2019 SAA Reference, Access, Outreach Section Election - Finalized Ballot

Thank you to all of our excellent candidates for standing in the 2019 Reference, Access, and Outreach Section election. Please take some time to review their candidate statements and get to know them so you can make an informed choice.

You will be voting for:

One Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (or Co-chair), for a three-year term (Successful candidate will serve one year as Vice-Chair, will automatically become the RAO Chair for the following year, and will serve one year as Immediate Past Chair.)

2 Steering Committee members (two-year terms)

Ballots will be managed by SAA staff through Survey Monkey; keep an eye on your inbox for when the ballot opens!



Julie Porterfield

Instruction & Outreach Archivist

Coal and Coke Heritage Center at Penn State Fayette

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect Candidates

The following candidates are running for the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (or Co-Chair) position:

Marissa Vassari

Archivist & Educator

Rockefeller Center Archive

Biographical Information:

Marissa Vassari is the Archivist & Educator in the Research and Education division of the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC). She develops educational outreach projects, coordinates the RAC-City College of New York Internship Program, and oversees the exhibit creation process for a wide range of audiences. Marissa has presented her education work at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, The New School for Social Research and Parsons Paris’ International Symposium In Exile: Intellectuals, Artists, and Universities, the University of Michigan’s Teaching Undergraduates with Archives Symposium, and was co-chair of the programming committee for SAA’s Teaching with Primary Sources Unconference for two years. She has written an article about developing policies and procedures for temporary exhibits in archives in Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals. In 2016, Marissa founded the Archival Educators Roundtable, which facilitates communication among professionals who use primary sources in public outreach and teaching. Marissa earned a BA in Psychology and Special Education from Marist College, an MA in Childhood Education from New York University, and an MLIS degree with an Archival Studies specialization from the University of California, Los Angeles.

What do you think is the role of the RAO Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect position, and how do you envision fulfilling the role?

I believe the role of the Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect is to further the goals of the RAO section by exploring the challenges and successes related to reference, access, and outreach in a variety of institutions, and build upon the ways in which information professionals can collaborate and learn from one another. I have been inspired by the professionals I have interacted with through RAO, and would welcome the opportunity to be part of the leadership team.  My educational outreach work has been focused on bridging the classroom and the archive, as primary sources are powerful tools for teaching critical thinking skills, media literacy, and research skills. As Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, I will be committed to communicating with members and allied professionals, so that they feel supported and heard, and will aim to provide opportunities for building outreach and access skills.

Steering Committee Member Candidates

The following candidates are running for the section steering committee:

Candidates – As Of May 31, 2019

Candidate #1:

JA Pryse

Senior Archivist, Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center, University of Oklahoma

Biographical Information:

Currently, as the Senior Archivist at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center, I am the primary facilitator of all digital projects including the systematic digitization of selected archival collections. My goal is to maintain and improve standards for image formats, digital preservation, quality analysis and control, and access systems, along with policies and processes.

I also work closely with the Pioneer Library System, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, and other service organizations to build a firm bridge between external patrons, students, and researchers, with the University of Oklahoma to improve accessibility of materials, and also to educate the public with skills development. I am committed to creating and increasing working groups and programs and fi elected with bring my specialty to RAO and SAA in full force!

I am currently working on the development of additional classes and opportunities to involve aging adults in the community, specifically; and to guide educational processes in order to continue active participation within educational and historical institutions. I seek to be directly involved with community and societal programs in order to share knowledge and to develop working relationships amongst constituents of the University and the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center.

What do you think is the role of the RAO Steering Committee, and how do you envision contributing to the committee?

The role of the ROA Steering Committee is to guide members as well as external participants interested in continuing knowledge enhancement surrounding archives and the archival profession. I am a strong leader and successful at program creation and development, as well as implementation of all created programs. In SAA, ROA has continued to enlighten professionals on how to develop professionally through outreach which is my primary interest. I believe that with working with the public and other professionals, we can not only increase our skill-set but increase the communal bond between professional and amateur participant. I enjoy working with external institutions, libraries, archives, as well as aging adult communities and educational facilities.

Candidate #2:

Ryan Lee

Curator of 19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University

Biographical Information:

Ryan Lee (ryan_lee@byu.edu) is Curator of 19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University.  He earned a master’s degree in library science with a specialization in archives and records management from Indiana University, and became a Certified Archivist in 2011.  Ryan has worked previously for the LDS Church History Library and Indiana University Office of Archives and Records Management. His research interests include archival description, digitization and access to archival materials, and historical records and research of 19th Century Mormonism, Utah, and the American West. One of Ryan's passions has always been archival instruction and providing students and teaching faculty with opportunities to engage with primary sources in learning history or other relevant subjects.

What do you think is the role of the RAO Steering Committee, and how do you envision contributing to the committee?

I see the role of the Steering Committee of any organization as doing just that, "steering" or guiding the committee in a way that will benefit the members of the group and will assist the leadership in ways to make sure their decisions reflect those of the group's membership. Members of this committee need to be actively engaged in the organization and understand the various needs of the members so that they can suggest plans of action, including but not limited to, programming for the annual meeting and the organization's annual business meeting, as well as other activities or events that may benefit the membership.


While I am new to the RAO, I believe I could help in this because for the past six years, I have been engaged in my institution doing various activities related to access and outreach, including proposing large and small scale digitization projects, promotion of newly digitized resources, creating in-class activities to teach primary source literacy, and creating bibliographic resources to assist users in their research.  I have also worked at institutions outside of academia that have different user needs, so I understand different aspects of this work that may be reflected in RAO’s membership. I believe access and outreach are critical components of being an archivist that do not get enough attention in our academic training, and I would like to see this committee be more active in influencing archival studies curriculum so that future archivists graduate better trained in this area.






Send comments on this website to 2023-2024 RAO Past Chair/Webmaster, Jay-Marie Bravent.