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‘Such a learning experience’

Archival research fosters BA graduate's love of N.L. history

special feature: Student success

Part of a special feature celebrating the success of Memorial's graduates. This feature coincides with spring convocation 2017.

By Jeff Green

A chance opportunity to work in the Archives and Special Collections unit in Memorial’s Queen Elizabeth II Library strengthened Amanda Humber’s passion for this province’s history—so much so she’s now considering a career in archives.

Ms. Humber graduated May 31 with her bachelor of arts degree with a major in English and a minor in French. She says being able to complete research in her “most favourite place at Memorial,” was an eye-opening experience.

Expanding her knowledge

“I learned so many things through this position,” she said in an interview with the Gazette. “I even took a history course and read a few books to try to expand my knowledge on what I was holding in my hands and seeing at work. I have learned more about Newfoundland and Labrador history than I have ever known working at the archives this past year.”

Originally from Norris Point, N.L., a scenic picturesque community on the province’s West Coast, Ms. Humber completed her first two years of studies at Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook before moving to St. John’s. During her time at Memorial, she has enjoyed studying classic authors and works of literature while taking part in immersion programs in Quebec, enhancing her comprehension and knowledge of French. She’s even learned to play the violin.

In addition to working in the Archives and Special Collections unit, Amanda Humber also plays violin. She graduates with her BA on May 31.
In addition to working in the Archives and Special Collections unit, Amanda Humber also plays violin.
Photo: Submitted

Love of N.L. heritage

But, she noted, her time in the archives reinforced her love of Newfoundland and Labrador’s heritage. She was lucky to land three separate Memorial Undergraduate Career Experience Program (MUCEP) placements working in the facility, spanning from January 2015-April 2016. She credits archivist Linda White with being a tremendous mentor, helping guide her through various research assignments.

“There are no words to describe how I felt when working on the First World War project.” — Amanda Humber

“The projects I encountered were very challenging but most rewarding since a student like me could hold and view the documents and artifacts passed through the hands of such individuals as the soldiers of the First World War,” noted Ms. Humber.

“There are no words to describe how I felt when working on the First World War project. Focusing on each medal, death penny, portrait and letter and then searching The Rooms’ online database for these individual’s attestation papers, trying to match each face to their story, was an incredible experience.”

Ms. Humber crossed the stage during the 10 a.m. session of spring convocation at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre on May 31.

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