Jennifer Skarbek Interns at the Kennedy Presidential Library

November 08, 2017

Jennifer Skarbek

Jennifer shares her thoughts on her Simmons SLIS experience.

Why did you choose Simmons? 

Simmons School of Library & Information Science (SLIS) has one of the highest rated and well-known archives programs in the country. Simmons really cares about its students and a strong community exists in the SLIS program. Also, the great city of Boston was a deciding factor for me. There's always something to do here and the great activist communities and neighborhoods nearby Simmons really drew me in. There’s a diverse culture that’s celebrated throughout the city, and especially celebrated on the Simmons campus, which creates an environment that I feel comfortable in and proud to be a part of.

What was your favorite course and why?

So far my favorite courses are LIS 438 Introduction to Archival Methods and Services and LIS 440 Archives Access and Use. I came into the program with very minimal knowledge of how archives operated, so LIS 438 was a nice introduction to all aspects of archives management and the profession. LIS 438 includes an internship, an opportunity for hands-on experience in the archives field. LIS 440 was essentially the next step from LIS 438; each assignment replicated the day-to-day work of an archivist, which made the assignments interesting and fun for me!

Tell us about your internship experience. 

The archives concentration requires a 60-hour internship toward the beginning of your course work, through LIS 438 Introduction to Archival Methods and Services. I completed my 60 hours at Bunker Hill Community College in their relatively recently formed college archive. This internship is meant to focus mainly on the processing aspect of archives, so that’s primarily what I worked on during my internship with BHCC. My coursework at Simmons also gave me the skills and experience to get an additional paid internship outside of those required for graduation. As an intern at the Kennedy Presidential Library, I’ve found that most of the assignments in the program directly relate to the work of archival professionals, which allows me to easily take what I’ve learned and apply it at my internship.

How did you balance work and classes?

While it certainly is difficult to balance busy schedules, it definitely can be done. I currently have an internship, a part-time office job and work as a part-time nanny while going to school full-time. Even though I have a lot going on, I make sure to schedule in a few hours a week that I can dedicate to completing assignments. I sometimes even schedule an hour or two per day to work on an assignment to spread out my workload. Google Calendar is my best friend and I write in the times that I want to spend on homework. This ensures that I don’t overbook myself and maintain my sanity, while also holding me accountable for completing assignments and using my time efficiently and effectively. I often complete my reading assignments for classes during my commute.  

What is one piece of advice you would give to an incoming student?

Take time to take care of yourself! Graduate school is stressful and fitting it into your already hectic schedule can be draining. Take the time to tend to your physical and mental health. For me, that includes making sure I give myself enough time to relax and recharge.