Meet Mudd’s Q Miceli

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Name: Q Miceli ’12

Major: Religion, with certificates in Creative Writing (Poetry) and Judaic Studies

Title/Duties: Technical Services Student Worker. My duties include sorting current University-generated publications as they arrive at Mudd in a process called “accessioning;” entering doctoral dissertations into a database (I used to pack dissertations on CDs to ship to ProQuest, before the University started accepting dissertations online); digitizing collections and running a macro to match scanned folders with physical barcodes; packing collections to send to offsite storage and scanning the box barcodes to discharge them; looking up duplicates in the library catalog; moving boxes; paging materials for patrons; and sometimes monitoring the front desk and reading room.

Recent projects: This past academic year, I made a folder list for part the James Hugh Keeley, Jr. Papers (MC 191) using Archivist’s Toolkit (and a mask and gloves, since these papers had been stored in a chicken coop and sustained severe rodent damage during that time). This summer, as with summer 2010, I cataloged over 1,000 senior theses, double-checking the information in the departmental databases with the physical copies of the theses, assigning each thesis a number, and shelving the boxes of theses. Most recently, I sorted the University-generated accessions by sponsoring department in the accessions drop box.

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Worked at Mudd since: I started in May 2010 and worked full-time for most of the summer. Then I continued as a technical services student during the 2010-11 school year and for June 2011. After a ten-week internship with the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, I returned to Mudd for the 2011-12 school year. It’s going to be difficult to leave Mudd when I graduate!

Why I like my job/archives: “The world is quiet here.” -Lemony Snicket. The hum and energy of people working to make materials more accessible brings me a sense of peace and shows me that there can be order in the universe. I like how archival work mixes the physical (moving boxes) with the intellectual (creating intellectual order out of a collection of materials). I think the immediate goal of archives is to maintain a repository of well-ordered information that is accessible to patrons, and I like knowing that my work contributes to an ultimate goal of a well-informed public.

Favorite item/collection: It’s a toss-up between the Senior Thesis Collection (AC 102) and the Arthur J. Horton Collection on Coeducation (AC 039). While cataloging the Class of 2010 and the Class of 2011 senior theses, I read many a student’s independent work and saw how much students have learned (or not!) in their four years. I scanned part of the Arthur J. Horton Collection on Coeducation, and some of the ill-informed comments regarding the ultimate goals of females attending universities–i.e., women only go to college to get their “MRS” degree–made me laugh and feel thankful that the university’s attitude towards non-males has improved since then.

Student Question: Besides your senior independent work, what else from your time as a Princeton student would you like to keep in “Princeton’s Attic?”
I would donate my diaries and collages from my time at Princeton in order to make another primary source available to researchers who want to document the experience of undergraduates on campus. These materials would serve as a counterpoint to the critical part of my senior thesis. In the event of someone trying to extrapolate from my senior thesis my views of the world twenty years later, I would donate them posthumously, in neatly ordered boxes so as to save some student worker the trouble of deciphering my handwriting. I would also donate the original note cards for the recipes that I developed in the Witherspoon, Pyne, and Lockhart kitchens for use by future undergraduates hankering after dorm-friendly cake.

Bonus Question: Why “Q?” Short answer: I was one of five Stephanies in my high school graduating class, and since I went to school with the same people from first grade on up, we had different nicknames to distinguish us. Long answer: I began collecting plush cats when I was four. When I was five or six, I thought, instead of calling myself a pet owner–for I viewed my cat collection as my pets and playmates–I should call myself Ownie. Ownie is a either feminized or diminutive version of owner. Like the nickname Suzy Q, my mother (Joanne Naples ’85) began calling me Ownie Q. Then my brother shortened that to Q. I’ve been known as Q since high school, and that’s how I sign the Honor Code.