I was originally assigned to Professor Christine Borgman as my faculty advisor, and met with her and her other student advisees from my cohort for the first time at Fall Convocation. That afternoon, she expressed that she intended to cease advising at the end of the academic year, so we would most likely need to switch to another advisor at some point in the near future. Luckily I had already began to build a rapport with Professor Shawn VanCour, as he was assisting me in establishing a student chapter of a professional organization to which we both belonged. The fact that some of our research interests – media archives, media archeology, and sound studies and audio culture – aligned also made it a natural transition to make in October of fall quarter. The following month, I met with Professor VanCour to discuss my winter course selections. Even though two of the classes I hoped to take overlapped each other by thirty minutes, he encouraged me to ask the instructors if accordances could be made, and I was able to take both courses.
Professor VanCour was helpful in my pursuit of summer internships and a conference travel grant by providing guidance and recommendation letters throughout this quarter. In February, we met to go over the classes I had picked for spring. During this advisory session, he tried to assist me in determining if any Music or Music Industry classes could fulfill my desire to acquire more experience digitizing analog audio formats. We were not successful in finding one, but I appreciated his help.
Since I had to be on the east coast to begin my summer internship the day after Memorial Day, I had my final advisory meeting with Professor VanCour on May 24, 2018. During the session, we spoke about strategies for a successful second year. I was still deciding if I wanted to do a portfolio or thesis, and he set a deadline for the end of summer for me to choose between the two options. I notified him via email at the end of July that I had decided to do a portfolio and had selected a topic for my issue paper.
On September 24, I consulted with Professor VanCour about my fall course list. After reviewing the projected courses for the year in the new Student Handbook, I began to worry about my ability to produce a major paper from the classes being offered. I asked him what steps I needed to pursue if I wanted to file a petition request for a paper I had written outside of the department to fulfill the major paper requirement with the Professional Programs Committee (PPC). His assistance in the entire process was key. During this time, I also began to prepare for a winter Fieldwork assignment by asking Professor VanCour if he would be my faculty supervisor for the project and submitted all of the preliminary paperwork that he required. Professor VanCour required all of his advisees submit a first draft of their issue paper and professional development statement by the end of winter quarter. We had a Zoom meeting on December 10 so he could provide feedback and go over the courses I had selected for winter.
On January 29, I had a second portfolio advisory session with Professor VanCour, during which he offered feedback on the second drafts of the issue paper and professional development statement, as well as signing off on my 50-Word Issue Statement. Spring quarter advising took place on February 5, and I was able to go over my latest issue paper draft with him on February 26.
I do not anticipate needing any additional advisory meetings with Professor VanCour this academic year.
It was after hearing Professor Michelle Caswell speak at an information night that I made the decision to apply to UCLA. She has been a constant source of inspiration throughout my time in the MLIS program, both in the classroom and beyond. Although she is on sabbatical this year, I am fortunate to continue to benefit from her guidance and leadership as a Mellon Community Archives intern.
Last spring, I was able to forge a bond with Maya Lerman, who is my audio archivist hero and a Library of Congress American Folklife Center archivist. She continues to share priceless advice with me and remains someone I look up to immensely. I am very grateful to my supervisors at the UCLA Music Library, Matthew Vest and Callie Holmes, the librarian-archivists of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive (Aaron Bittel and Maureen Russell), and my boss at the Autry Museum of the American West, UCLA MLIS alum Liza Posas, for the opportunities they have given me, the continued faith they have shown in me, and their mentorship and friendship.