CUA LIS Practicum Diaries: Kristina Hutchinson, National Register of Historic Places

In this CUA LIS Practicum Diaries post, current student Kristina Hutchinson discusses her experience at the National Register of Historic Places:

           I truly enjoyed my practicum experience at the National Register of Historic Places. Even though I didn’t spend my time in a traditional library setting, I was able to connect my LIS course material to the tasks that I was working on. Being able to apply the knowledge that I have gained from the LIS program was very rewarding. Throughout the program I had taken an interest in working for the government and therefore, catered my classed to fit that goal. So, to be able to work for a government agency has been amazing.

Having taken the federal institute, special collections, government information, and copyright class, just to name a few, helped me transition into the federal world. I was familiar with archival standards, laws and certain document types. I also had a solid foundational understanding of federal agencies; their security procedures, information systems and how they generally function. I believe that my familiarity with these concepts allowed me to become a contributing member of the National Register program.

Not only was it wonderful to apply what I have learned, but it was also a great opportunity for networking. My supervisor made sure I met people from different programs within the National Park Service and entertained any questions I had. Simply listening to others’ advice and picking their brain was extremely helpful. I also think that doing a practicum during my last semester of the program was, in a way, a nice send off.  While meeting other federal professionals, I was able to take advantage of certain opportunities because I was at the end of the LIS program.

I would recommend that every student take advantage and complete a practicum. Sure, you can learn a lot in a classroom, but there is nothing like real job experience and training. Meeting other professionals who can serve as mentors and applying key skills to a setting of your choice is so valuable. There are too many amazing institutions, organizations, and professionals in Washington, DC to pass up such a worthwhile experience.© craigslist – Map data © OpenStreetMap

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