Learning Lab 2020-2021

The UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center Learning Lab internship program offers undergraduates unique opportunities to learn about archives and explore archival research in a mentored setting. Every year gives students opportunities and challenges and this pandemic year gave us fairly significant challenges to our learning environment, such as distance learning, caring for family members, and worries about the virus. 

Our weekly meetings, which would have normally been held around a big table in the Learning Lab, were instead held on Zoom. While not ideal, our weekly online meetings allowed us the possibility of continuing Learning Lab instruction. Students individually came into the archives to scan their collections onto flash drives that were then explored at home on their laptops. Students met with librarians, subject experts, and archivists online. Throughout all of the technology glitches, Zoom fatigue, cats in front of computer cameras, and other humbling moments, the core tenets of the Learning Lab remained steadfast: curiosity, dedication, and teamwork. In addition to those, we added two new guideposts this year: flexibilty and compassion.

While it was not an ideal year, these six interns exhibited remarkable resiliency, foresight, brilliance, teamwork, and camaraderie throughout. They met all of the challenges and surpassed them, creating thoughtful research questions that inquire about the past as well as the present, and envision a better future. They learned about our history, explored how cities developed, analyzed racial injustices from a century ago as well as last year, and envisioned a health care model to address disparities.

Each student reminds us we can build a better future because we have bright, curious, young minds working to understand our past. In this exhibit you will be able to learn a little about each student and see the work they accomplished this year in the Leaning Lab.


Learning Lab interns: Humza Anwar, Briley Chambers, Austin Coke, Emily Keaton, Olivia Morris-Bush, Aaron Shrout; Learning Lab mentor: Carol Street