Libraries Honor the 2024 Spring Semester Library Student Assistant Awards Recipients

Image of Spring 2024 LSAA Recipients
Left to right: Alondra Mallia, Darrell Blevins Jr., Ciara McCarthy, Mariah Paynter, Anna Jones. Not pictured: Elijah Capasso

The University Libraries held our biannual Library Student Assistant Award reception on March 15, 2024. Six students were selected for the Spring semester awards and received a $500 award for their excellent job performance in the University Libraries. Library Student Assistant Awards are funded by contributions to the Campus Scholarship Innovation Campaign from the University Libraries’ staff and other donors, and interest earned from the Friends of the Libraries endowment fund. To date, 439 awards have been distributed to 255 students totaling over $205,650.

University Libraries staff and the Friends of the Libraries Board would like to congratulate this semester’s winners:

Darrell Blevins Jr., a graduate student majoring in History, began working for the Special Collections and Archives Department in the fall of 2023. Since he first visited the archives in the spring of 2023 to do research, he absolutely fell in love with SC&A and had an immediate interest in a student employment position here. When a position came open the following fall, his was the first application received and soon after he was hired. Darrell is extremely enthusiastic in his work and his enthusiasm shines through in our reading room and on the phone when he is assisting patrons. He has been instrumental in completing an extensive research request that has required thousands of drawings from our Curtiss Wright Engine Drawing Collection to be located/identified on numerous rolls of microfilm and digitized for the user. He takes time to ensure that the images produced are high quality and legible. Darrell has requested additional work to broaden his experience and is currently working on a small exhibit on the Xenia tornado. His dedication to the SC&A department and his pleasant demeanor make him a great addition to the library and will take him far in the future.

Elijah Capasso is a junior majoring in History who has worked for the Information & Research Services Department since September 2022. Eli was initially hired to assist at both the Information Desk and in Resource Delivery Services where he primarily shelved materials, but as service desk schedules shifted, he transitioned all of his hours to the Information Desk. When answering patron questions, he takes his time and does his research. If he isn’t sure how to answer a question, he’s not afraid to ask his colleagues for assistance. He demonstrated an eagerness and determination to learn all of the equipment in the Information Commons so he can assist patrons in the Educational Resource Center as well as provide in depth assistance on the photocopier/printer/scanner, and with basic technical questions on any computer. When he has down-time on the Information Desk, he asks for additional work and has assisted with the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center display for Black History Month, pulling old book displays, and the subject guides best bets databases list. Eli is a fantastic addition to the Dunbar Library.  

Anna Jones, a senior majoring in History, began working for the Information & Research Services Department in March 2022 as the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center student assistant. She is very creative and task oriented and has excelled at every task she has been assigned. She played a key role in creating entries and images for our special library guide commemorating Black History Month, accessible at In addition to our special library guide, The DHRC also initiated a visual display honoring the Black Experience in the Holocaust and World War II. Anna conducted passionate research on the topic, crafted graphics, designed posters, digitized items, and contributed to assembling the display pieces. Each year she works on the Holocaust Remembrance Month DHRC display in the library. We’re looking forward to the April display, titled “Artists of the Holocaust” and are confident that Anna’s hard work will contribute to its success. Anna is a valued member of the DHRC and we’re lucky to have her as one of our student assistants.

Alondra Mallia, a senior majoring in Classical Languages & Cultures, has worked for the Special Collections & Archives Department since August 2023. Alondra has proven to be a conscientious and dependable part of the SC&A team. She quickly learned the ropes by asking questions and diving into projects. She hit the ground running working on a preservation project to properly house oversize photographs in the Dayton Ballet Collection, which required investigative work to identify names, event, and dates. Alondra produces high quality work in neatness, accuracy, and timeliness. She has completed a number of preservation projects to rehouse materials and does a wonderful job staffing the reference desk, helping patrons on the phone and in person. She displays excellence in her work every day in the library. She’s extremely flexible with her schedule, working evenings and during breaks and plans to work over the summer as well. Alondra is an asset to the Dunbar Library and we’re fortunate to have her as a student assistant in the Special Collections & Archives Department.

Ciara McCarthy, a senior majoring in Acting began working for the Resource and Delivery Services Department in October 2020.  As an acting major, Ciara’s schedule can be complicated and extremely demanding. Her exceptional organizational and time-management skills allow her to thrive both as a student and a student employee. During her time with us, she has grown into a leadership role with grace and ease. She takes initiative in her position as a student assistant and is willing to go above and beyond to assist a patron in need. Her attention to detail is on stage when searching the monthly missing list of books so much so that she’s been tagged as our number one detective. She loves searching for missing books and is eagerly excited when she finds one. Her cheerful attitude, outgoing nature, and theatrical skills shine when providing great customer service to our patrons and as she works harmoniously with staff and her fellow student workers. She is quick to help out where needed and to point out any potential issues that may arise. Ciara has been a wonderful part of the RDS department and all have appreciated her friendliness, reliability and adaptability. This is her last semester before graduating and we’re all happy for her and confident that she will succeed wherever her path takes her in the future.  

Mariah Paynter,  a graduate student majoring in Student Affairs – Higher Education, began working in the Resource and Delivery Services Department in August 2023. Mariah has been a quick learner and immediately started covering day shifts where we are often short-staffed. Mariah provides professional and friendly customer service, takes initiative, has a positive attitude and eager to learn all that the RDS department does to ensure all patrons have a positive experience in the library. While performing tasks such as processing OhioLINK  returns, searching for missing items, and learning a new responsibility in helping with Interlibrary Loan, Mariah stays calm and collected. Mariah catches on quickly to new skills and has become a valuable asset for the RDS day operations.