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Schlesinger Library Participates in Mosaic Program

Fellowship through the Association of Research Libraries brings in Micha Broadnax for 2014-2015 year

Collage with M. Broadnax and examples from Dorothy West Papers

The Schlesinger Library recognizes the importance of developing diversity among archival professionals, and staff members were pleased to be able to host a Mosaic Fellow during 2014-2015. 
The Association of Research Libraries and the Society of American Archivists co-sponsor a fellowship program for student archivists from underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities. Named the "Mosaic Program," the fellowship provides a tuition stipend, funding for practical work experience in an archival setting, mentoring, and leadership development for a few emerging professionals each year. Mosaic Fellows are matched with archival institutions that match their professional interests. 

Micha Broadnax, a student at the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science, worked at Schlesinger for her fellowship year. After consulting with Broadnax about what she hoped to experience during the fellowship year, staff at the Schlesinger drew up a plan that allowed her to cycle through various departments, working with curators, research services staff, archivists, and most closely with lead archivist Jenny Gotwals. Among her many projects, Broadnax worked on an exhibition committee, added item-level description to digitized materials from the Dorothy West Papers, processed two collections, and identified and researched potential donors.   

"I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn, observe, and collaborate with the Schlesinger community," Broadnax said. “Prior to this experience, besides a 60-hour internship, I had primarily amassed a theoretical understanding of the profession. Through this opportunity, I was able to make connections between my coursework and archival practices. I had people like Jenny who I could ask questions about archival norms, ethics, researcher interests, workplace culture, and effectively organizing information.” 

Gotwals coordinated the fellowship and worked closely with Broadnax. "I was so pleased to take part in this opportunity,” said Gotwals. “We usually interact with student archivists as paraprofessional workers, or in short-term internships. Micha's fellowship meant she was an integral part of the staff for an entire year. This allowed her time to learn enough about different archival functions to discover whether or not they were appealing. She developed expertise in a number of areas, and was also an enthusiastic addition to our staff." 

Although her fellowship year has come to an end, the Schlesinger Library reports that Broadnax will return in the fall to work with the Research Services team during her final semesters at Simmons. 

“I truly believe this opportunity afforded me the perfect launching point as a developing professional," Broadnax noted.
Article written by Jenny Gotwals.