Alexandrea Penn is a current SIS student and recipient of the winter 2017 Raven Award. Originally from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Alexandrea moved to Detroit to pursue graduate studies in history and archival administration. She has previously worked at the Michigan History Center at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and also volunteered for the Marquette Regional History Center.
What’s your name? What degree you are seeking? What semester/year do you expect to graduate?
My name is Alexandrea Penn but I go by Allie. I am working on my MLIS degree with a focus of Archival Administration, and an MA degree in History. I expect to graduate in Fall 2018.
Where are you from originally? How long have you been in the Detroit area? Did you move to Detroit to go to school?
I am originally from Bay City, Michigan. I have been in Detroit about six months now. I did move down here to go to school.
What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and History from Northern Michigan University.
What area are you specializing in? Why?
I am specializing in Archival Administration. I was able to transcribe part of a lighthouse log while working for the Michigan Iron Industry Museum for the past two summers. This opportunity pushed me towards preserving historical documents and history for future generations.
Where/What format do you take most of your classes? Why?
I take the majority of my classes in person because I live on campus and prefer the face-to-face contact, but I also take some of my courses online.
Are you active in any student organizations?
I am a member of SAA (Society of American Archivists) and president of NDSA (National Digital Stewardship Alliance).
How has your involvement in student organizations impacted your SLIS experience?
Being a member of student groups, allows for additional networking opportunities, but also for other informational opportunities that may not be provided within classes.
Are you currently doing any library, DCM, Archives or Information Management related work? If so, how has the program prepared you for it?
I currently work at the Reuther Library as a library page. Additionally, I am completing work for the Raven Award and at the Burton with photo collections. This work lines up with the class I am taking currently about audiovisual preservation. It’s good to take that information that you learn in class and put it into practice.
What are you most proud of in your time as a student at SLIS?
I am most proud of the oral history I was able to complete as part of the Oral History course here on campus.
Is there a professor who has really impacted your journey into becoming a librarian or information professional?
I have been very fortunate in not only just one professor or professional aiding me but have had numerous advisers and mentors guiding me along my journey.
Since joining the program, what do you feel is the most important or surprising thing you’ve learned about the library and information science profession?
Don’t ignore the digital elements. I think as an archivist it is easy to assume you will be able to avoid digital but digital is the future. The earlier you learn, the easier it will be.
Do you feel well prepared for a career in the information profession? Any long-term professional goals?
I am still rather early in my education track, but I feel that I will be somewhat prepared when I am completed. I only say somewhat prepared because I feel that there is always something to learn in any field. I would like to be a museum director one day.
What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their LIS school?
I would say don’t be afraid to take this chance. There are so many opportunities that are available to you when you complete this program.
Alexandrea Penn received her MA in History, MLIS and Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration in May 2019. She is currently pursuing her PhD in History at Wayne State.