Alumnus Enjoys National Archives Position

Corbin Apkin '13

Corbin Apkin '13 always enjoyed learning about history. But it wasn't until he took his first history class at MCLA that he decided to make it his major. Now, he's an archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Md. "I'm very passionate about learning more about our past and how we got to where we are," Apkin explained. "I've always been very interested in looking at how different historians view and interpret history, and it continues to fuel my interest in the subject."

After MCLA, Apkin attended Simmons College in Boston. Interested in working with primary source historical materials, he decided to pursue a Master of Library Science degree, with a concentration in archives management. 

As an archivist in the cartographic branch of the National Archives, Apkin works with maps, charts, architectural drawings and blueprints.

"I process records that the National Archives has received from other government agencies. The goal is to make these materials accessible for the public, so I arrange the materials in a way that makes them easy to use, apply preservation actions when needed, and describe them so researchers can find what they're looking for."

The position, Apkin continued, "is definitely my dream job. I'm very passionate and excited about the work I get to do. Being able to work hands on with records that mean so much to our history and tell the story of our past is an amazing experience. I can't imagine doing anything else."

While at MCLA, Apkin was a member of the Phi Alpha Theta honor society. He also participated in the Annual Undergraduate Research Conference. "This was an amazing and important experience for me. I was able to choose a topic that I was interested it, conduct in-depth research, and present my findings to peers, the school and my community," he explained.

His academic experience at MCLA, Apkin said, "was truly amazing."

"The quality of teaching was tremendous," he said. "My professors made it so easy for me to learn complex subjects and events. Their passion for their work translated into their teaching, and in turn made me more passionate toward learning about history."

In addition, "the history professors provided me with all the necessary skills I needed to analyze and learn about historical subjects, and I apply these skills in my work all the time. My history experience at MCLA influences my understanding of the work I do now and I am very grateful for that.

"I would absolutely recommend MCLA to others, particularly those interested in history. MCLA always felt like a tight knit community to me, especially in the history department. Being able to go through the history program with many of the same people allowed me to get to know others who were just as passionate about history as I, which really enriched my experience."

Because of this work, Dilthey, who double majored in English and environmental studies at MCLA, recently won the 2016 New England Outdoor Writing Association's Award.
"I write about things that mean a lot to me, and I think anyone can connect with someone's experience if the story they're telling is meaningful and honest," Dilthey said.
"I think it's great that a lot of my work resonates with people. I especially love the community on my site, where I have regular readers who comment and tell me what they think about my articles. That feedback really makes me want to write more and more," he added.
Dilthey originally planned to major in art. He switched to English after a positive experience in a writing course. Then, during his sophomore year, he became "hooked" on biology after taking a course to fulfill a science prerequisite, and ended up adding the environmental studies major soon after.
"I don't think I'd have picked either of these majors if I wasn't inspired by the courses and professors at MCLA," Dilthey said.
Now a graduate student in the Sustainability Science program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he is completing his master's degree and beginning work on his Ph.D., Dilthey's many activities include working with a team of Ph.D. students and faculty to co-author a paper on adaptation and mitigation for climate change resilience in coastal environments.
Dilthey also teaches his own class," Sustainable Living: Solutions for the 21st Century," a four-credit course for first-year UMass students.
In addition, he's working with the Residential Academic Programs Office to develop new connections for first-year students and programming partners across the University of Massachusetts system as they create a general education course on life at college.
"I push the benefits and importance of a diverse, rich, and multifaceted education to my students any chance I get, using my time at MCLA as an example of the power of interdisciplinary learning. I am immensely proud of our school, and I am lucky to have started there. I would not be here without MCLA," he said.
In fact, Dilthey finds himself spending a good deal of time telling students about the benefits of his experiences at MCLA, such as how they can find opportunities in clubs and the value of  learning from a diverse selection of classes.
Dilthey, whose writing also is featured in Adventure Cycling and Bikepackers magazines, discovered his love for camping, hiking and backpacking during his senior year through the MCLA Outdoors Club. There, he learned everything he needed to know to eventually lead trips himself. The experience, he said, was "transformative."
At UMass, Dilthey said he has one of the strongest backgrounds in environmental law among others in his department. "MCLA taught me that the courses outside of your major or focus can sometimes be the most valuable to your career. 
He recommends MCLA – and the English and environmental sciences programs, in particular – to prospective students.
"Both of these degrees are absolutely as rigorous and comprehensive as degrees from other colleges, and I have never once felt underprepared for my career and graduate school. I know a lot of my peers that graduated with me would say the same thing," Dilthey said. "Our entire group is doing amazing things, and we're all still connected because of the sense of community we had at MCLA."

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