Theresa E. Polk is a second-year MLS student at the University of Maryland’s iSchool, specializing in archives. Alongside her studies, she is a student assistant to the Humanities and Social Science Librarians at Maryland, and serves on the executive board of ALA@UMD, the student chapter of the American Library Association at the iSchool. She has also completed internships at the National Anthropological Archive, the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, and in the Repatriation Office of the National Museum of the American Indian. Theresa holds a BA in Latin American Studies from Carleton College, and an MPhil (Distinction) from Trinity College Dublin in International Peace Studies. Her Master’s thesis on gender based violence and impunity in post-conflict Guatemala received the school’s James Haire Memorial Prize for excellence in scholarship.
Prior to pursuing her MLS, Theresa worked in the public policy sector in Washington DC, analyzing the human rights and development implications of climate change, among other social justice issues. However, her interest in archives and access to information was awakened during her time as a human rights observer in Guatemala, supporting conflict-affected communities, families of the disappeared, and human rights defenders. This experience, as well as the 2005 discovery of Guatemala’s Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional, helped her to recognize the vital importance of public records for families who were seeking to discover what had happened to their loved ones, and to rebuild shattered lives in the wake of violence.
Ultimately, Theresa hopes to integrate her field experience in Guatemala and commitment to human rights with the technical skills provided by an MLS degree in order to contribute to the preservation of historic memory and construction of human-rights focused archives. She looks forward to collaborating with and learning from colleagues in SALALM as she takes her next steps forward in the profession.
Nelson Santana is Assistant Librarian at the City University of New York Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) at City College, where he works closely with Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte in the administration of the Dominican Library. Alongside Chief Librarian Aponte, Nelson regularly teaches workshops on the history of the Dominican Republic, culture, and society, as well as the history of Dominican migration in the United States. He also provides research and reference consultation to library users; plans and conducts research in historical, social, and cultural themes related to the Dominican Republic and Dominican migration; and prepares bibliographies to serve as resource tools; among many other tasks. Nelson supervises and trains college assistants, work-study students, interns and volunteers, working in the Archives and Library.
At the moment, Nelson is pursuing a Master of Science in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archival Studies at Drexel University. Nelson holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Baruch College and a Master in the Study of the Americas from the Center for Worker Education at the City College of New York’s Division of Interdisciplinary Studies.
Nelson’s research interests include the intellectual history of Dominican migration in the United States, the cultural and political history of the Dominican Republic, and the cultural production that looks at the link between social movements and music in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. In his MA thesis, “The Political Theology of Juan Paulino’s Club Cívico y Cultural Juan Pablo Duarte” (2012), Nelson argues how Roman Catholicism served as one of the principal driving forces that fueled the founding of one of the earliest Dominican organizations. He used the archival collection of Juan Antonio Paulino, which is housed at the Dominican Archives.
Nelson has presented his research at conferences including “Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders Conference 2013: ‘Reimagining the New World(s)” at SUNY Binghamton, and “Commodities, Capitalism, and Culture: Latin America and Global Links” at SUNY Stony Brook.
Nelson is the recipient of several awards. At present time he is a Diversity Scholar (2013-2015) for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
Among his goals as an information professional, Nelson is interested in improving information literacy among users as well as working alongside his mentor, Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte to continue to disseminate knowledge pertinent to Dominican Studies. As an aspiring academic librarian, Nelson is interested in compiling and providing access to all bibliographical resources relating to Dominican Studies. As an aspiring archivist, Nelson expects to preserve the legacy and document the history of Dominican migrants in the United States.