Early work experiences can have a major influence on a student’s eventual career path. As can supervisors. When a student has a supervisor who is engaged and interested in their success, that student can accomplish more—both in their student role and in their life beyond Puget Sound.

In celebration of Student Employment Month, CES invited current supervisors who served as student staff members during their time at Puget Sound to talk about how their on-campus employment impacted their career path.

This week, we’re featuring Adriana Flores ’13 , who held a wide variety of jobs during her time as a student. These days, you can find Adriana in Collins Memorial Library Archives, serving as Archivist & Special Collections Librarian.

CES: Please describe your role as a student staff member and what you most enjoyed and/or found challenging about the role.

Adriana: I worked as an Archives Assistant in Collins Library for three years. For this position I performed tasks such as scanning materials for our digital collections, responding to research questions from members of the campus or local community, making inventories of historical materials, creating spreadsheets, accessioning new items, and maintaining the archives workspace. I also performed extra projects for the library director such as creating library displays and finding historical images for campus publicity projects.

I enjoyed exploring Puget Sound’s past—it was fun to work as a detective to find someone’s grandfather in a yearbook or discover a new student club I’d never heard about before. The job was challenging because there was no professional, full-time Archivist running the archives when I was hired. I got to witness the department transform throughout my three years, which was exciting, but made for a constantly changing work environment.

CES: Could you also briefly describe the other roles you held as a student here at Puget Sound —Communication Studies, Tour Guide, Interfaith Coordinator?

Adriana: During my first year on campus, I was an office aid for the Communication Studies department. I loved working for their office—it was a great group of faculty and I had a wonderful supervisor. The work was varied and interesting, but since I knew I was interested in pursuing librarianship, it made sense for me to switch to the library for my sophomore year.

During my sophomore year I also worked as a Tour Guide for the Admissions Department. I am a friendly, outgoing person who loves to chat and meet new people, so a tour guide position made a lot of sense! It was a flexible job that provided me with a little extra income and I got to meet interesting people and talk about a university I loved.

I also became an Interfaith Coordinator during my sophomore year. As a freshman, I was involved in religious life on campus as a United Methodist and became acquainted with the Interfaith Club and the Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement (then referred to as Service, Spirituality, and Social Justice). I was thrilled to find out I could become more involved, and my focus was support of Christian organizations on campus and communication amongst all religious groups on campus. It was a fascinating job where I learned a lot about various religions and attended two nation-wide conferences on Interfaith work for college campuses.

My sophomore year was obviously over-scheduled, so for my junior and senior years I only continued in my tour guide and archives assistant roles, although I remained active with CICE in a more casual manner.

CES: How did this early work experience impact your career path?

Adriana: Those roles had a huge impact on my career path. I had no idea what an archives was until Jane Carlin introduced me to the field. Jane and my later supervisor Katie were wonderful advocates for me—they sent me job postings, conference opportunities, scholarship applications, and much more to make sure I would be successful in the field. Katie became my mentor and provided references for me, and helped me with my graduate school application.

My non-archives jobs also provided me with a great deal of career support: I learned time management, how to extemporaneously speak and present to strangers, customer service, and outreach/publicity skills. I was surrounded by wonderful, impactful professionals who were invested in my success.

CES: How did those experiences impact the way you now approach student supervision?

Adriana: I take student supervision very seriously. I am well aware that most of my students will not become archivists, but I know that all students can learn valuable skills in my office. I work to make sure they understand how their skills in the archives translate to their various career fields of interest.

I build relationships with my students—relationships that will hopefully last beyond their time at Puget Sound so I can support them in their early careers. And I’m very open about my experiences—my past successes and failures, and my time as a student—to show them the path I took and hopefully pass on some of the lessons I’ve learned.

Photos courtesy of Adriana Flores
© 2019 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound