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Ingrid Ruffin: Student Success Librarian, New Home Owner, Veteran

Ingrid RuffinAt UT: Ingrid Ruffin, the student success librarian for first-year programs, has been at UT since 2012. She began her career at UT as a diversity librarian resident. She quickly recognized ways she could improve students’ success through her position with UT Libraries, and she now develops and provides leadership for innovative initiatives as UT Libraries’ liaison to First-Year Studies. For example, she developed the UT Libraries Breakout Game—which consists of riddles, clues, and puzzles similar to escape room games—to give first-year students an active learning experience that engaged them in the services and spaces of the library.

Why she chose this field: Ruffin joined the Air Force after completing two years of undergraduate courses at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She served for six years and was stationed in South Carolina, Iceland, and Germany. “I really enjoyed helping and serving people, and the military taught me that,” she said. After completing her service, Ruffin returned to UNC Greensboro to complete her bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degrees in English and in library and information studies.

“I had no intention of ever being a librarian until I sat down and talked with a real librarian,” she said. “Being a librarian is not about sitting with books and shushing people all day. Being a librarian is about serving, helping, and connecting people.”

Outside interests: Ruffin recently purchased a home and said she is passionate about making it her own. “I love HGTV and home décor,” she said. “I love when all my knickknacks and doodads are organized and displayed. It makes me feel at home!”

She brings flair into her job, too. “I paint the wall outside Starbucks and try to incorporate art and creativity into my First-Year Studies courses.”

Favorite book: Ruffin’s favorite book is the Bible. “The Bible is important because it stands as a work of literature that has influenced virtually every Western culture, even if you are not reading it for spiritual guidance,” she said. “I personally read the Bible for spiritual guidance as well. So the value of the Bible is twofold for me.”

If I didn’t do this, I’d: “Be a writer, an entrepreneur, or any profession that would let me be my own boss and work from home.”

One last thing: Ruffin is an introvert despite having a job that requires constant interaction with people. “I love my job, but if I had it to do all over again, I would choose a profession that would allow me to spend most of my time at home,” she said. “If someone told me I won a week-long all-expense-paid vacation or a week of being home alone not having to answer my phone or emails, I’d pick the week at home in a heartbeat.”

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