Oral History Section 2016 Candidate Bios

Nominations for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (1 open position):

  • Karla Irwin
  • Amanda G. Pellerin
  • Calvin Rydbom

Nominations for Steering Committee (2 open positions):

  • Katie McCormick
  • Virginia Ferris
  • Ryan Bean
  • Eric Hung
  • Caitlin Reeves

Candidate details

Vice Chair/Chair Elect

Karla Irwin 

Since April 2014, I have been the Special Collections Technical Librarian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I received my MLIS with an Archives Specialization from Drexel University in 2012. Before working at UNLV I worked at Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware as the Digital Initiatives and A/V Collections Technician.

I work closely with the Oral History Research Center at UNLV in order to process, describe, preserve, and create access for the University’s collection of both new and legacy oral history interviews. While I personally do not conduct any interviews, I do have an invested interest in the entirety of the oral history lifecycle from interview to archive. As the Vice Chair/Chair Elect position I hope to help create new connections between SAA members, archivists, and oral historians so that we may all improve in our abilities to capture and provide access for researchers. I am particular interested in oral histories in the digital age including both digitization projects and preservation of born-digital interviews. I would look forward to exploring these and many more topics as the Vice Chair/Chair Elect while also providing support and leadership for the many activities and projects of the section. 

Amanda Pellerin  

Amanda Pellerin holds a Masters in Historic Preservation from Georgia State University and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from Valdosta State University. She received SAA's Digital Archives Specialist Certificate in 2014. She worked at the Georgia State University Library's Special Collection and Archives from 2005-2010, including work with the Voices of Labor Oral History Project, the Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project, and the Johnny Mercer Oral History Project. She has been an archivist with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum since 2010, and is the main point of contact for the oral history collections at the repository.

My initial introduction to archives was through researching in an oral history collection at the Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives. Ever since then I have been hooked! Part of my duties on the GSU archival staff was to conduct oral history interviews, transcribe interviews, duplicate and digitize recordings. I then trained an army of students to continue and amplify those efforts. At the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, I arranged, described and made digital access copies to all of the oral history interviews conducted with President Carter's White House staff. I also developed a standard operating procedure to shepherd the recordings from in house transcription, to the edit stage, to final posting on our website. The dedicated oral history volunteers who transcribe the interviews and archival staff who review and edit the initial transcription now use these digital access copies and the SOP to complete their work. Whenever possible, I attend local workshops on oral history to stay current on developments in conducting, transcribing and providing access to this very important piece of the historical record. Most recently, I went to the Oral History Associations' offering of OHMS: Enhancing Access to Oral History Online. 

After working in archives for over ten years, I believe that oral histories provide under represented communities whose voice is otherwise overlooked or absent among the historical narrative an opportunity to share their side of the story for consideration. As Vice Chair/Chair Elect I would enjoy spreading the good word of how oral histories enhance collections and as a whole offer primary evidence of some of the most joyful and controversial moments in the human experience. In addition to promoting these artifacts, I see potential in this position to connect amateur and professional technicians to resources that will guide best practices in the collection, access, and preservation of oral histories. We are in an exciting time to manage access to both the written and spoken artifacts that make up the components of oral histories.

I have a proven record of invovlement at the regional level working in committees and on the executive board of the Society of Georgia Archivists. I see this service as an opportunity to both advocate for and learn more about the oral history profession.

Calvin Rydbom 

Currently Calvin Rydbom is the Vice-President of Pursue Posterity, a freelance Archiving & Historical Research firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. In that capacity he works with Business, municipalities and government agencies to build an archive and history for his clients. 

He also serves as the Archivist and Contributing Author for the "Akron Sound" Museum in Akron, Ohio. The Museum focuses on the Punk Era of Akron and the Music which was labeled  the "Akron Sound" by Village Voice Critic Robert Christgau in 1978, but does cover the entire sound history of Akron, Ohio and the surrounding suburbs.

Steering Committee

Katie McCormick 

Katie McCormick, Associate Dean for Special Collections and Archives at Florida State University, began her career as an oral history archivist at UNC Charlotte. While at UNC Charlotte, in addition to helping coordinate community projects, managing the oral history archive, and pursuing online access to UNC Charlotte’s interviews, Katie served for 5 years as a reviewer and n oral history project advocate on UNCC’s Institutional Review Board. While her day to day work has veered away from oral history collection management at times, her interest in and advocacy for oral history have continued. In 2014, Katie facilitated the transfer of the Reichelt Oral History collection from FSU’s History Department to FSU Libraries. Since then, she and her team have been working together to address consent and rights issues with the aim of providing comprehensive online access to the entire collection.

I am running for a position on the Oral History Steering Committee because I want to re-engage with the broader conversation related to oral history and the work of archivists. During several presentations during SAA 2015, I became concerned that our community to moving backward, not forward, in its understanding of rights and access to oral histories. To me this signals a continuing need for outreach and furthering the Oral History Section’s strong work in advocacy and education. AS a steering committee member, I hope to bring my years of experience and perspective to the work of the section and to reengage with topics and issues – oral history best practices, ethics, preservation, and open access - that I am passionate about.

Virginia Ferris 

Virginia Ferris holds her MSLS with a focus on Archival Management (UNC-Chapel Hill, 2014), MA in Irish and Irish-American Studies (New York University, 2010), and BA in Anthropology (Barnard College, 2006).  She is Outreach and Engagement Program Librarian for NC State University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, where she was previously a Libraries Fellow (2014-2016). As a Fellow, she led an institutional history documentation initiative using oral history as a critical tool for documenting and engaging researchers with university history. She holds previous experience in oral history, exhibit curation, archival processing, and community engagement at New York University's Glucksman Ireland House, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Southern Historical Collection and Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

As part of her work at NC State, Ferris oversees the SCRC’s growing oral history program with a special focus on creating a more diverse record of underrepresented narratives of university history, coordinating oral histories and outreach programming with alumni, faculty, and other members of the campus community. Ferris is interested in innovative and diverse models of oral history creation, integration of oral history into outreach programming, and new methods of fostering access and research engagement with oral history materials, particularly in a university setting. 

Ryan Bean

Ryan Bean is the Reference and Outreach Archivist for the Kautz Family YMCA Archives, a position he has held since 2009. Ryan has contributed chapters to academic volumes on themes as diverse as the YMCA in China and the role of archives in undergraduate education. He has also contributed numerous articles to various YMCA publications on various themes related to the history of the YMCA. In his role as Outreach Archivist, Ryan strives to communicate the enduring legacy of the YMCA to students, scholars and YMCA staff and volunteers. He does this through teaching, writing, and speaking at the local, national and international level.

For the past three years I have developed, in partnership with the YMCA, an oral history program that seeks to capture personal narratives to fill in the collection gaps resulting from changes in organizational business practices and rapid staff turnover. The program has resulted in partner organizations replicating the work as well as numerous staff development and outreach resources created by the YMCA utilizing the captured narratives. I believe that oral histories are a powerful outreach tool that capture the nuances of an organization's culture and contribute to the cultivation of a historical perspective. I am excited to further my understanding of this important strategy for documenting heritage as well as to promote its value for engaging communities. 

Eric Hung 

Eric Hung is Associate Professor of Music History at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey, and an MLS student at the University of Maryland.  His research focuses on Asian American music, public musicology, music and new media, and contemporary music inspired by Balinese gamelan.  Current projects include a book on trauma and cultural trauma in Asian American music, and an edited volume on Public Musicology.  Hung is also an active pianist and conductor who has performed in Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, Australia, and throughout North America.  He is also Interim Co-President of New York-based Gamelan Dharma Swara, and the founder of the Westminster Chinese Music Ensemble.

I have used oral history in my research and teaching for over a decade.  You can find some of my undergraduate students’ oral history projects here:  www.musicinnewjersey.com.  I am interested in serving on the steering committee because I’m interested in connecting with archivists who specialize in oral history, and discussing oral history issues that are particular to the arts.  As a Board Member of the College Music Society, I’m also interested in promoting the use of oral history in musicology.