Life, literacy and laughter are the words that come to mind when I reflect on my Chips Quinn Scholars experience.
I was a “non-traditional” Scholar. After spending 18 years in the world of retail management, I returned to school to get my bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a concentration in print journalism.
I applied to the Chips Quinn Scholars program during my junior year at Texas Women’s University and was accepted in summer 2001. The internship at The Times in Shreveport, La., allowed me to explore the power of words and literacy and understand how words help to create changes in our actions and beliefs.
My life was enriched by a sense of how important journalism is in that stories have power in their information. I realized that reading was a cornerstone to the freedom of our choices.
I had the opportunity at The Times to work in various departments. I fell in love with the news librarian and found her job of helping reporters with their research and organizing newspapers exiting. With that new insight, I earned a master’s degree in library science and information studies from Texas Women’s University.
I work at a university and teach communications and journalism research classes. I interact with the journalism faculty as they pursue research proposals and grants. I am an internship adviser to journalism and communication students. I have edited two communications textbooks. I was chosen as the Texas Library Association’s librarian of the month and featured on the association’s website.
I want to thank everyone associated with the Chips Quinn Scholars program for giving a non-traditional student a chance to have shared journalism experiences with traditional students. The laughter was always contagious and I enjoyed the informative orientation that I shared with all the members of the CQS program before diving into my internship.
The program gave me a chance to understand the value of laughter, life and literacy, and those three notions remain a theme for all my endeavors. Thank you for the support you give the students who help to make the world a better place for all.
Kimberly Michelle Gay is an academic reference and instruction librarian at Prairie View A&M University.