Meet Alison Stankrauff, University Archivist

Although Wayne State University archivist Alison Stankrauff loved history, she wasn't quite sure what to do with her history degree as an undergraduate student at Antioch College in Ohio. That changed when she landed an internship at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. There, she was tasked with researching the oldest house in the city, built by the city's founders and rumored to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad. Stankrauff was the first person to begin the research necessary to both put the house on the National Register of Historic Places as well as to anchor a museum corridor in the city. "This experience did that important thing that internships can do," she notes. "I was able to see that I could practice history daily, help people, and help preserve the historical record."

Stankrauff is achieving those things now as the university archivist at the Reuther Library, a position she stepped into in September 2017. She hit the ground running since the Reuther and others from the University were already in the midst of planning Wayne State's sesquicentennial celebrations for 2018. In addition to serving on the design team for the Reuther's exhibit, Wayne State at 150, she is also planning five panel discussions throughout 2018 to highlight the university's involvement in larger societal trends. She is actively learning about the university and its archival collections while answering reference requests and assessing the collections within the university archives for future attention and processing. Additionally, Stankrauff has been making as many connections in the campus community as possible, hoping to build the relationships necessary to further build the university archives. She has lofty goals for the university archives, including processing all the backlogged collections that haven't yet been described and opened to the public yet, instituting a campus records management program, and digitizing the student newspaper The South End and its predecessors.

Stankrauff was not a stranger to the Reuther and Wayne State when she took on the university archivist role in 2017. She was a technician here in the early 2000s while earning a master's degree in library and information science and and an archival certificate from the university. After receiving her degree, she became a reference archivist at the American Jewish Archives in Ohio. In 2004 she joined Indiana University—South Bend as a university archivist and reference librarian, a position she held until rejoining the Reuther in 2017. She has also worked extensively in food service and retail: "These jobs were formative for me, and I like to think that each of those jobs informs me as a service-oriented professional."

In addition to serving the university and public in her role as university archivist, Stankrauff is also strives to serve her profession and community. She has been an actively involved in committees and leadership in the Society of American Archivists, Midwest Archives Conference, Society of Ohio Archivists, Society of Indiana Archivists, Indiana Library Federation, and is now looking forward to becoming involved in the Michigan Archival Association. She also enjoys volunteering in the city, both because it's a good thing to do and because, "The very nature of Wayne State is to be of and to serve the community that it is part of. I believe in my role, in this mission, deeply and have started to reach out to the communities - the campus and the city of Detroit - that have given me so much." In her spare time she enjoys getting together with friends, eating good food, exploring the country, and traveling the world on bike. While past trips have taken her through Iceland and Vietnam, this summer she will be cycling through Sri Lanka.

Troy Eller English is the Society of Women Engineers Archivist.