Meet your Nominating Chair: Rebecca Petersen May

What jobs have you had in the archival realm?
During my undergraduate work, I had an English professor who required us to use primary sources in Special Collections & Archives. After that semester, I started working in my college archives and loved it. Because of this experience, I was hired at the Library of Congress to work on the LOOK Magazine photo morgue. I continued working in Library of Congress after I graduated and eventually transferred to the American Folklife Center to work on the Veteran's History Project.

I eventually moved to North Carolina to go to graduate school for my MLIS. During library school, I began volunteering at Wake Forest's Special Collections & Archives. I later worked part time and have had a variety of other jobs up to my current role as Public Services Archivist.

What is your educational background?
I did my undergraduate work at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. I got my BA in American Studies with a minor in Art History. I got my MLIS from UNCG.

What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?
I love the outreach work I get to do in my role as Public Services Archivist. We do pop-up exhibits, events and receptions in our Research Room, or even getting into K-12 schools to talk archives. I think the most important part of my job is to assist patrons with using our collections. I work with so many different types of researchers, from undergrads to genealogists. I am an expert on our collections, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the collections with interested researchers.

May pictureTell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.
I have done quite a bit of work with a local 4th grade teacher to expose her students to archives. It is so rewarding to work with young people to show them what types of materials we have, how people might use them, and what an archivist does. I am attaching a picture of me showing the very excited young people a tiny book.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?
I really think a lot of the work you have to put into getting a job and being successful is showing up. Be available, be flexible, and be consistent. These qualities are great for getting started in the profession and will definitely pay off if you work in public services because no day is the same.

Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?
I have been fortunate to have great mentors in the profession. Through SAA, I signed up for a mentor and have had the chance to meet with some great leaders. Honestly, my *extensive* time on the SNCA Board has been a great opportunity for me to learn about the profession, network with people, and take on more and more leadership roles.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?
I am nearing the end of my time on the SNCA Board, so I will recap my past accomplishments. I am happy with my roles on Archives Month, my work as Vice Chair, and my role as President. I am continuing my role as past-president/chair of nominating committee for the third year since our "past-presidents" keep leaving NC! It has been fun to work with this committee for so many years and really grow the slate of nominees and change the way we handle elections. SNCA now does a secret ballot election via email with a competitive slate of candidates. I am proud of this change and hope it continues in the future.

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