I am an early-career archivist living in Austin, Texas, focused on responsible collecting and access practices for vulnerable cultural heritage materials. Like so many in Austin, I’m a relatively recent arrival, having moved here in 2013.
I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, in a typical white, middle class, liberal Lutheran home. I attended a Spanish immersion elementary and middle school which exposed me to Latin American culture and history early in life. This background led me to study medieval Spanish history while a student at Macalester College in St. Paul.
Studying abroad in the UK my junior year, I found I was far more passionate about Latin American history. After college I studied Latin American and early modern European history at the University of New Mexico, where I earned a master’s degree in 2013. My research focused on 15th and 16th century travel and contact literature, apocalypticism, and the impact of the Protestant Reformations in the 16th-century New World.
When I came to the UT Austin School of Information in 2015, I planned on training to work with rare books and manuscripts, to complement my research background. I found my work with human rights materials and post-custodial workflows at the Benson Latin American Collection on campus far more compelling, however, and over time my career focus has drifted towards digital preservation and ethically-sound archival practices.
My most notable coursework at the School of Information has encouraged me to think about my work as an archivist in a historicized way. For Dr. Ciaran Trace’s Archival Enterprise II course, I studied how archives have been used and discussed by postmodern scholars in a number of disciplines. This helped me understand archives as more than physical repositories built to serve historians alone. For Dr. Patricia Galloway’s Appraisal and Selection of Records course, I undertook a comprehensive reading of the works of Canadian archivist Terry Cook, who late in life reflected on the need for archivists to take an active role in the entire lifecycle of records in the electronic age. This encouraged me to think about how archivists’ relationship with records must change and adapt according to the circumstances in which those records are created. You can find evidence of these areas of interest in all of my projects.
When I’m not archiving, I’m cooking, watching ’80s B movies, playing soccer, reading, and playing video games.