Krissa Corbett Cavouras
School of Information and Library Science, Class of 2011
Before deciding to pursue library science, you were a journalist and you worked in publishing. Why did you make the switch to studying for a library science degree?
I have an aptitude for writing and editing, and I genuinely enjoy it, but it can be a rather solitary pursuit! Information science and librarianship, by contrast, are almost entirely collaborative; I was looking for a career that would make use of my organizational skills, but also give me a stimulating and service-oriented environment. Librarians and information scientists are passionate about the importance of their work, and they’re always looking for innovations they can bring to their patrons. That was appealing to me.
What specifically are you interested in doing with the degree?
What I’m personally fascinated by is government, information policy, issues of access to research, and copyright and intellectual property law. I can only hope some of this will translate and come in handy during my career! Specifically, I would love to be involved in research reference or data librarianship, perhaps working at a think tank or research facility. Ultimately, I might like to find myself in an academic library, but I’m open to less traditional places where these skills are in demand.
Do you think growing up in multiple countries overseas led you to pursue this library science degree at Pratt?
I spent my formative years in Africa, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, and Kenya, where my father worked as a comptroller and finance manager for Exxon. I think growing up overseas, particularly in such diverse communities and diverse school environments, made me very sensitive to the importance of tolerance and communication. I was exposed at an early age to people from all over the world, and learned a lot about diversity and a global perspective because of it. I also think moving as often as we did meant I developed a flexibility and adaptability that were, frankly, necessary! But my decision to become a librarian was more motivated by a sense of my own talents and interests than anything else. Pratt SILS seemed like the perfect fit, since they focus so strongly on non-traditional models and the many ways the library and information science skill set can be applied.
What is your job now, and how did it help you figure out you wanted to study library science at Pratt?
I work as an office manager for the American Center for the Alexander Technique, a not-for-profit membership organization and training center dedicated to the Alexander Technique, which is an educational process that teaches improved use of the self and helps students identify poor or inefficient habits that can cause stress or fatigue. My work there is all about communication, knowledge management, and information dissemination—as a one-person office, many players in our organization rely on me to be innovative and consistent at the same time. It’s challenging and rewarding, much like librarianship, and that sense of being the information hub of an organization was the catalyst for me to pursue this degree.
Can you talk about the job you will be starting in a couple months?
I’ll be the research assistant for two multi-year studies, both part of the Chemical Dependency Institute at Beth Israel. The work is really dynamic; I get to help researchers organize their findings, assist in finding new avenues for scholarly materials, and manage the data they produce. It’s perfect work for someone with a library and information science background, and I’m excited to start.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the classroom and work?
I love cooking. Of course I love my coursework, but sometimes making sauces and roasts and casseroles is what I long to be doing when I’m knee-deep in homework and readings! I’m also a voracious reader and I usually have at least two novels going at once—one on my Kindle and the other on my night table. And life at home with my husband and my little dog is pretty much my calm center from all the avenues I’m pursuing at once.
Photo: Diana Pau