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Alumni Spotlight: Molly Des Jardin

Field of Study: PhD in Asian Languages and Cultures

Year in Program: 2012

I first worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies, Harvard University, for one year upon graduating. I was the Archive Development Manager for the Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters as part of that role, while also continuing my own research. In this position I served as the technical project manager and liaison to both American and Japanese partners, and traveled to Japan to solidify relationships with current and new potential partners in the archive's efforts.

From 2013, I have been the Japanese Studies Librarian and Liaison for Korean Studies at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. I also am the organizer of a text analysis learning group in the libraries called WORD LAB. In this role I serve as the bibliographer for the Japanese and Korean collections at Penn Libraries and perform collection development for all Japanese- and Korean-language collections, as well as materials related to those countries in English.

I've found academic jobs overall to be extremely hard to procure in East Asian studies fields, especially those that also deal with DH, outside of the tenure track, and I am happily on the alternative academic spectrum instead of that career choice. I feel I've been very lucky to have several jobs open up the year after my postdoc in Japanese Studies librarianship and to have ended up at Penn, a great institution to be working in my first permanent position.

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