When I began this program, I was working 9 to 5 in a job that, although it provided benefits and a reliable source of income, lacked creativity and left me feeling that something was missing. As an undergraduate I’d taken an introductory course to archival science, and, although it took me several years to act on it, a career in the archival field was my calling. I applied for San Jose State’s MARA program just minutes after reading about it, and was elated when I was notified I’d been accepted into the program.
The joy of my first two courses in the MARA program inspired me to leave my full-time job so that I could volunteer at the Maine Historical Society for practical, hands-on experience. I’ve worked hard to put into practice what I’ve learned in the program, and I believe that this combination of coursework and volunteering earned me a place as a summer intern at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and, more recently, a position as a Project Archivist for MHS.
Processing is my strongest area of expertise; I am meticulous in my work and craft detailed finding aids of which I am very proud. Processing is my favorite part of archival work, and, professionally, I want nothing more than to work with historic collections. Processing historical collections is my chance to make a contribution to the preservation of history. Through the various pieces of evidence presented for each competency, I hope that I have demonstrated my proficiency in the various elements of processing, including arrangement, preservation, and the creation of finding aids.
Other strengths that I believe I have honed during this program include professional writing and performing research. The caliber of my writing samples should support my assertion that writing is indeed one of my strengths. The depth and quality of research performed for various papers submitted in the e-Portfolio should prove that I am capable of performing research in an archival setting.
My sincere respect for the past drives my desire to excel at all archive work I take on. I’ve written two articles for MHS’s blog about collections I have processed. The first article prompted members of the organization founded by the collection’s subject to purchase the rights to a photograph in the collection. The second article moved the son of the collection creator to the point that he had no words – from a poet laureate, that is high praise. The MARA program has pushed me to work harder than I ever have, and it has inspired me to dream larger and brighter dreams for my future.
To ensure that my professional goals are met, I plan to pursue a career in an archive with strong ties to an historic agency, such as a museum, research library, or historical society. I am a firm believer in continuing one’s education and will seek out scholarly publications that will keep me up-to-date on the latest archival techniques, theories, best practices, news, and events. I am currently a member of the Society of American Archivists and the Maine Museum and Archives Association, both from which I receive monthly publications, which keep me abreast of archival news and events in the archival community. In a few years it may be necessary for me to work on a post-graduate certificate to keep a competitive edge for job opportunities.
In conclusion, I want to thank my professors and the administrators of the MARA program. It has been a privilege to learn from such talented and inspirational people. Kinder, more patient, more knowledgeable representatives of the archival community could not be found – thank you for all of your support and guidance over the past three years!