace field after graduation, working for organizations like NASA or SpaceX. He currently works for the User Services department in Waldo Library.
"Experience in helping patrons and working with others is always valuable. Luckily, working in User Services helps me get both," says Halladay.
"There are also parts of the job that have helped me develop better problem-solving skills, as well as more precision in doing specific tasks. I can easily see these experiences translating into my future career. Specifically, in engineering, precision and problem-solving skills are qualities that go a long way for potential employers."
"This scholarship helps my education become more affordable, and I am grateful for the opportunities that this opens up for me," Halladay says. "I think of higher education as an investment for my future, so I appreciate that there are people and institutions that are willing to help me make that investment."