Name: Melissa Gonzales
SNAP Participation: Steering Committee Member
Position: Archivist for University, Labor and Political Collections
Institution: The University of Texas at Arlington, Special Collections
Years at Position: 10 months (0.83 years?)
Education: BA, Art History – The University of Texas at Austin; MSLIS, Archives Management Concentration – Simmons College
If you asked my parents when I decided to become an archivist, they would tell you it was when I was six. Apparently I would spend most of my time running around the house creating inventories and recording “oral histories” with anyone who would humor me shoving a handheld tape recorder in their face. Like most people in the field, I made a circuitous route to library school, and ultimately, my current position at UTA’s Special Collections. I am thrilled to be on a campus again and in charge of collecting and preserving the university’s history, but even more so, helping to create a fledgling digital asset management program. Additionally, I am also delighted to manage the Texas Labor Archives which serves as the official depository of the Texas AFL-CIO and its affiliates and contains extensive primary records and publications relating to the history of organized labor in Texas and the Southwest. Our library has been lucky in that we just hired a new dean this past summer, and she’s ready to make some wonderful and exciting changes. As a result, I have been pulled from my normal archival duties to help out with library-wide task forces. If I have learned anything while working in an academic setting, it is that there is no shortage of library or campus committees that contend with your time, and there are many advantages to serving on them. Although I have been out of grad school for three years, this is the first job where I can see the potential for a career, and I am overjoyed to be here doing what I love in a place that encourages creativity and innovation.
For the past few years I have served on the Membership Committee of the Society of Southwest Archivists, and as of this year, I have been working on their Executive Board and Publicity Committee, as well. I’m glad that my first SAA roundtable experience is with SNAP given how strongly I feel the profession should support and boost its students and new professionals, and I couldn’t ask for better steering committee colleagues. After accepting an invitation to join SAA’s Mentoring Subcommittee last month, I am hoping to not only help some of you find mentors, but to also see if we can’t make some positive and effective changes to the program, and ultimately, the profession.
Once I clock out, this Virgoan-Snake likes to catch up on a monstrous sci-fi/fantasy backlog, keep Stinky the Cat out of trouble, update an impossible Steampunk alter-ego, attempt makeup looks gleaned from YouTube (seriously guys, I have a mad makeup obsession), and hunt down Avon Cape Cod glassware. You can find me via twitter @gonzoarchivist or on Pinterest, and feel free to shoot any ideas or ramblings to my email regarding the profession or anything else you wish to discuss. Ciao!