MARA Student Internship Profile: Tara Haghighi
Published: May 3, 2016 by Anna Maloney
In a couple of weeks, Tara Haghighi will transition from being a MARA student to a MARA alumna, and her last semester in the program has been a whirlwind. In addition to completing the competencies for her ePortfolio and serving as a student research assistant on the InterPARES Trust project, Tara spent just over two months working as an information management intern with the United Nations headquarters in New York City. In this brief interview, Tara discusses her internship and how the MARA program helped prepare her for the experience.
Can you discuss your career interests and how they align with the MARA program?
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University in 2010, and I expect to graduate from SJSU in May 2016.
In reviewing my work history, a lot of my experiences contained of gathering information, organizing and filing. I also found that a lot of the skills and experiences I’ve gained over the years are what’s needed in the records and information management profession.
How did you hear about the internship at the UN? What was the application process like?
I went on the UN internship site, saw the posting for an information management internship and applied. I had to create a UN profile account and then submit my cover letter and internship through their application system. About a month or so later, I received a phone call for an interview and a few days later, I was offered the internship.
What kind of projects are you working on at the UN? Is there a specific focus or are you just doing general archival functions? What do you enjoy about you work? How has the MARA program helped to prepare you? What do you hope to gain from the internship?
My internship at the United Nations lasted a little over two months and my title was Information Management Intern. When I started the internship, I was assigned two projects to complete, which I did by the end of my internship.
The first project was about the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO). UNCIO was a convention of international delegates from 50 nations that came together in San Francisco from April 1945 to June 1945. This convention resulted in the creation of the United Nations, which celebrated its 70th anniversary last year. The UN Archives received a collection from a college professor at Wellesley College, Margaret Ball, who attended the conference as a secretariat delegate. She had a four boxes filled with documents, records, memorabilia, etc. of the conference. After Ball’s death, she donated her collection to the college. Wellesley then donated them to the UN Archives knowing the historical importance of the collection. The Archives already has a collection of the conference, so this new series was basically added on to the collection. I did end up creating a new series that included appraising, rehousing, arrangement, description, creating metadata, and updating the collection on their database, TRIM.
My second project was to come up with a project plan to organize the prints and negatives of UNRRA photographs (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) on TRIM and in the storage room.
I’ve really enjoyed the internship, and I learned a lot. The MARA program has definitely been spot-on terms of its teachings because everything I did at this internship (e.g.: appraisal, arrangements, metadata, learning about the management of an archival and records institution, etc.) is what I learned in the classes. As such when I started the internship, I was comfortable with the terminologies and tasks because I knew about them beforehand.