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Meet your Vice President/Program Chair: Stephanie Bennett

17 Dec 2021 11:38 | Courtney Bailey (Administrator)

What jobs have you had in the archival realm?

I started out as an intern and assistant at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute's library when I was in graduate school. Since then, I have worked at a few academic institutions in roles that were at least in part processing archivist positions. I have been the Collections Archivist at Wake Forest University since 2015, where I work with materials at nearly every point in their lifecycles.

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelor's degree in English with minors in International Studies and Politics - I thought I might go into the foreign service. oops. And I received my master's in library and information science with an archives management specialization from Simmons College SLIS, in Boston.

What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?

I like writing descriptions, finding aids, metadata, blog posts - all of it. Right out of undergrad, I was a research analyst and got used to writing long reports. I still enjoy sitting down to write, long or short. I also happen to think description is some of the most important work I do, to make things accessible to researchers. I always work with users in mind!

Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.

I have been in my current position for seven years and am thrilled to see, every time I walk through our stacks or look at our website, how much we've accomplished. More finding aids available online, many more materials in our digital collections, more materials properly housed, more students taught about primary sources. Seeing the progress that my team has accomplished is wonderful.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?

I always recommend getting a job (or volunteer gig if you want to keep your current job) in or adjacent to libraries, to see what libraries and archives, and library and archives workers, are like before committing to the profession. Also look at job ads, especially in areas you would like to live, as you are thinking about getting a degree: what work sounds interesting and fits with your skill sets? Lastly, I highly recommend making friends in the field as you begin working or school - peer mentors have been as valuable as more traditional mentors in my professional (and personal!) life. 

Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?

Colleagues, at every one of my jobs - service jobs, part-time work, internships, all my archives gigs - have helped me grow in a variety of ways. Between customer service handling, writing conventions, and my management style, I can thank my former coworkers for helping me build useful and important skills. I also have been affected by the pandemic, certainly; my priorities have shifted in these months of upheaval and change across the world and has helped temper aspects of my work life.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?

I aim to support NC archives workers and bring us together in meaningful ways. So much is in transition right now, and what I can do is support our visibility and education in a time of evolution. Thanks to SNCA's volunteer committees and members for your contributions to this community -- the executive board wouldn't be here without you!

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