Miranda Rivers: A matter of preservation

miranda-rivers.jpgMidway through her studies at Spelman College, Miranda Rivers decided she no longer wanted to be a lawyer. What, then, to do with her history degree?

After completing archival fellowships through the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Mellon Librarian Recruitment Program, Rivers discovered Simmons had the answer: a dual degree in archives management and history. Now, about to graduate with a resume worth of practical experience, Rivers is well prepared for a future linked to the past.

"There are so many different things that you can do with the study of archives," she says. "It is such an exciting way to connect to history."

Intriguing internships: An ALA Spectrum Scholar and Society of American Archivists (SAA) Pinkett Scholar, Rivers learned firsthand the possibilities of the field through archival internships, which she undertook as part of the concentration's curriculum. She interned at Project SAVE: The Armenian Photo Archive Collection; the headquarters of Pathfinder International; and the Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site, where she now works part- time as an archives technician. A testament to the breadth of the hands-on opportunities GSLIS offers, she also cataloged and tagged a collection of African-American cookbooks dating back to the 1830s for a Cambridge-based private collector.

Exceptional faculty: Another major advantage to Simmons, says Rivers, is that its faculty actively practice. "Our professors are well known in their niches," she explains. "They're not just teachers. They're part of professional organizations. They give presentations and lectures and write books.

And they bring all that great experience into the classroom."

Rivers also appreciates that GSLIS faculty encourage intellectual debate. "Simmons is a very open learning atmosphere," she says. "The faculty are willing to listen to and entertain students' ideas and opinions."

Practical preparation: Rivers goes on to describe GSLIS as a "microcosm of the professional world." Right down to the fact, she adds, that students receive GSLIS business cards and assistance with paying for participation in associations and conferences. Already, Rivers is a member of seven professional organizations. A leader, too: she is the webmaster for the Massachusetts Black Librarians Network (MBLN), treasurer for the Library and Information Science Student Association (LISSA), and vice president of the Student Chapter of the Special Libraries Association.

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