While the Library Archives and Special Collections exists to collect, preserve and make available research materials concerning the history of Staten Island political culture and public policy discourse, especially in the period since consolidation with New York City in 1898, as well as the history of the College of Staten Island and its predecessor institutions, the facility also has important secondary purposes. For instance, the archives serves as a learning lab for history students exploring methods for primary source research. The Archives and Special Collections also trains new generations of archivists and has served as an internship site for library school students from New York University, Rutgers University, and Queens College, as well as for history students from The College of Staten Island.
Of all the interns since the archives’ inception, Roman Yurchenko best exemplifies the way in which a student can benefit from career development opportunities. While Yurchenko was completing a bachelor’s degree in history, he volunteered at the archives to decide whether an archival career was right for him. He subsequently completed an internship in the archives and the Introduction to Archives course taught by the archivist. While completing his master’s degree in history at the College of Staten Island and his library science degree at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Yurchenko worked as a college assistant in the archives. During the time he worked in the archives, he integrated a significant portion of the final accretion of papers from the offices of former New York State Senator John Marchi and took the lead in digitizing and archiving audio recordings present in a range of collections.
This combination of education and experience proved a good foundation for obtaining a full time job. As preparation for entry-level jobs in the field, The Society of American Archivists recommends a graduate degree (in academic settings both a master’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science are often preferred), an internship, and pre-professional experience.
Yurchenko’s academic interests in Eastern European, Eurasian, and Medieval Studies (his College of Staten Island thesis was titled, Medieval Kiev: An economic inquiry of trade and exchange systems of Viking-age Emporia) shaped his goal of becoming a specialist in Russian, Eurasian & Eastern European Studies materials.
Yurchenko began working in the Collection Development Department at Princeton University’s Firestone Library in February, specializing in Slavic Collections.