This post is part of the 2015 Candidate Interview series, presented in preparation for the 2015 SAA Election (March 13-April 13). Candidate statements will be posted daily through Friday, March 13. Read more statements from 2015 candidates here or check out our previous election series.
Audra Eagle Yun
Head of Special Collections & Archives and University Archivist, University of California, Irvine
Candidate for Nominating Committee
Read her bio and response to questions posed by the Nominating Committee here.
What role should SNAP Roundtable play in SAA?
I was thrilled to watch SNAP come to life when I myself was still a new archivist. To students and new archivists, SAA can be intimidating or overwhelming. I believe that SNAP serves the essential role of voicing the perspectives of the future of the profession — early career archivists. Within SAA, leaders of SNAP can advocate and help demystify the structure for their peers.
How can SAA leaders, and your role in particular, better engage SNAP constituents?
The Nominating Committee, and the nomination process, are key to forming an effective organization and balanced representation of SAA constituents. Our leadership, and the Nominating Committee in particular, must strive to incorporate and identify the voices of students and new archival professionals into the organization’s highest levels of decision making.
How can SAA improve public understanding of the archives profession?
During the Archives Leadership Institute, I had the privilege of learning about advocacy from SAA president Kathleen Roe. One of my favorite takeaways from her workshop was the emphasis on the elevator pitch — to be able to use a brief, compelling statement about what you do and why it matters. My experience as an administrator has given me many opportunities to confirm that advocacy, and understanding of the profession, is not about expressing a need. Instead, I have found that the best results are found through storytelling — sharing creative solutions and innovation, celebrating diversity, and avoiding jargon.
How can SAA improve archival education?
I believe SAA has a role to play with education, including providing recommendations for an effective graduate program, such as the Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies. In addition, the Society should maintain its practice of making available plenty of educational resources, especially web-based training and learning, to help support a variety of levels of experience.
What advice do you have for new professionals in our field?
One of the most frustrating things to hear during graduate school and while an underemployed archivist was how many successful archivists “just got lucky.” Certainly there’s an amount of timing involved that allows good fortune to happen, but I urge new professionals to take an active role in creating their own luck. Nothing is more effective than setting up an informational interview or coffee date with an archivist you admire — it’s the most natural way to build a professional network, too — and you never know when an opportunity will appear when you’ve placed your resume in the right hands. In recent years I’ve become especially fond of this quote from Seneca: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”