My Archival Journey by Vilma Chicas Garcia

Vilma Chicas Garcia is the L. Claire Kincannon Intern in the Special Collections Research Center for the Spring 2024 semester. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) at Old Dominion University.

Vilma Chicas Garcia.

I have always felt very lucky to have discovered this profession when I did. It was during the late spring or early summer semester of 2022. I was in the middle of my junior year at George Mason University and still felt like I had no direction in life. At the time, I was pursuing my Bachelor’s in history but didn’t know where I was headed post-graduation. That was the case until I came across a TikTok by the Joan Meyers Jampel Center for Michigan Jewish Heritage or @mijewishheritage on TikTok. The video was silly in nature; they used a popular audio clip to convey the different paths one can take after obtaining their MLIS, such as becoming a librarian or archivist. It was a TikTok that changed my life! I immediately became interested; I had considered being a librarian before, but I never considered working in an archives. If I’m entirely honest, I didn’t even know what an archivist was! Yet, the more I learned about it, the more I considered it a potential career path.

Vilma holding a photograph of Claire Kincannon.

The more I watched, the more I learned how important gaining experience in the field is. As soon as I could, I began looking for internships or part-time jobs in the field, and luckily enough, the Special Collections Research Center at GMU was hiring for an Undergraduate Archival Assistant around the same time! I have had so many wonderful opportunities and experiences during my time at the SCRC. I have worked on the James Buchanan collection, attended my first MARAC and SAA conference, and processed three other collections- with the most recent being the L. Claire Kincannon theatre collection. The L. Claire Kincannon theatre collection contains her life’s work as a theatre critic, radio journalist, and overall an outstanding woman. I’ve never been much into theater, yet I have had a wonderful time reading Kincannon’s reviews. Her personality shines through her work, and processing her collection has been a privilege.

Follow SCRC on Social Media and look out for future posts on our FacebookInstagram, and Twitter accounts. To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions.