Meet Zsa Zsa, the Marygrove Library intern who used to drive 18-wheelers until she became a Gates Millenium Scholar

Marygrove College Library intern Zsa Zsa Booker has a fascinating story to tell. Here she is, in her own words:

What is your latest accomplishment?

I walked across the stage in May, but will have officially completed my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Wayne State University, with a concentration in Academic Libraries, in August. My Practicum at Marygrove College Library is my last class for the MLIS degree.

What kind of work are you involved in at the Marygrove College Library?

I am a practicum student here at the library and have been here since the end of May. The practicum has allowed me to gain experience working in an academic library. Since working here I have worked with the reference department, technical services department, and the circulation department which has allowed me to gain hands on experience of how an academic library is run as a whole.

What do you plan to do next?

In the fall I start a Ph.D. in Education, Evaluation, and Research from Wayne State with a minor in Library Science. With the completion of this degree I plan to teach Library and Information Science to college students, but I also want to work at evaluating college programs such as library science.

I am currently a graduate teaching assistant at Wayne State University for the Academic Success Center. I teach reading and study skills to the undergraduate students who are looking to gain more skills in order to be become better students. I try to teach my students to study smart not hard, which might be contrary to what they have been taught. Our department focuses on areas such as time management, concentration, test-taking skills, and much more. I plan to work with ASC throughout my Ph.D. candidacy.

This year I started my own publishing company called Great Horizon; its mission is to deliver untold stories about real issues and real people. Initially I started the company because I had some book ideas but did not want to go the traditional route to get the books published. When I found out that I could start my own company and immediately publish my products I was off and running. I am currently working on one project that I plan to publish by next summer. It focuses on youth and education, which I have always been passionate about. I have great aspirations for my publishing company and look forward to all the things I will learn on my journey.

What are some of the schools you have attended?

I started my higher education journey at Kalamazoo College in 2004, but only did 1 academic year and decided to come back home to Detroit. In 2005 I started here at Marygrove in the Forensic Science program and graduated in 2008 with my Bachelors of Science degree. I worked in several fields thereafter and even tried my luck as a truck driver for Werner Enterprises, where I drove to states surrounding Wisconsin delivering Wal-Mart products. I woke up one morning on my truck in North Dakota and said I want to go back to school! I was shipped back home within 5 hours and never got back on an 18-wheeler since. Two weeks later I was enrolled in classes at Wayne State for the MLIS program. That was the fall of 2010; I graduated this year and will also start my Ph.D. this year.

What lead you to this kind of work?

I wish I could say that library science has always been a passion of mine but that would not be true. The truth is that this profession found me. During my first year of college I was awarded many academic scholarships; one of them was the Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS). The GMS was begun in 1999 with 1,000 students from all over the United States and the US territories. Each scholar is allowed to attend any school in the United States with a full ride scholarship, which includes tuition, room and board, textbooks, travel, and miscellaneous items. The best part is that students are allowed to pursue their bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. with all of their educational cost met. When students start to pursue their grad degrees they are limited to seven majors and library science is one of them.

I never knew that I would be in library science but after doing some research I thought that it might be a good fit. When I started I knew nothing and had no experience but since 2010 I have learned so much and developed such a passion for this field. I believe that I made the right choice when I started my MLIS program.

What are you most proud of?

This year for the first time Bookstock awarded scholarships to MLIS students at Wayne State. Three students from the program were chosen and I was one of them. I was honored to have been selected as a Bookstock scholar because I do believe in the value of education and literacy for all individuals. [Editor’s note: Read more about Zsa Zsa and the Bookstock award in Rochelle Riley’s Detroit Free Press article.]

I am very proud to have become and to still remain a GMS scholar after all these years. This scholarship is not easy to get and also not easy to maintain. There are many strict guidelines that all scholars must adhere to and I am so grateful to still be eligible for the scholarship and able to use it for the entire 10 years that it is offered. I must say that if it were not for philanthropists like Bill Gates and his family and the individuals who work so hard at the Gates Foundation doing the behind-the-scenes work, I would not have advanced my education to this level. I am the first person in my family to go to college and I come from a one-parent, low-income home. I can honestly say that I probably would have got my bachelor’s but I definitely would not have obtained a master’s and be pursuing a Ph.D. if it were not for GMS. So I am very proud of the fact that I am a GMS scholar.

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