Ashley Lauren Blackburn

Student. Historian. Archivist.

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One spring evening during her Archival Administration lecture, Professor Marian Matyn said, "You will know it is important when people try to find it later." It being archival collections, especially digital-born records. That one sentence was my realization, my epiphany, my lightbulb moment. In less than thirty seconds, I was introduced to an aspect of the archival field that was innovative and open for advancement, something that was different from the traditional role of processing. This was the challenge of saving the ever-changing digital records of the past for the future. I was instantly intrigued. Professor Matyn's simple sentence was the springboard into my current research interests, this idea that being an archivist means knowing what is important before it is needed.

Ashley Lauren Blackburn

For nearly two decades, I have loved history. I was raised on stories from my grandmother who born during the Great Depression and was a school teacher during the Civil Rights' movement. I developed my love of reading from my mother, and librarians always seemed simultaneously amused and annoyed that a fifth grader checked out so many books at once (the limit was twenty-five and my library card was always maxed out). My favorite book was an overlarge ancient Egypt book, out of which grew my initial desire to become an Egyptologist. I wanted to dig up mummies. In fact, I vividly remember writing an essay in sixth grade on just that.

Over the years, that desire evolved into a fascination with the preservation of ancient life, and I fell in love with digging up the past in a different way: through the written word. This fascination is what led me to Central Michigan University (CMU) and motivated me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Public History, Museum Studies, and Anthropology. Pursuing Simmons University's duel History MA and Library Science MS will allow me to hone the skills I learned as an undergraduate and move towards a job that will allow me to preserve the past and continue to be a historical detective.