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On-Campus Jobs Lead to Professional Development

Posted by Erin McCoy on Jun 2, 2015 2:00:00 PM

My teaching faculty colleagues have offered examples of active learning through travel courses, recently to Ireland and Washington, DC. As a non-teaching faculty member, but one who supervises students in a work environment, I have the opportunity to help students grow professionally and think about what they want to do in that dark space after graduation known as “the future.”

This past March, I took my Archives Project Manager, Leslie Graham, and two undergraduate history majors, Hannah Pepper (16) and Maegan Bourne (15) with me to the annual meeting of the New England Archivists, which was held in Boston. Hannah and Maegan have both worked with me in the ENC Archives, processing materials such as faculty papers, correspondence, and photographs, and have expressed interested in pursuing work in the archives field. This job experience in the ENC Archives is part of what led Maegan to an internship at the Adams National Historic Park (read her blog chronicling her semester there) and the conference in Boston seemed a perfect time to introduce both students to the professional world of archivists, public historians, and museum curators.

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This year’s NEA meeting (check #maracnea15) was particularly memorable because our regional organization held a joint meeting with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference. This more than doubled the number of attendees and exposed our group to professionals from Maine to Virginia. It was a joy to split up during workshops and then meet back for lunch to discuss what we had learned andhow to apply it to our specific context- a little like teaching my little chicks to fly. We took the train into Boston together, attended the plenary together and the first session, then slowly my students gained confidence, went to workshops they found interesting, and began to network with individuals whose work they enjoyed. Both students, when interviewed for a Veritas article on the conference, talked about the way attending the conference showed them how they have acquired skills in a professional field, not just skills that end in a paycheck. It is exciting to mentor students as they realize the difference between a job and a vocation, or a life calling.

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ENC is part of a Boston community that attracts these kinds of professional meetings, where one can stay updated on the research and best practices in one’s field and continue to grow in one’s profession. I appreciate the support ENC provides to include students in these professional experiences and gives them a taste of career options and guidance as they think “what’s next for me?”

Written by Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy (MLIS) is the Librarian for Instruction and Digital Media at Nease Library. She also supervises the work in the ENC Archives, which collects and mains the history of the college. Erin enjoys librarianship because of the variety that is inherent in the job. In one day’s work she can teach students how to find relevant information for an assignment, update the library website, meet with faculty about new technologies, and plan library events. It is a profession dedicated to life-long learning, which is why Erin is excited to come to work every day.

Topics: Internship and Job Opportunities, Boston and Quincy Opportunities