Student Kevin Dompier wanted to work in archives, but found his bachelor’s in history didn’t give him the experience and credentials that potential employers require.
So shortly after graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2009, he started looking for a master’s program that would help him meet employers’ requirements. In an Internet search for degrees in archives, he found our school’s Master of Archives and Records Administration (MARA) program.
The fully online program was perfect for him because he works full time. Not having to relocate was another plus. Dompier started the MARA program in fall 2011, and completed his degree in May 2014.
Now looking for a job, he hopes to work either in a government archives or a private one such as a university. Dompier completed an internship during the spring 2014 term at the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.
As an intern, Dompier created and updated finding aids, and helped process collections. To gain experience working the reference desk, he asked to shadow the reference desk archivist, helping the public with tasks like finding microfilm.
Dompier also worked as a graduate student assistant for Dr. Patricia Franks in fall 2013, helping with the school’s Virtual Center for Archives and Records Administration (VCARA) in Second Life. “I planned activities and conducted orientations, coming up with the topic for the 2014 VCARA conference,” he said. Although Dompier only worked as a student assistant for one semester, he volunteered his time on the project during spring 2014 to add some continuity to the program.
Once he’s worked for a while as an archivist, Dompier wants to take the exam to become a Certified Archivist. “That’s one of my main goals,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to get my foot in the door.”
“Jason Kaltenbacher. He recently received his Certified Records Manager (CRM) designation, but it’s the way that he teaches. He helps the students along. If we have something that needs improvement, he’ll tell us and direct us in the way we should go but lets us do the work. His teaching style gets me to think a little more critically than I would have, so that helps me to understand the course material that he’s teaching.”
“Definitely networking, and not passing up any opportunities you get, whether as a student or when you’re working in the field. If you have the opportunity to go out and participate in something, do it.”
“You should be comfortable with a computer and know more than just the basics. The archives field has really gone into the electronic area in the last seven years. So the archivist needs to know more about how the computer operates and programs. You need to be proficient in Microsoft Office. We use Excel and Access a lot in my internship.”
Arizona Archives Summit, Tempe, Arizona, January 2014