Tanya Cothran '09

Library and Information Science

If you’re able to put together a well-designed survey and analyze the outcome, you’ll be able to evaluate and justify your work, no matter what field you’re in.

Deciding on an Area of Study

Tanya Cothran came to the Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) Program at St. Catherine with a background in public libraries. "I’d always loved libraries and reading," she said.

About two-thirds of the way through the program, however, Tanya shifted her focus to nonprofit international development — an area she was working in while at St. Kate's.

Building Experience

She continued on the MLIS path, but tailored her coursework toward skills to best fit her new career interests: public relations, research methods and academic library management. Tanya landed an internship through the MLIS program, which further honed her skills in areas such as web design and wiki software.

Today

She continued her journey to become the executive administrator at Spirit in Action, an international micro-grant organization that supports community organizations and individuals in Africa. While her position may not at first sound like a library and information science career, she found parallels between the two.

"I am the only employee at Spirit in Action," notes Tanya, who splits family time between Toronto, Ontario, and Santa Cruz, California. "So, in some ways, it’s a very similar experience to small-town librarians or corporate librarians who are responsible for their own time management and planning."

Her advice for current students: Take the research methods class. "If you’re able to put together a well-designed survey and analyze the outcome, you’ll be able to evaluate and justify your work," she says. "No matter what field you’re in."

She encourages students to be active in student groups, such as the MLIS Student Governance Organization, or by attending department events. "These really gave me a sense of how things worked and made me feel like an active player in my education," she noted.