Personal Statement

I am proud of my love of reading which has crystalized into learning. Education empowered me, stiffened my spine with wooden boards and the flexible resilience of vellum. My youth was difficult, but every book must be starched and clasped. My undergraduate experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology offered an appreciation for the material culture of books. I’m pursuing a master’s of Library and Information Science at Simmons. I am improving my research and laboratory skills to pursue the conservation of books; education has contributed to who I am passionate to become. My passion combines conservation needs and library science for innovative solutions, melding the science and art of the book. My diverse background and work experience demonstrate my cross-discipline ability to perform and my commitment to the field.

Undergraduate at MIT & Thesis

I graduated from MIT in 2016 with a focus on 21A Anthropology and 3C Archaeology. During the summer, I interned at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, working in their public programs. Among my favorite projects was helping with a photo family day: going through the process of researching the exhibits, writing and reviewing event documents, collecting fair use images, and finally bringing it all to fruition for the public. My junior and senior years, I took laboratory courses in materials science and chemistry. While at MIT, I prepared an exhibit for display during Black history month for the Martin Luther King Jr. Seminar and Exhibit class. I was excited about museum work: a bastion of connectivity to the past and present in service to educating the public. A career in library science is a way to preserve the books that had inspired my childhood while challenging boundaries of historic and scientific understanding. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I connected with museums and non-profits focused on serving the public with education and cultural outreach.

Continuing, I reached out to the Museum of Fine Arts to learn more about the conservation science department’s emerging research. The MFA had just purchased a 3D fluorescent spectroscopy scanner and was interested in examining a large selection of their Japanese woodblock print catalog. I worked closely with Michele Derrick, Richard Newman, and Joan Wright, reviewing literature on non-invasive scanning methods and selecting representative prints from the Meiji era. My work developed instrumentation and analysis protocols with the 3D fluorescence spectrometry that would yield results that could be confirmed by reference materials and XRF analysis. I also volunteered a few hours with Jana Dambrogio, a conservation fellow for the Institute Archive and special Collections within the MIT libraries. Connecting with museums and libraries, performing hands-on investigations on materials, exploring the reserves of knowledge in JStor, I realized that library science was the connective binding in all of my interests.

Work Experience

I worked in the Development and Alumni Relations of Boston University as a research coordinator. In this role, I continued to apply library principles to manage donor information: I reached out to the Mugar library for the repair of yearbooks dating from 1900s onwards; I updated our training protocols to remove corrosive materials before adding papers to our long-term storage of files; I maintained database records in Raiser’s Edge. In 2018, I returned to MIT to work as an administrator for their Industrial Liaison Program. I finally worked at Agenus Bio, an immuno-oncology startup. My role supported Research and Development, particularly Toxicology; I initiated the centralization of the Toxicology and Pharmacokinetic reports and protocols into GxP compliance, based on my experience with database management. I felt revitalized by the fast pace and exposure to scientific discovery, excited to apply to a master’s program that would expand my skills. This leads to my continued interest in research science.

Graduate at Simmons

A career in library science preserves the books that inspired my childhood while challenging boundaries of historic and scientific understanding. Having completed an undergraduate research thesis at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, I realized library science was the connective binding in all of my interests. As medical publications and breakthroughs expedite, libraries must handle more and more subscription services and scientific articles. Additionally, helping underserved and underrepresented minorities achieve education has always been my goal, a locus that libraries provided for me. In January 2020, I returned to academia for Simmons in the Cultural Heritage Informatics. Now a year in and half complete, I’m loving the program!

At Simmons, I love taking courses such as History of the Book, learning theory, and building Project Management skills. When I was in foster care, local libraries provided access to computers, internet, and education which I couldn’t access at home. Widening educational gaps prevent minorities and low-income students from building the early skills and comfort with STEM fields. My work experience at a biotechnology immune-oncology demonstrated the importance of database knowledge in meeting research needs. Libraries can re-contextualize opportunity to access an equality of knowledge, rather than disenfranchisement and stagnation. Simmons emphasizes both special collections and technical skills, perfect for my career interests.

Current research interest

I currently have an accepted research article under revision with the International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion. The focus of the article is on including philosophy from disability theory to advance LIS. Current LIS theory and resulting practice are biased against schizophrenia both as a disorganized sense-making practice and as a lived population of people with disability. New schizophrenic theory should adjust how LIS professionals organize information to serve medical researchers, people with schizophrenia, and the LIS community. As a proposed solution:  incorporate Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of schizophrenia and reflexive ethnographic praxis. This is ideal because it is based on lived experience with disability -including the creative and information making practices of a marginalized community- and psychosocial and schizo theory. I encourage LIS to hold a multiplicity of ideas at. I argue for improving access in LIS by incorporating the philosophy of Deleuze, specifically theories around schizophrenia and the production of meaning . I’m also pursuing IRB approval for interviews with medical librarians to build on this.

Career Goals

My career goal is to build on my anthropological undergraduate experience to apply to LIS, with my graduate studies in cultural heritage. As my article shows, I’m interested in knowledge infrastructure especially building equity. I’d like to improve my data analysis skills, especially learning R and interpretation of qualitative information. Creating accessible data visualization would help with any future research. A doctoral program in LIS or conservation would be ideal.

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