Donald Peterson Student Travel Award: Katherine Schlesinger

Katherine Schlesinger, who is pursuing a master’s in library and information science at the University of Arizona, is the 2022 recipient of the Donald Peterson Student Travel Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award supports students and recent graduates from graduate archival programs within North America to attend SAA’s Annual Meeting. The goal of the scholarship is to stimulate greater participation in the activities of SAA, such as presenting research or actively participating in an SAA-sponsored committee or section.

Schlesinger previously worked as a translator for human rights organizations in Latin America, where she heard stories of victims of violent regimes. This work inspired the focus of her studies on trauma-related archival labor with the intention of bringing awareness through advocacy and research to the importance of recognizing emotional responses in archival work. Schlesinger has also examined archival trauma beyond the range of traditional “sensitive collections,” considering how collecting records from the COVID-19 pandemic presents potential risks of trauma to archivists, donors, and survivors.

One supporter writes: “Her contributions reveal an ability to examine issues with the potential for long-term impacts in our field of practice and in a larger social context.” At the 2022 SAA Annual Meeting, Schlesinger will be a co-participant in the session “Learning to Count and Code: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Needs for Archival Practitioners,” where she will present preliminary findings from her graduate independent research project, “Trauma-Informed Archival Labor and MLIS Curricula.”

The Donald Peterson Student Travel Award was established in 2005 and honors the memory of New York lawyer and philatelist Donald Peterson. Past recipients include Sidney Loui (University of Hawai’i at Manoa), Jeanie Pai (Queens College), and Alexis Recto (University of California, Los Angeles).