Laura Ryan

Media Assistant, Humanities Film Office
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Award presented by
Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart

2017 MIT Excellence Awards + Collier Medal ceremony

The next recipient of the Serving the Client award is Laura Ryan. MIT has an extremely strong and influential humanities program. In fact, it has been ranked in the top three worldwide. That excellence is because of people like Laura Ryan.

As the media assistant for the Humanities Film Office, Laura is tasked with scheduling film screenings and managing the server that holds and makes MIT’s vast archive of films accessible.  But Laura saw those responsibilities merely as the foundation for a more impactful role. She is by heart and by training an archivist.  And she has transformed MIT’s basic film collection into a rich and invaluable scholarly resource.

An archive is only as good as its searchability,” one of her nominators wrote, “and Laura has revolutionized ours. She has created a sophisticated searchable database, allowing faculty not just to pull up the films they need, but to encounter materials that they did not realize existed. The scholarly value to students is enormous. The Film Office has evolved into a pivotal source of discovery. Film courses are more robust and more illuminating—all because of Laura Ryan.”

Let’s congratulate Laura on her Excellence Award!