Alum set on career to preserve history


This fall, recent graduate Corbin Apkin '13 of North Adams will take his bachelor's degree in history to the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston where he will enter its renowned program in archives management.

With his Master of Library Science (MLS) degree, Apkin plans to work in a museum, library or historical society as an archivist - a field that's expanded steadily since the 1970s as the world increasingly values a growing number of historical documents and desires to save them.

Archivists collect, appraise and preserve documents and materials found in manuscripts, moving images and photographs, oral-history records, multimedia, government records and literary correspondence.

Although he'd always been interested in history, it wasn't until he took a class in "Modern World Civilization" that Apkin realized "how amazing and interesting history could really be," and decided to pursue it as his major.

At MCLA, his studies gave him "a deep understanding of how to study history."

"One of the most interesting aspects of history to me is being able to connect our past to our present and understand how we got to where we are," Apkin said. "I also really enjoy the fact that there are so many different ways to look at the same historical events, and how one can form their own opinions about those events."

Ideally, Apkin would like to secure a position in a museum - such as the Smithsonian - and work with its historical collection, or perhaps find a position as an archivist in a presidential library.

He decided to attend MCLA because of its close proximity to his home, and because of the many positive things he'd heard about the campus. And, had it not been for the experiences he had at MCLA, "I do not know that I would have pursued history," Apkin said. "I am glad that I decided to attend the school."

He continued, "The professors are always there to help, which is an important part of anyone's learning. My professors always went above and beyond, and they made themselves available to me. This was key to my successes at MCLA."

However, the best part of being an MCLA student, Apkin said, was the knowledge he gained through his studies, and the people he met on campus, who helped him along his academic path.

"I would absolutely recommend MCLA to prospective students because of the quality of teaching that I received during my time there," he explained. "The feeling of community at MCLA is another important aspect of why the school worked so well for me."

Apkin, who was a member of MCLA's Phi Alpha Theta Historical Honor Society, particularly enjoyed the professors who taught his history classes.

"This alone made my time at MCLA something to be cherished," he said.

"I really felt like the history department as a whole was like a family, and I cherish the connections I made with those involved in it," Apkin explained. "Classroom discussions were always interesting in history classes because there was such a range of opinions about historical events and questions. Overall, I gained a lot of my learning at the school and I am proud when I look back at my time at MCLA."