M.A. in Public History and Master of Library Science - Alumnus
Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?
I chose to go to IUPUI because I am from Indianapolis and it offers great programs for graduate students. I also work full time for the Indianapolis Public Library so I was really attracted to the online graduate Library Science program.
What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?
My final paper for Public History was accepted as part of a panel presentation in January for the annual American Historical Association conference. I am ready to present because of all of the support I receive from my professors throughout the whole process of getting the proposal accepted to providing feedback on my presentation. My research focuses on an intersectional history of Indianapolis exploring the drag queen performers in popular jazz clubs along Indiana Avenue from the 1930s well into the 1970s. I really enjoy doing the research and uncovering the lives of these hidden figures which add value to the diverse history of Indianapolis.
Also, I will travel to Brazil to present a poster for the International Federation of Public History this summer. I am excited to explore and take advantage of the professional conferences and participating in them. It is a great way to network and meet other professionals in the field. My poster is in collaboration with another history grad at Howard University. This poster details how public historians can call upon the help of international volunteer organizations, like the Peace Corps, to assist in gathering information for their research. Many Peace Corps volunteers receive course credit for their service and are integrated members in their communities. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, I assisted an oral historian on her research with Afro-Paraguayan women. As a trusted member of the community, I was able to introduce her to my contacts and she seamlessly conducted her interviews now part of a published book. I think this process can be replicated in many other ways.
What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?
I really enjoy living close to downtown where I can ride my bike to class and work. I am from Indianapolis so it has been a great experience seeing the city grow in many ways. There are a lot of things to do from tasty restaurants, to art shows and museums. I really enjoy the diverse restaurants popping up along West 38th Street.
Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.
I am the current president of Association of Library and Information Science Students (ALISS). I really enjoy leading this group because we come up with really fun activities that we can do together and relax and develop relationships with future professionals in the field. My research has spanned both fields of study on the library science side as well as the public history side. I was a research assistant for my professor in library school to determine how professional researchers are gathering their information. This is not the most glamorous study to take part in unless you are a library professional figuring out ways to make information more accessible to those who need it. So it is warming to know that I contributed in a small way to the advancement of knowledge in library science.
I worked on various exciting local history projects and even held an internship last semester in the Butler University Archives. I must say that there is nothing comparable to the hands-on experience gained at internships or shadowing someone in the field of your interest. I will add that also finding a mentor in your field is very important while in grad school. My mentor is Nichelle Hayes, the director of the Center for Black Literature and Culture for the Indianapolis Public Library and she is encouraging even when I think grad school is too hard, she pushes me to go a little further. And now I can finally see the finish line!