Susan Birnbaum Fisher, MSLIS ’13, is a senior information architect and UX designer at a global digital and technology services company where she specializes in organizing knowledge within digital information spaces. Her work combines her love of art, archiving, and user experience design. She previously managed the photography production, web content, and archiving of a nonprofit. 

Fisher enrolled in the School of Information to further her understanding of archiving as a field before discovering what would become her career focus: information architecture. She made her first contribution to Pratt for Giving Day 2022 and has since provided ongoing support. For Giving Day, she shared how Pratt introduced her to influential mentors, gave her essential real-world experience, and ultimately shaped her professional journey.

What inspired you to make your first contribution to Pratt on Giving Day 2022?

I owe my entire career to Pratt, so I wanted to give back to all that Pratt has given me. I have a background in art/design/photography, and I initially aimed for a career in magazines or publishing. However, after college, I found myself drawn to exploring new opportunities. I had a strong interest in organization and design, then enrolled at Pratt to be on the archivist track, but it was an information architecture class that made me shift my entire direction. Pratt provided the direction and inspiration I needed, which is why I felt compelled to give back to the institution that shaped my professional journey.

How did your Pratt education influence your career development, particularly in becoming an Information Architect and UX Designer?

I went to Cornell for undergrad and majored in art history. Since childhood, I’ve always been into art and design, so I wanted an academic side that would also incorporate those interests. After college, I worked at a non-profit, managing their photo archives, which involved working with photographers, hiring, and organizing materials. This allowed me to combine my love for organizing and visuals. Seven years later, I decided to go back to grad school, as the desire had been brewing over the years. I wasn’t satisfied with my current work situation, so going back to school made me happy. Though I was on the archivist track at Pratt, I decided to take an information architecture class on the course list, and it was the second day of class when I realized, “This is what I want to do.” While I pursued an advanced certificate in archives, information architecture and usability ultimately became my focal areas.

What are some memorable moments from your time at Pratt that significantly impacted your career or personal development?

Information Architecture and Usability were two courses largely led by the late Professor David Walcyzk. Professor Walcyzk was an animated, talented, and dedicated instructor who made us fall in love with information architecture and recognize the importance of usability. Under his mentorship, we gained invaluable real-world work experience by collaborating with external clients. This meant engaging directly with clients, preparing deliverables, and presenting our work. The hands-on experience of working with real clients allowed us to apply our classroom knowledge in a practical setting which was incredibly beneficial on our resumes and in our careers. Following graduation, I landed a role with a design agency, which ultimately changed hands into a tech services company.

How has Pratt remained a part of your life since graduation, and how do you stay connected with the Pratt community today?

The Information Architecture/UX community is pretty connected, with people who have worked together evolving in their career paths and branching out into different areas. A lot of us are connected through past work experiences, the people we know, and chains of connection. I’ve worked with people I went to Pratt with on different projects, and we also help each other with industry knowledge. We ask if anyone has done something similar or if they have an example of their work. We bounce knowledge off each other and even share information about open positions. Some individuals have become leaders in their fields, and some have even become professors now. It’s important to stay updated and connected with the knowledge shared within the community.

School of Information Dean Anthony Cocciolo was my digital archives professor at the time. Everyone at Pratt is truly knowledgeable in their field. In the UX field, it’s become common for people to try to enter the job market after taking some design intensives or attending a UX bootcamp, but they’re missing the clinical knowledge that you gain at a place like Pratt, where you can delve into deep research and be immersed in a rich environment.

Being in the age of the Internet and Artificial Intelligence, there’s been a decline in scholarly research, so UX and library studies play a crucial role in maintaining information literacy and promoting the responsible use of information. It’s really important to know how to research and know what information to look for and rely upon.

Pratt having a field of study in information architecture and UX is so important for today’s world so that we can continue to build digital spaces that make important knowledge accessible to those who need it. This field offers courses and tools to those who aspire to do that, so it’s important to sustain Pratt so it can continue to offer all that it does. This is why I want to make sure these programs are still available by giving back and supporting Pratt. Supporting Pratt is vital to ensure the continuation of these programs for the future. 

Join the Pratt community on 3.20.24 for Giving Day! For 24 hours, we will dedicate attention to supporting student scholarships, programs, and experiences that make Pratt special. Visit