The Special Collections Research Center blog series "Student Spotlight" features student employees who contribute to the work of the SCRC. Guest author Mollie Frazier, class of 2019, is a graduate East Carolina University student in the Masters of Library Science program. Mollie has worked as a Graduate Student Desk Assistant in the Special Collections Reading Room since August 2018.
Please describe in a sentence or two the work that you do in the Special Collections Research Center.
As a graduate desk assistant, I assist and guide researchers with accessing a wide range of materials while also creating and processing materials that will become a part of the Special Collections.
What has been most interesting to you about your work? What new things have you learned? Have you made any surprising discoveries?
The most interesting part of my work has been learning, first-hand, about the history of NC State and its development from a small agricultural college into the university it is today, and the contributions that the faculty and students have made outside of the school. For example, the most recent collection I processed was the Paul Zia Papers, containing materials about Paul Zia, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, who played a vital role in the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Move of 1999. I was also able to work on the James V. Pomeroy Notebooks from the Philadelphia Textile School that showcased the early days of textiles, which is an important collection for researchers of the textiles school or anyone interested in fashion.
If you met someone who was unfamiliar with archives and special collections, what would you want them to know? What should new researchers know about the work you do?
Archives and special collections are often associated with the stereotype of being unexciting for those that may not be familiar with them, but archives are actually very compelling in that they open doors to moments in history and provide an experience different from just reading about those moments. Starting research into the archives might seem overwhelming, but the SCRC is here to help guide your research. Anyone can ask SCRC staff questions or request materials and research consultations by filling out the SCRC Request Form.
What are you studying, and what do you hope to do in your future career? Has your work in the SCRC changed how you look at your studies or your future career plans in any way?
I recently earned my Masters of Library Science degree through ECU, graduating in December 2019. My work in the SCRC has given me the opportunity to apply what I have learned in my program in real-life situations and has helped me build skills in research assistance, processing, and critical thinking which I will carry with me throughout my career.