Work Experience Case Study: Alexandra Cook

Personal details
Degree:Ancient History and Latin .
School(s): School of Classics
Year of Graduation:Jun-2016
National of: United States of America
Employment details
Organisation: British School at Athens
Job title: Archival Intern
Occupational Sector: Archiving
How did you find out about the opportunity ?
Dr. Rebecca Sweetman sent an email to Classics students about the opportunity to apply for the internship.
How did you apply ?
I wrote a page about the reason for my interest in the internship and my skills that would help me do well if I were to be selected.
How were you selected ?
I kept in contact with Dr. Sweetman, asking her questions about the opportunity and when I would hear back about it. I believe expressing my interest helped in attaining the internship.
Why were you successful?
I've been a part of the Archaeology Society for three years and held a few officer positions, which were helpful for an archaeology-related internship. I also interned at a museum the summer of 2014.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Handling delicate documents in Rare Collections with my medieval history class and ancient objects, like clay figurines, in my ancient history classes was helpful when I was tasked with rehousing glass and film negatives from c. 1880-1930. My ancient history and archaeology classes were also helpful because from them I recognized some of the photos from the original excavations in Greece.
What have you been doing?
I usually worked 9am-5pm with an hour break for lunch, along with three other students from St Andrews. I was given the task of rehousing glass and film negatives (of the original excavations in Greece, c. 1880-1930) into new envelopes, re-organizing them by size and number, and beginning a database to keep track of everything from the photos' donors to descriptions of what each depicts. Most importantly, though, was my own description of the condition of the negatives as many of them need to be replaced with new copies soon. After work we explored Athens and went to museums, ancient sites, and took in the contemporary city before cooking meals together in the evening.
What are the main things you have gained from this experience?
I gained a better understanding of what an archivist's job entails through both my own work and hearing about what the others in my group were doing. I networked some with those already in the field, and made several good friends.