Bradley Kuykendall, 2011 i3 Scholar
“The greatest benefit I received from the program were the colleagues, friends, and mentors. It was great to meet and build relationships with others that looked like me and were trying to go to the same places in life as I was.”
My name is Bradley Kuykendall and as a military brat I have traveled and lived in various places. I am currently a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Lincoln University an HBCU (Historically Black College University) in Jefferson City, Mo., and am passionate about serving the students and community at my Alma Mater. As the Reference and Instruction Librarian I am responsible for teaching and training faculty, staff, and students on how to use library resources and skills. I was a part of the first cohort for i3 (2011) and already knew I wanted an M.L.I.S. degree (Master of Library Information Science). We were the ‘guinea pigs,’ if I must say, for the introductory institute. The director at the time was Mike Depew and he was a blessing to have and encouraged us to soak up as much information as possible. There were a lot of great things that took place during the program, such as breakout sessions in helping us apply for grad programs, educational resources, research techniques, and other related topics. The greatest benefit I received from the i3 program were the colleagues, friends, and mentors. It was great to meet and build relationships with others that looked like me and were trying to go to the same places in life as I was.
The i3 program had a “College Day” where various schools talked to us about the programs they offered and financial packages they had available for us. During this day I met with the University of Illinois GSLIS program, now iSchool. Mrs. Imani, the University of Illinois recruiter, helped me in every step of the process after I told her that I was interested. Although I did not want to attend the University of Pittsburgh, they were very helpful in reviewing my application and supporting documents to make sure that I turned in a great packet. The rest was history. I got into the University of Illinois and received some scholarships and a graduate assistant position. Overall, the “College Day” really made all the difference in the world for me.
Since completing my degree, the coolest thing I have done is review scholarships. 2019 was my first year as a Reviewer for the ALA (American Library Association) Spectrum Scholarship – an extremely prestigious scholarship that is only offered to minority students in the process of attending or currently attending a Library Information Science program. I never knew how cool it was to call someone and inform them that they were selected to receive scholarship funds.
Bradley Kuykendall is a member of the 2011 i3 Cohort and has been an active member of the i3 community since joining. Feel free to connect with Bradley on Linkedin— especially if you’re interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Library Science. Thank you, Bradley, for sharing your story with us on this i3 feature!