A Blog Post by Jessica Hills
I was born and raised in Myrtle Beach, SC, where my all of my immediate family still lives. For undergrad, I attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. I studied History and Political Science. After college, I earned my Master’s degree from Auburn University in Auburn, AL. But don’t worry, I never sided with Auburn over the Gamecocks. I have worked at the Archives for 4 ½ years, as the Electronic Records Analyst.
- hat do you do as an Electronic Records Analyst?
As the Electronic Records Analyst I advise state agencies and local governments on records management procedures and methods, specifically electronic records. According to the South Carolina Public Records Act, all records created by public entities have to be covered by Archives approved retention schedules. This helps ensure that those records that have permanent value are being kept. Electronic records are particularly fragile and require planning to ensure the long-term or permanent records are always accessible. This requires training and cooperation with public entities. My job is to help state and local employees understand what their responsibilities are regarding public records, as well as why it is important and in their best interests to practice good records management.
- Why did you want to work in records management?
I have always loved history, and I have been lucky enough to have many wonderful history teachers. I declared as a history major my first semester in college, but I never wanted to teach. I had an internship in my college archives during my senior year, and because of that internship I decided to pursue a graduate degree in history and archival studies. This job fits nicely with my interest in history and archiving. Electronic records are much more fragile than people realize and if we do not work to preserve those historically valuable records now, we will lose them. When explaining my job, I always tell people that my work helps ensure there will be archives in the future.
- What is your favorite part of the job?
No one is more surprised than I am that my favorite part of the job is conducting training sessions for state and local employees. I used to be afraid of public speaking and it was the part of my job description that I was most nervous about, but I love it! I like to explain the “why’s” in addition to the “what’s”, and seeing the two click in people’s minds. The “light-bulb moments” are so gratifying!
- Who is your favorite historical figure or time period?
I have always loved studying late 19th century United States. The 1890s were a decade of industrialization, growth and change, but also of disenfranchisement, segregation and depression. The Chicago World’s Fair, the opening of Ellis Island, the many leaps in science and technology, the Panic of 1893, the Massacre at Wounded Knee, suffrage; there are simply too many highs and lows to list. The decade is an incredible mix of the old and the new; and it contains endless examples of the complexities and growing pains of the United States.