New Intern: Lynda Letona

UCSF Archives is pleased to welcome our new intern, Lynda Letona. Lynda will assist with processing collections in the NHPRC grant, Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections, an expansion of the AIDS History Project.

Lynda was born in Guatemala, raised in LA, and schooled in the Midwest. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame, MA in English from the University of South Dakota, and BA in English with a minor in Spanish from Mount Marty College. Lynda has worked in education as a college and university English instructor, and as editor, library aide, and administrative assistant for the nonprofit sector. She has collaborated with librarians across the nation to conduct research workshops for students to inform their writing and her own; by doing so, she gained an appreciation for the research method, leading her to pursue her Master’s in Library Information Science at the University of North Texas, North California Cohort. Lynda is enthusiastic about participating in the AIDS History Project as an archives intern at UCSF.

Intern Report: Creating an Exhibit

This is a guest post by Caitlin Toomey, UCSF Archives Intern

Caitlin ToomeyHello, readers! My name is Caitlin Toomey and I was fortunate to be an intern at the UCSF Archives and Special Collections during spring semester. I am currently in the process of receiving my master’s degree in museum studies at USF. Since high school, I have either worked or interned at multiple museums and galleries throughout California, but my time at UCSF stood out as a unique and valuable experience.

While an intern, I was responsible for many different tasks and worked on a number of exciting exhibits. What stood out to me about this internship was the amount of skills I was able to gain and perform throughout the process. For the majority of my internship, I focused on the current exhibit on display in the Library, “DO THE BEST FOR OUR SOLDIERS:” University of California Medical Service in World War I. It was during this time that I completed many different duties.

I began by researching specific subjects, such as the influenza outbreak in 1918 and how troops were entertained on the front, which would be used in the exhibition as stand alone displays. I also wrote the labels with other curators for the exhibit. This was a valuable experience because I mostly have a background in education and collections, so working on more curatorial skills was very helpful. Additionally, collaboratively writing labels can be a challenging but educational experience, and as a result helped me with my writing skills.

WWI exhibit case, “Finding Time to Unwind,” on display in the UCSF Library.

Along with assisting in curation, I was also able to work on exhibit design and collections management for “DO THE BEST FOR OUR SOLDIERS”. I most enjoyed this part of the process because I was able to pick out artifacts for a number of the displays. Looking through the UCSF Archives and Special Collections storage was absolutely fascinating. The collection has so much to explore and discover on the shelves and stacks that I was never at a loss when looking for objects to display. I was also lucky enough to select and help place objects for a number of other special exhibits during my tenure, such as the UCSF Alumni Weekend artifact display of unique health science artifacts and the UCSF Cornerstone demolition series.

WWI-era U.S. Army Medical Department medicine kit used in the exhibit. From the UCSF Archives Artifact Collection, item 218.

Overall, I can look back on my time at the UCSF Archives and Special Collections as a very positive and educational experience. Not many internships give the opportunity to play a large role in exhibitions, as well as learn many different skills that will become valuable for a successful career. I know that I will take with me the many lessons I learned during these past few months. This was a wholly gratifying internship and I will cherish it throughout my career.

New Archives Intern: Maopeli Ali

We’re happy to welcome new intern Maopeli Ali to Archives & Special Collections. Born and raised in San Francisco, Maopeli is currently a sophomore at Kenyon College in Ohio where he is pursuing a major in biology with a minor in Latin. At Kenyon, he also participates in club rugby and is a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Maopeli is a seasoned intern; he has previously worked at various institutions in the Bay Area, including an architecture firm, the Geology Department of the California Academy of Science, and the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). Maopeli is very ambitious, and is proud to be a First Generation to College student. He plans to attend graduate school after completing his undergraduate studies to pursue a Criminal Justice Master Degree in Forensic Science. His career goal is to become a forensics investigator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Portrait of Maopeli Ali with San Francisco in the background.

New Archives intern Maopeli Ali

Maopeli comes to us as part of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute Summer Research Program. “This program is designed to provide an opportunity for High School and Undergraduate students to immerse themselves in the world of basic and/or clinical research for three months during the summer. The program pairs students with one or two CHORI principal investigators who serve as mentors, guiding the students through the design and testing of their own hypotheses and methodology development. At the end of the summer, students present their research to their peers just as any professional researcher would do.” As a CHORI intern, Maopeli is mentored by Dr. Aimee Medeiros from the UCSF Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine and Polina Ilieva, Head of Archives & Special Collections.

Maopeli will be working on digitizing medical records using our newly-implemented scanning lab purchased with funds from UCSF’s RAP Shared Instrument program. He will then have the opportunity to work with some of this data to formulate a research question which can be addressed by the records.

The Archives are a new experience for Maopeli, whose previous work has mostly focused on biology. He is excited to work in this context, and explore ways in which this study can both help the archives and increase awareness within the health sciences fields about the wealth of historical medical data which is available in the archives and records of large health science universities like UCSF.