Mosaic Scholarship: Sean Payne

Sean Payne, who is pursuing a master of library and information science degree at Syracuse University in New York, is the 2022 recipient of the Mosaic Scholarship given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The $5,000 scholarship is given to a student who demonstrates potential for scholastic and personal achievement and who manifests a commitment both to the archival profession and to advancing diversity concerns within it.

Payne’s commitment to diversity in archives is evident in his desire to restructure how archives represent communities from non-Anglo-Saxon/Eurocentric populations and combat white supremacy and injustices in the archival profession. He strives to make visible the relationship between the stories and voices found in an archives and the values and ideologies of the community or organization that created it. He is an active member of the Association of Black Museums, whose mission is to advance the visibility of African American professionals within archives and museums. Payne’s archival work includes conducting oral histories and supporting projects that highlight the histories of women in air and space industries, African American music, and other underrepresented communities. He is an archival assistant at the Baldwin Wallace University Archive in Berea, Ohio, and he has interned at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum and at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio.

One of Payne’s supporters notes: “His dedication and mature professionalism, as well as his interest in diversification of the archival profession and his interest in promoting access to archival materials that represent African American perspectives, make him an excellent candidate for the Mosaic Scholarship.” Another supporter writes that Payne is “on track to become an outstanding archivist and a true advocate for the greater diversity of our profession.”

First awarded in 2009, the Mosaic Scholarship also provides recipients with a one-year membership in SAA and a complimentary registration to the SAA conference.