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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Jenny Ripka '17

Librarian, Naperville Public Library

Majors in Psychology and English Literature

Jenny credits interdisciplinary experiences at Knox for preparing her to be a librarian.

Jenny Ripka 2018

What are you doing now?

I finished my master's degree in library and information science recently. I now work as an adult services librarian at the Naperville Public Library, which involves doing things like maintaining the library's collections, answering reference questions, planning programs, and curating lists of book recommendations for individual patrons. It's a fairly classic public librarian role and is a great position for me to launch my career from. 

How did Knox help you get there?

For librarians, the liberal arts education is extremely valuable. I benefited from Knox's focus on interdisciplinary studies in every course I took in graduate school. Knox does an excellent job of preparing students; I rely on the research skills I learned through my psychology research and English literature research almost every day as a librarian. Because of Knox's emphasis on experiential learning, I took advantage of opportunities like the Clinical Psychology Term, the ASSET program, and a job as a circulation assistant in Seymour Library. I was also fortunate that, although there is no library science program at Knox, I was still able to conduct an independent study with Sharon Clayton my senior year, during which I got a better sense of what to expect from library school.

Beyond that, I don't think I would have been as successful in my job or through the graduate school application process before it without the support of Mariangela Maguire and the Vovis Center [for Research & Advanced Study]. While I wasn't the first one in my family to go to college, I was the first person in my family to go to graduate school. Without help from Mariangela, I would have had to go through the application process alone, and I definitely would have struggled. Basically, Knox helped me get to graduate school simply by being Knox. My inquiries, both academic and professional, were consistently supported throughout my four years.

At Knox, Jenny was a member of  Alpha Phi Omega (APO) and was a four-year varsity swimmer. She was also a writing tutor for the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). 

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Printed on Monday, July 22, 2024