Profile of MARA Student Erin Ferrarelli
Published: April 20, 2015 by Darren Ilett
Erin Ferrarelli is in her second semester of the MARA program. Her goal is to work as an archivist in a museum so that she can pursue her interests in U.S. history, particularly the Civil War era. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Anthropology, Erin looked into career paths that related to her interests and training and found that archive management was a perfect fit. Erin’s experience in archives includes volunteer work for two years at the Ashland History and Railroad Museum in Oregon. There she worked with PastPerfect software in the archives and also served as a docent leading tours of the museum. She also gained valuable archival experience as a volunteer in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Archives where she assisted with a large photo digitization project. What drew Erin to the SJSU MARA program was that it is well established. In addition, she appreciated that the online format allows for a flexible schedule. She looked into a few other programs as well and felt that the MARA program was the best fit for her as far as the courses offered, the format, and the communication and support from faculty. Erin finds her coursework challenging and rewarding. She is completing three courses per semester with the goal of graduating in two years. She especially enjoyed Jason Kaltenbacher’s Research Methods for Records Management and Archival Science course. In the course, she felt that she gained an understanding of the foundation of the field. The course explored the profession’s underlying ideas and concepts in depth. With a full-time job and three courses, time management is a challenge. Erin warns against procrastination, particularly in an online program like MARA. Staying ahead of her workload has helped her meet deadlines and avoid last-minute stress, even when it means working on the weekends. Erin appreciates the support and helpfulness of the MARA faculty, but in the end proper time management is up to the student. This skill will lead to success both in completing the program and in a future career.