Written by on October 7, 2021

Meet Madison and Shayna, Archives Interns!

Shayna and Madison are interns in Special Collections and Archives for Fall 2021. This is the first of a series of posts where they share some of their experiences in the internship and the stories they uncover. 

Madison and Shayna sit at a table with a file of photos. They are both looking at the camera and Shayna is holding a magnifying glass.

Meet Madison and Shayna, interns in the archives!

Hi everyone, my name is Shayna Davis and I am interning at Cal Poly’s Special Collections and University Archives this Fall. I am a fourth year History major and Psychology minor from Los Angeles, California. Besides interning in the Archives, I am also a College of Liberal Arts Ambassador and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. One of my favorite experiences at Cal Poly was when I served as a WOW Leader for incoming freshmen in 2019! In my free time I like reading, going to the beach, finding new coffee shops, and listening to Taylor Swift. When I graduate from Cal Poly I would love to get a Social Science Teaching Credential and teach History in high school. For this reason, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to intern at the archives, so that eventually I could share my first-hand knowledge with my future students! 

A student looks through an opened file cabinet that is packed with white folders.

Shayna looks through the photo files stored in cabinets in the University Archives.

Hello! My name is Madison Grant and I am a graduating senior from Newbury Park, California. I have a strong passion for preserving and understanding artifacts, photos, documents, and any physical aspects of history. After completing my BA in History this spring, I’m hoping to move into the world of archival work. In the future, I would love to work in a museum to focus on preserving and cataloguing history. I enjoy maritime history and have recently published in Cal Poly’s Forum! A fun fact about me is that in my spare time I like to hand make chainmail and recreate historical clothing! I’ve been working alongside Shayna on the ITS Photo Collection Description Project to concisely and accurately describe, categorize, and make accessible thousands of images for researchers that approach Cal Poly’s collections. 

a student holds a contact sheet with several small black and white photos of women walking through a hallway.

Madison looks through a file. Some files have both negatives and contact sheets. Contact sheets help to quickly look through the images at a glance.

Our internship work focuses on creating and editing descriptions of photo negatives that were produced on or around Cal Poly’s campus from the 1960s through the 1990s. These images, created by Cal Poly’s ITS department, range from school life to agriculture classes, commencement ceremonies, staff awards, athletics, portraits, and even pictures of prized cattle! There are over 4,000 folders of photos in the collection.

During this project, we are learning how to search for context clues within these images, identify people and buildings, and obtain a greater understanding of our school’s complex history. Something we have also learned during our first few weeks at the archives is that archival records take so many forms. Archival records can be letters, yearbooks, photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, financial records, business cards, and so much more!

Check back frequently to learn more about our work in this project! 

Shayna and Madison will look through hundreds of photo files to add description to support better discovery of the photos for researchers.


Read more on internship and university archives.

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