"In just around a year and a half from now, I will earn a bachelor’s degree and be the first in my family to do so. Honestly, when I first started college, I often felt like I would never graduate. But with Lorin Jackson serving as my mentor since my second semester, my possibilities have bloomed beyond my wildest dreams.
Lorin, truly and unequivocally, embodies love, care, and accountability. I have never met someone who so unyieldingly advocates for and protects students. As a librarian, Lorin frequently sees students when we are at our lowest, our most vulnerable, and our most desperate. She recognizes us in our humanity and works constantly to create a library environment that will allow us to thrive—both on an academic and personal level. Even now during a pandemic, in which students, faculty, and staff alike are scattered all across the globe, Lorin continues to make themselves accessible and finds creative ways to connect our community.
One experience that particularly attests to Lorin’s commitment to students happened just a few weeks after they became my mentor. I was taking a philosophy course called “Human Rights and Atrocities” and decided to write my final paper arguing for the necessity of reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black folks in the United States. As someone whose own ancestors were enslaved, this paper was deeply personal and something I was determined to put all of my effort into. I mentioned my paper to Lorin and she suggested that we have a planning session to help me organize my argument. During this meeting, Lorin challenged me to think more critically and helped me refine my ideas. Within thirty minutes, I had a solid thesis statement and a thoroughly developed outline.
A week or so after our meeting, my uncle passed suddenly. Grief-stricken, I could barely find the energy to get out of bed, let alone go to class or work on my assignments. My paper that should have only taken two days to write turned into an eight day nightmare. When I felt that I finally had an essentially finished product, I decided to meet with a Writing Associate, assuming they would help me locate lapses of clarity and grammatical errors in my paper. Instead, the Writing Associate I met with told me I needed to change my entire topic; “Reparations just aren’t feasible,” he said. He went on to barrage me with questions clearly beyond the scope of my paper, such as, “How much money would the reparations be?” Ultimately, the Writing Associate made it clear that he did not feel this paper was submittable. Holding back tears, I sat there stunned and defeated. The paper was due in just two days; considering it had taken me eight days to write this allegedly poor paper, and the fact that I had three other final assignments/exams within the next five days, changing my topic was impossible. Feeling totally lost and alone, I texted Lorin, who said they would read over my paper and meet with me the following day to brainstorm next steps.
When I met with Lorin, they told me they were baffled by the Writing Associate’s comments. She told me my argument was strong, organized, and logical; just a few adjustments needed to be made, which would not take more than two or so hours. For the first time in two weeks, I felt my jaw unclench. When the Writing Associate told me my paper was unacceptable, I had known in my heart that was not the truth, but did not feel confident enough in my capabilities as a scholar to trust my intuition more than him. I revealed to Lorin how deeply affected I was by the meeting with the Writing Associate. They named the Writing Associate’s behavior as being unprofessional, harmful, and an inability to separate his personal disagreement with my argument from a fair assessment of my paper. Lorin’s acknowledgment that I was wronged speaks to her consistent validation of students. After my meeting with Lorin, I revised my paper with their suggestions in mind; I received an A on the paper.
I do not want to know how very differently this experience would have gone without Lorin’s voice and support. What I do know is that my meeting with the Writing Associate made me feel like a failure—and that Lorin’s guidance asserted to me that I have capabilities I have yet to realize. Furthermore, since this experience, Lorin has emphasized the importance of self-advocating. If this interaction were to happen now, I would not have sat so quietly. Instead, I would have challenged the Writing Associate’s comments and demanded transparency.
Lorin’s care and commitment throughout this experience is not an isolated occurrence; rather, it is a consistent behavior she has upheld throughout my mentorship. Importantly, I am not the only student, or Swarthmore community member in general, that Lorin has significantly impacted during their time at the College. Those of us who know Lorin know her not just as a librarian, but also as a collaborator, an advocate, and a friend. Behind marginalized college students are marginalized faculty and staff members who work tirelessly to ensure we are not left behind. Lorin Jackson deserves their flowers." - Helen
New Inspiration & Customization
"Lorin puts twists onto ideas that you thought you already had opinions on, only to make you see it in an entirely new light. She is extremely communicative, uses accessible language, is very friendly and easy to talk to. You just simply won't be anxious in working with them, only eager to progress in your work with their support. In our work together, it's always clear that Lorin is forward-thinking, always thinking about where you might want to go with certain ideas in the future. They're always keeping in mind of one's potential, as well as that of our projects. Personally, it helps to remove me from my stubbornness and to encounter new freshness, new processes. Nothing gets left behind, everything that's been said at some point eventually gets honored and held onto. They're not only super open to what you have to say, but also actively tailor resources to you. The way that they've documented info has honestly shown me many new things that I actually want to incorporate in my own business as well, and has me thinking about what I want to do for my clients to help organize and track our work histories together, too. With crediting Lorin, of course. They gently organize things that I didn't even think to organize...and I'm a hardcore Virgo. Through all of the tasks that she fulfills in her services for you, she reminds you of the importance of holding both the past and future in our present. Ultimately, Lorin is very good at their job. Their background truly shows, in everything that they do. It's really lovely to see and interact with."
"Lorin Kingsley, colleague and friend. Lorin and I do not work directly together, but since she came into the tiny world I’ve been working in for 15 years a few years ago, I’ve been inspired and excited by pretty much everything she has accomplished both here and in everything else I know about in her career and her life.
I have had the opportunity to collaborate with her on a special project during pandemic and it was an opportunity our regular work lives may not have intersected on, so that’s one silver lining for this weird world we all live in. It was also an opportunity to work directly with a colleague I’ve been admiring from afar for a few years. If you need guidance professionally I urge you to reach out to Lorin. She is a mentor, an educator, a realist, a librarian, a partner, a woman with a million plus facets that shine all day every day, even when times are tough.
Thanks L for being in my life. I see you and I appreciate you and I am blessed by whatever god(esse)s there be to have ever met you. Let’s keep on keeping on." - Kerry
"Lorin is a thoughtful and exceptional educator and former colleague of mine. They also gave me insightful feedback on some of my academic writing in the past. I highly recommend their services." - Rosie