Margarita Nafpaktitis, MA in Slavic and East European Studies Class of 1994

Margarita Nafpaktitis

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at Stanford University Libraries as the Curator for Slavic and East European Collections (and Modern Greek).

Tell us how you got there.

I came to Stanford Libraries in 2016 after 5 years as Librarian for Slavic Studies at UCLA.

How has your CSEES MA helped you throughout your post-graduate life?

My CSEES MA was, in retrospect, the ideal preparation for what I do now. Librarians are supposed to know at least something about a lot of things, and the interdisciplinarity of my area studies degree made me a confident generalist within the larger field of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. The historical, political, cultural context I gained by taking a broad range of courses made me a better scholar of literature than I would have been without it, and now, it makes me a better librarian.

What was your focus or research interest when you studied at OSU?

Early 20th-century Russian literature (prose fiction).

If you are a traveler, what is one of your favorite trips you have taken?

Recently, a 3-city collecting trip to Ukraine: Kyiv, Odesa, and Lviv.  Each city has its own distinct character and history, and they’re all wonderful cities for walking in. My job has also provided opportunities to travel to Poland (Warsaw and Wroclaw), Czechia (Prague), Germany (Frankfurt), and Russia (Moscow) for conferences and collecting.

What are your future plans?

It’s kind of hard to think about the future in these times, somehow, isn’t it…? I love my job at Stanford, helping students, researchers, and faculty with their research, along with truly splendid colleagues, and I’d love to still be working there 10, 20 years from now.

What inspires you?

I’m motivated by opportunities to help others achieve their goals. Creativity and wit in pretty much all forms are also energizing (especially in book arts, literature, photography, gastronomy, mixology, music, and sewing). Learning about the ways that other people do good in and for the world (even or especially when it’s difficult and thankless) is also inspiring and keeps me hopeful, even in uncertain and unsettling times like these.


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