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Past to future

Spring graduates discover academic next steps in Memorial's archives

special feature: Student Success 2019

Part of a special feature celebrating the success of Memorial's graduates. This feature coincides with spring 2019 convocation ceremonies.

By Kristine Power

When they aren’t shifting through boxes of old photos, fragile handwritten letters and other artifacts, two new spring graduates are planning their next academic adventure: graduate programs in archival studies.

Michaela Doucette started her Memorial University journey thinking she would one day be a speech pathologist. That was before she started working in the Archives and Special Collections Division at the Queen Elizabeth II Library as a MUCEP student.

“If I didn’t get a job in the archives, I wouldn’t have changed my major to history,” she said.

“For the past two years, I have been working on the Watts family collection – mainly a correspondence from 1830 to the early 1900s from Harbour Grace, Carbonear, and the Bay Roberts area. I grew up in Bay Roberts and I feel connected just by looking at . . . the history through family letters.”

This fall, Ms. Doucette will head to the University of British Columbia to do a master’s degree in archival studies; she is interested in Newfoundland and Labrador history, particularly Indigenous history.

‘First-hand experience’

Matthew Keels, also a history major, will be attending the University of Toronto this fall to begin a master of information degree, with a specialization in archives and records management.

Feature image
From left are Matthew Keels and Michaela Doucette in the Queen Elizabeth II Library.
Photo: Submitted

“My favourite thing about working with the archives is the first-hand experience with items of historical value and knowing they will be preserved for people to interact with in the future,” said Mr. Keels.

“Processing the audio-visual material of the Rick Mercer Report was also great. There is a lot of variety in working with the archives and you never know what may come in.”

Colleen Quigley, head, Archives and Special Collections, says the students demonstrated hard work and dedication to their jobs while employed in the archives.

“We could not be more delighted to watch Matt and Michaela’s academic interest in history expand into a professional vocation in their years as student assistants here in the Archives and Special Collections,” she said. “We know that they will make fabulous archivists and have bright futures ahead.”

Ms. Doucette and Mr. Keels picked up their bachelor of arts degrees during spring convocation on May 28 at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.

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