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Around the Columns

The science of libraries

denice adkins

In 2008, Fulbright Scholar Denice Adkins will teach students and advise faculty in Honduras’ first library science program. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Denice Adkins wanted to study abroad in college but felt she couldn’t afford it. Now, the Fulbright Scholar Program will make her dream of living overseas possible. In February 2008, the assistant professor of library science will head to the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. There, she will teach graduate students and advise faculty in the country’s first library science program, which is in its second year.

“I’ve been flipping through the Fulbright catalog a long time,” says Adkins, who was thrilled to find such a perfect fit. “They want what I do in a language I speak.”

Raised by a bilingual father and monolingual mother in Arizona, Adkins almost didn’t learn Spanish. “My father grew up where you were beaten for speaking a foreign language, and he decided his children would never learn to speak Spanish.” Her mother finally changed his mind by asking how the children could speak to their grandparents if they didn’t learn their language.

“Most immigrant families lose their language within three generations,” Adkins says. Thanks to her mother’s persistence, she studied Spanish in elementary through high school and minored in the language in college.

Adkins is one of fewer than 100 Fulbright Scholars from MU since 1985, and her grant is funded for eight months. While in Honduras, she plans to periodically check in to MU through LiSRadio, a live, interactive webcast hosted by the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. The technology will allow MU students to call a toll-free number and ask questions of Adkins and her Honduran colleagues.