When I first started Knowledge River, I was excited and unsure at the same time. I had just resigned from my somewhat steady job as a teacher to pursue a Master's Degree at a much larger university than I was accustomed (my undergraduate degree is from Northern Arizona University). I did not know what to expect, but was fairly certain I could handle the work load since I was used to late nights and never-ending piles of papers to grade. Graduate school is a lot of work, but it is enjoyable. When it is not as fun, I have my cohort for support. Also, I remind myself that the experience I am gaining will only aid in my goal of working for my tribe, the Tohono O'odham Nation, one day.
I am lucky enough to have my Graduate Assistantship in the University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections with now 3 other Knowledge River Scholars. I have learned a great deal about archiving. When we first started, it was daunting. We are responsible for curating a life's work recorded primarily in paper. What if I misfiled a paper or labeled it improperly? Thankfully, Special Collections has many supportive individuals who are willing to answer questions and provide guidance. Debbie Weller, the Space Science Collection Guru, has been especially helpful with a Lunar Planetary Astronomer's collection I was assigned to process. I have also worked on parts of collections and have seen work at different stages. I have finished the processing the Photographs and Papers of Paul M. Roca and currently am assisting in the completion of processing the Black Sparrow Press collection. We have had the knowledge and experience of Trent Purdy and Roger Myers to guide us in our many questions. My direct supervisor, Maurita Baldock has been our teacher in so many ways and has always been willing to help us despite being incredibly busy. The Special Collections are more than papers and books, the people who work there are the true Special Collections.