Jasmine Poblano often deals with questions like this one from her friends and family. They are curious about her internship, but popular media like National Treasure have skewed their perception of what working for Archives & Special Collections entails. Jasmine’s friends and family think it must be a “cool” job. It is, but not in an “I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence” kind of way.
Instead of going on grand adventures, Jasmine works on preserving crucial historical documents for future generations. Currently, she is working on processing the Jay Alire collection. Dr. Alire is a Chicano activist and scholar from Colorado, and Jasmine’s work will ensure his documents will be readily available for any scholars or patrons who wish to view the collection. Jasmine isn’t simply cataloging these documents; she’s planning on collecting oral histories to include with the final product, as well.
You may be wondering who exactly Jasmine Poblano is. She’s a senior here at UNC, studying Mexican American Studies (with concentrations in Social Justice and Public Policy), with minors in Leadership Studies and History. Oh, and did we mention she’s also a McNair Scholar, Stryker Scholar, a President's Leadership Program Scholar, President of the Mexican American Studies Society, and involved in the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority? All while interning for the University Libraries Archives & Special Collections.
Jasmine got involved with Archives & Special Collections in a roundabout way. In 2019, Jasmine took a class with Dr. Dennis Aguirre. Jasmine’s group did their research project on MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán), a national organization founded in the 1960s that has local chapters across the country. Jasmine’s group ended up reaching out to Archives & Special Collections to use some oral histories of MEChA members as primary resources for their project. Later, Jay Trask, the head of Archives & Special Collections, reached out to Dr. Aguirre to let him know they were looking for an intern to work on processing the Jay Alire collection. Dr. Aguirre recommended Jasmine.
Helping students like Jasmine be successful during their time here at UNC is at the heart of the work the University Libraries does. Jasmine admitted to barely interacting with the Libraries before switching her major to MAS and laments that more students aren’t familiar with or comfortable using the Libraries regularly.
To help bridge the gap between minority groups on campus and the Libraries, Jasmine coordinated an exhibit for Day of the Dead in partnership with Mexican American Studies. She also worked with Assistant Professor Darren Ilett, an Instruction Librarian, to run an online workshop on citation guides for her sorority. Jasmine hopes when students of color are encouraged to interact with the Libraries from someone within their community, they will be more likely to engage with the services the Libraries provides.
No one asked Jasmine to advocate on behalf of the Libraries – she did it because she wanted others to know about the abundant opportunities available to all UNC students.
When Jasmine applied to UNC, it was on a whim. She clicked the “Accept” button at midnight and began her adventure into the unknown. Jasmine never foresaw the impact education at UNC would have on her life.
Now that she’s in her final year at UNC, Jasmine is applying to graduate schools and looking at taking one of two paths. She wants to get a master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences, or she wants to get her Ph.D. in History. She’s thrilled that she’s been able to network and gain archival experience as an undergraduate. Jasmine knows it will give her an edge over other applicants. Eventually, she hopes to be a Chicano studies professor or work in a library or museum.
For now, Jasmine is continuing her studies and hopes to create future workshops in partnership with the Libraries. Jasmine’s personal goal for the year is to help make connections between minority groups and organizations and the University Libraries. With the success of the Day of the Dead display and the citation workshop, it’s safe to say that Jasmine is well on her way to meeting that goal.