Friends of VCU Libraries awards two scholarships

October 23, 2023

Senior computer science and English major Emma Carlson and Nursing Leadership and Organizational Science master’s student Krisan Eselle Fragata have been awarded 2023 Friends of VCU Libraries Scholarships. 

“I work part time on top of school, so I'm very busy with everything going on,” Carlson said. “This scholarship will allow me to complete both degrees with less financial strain and hopefully allow me to focus my energy on my studies and research within the school and less on work outside of it.” 

Carlson entered VCU in the midst of the pandemic and was able to find support through VCU Libraries when she took a Native American literature course that required her to write a research paper. 

“It was comforting to know that out of the thousands of students here, I was able to receive personalized assistance in my studies,” Carlson said. 

Research Librarian John Glover assisted Carlson with her research assignment and when Carlson was approached by one of her professors to co-author a publication about pandemic learning and literature, she used him as a resource again. Now, Carlson is a published academic author. 

“The tools made available through the library helped me achieve something I never thought could happen,” Carlson said.

Beyond academia, Carlson is an avid reader. She likes to borrow books through the interlibrary loan system, and takes advantage of access to free news publications, such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The sheer volume of media I have access to is unbelievably helpful in both my studies and my free time,” Carlson said. “I never thought such an expansive resource could've existed within the school, but I am so grateful for all it has given me.”

Fragata is the first recipient of the scholarship on the MCV campus. She attended VCU for her undergraduate degree and is now working on her masters in Nursing Leadership and Organizational Science. 

“I am very thankful for the investment that has been given to me,” Fragata said.

Like other stellar students, Fragata visits the library or uses the library website nearly every day. The chat feature that allows students to connect with a real person for quick questions and support is one of her favorite tools. 

With her degree in nursing leadership and organization science, Fragata wants to become a leader in the world of nursing, particularly through incorporating technology into patient care. 

“With the help of the library staff and the resources available 24/7, I hope to incorporate technology and compassion and demonstrate critical thinking skills to advance the ever-progressing healthcare system,” Fragata said. 

Started in 2018 through the gifts of a handful of Friends of VCU Libraries Board members and Friends, the Friends of VCU Libraries Scholarship Endowment has tripled in size since its beginnings. VCU Libraries seeks to grow the fund to a minimum of $200,000 in order to increase the size of the awards. 

Said Kelly Gotschalk, director of development and major gifts for VCU Libraries “The Friends of VCU Libraries Scholarship provides support when so many students at VCU need it. Available to students of any major at VCU, the scholarship was created to assist juniors and seniors - a time when too many VCU students will take a break from school or even quit their studies due to financial hardship. For the MCV professional students, the funding is very helpful at a stage in their education where traditional scholarship support does not exist and the burden of financial hardship still remains. I am proud that the Friends saw this need and created this scholarship to be there for generations of VCU students.”

Thanks to the generosity of donors, in 2023 VCU Libraries was able to award two scholarships for the first time. With continued growth of the endowment, the awarding of two scholarships annually will become standard practice. 

To make a gift online to the Friends of VCU Libraries Scholarship, please visit


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