Mark Poshepny began working as an intern with the ICA Social Research Center in January 2017, and later returned as a part-time time archive assistant until December 2019.
Tell us about yourself: what are you working on?
I assist the Global Archives project, primarily working to scan documents for the website. Depending on the project, Karen Snyder, Lynda Cock, or one of other team members will identify key documents to be digitized. I scan documents to my thumbdrive, and then transfer them to my computer, where I look at them to make sure they scanned correctly. I then send them to Wendell Refior, who puts a link to the digitized document on the website.
I also created what archivists call a finding aid, a document to help people find the materials they need within the Archives. I helped Lynda Cock with documents on the Local Church Experiment and worked on re-organizing the archives in the basement. I researched some of the highlights of the different projects in the Band of 24, as well as how the locations of the projects are relevant to current events, such as the Keystone Pipeline controversy in North Dakota.
When you’re not working with ICA, what do you do?
I photograph trains as a hobby. I’m a member of the Illinois Railway Museum, where I’ve taken several pictures, but I also photograph in my hometown of Downers Grove. I got into photography around middle school as my interests in trains was growing.
I’m hoping to do something with archives, digital libraries, or cataloging. I worked in the library as an undergraduate, and I liked it right away. I especially like cataloging, and had a paper on it published in a student-run journal.
How did you come to work with ICA?
I was referred to ICA by a professor, and started out as an intern from January of 2017 to March of 2017 to help prepare for the Fall 2017 Archives Sojourn, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Band of 24.
I learned about the different challenges each project faced and how these were approached. I think the fact the Band of 24 was in every time zone is exciting in itself. If I could have worked in one of the Human Development Projects, I would have chosen Inyan Wakagapi because I’ve had an interest in Native American history, which stems from a class I took as an undergraduate, as well as my cataloging paper focusing on a system that could be more accommodating to indigenous voices.
I was away for a few months, but came back for the event in October 2017, and I’ve been coming back ever since.
What keeps you motivated in your work?
When I was around 9 or 10 years old, I had a t-shirt commemorating the heritage of railroads. It had a quote about railroads preserving their past while making sure they can serve the future, which has always stuck with me. I’m motivated by the fact that I’m helping ICA do the same.