iSchool Alumnus Ready to Navigate the Vast Archival Field

Community Profile

“I love the fact that all of my professors have experience in the field, whether it’s records administration or the archival field. They help me understand what experiences they bring to the program and how I could eventually apply it to my future career.”

Nikolay Zherebnenkov
MARA Alumnus Graduated 2017
Castro Valley, California

With skills learned in the MARA program and an archival internship, Nikolay Zherebnenkov is prepared for a career as an archivist.

As the first person in his family with the chance to go to graduate school, recent San José State University School of Information alumnus Nikolay Zherebnenkov always felt that he had a responsibility to plan and measure out his course work at SJSU to ensure his success in the MARA program. “I’d never done this type of graduate level work before,” says Zherebnenkov, “it’s a first for me and in my family to have this chance so I’ve actually planned and decided to see just how much I can carry from semester to semester.”  Zherebnenkov’s measured approach to his work proved fitting for his studies at SJSU’s School of Information, as the archives and records field is nothing without the building blocks of precise systems.

While Zherebnenkov admits getting used to the work load of a graduate program took a little adjusting on his part, ultimately he found the experience to be a rewarding and fruitful one. His classmates, despite them being hundreds or thousands of miles away, were a big part of that. “Like anyone, I have my own strengths and weaknesses,” he says. “Because of the interaction with and seeing what my other classmates were doing inside and outside of class, I was able to learn in a unique way and have some fun, too.” MARA professors teaching in the program like Dr. Lisa Daulby and Lori Lindberg—all of them working professionals in the field—always helped along the way. “They give you a push in the direction that you need to go.” 

As part of the iSchool’s MARA Alumni at Work video series, Zherebnenkov recorded a video discussing his time in the MARA program and his archival internship at Museum on Main in Pleasanton, California:

As part of his internship at the museum, Zherebnenkov was tasked with helping to digitize over a million negative strips into a database for a local history project. Says Zherebnenkov, “We covered about 60 years of local history, and I just loved the whole [process], the constant feel and understanding of what was going on a deeper local level as opposed to the national level.” Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history, Zherebnenkov felt right at home doing this kind of work that connected two of his passions in life. 

Despite all the potential issues that may affect the archival field soon, to Zherebnenkov, the future of it looks bright. “Over time,” he says, “I think there will continue to be a demand. It just depends on how much value people apply to documented history that pertain to their area.” One example Zherebnenkov gives is a local newspaper being folded into a larger news organization and having no idea what to do with 60,000 negative strips and where to place them. “So,” says Zherebnenkov, “going into the archival field is what can give people an idea of, hey, we’re here to help protect and keep all your history secure.” 

To learn more about life after the MARA program, check out previous community profiles on MARA alumni like Robert McLauchlin and Kristen Cook, explore the iSchool’s numerous career pathways, and read over the dedicated Life After MARA page.