The Special Collections Research Center blog series "Student Spotlight" features student employees who contribute to the work of the SCRC. Guest author Wykila Chavis, class of 2019, is an undergraduate NC State student majoring in Psychology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and minoring in Forensic Science in the College of Sciences. Wykila has worked as a Student Desk Assistant in the Special Collections Reading Room since May 2018.
Please describe in a sentence or two the work that you do in the Special Collections Research Center.
I assist researchers with various materials that they’ve previously requested online for their research. I also work on different processing projects, helping to organize or update existing 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 aspect of working in Special Collections is the material that I’ve helped to process. I worked on a project titled “Turtle Rescue Team Records.” The purpose of this team was to help release rehabilitated turtles back into the wild. This was a fun and interesting project because the turtles had funny names like “Ice Pak” and “Crunch”. Before this project, the only species of turtles that I knew existed were snapping turtles. Working on this project taught me about so many other species of turtles.
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?
Upon meeting someone that was unfamiliar with archives and special collections, I would want them to know about the many resources that we offer, and that the process to begin doing research in Special Collections is very simple. You first fill out a request form for the materials you’re hoping to research, and then you get an email when your materials are ready. During your first visit to Special Collections, you need to fill out a registration form. After these steps are completed, you’re free to conduct your research.
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 am studying psychology with a minor in forensic science. After graduation I plan to apply to graduate school to pursue my Masters in Criminology. Beyond this I will work towards my Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. My ultimate career goal is to perform psychological evaluations on prisoners.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work with the SCRC?
I have truly enjoyed working at SCRC. I have had the opportunity to meet a ton of really amazing people. Jennifer Baker, Clara Wilson, and Cathy Dorin-Black all made my experience in Special Collections enjoyable, and for that I’m forever grateful.