Rae Enzie ’22MS Lands Fellowship with the Library of Congress
I love that leadership and management skills are part of the curriculum alongside technical skills, like learning specific standards and best practices. A good archivist needs all of these to be successful, regardless of their specific institution.
What led you to pursue an archives management degree?
During my undergraduate program at the University of Connecticut, I got the chance to work with the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department. I worked on three different projects using the Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection during my time at UConn, including creating an informational video, an interactive traveling exhibit, and compiling data for the project database. Examples of my work with the collection can be found on my website.
It made me rethink my career path. I knew that I wanted to be involved in the library, archives, and museums (LAMs) field, doing outreach like exhibits and social media videos, and doing preservation and accessibility work like database management and digitization. This interest led me to the archives concentration at the School of Library and Information Science.
How did you land your fellowship with the Library of Congress?
I heard about the fellowship on Twitter and again through the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences Jobline. I saw a few projects related to digital media and digitization, so I decided to apply. I did a phone interview for the National Book Festival project and was chosen to be a Junior Fellow along with one other student. The program was completely online through June and July.
I really enjoyed the online experience, as it made it much more accessible than moving to Washington, DC for two months, which allowed for a more diverse group of fellows. I wish I had toured the Library of Congress facilities in person, but I hope to make a trip sometime soon and reconnect with my contacts!
What were your projects?
My main deliverable for the fellowship was an audit of the authors and presenters that attended the 2021 Book Festival. I collected information about what social media platforms different people were on and metrics like follower count and post frequency. I then put together a brief that summarized the trends I saw in the data and gave suggestions about where the library's social media and marketing team should focus their efforts.
I also got to be a part of the weekly planning meetings for the book festival and contributed to brainstorming about festival themes, website layouts, and color schemes for the various digital aspects of the festival. This year's festival was hybrid, with some in-person events, but the majority online — many live streams and videos are still available on the event website.
What did you learn about yourself from this experience?
I learned a lot about how I work, particularly as part of a large institution. The National Book Festival is one of their biggest outreach events, and it required collaboration across multiple departments. I discovered what kind of leadership and direction I need to be successful as part of that kind of team and gained confidence in my ability to work independently on a large project.
What leadership skills have you learned at Simmons?
The focus on hands-on learning and collaborative projects has helped me develop my skills in organizing and leading team projects. I take on the role of "team leader" when I can and love to keep things organized and on track to meet deadlines.
I'm currently enrolled in LIS 442, “Establishing Archives and Manuscript Programs,” and I’m glad this class is a required part of the archives track at Simmons. I love that leadership and management skills are part of the curriculum alongside technical skills, like learning specific standards and best practices. A good archivist needs all of these to be successful, regardless of their specific institution.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to use my digital media skills and archival skills, and would love to be a part of digitization projects, as well as projects focused on the preservation of born-digital records. I'm open to any collection focus and love learning new things by working with records about the topic, though I am particularly passionate about LGBTQ+ and Jewish collections. I'd also love the chance to work with game collections, as my focus in my undergraduate program was on game design, and I’m interested in games as an art form and as a cultural medium.