Friday, July 31, 2015

The Clarke Hosts Upward Bound Summer Intern

by Bryan Whitledge and Casey Gamble

This summer, for three weeks in July, the Clarke Historical Library had the opportunity to host an intern from Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School at Northwestern (DCP), Victoria Spencer. Students from DCP participated CMU's Upward Bound program, an initiative "to support and encourage promising students to prepare for successful college careers​." During their time here at CMU, students took classes, engaged in volunteerism, relaxed and enjoyed student life at Central, and worked in a CMU campus job.

Victoria looking through historic CMU building photographs
Victoria originally hoped to be placed in a job with the Multicultural Academic Student Services Office or with Study Abroad. Instead, she was placed with the Clarke. She was not disappointed with the placement because she liked the idea of working with books. Little did she know that during her time at the Clarke she would not touch one book; rather, she would work with historic images of the buildings of CMU's campus.

Victoria’s job at the Clarke was to scan historic photographs of CMU buildings -- both those that no longer exist and those that stand today. She also was asked to write up brief descriptions of the images so they can be added to a database in the future. Her work is a major piece of a larger project in the Clarke to make information about the history of every CMU building available on-line. While working with the historic photos, Victoria became skilled with the scanner and scanning software. She also gained experience manipulating the photos in Photoshop.  And, most importantly to the archivists and librarians in a historical library like the Clarke, she quickly learned the histories of buildings and could identify both past and present buildings and well as approximate dates of the images based only on the photographs!

Drawing of the New Administration
Building, now known as Warriner Hall,
circa 1925
As Victoria noted during the closing event for Upward Bound, “With this opportunity, I have learned skills that I can use in my future career. Because of this opportunity, I have learned that small roles can prepare you for bigger roles later. My experiences this summer have made an impact on my future endeavors.”

We enjoyed having Victoria around this summer, not only for her excellent work, but her wonderful personality. We wish her the best in her senior year at Detroit College Prep.

Photos of Victoria courtesy of Jessica Thompson and the Upward Bound staff