Archival Educators Section 2023 Election Candidates

This year we have multiple open spots on our section's leadership team:

  • Vice-Chair (1)
  • Steering committee members (up to 2) 

We have a slate of great candidates. One is nominated for vice-chair and two for the steering committee. Please learn more about the positions and candidates below, then cast your vote!


List of Positions

Vice-Chair/Chair Elect (2-year commitment, 1 year as Vice-Chair and 1 year as Chair): Serves as Vice-Chair from the conclusion of the 2023 annual meeting through the 2024 meeting; works with the Chair and Steering Committee in establishing an agenda for the year; works to ensure that sessions of interest to Section members appear on the SAA program for the following year; prepares for term of service as Chair in 2024-2025; takes minutes during the annual Section meeting. One candidate will be elected. 

Steering Committee Member (2-year commitment): Serves for two years from the end of the 2023 meeting through the 2025 meeting; assists in planning for the annual meeting; participates in regular Steering Committee meetings; helps set the agenda for the year; and contributes to section initiatives or priorities. Up to 2 candidates may be elected.


Nominated Candidates 

Below you will find the names, biographies, and candidate statements for each person nominated. Please review this information prior to voting!


Vice Chair

Allan A. Martell is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Information and Library Science at Indiana University. He is also affiliated with the Latino Studies Program. He has taught courses on Archival Appraisal, Organization and Representation of Information, Digital Curation, and Introduction to Archival Theory at the graduate level at Louisiana State University and Indiana University. In addition, he has taught courses on computer programming for data scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Michigan. His research explores the role of information curation in shaping social memories of violence. He has worked with memories from former war refugees in El Salvador and their descendants as well as military veterans from the United States. Martell holds a Ph.D. in Information from the University of Michigan School of Information, an M.S. in Digital Media from the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a BA in Social Communications from the Central American University in El Salvador.

Statement: I feel privileged about the prospect of serving in SAA. If elected Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the Archival Educators Section, I will endeavor to promote initiatives to further social justice in and through archival education. This includes promoting environmental justice, queer perspectives in archival practice, and anti-racist frameworks for teaching. I have experience developing curricula to train lay people in best practices in personal recordkeeping and to assist archival practitioners in collaborating with vulnerable populations. If elected, I will focus on developing similar initiatives that help archivists and marginalized communities to collaborate. My experience investigating memories of violence will inform my work for the Archival Educators Section. Specifically, I will bring my skills as an active listener with a trauma-informed mindset: moving from “what’s the issue that needs to be fixed?” to “what is happening?”, “what are the strengths that people dealing with an issue demonstrate?”, “what are the opportunities for collaboration in this context?”, and “how can I respect people’s control, choice, and autonomy as we collaborate in figuring out, together, a way forward?”

Steering Committee

Note: candidates listed alphabetically by surname.

Yingying Han is a fifth-year PhD student at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she is researching critical archival studies and community engagement scholarship. She teaches digital preservation, networked systems, and metadata. She believes that preservation theories and practices should be taught and discussed in a social and cultural context, and in the classroom encourages students to be reflective and have dialogues on the potential harm that preservation and technology can have on unprivileged communities. As a researcher in critical archival studies, she is committed to conducting research in a community-centered manner. She aims to use archives to build mutually beneficial relationships with communities, bring in their lived experience, and recognize and address the underlying structural causes of inequalities. This community engagement process, in turn, will help archival scholars understand archival theories and practices can (or fail to) address structural inequalities and empower communities.

Teaching statement: My teaching philosophy is influenced by Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. As Freire puts it, “No one is born fully-formed: it is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are.” In my classroom, I strive to create a space for community inquiry and knowledge co-creation, where everyone, including the instructor and students, are seen as both teachers and learners and shares their live experience. The teachers should be mindful of their authority in a classroom and avoid an authoritarian approach. Meanwhile, the teacher and the students celebrate the diversity in the classroom. The power dynamics do not only come from the teacher-student relationship but also from the lecture.

Heather Soyka (she/her) is an Assistant Professor at the Kent State School of Information, where she is currently one of two full-time faculty leading the specialization of archival studies.

Her recent research examines capacity building, sharing, community engagement, environmental resilience, and sustainability in the archives and research data fields. She holds a PhD in archival studies from the University of Pittsburgh iSchool and has been an active participant with the SAA Archival Educators Section since 2009. Her previous SAA service has included: co-chairing the annual SAA Research Forum, serving as a member of the American Archivist Editorial Board, chair of the American Archivist Editor search committee, and serving as a steering committee member for the Acquisitions and Appraisal and Issues and Advocacy Sections.

Statement: Having a space to collaborate, share, and discuss challenges and opportunities as part of the SAA ecosystem is important for archival educators. I am honored to run as a 2023 steering committee member for this section because I believe that we need to work together in community to effectively face many of the challenges (emerging and continually present) that we share within and outside of our programs, including growing censorship, threats, and violence. Building a more just, resilient, and reflective field of practice and theory is at the core of our work as archival educators. I’m looking forward to continuing that work if elected to the steering committee.