Pitt Magazine

A Pitt2Pitt scholarship helped launch this librarian’s career


Just like the authors of the books she loves, young Dagny Felker creates her own world. She attends a Quaker school in State College, Pennsylvania, where teachers nurture her love of words and language. She doesn’t wonder where this love will someday take her or how much money it will eventually make her.

Felker holds part of an outdoor tree sculpture
(Sierra Weir)

“I was encouraged from a young age to study things for pleasure’s sake, to define my own education and follow what interests me, regardless of its perceived productivity,” she says.

It’s how Felker (A&S ’20, SCI ’23G) ended up at Pitt, majoring in linguistics and earning a certificate in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. Though she enjoyed the program and the semesters she spent abroad in Russia and Finland, she quickly realized a master’s degree would be a necessary next step.

Thanks to a Pitt2Pitt Scholarship, that step was a relatively easy one. Pitt2Pitt offers alumni up to $7,500 toward tuition when they enroll in one of the University’s more than 80 participating graduate programs.  

Felker chose the Master of Library and Information Science program, where she—in keeping with her Quaker education roots — created her own track, one that combined her interests in adult services and archival studies.

Today, as an employee of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, she’s able to dabble in both. At the Hill District branch, in addition to front desk and book display duties, she offers technology help to the library’s older visitors and runs an English language conversation group — continuing the English language-learning work she did as an intern with Literacy Pittsburgh. And, one day a week, Felker heads to Homestead, where she helps digitize the library’s collection in celebration of its 125th anniversary.

Eventually, Felker would like to work in collections development, but she knows planning too far ahead isn’t always the best approach. Sometimes, life takes you where you need to go.