The PSU Library supports nearly 30,000 students as they explore, learn, and engage with their various fields of study. With the average student graduating from PSU with nearly $27,000 in debt, the University Library decided to find another model for supporting our students with direct financial support and we partnered with donors Corey and Stacy Lohman to make this happen.
In January we awarded the first ever Special Collections Research Fellowship (SCRF) to student Beth Cookler. There are two goals to this new fellowship program. We want to directly lessen the financial burden of our students and we want to encourage use of our Special Collections and University Archives as rich primary resources for theses and honors projects. With her fellowship support, Beth receives one year of tuition while she finishes her master’s project. By lessening her financial strain, Beth has been given the gift of time. Time not spent working can be spent on developing her ideas to change how history is taught in Portland.
This fellowship award is possible because of the investment of Corey and Stacy Lohman. They took a leap to be the first donors to this unique way to support PSU students and the Library. Corey Lohman is the President of Emerick Construction and a life-long lover of libraries. Emerick Construction works on many exciting projects around the state, including our very own Learning Ground and Sandbox renovation. Corey found sanctuary in his local library growing up and has a passion for supporting people making a difference in our communities. The SCRF combines his interest in helping people with his affinity for a place that helped him as a child growing up in a community that did not appreciate diversity. He sees the PSU Library as a place where ideas can take flight and believes our students are creating solutions that change our communities.
There is no other fellowship like this at any academic library in the U.S. We believe this is an exciting new model for libraries to partner with students on their educational projects through our rich and deep archives, but also to give them the financial freedom to truly focus on the work at hand. An important component of this fellowship is public outreach, and Beth plans to share her lesson plans online so her colleagues can download them and teach their own students Oregon’s history using materials from the Portland State Library’s Special Collections and University Archives.