What is your educational background?
I have an MA in Public History from North Carolina State University and an MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to pursuing my graduate degrees, I double majored in History and Media and Journalism from the UNC-Chapel Hill. Before attending graduate school, I worked at a television station in Raleigh and an apartment community in Durham.
What jobs have you had in the archival realm?
As a graduate student, I processed archival collections at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After I graduated, I became the Head of Technical Services for the Duke University Medical Center Archives. In 2013, I became a Special Collections Librarian for the University Libraries at UNC-Chapel Hill, specializing in the history of the health sciences.
What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is consulting with researchers and making them aware of the vast resources available in the history of the health sciences, both at UNC and at other institutions. I also think this is the most important part of my job, since there's no point in collecting and preserving materials if no one is aware of them and no one uses them.
Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.
I am proud that my colleagues work together to make sure we are doing the best we can to provide access to our collections, including evaluating and changing established procedures. Our profession is changing, and sometimes decisions that made sense years ago don't make sense today. Change can be hard, but well thought out changes usually pay off in the end.
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?
My advice is to get involved in professional organizations such as SNCA. It’s a great way to network and build your resume. Don’t be intimidated to join committees or run for positions. Many professional organizations heavily rely on their members to serve on committees to plan events, set policies, etc. – those organizations can’t exist without you! I also encourage new professionals to apply for scholarships, such as SNCA’s C. David Jackson Memorial Scholarship. Organizations want to award this money to make conference attendance and participation easier for its members. The worst thing that can happen to you if you apply is that you don’t win.
I also encourage new professionals to keep an open mind about their careers. Many people have asked me if I have always been interested in the history of the health sciences. The answer is NO! I have now worked in this subject area for almost 12 years, and I am glad that I was willing to venture into a subject area that was unfamiliar to me at the time I applied for my first full-time professional position.
Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?
There are numerous people throughout North Carolina who have shaped my professional outlook. In addition to mentors, professors, and colleagues at NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Duke, I have been influenced by SNCA members throughout the state. Some of these key people no longer live in North Carolina and I rarely see them, but I hold on to the nuggets of wisdom that they passed on to me.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?
I have served on various SNCA committees since 2004 and have seen the organization change and grow during that time. I took a break from serving on SNCA committees for several years and missed being involved in the organization. I am now looking forward to planning the 2019 SNCA Annual Meeting in Wilmington and helping to guide SNCA into the next decade.