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Kudos to the Library Summer Intern Program: a flashback



Ronnie Fields

It was 1984 when I stepped onto the Stanford campus to begin my first summer job.  As I parked my bike outside of the Mitchell Earth Sciences Building, I had no idea what to expect at my first place of employment--Branner Library. Little did I know, that summer day was the beginning of my 20+ (non-continuous) years of employment at Stanford.

The Stanford Youth Opportunity Program (YOP) was a program that gave youth from nearby communities the opportunity to work in academia. This program gave me an opportunity to learn about academia and at the same time gain valuable work experience. Stanford's YOP began in 1968 and ended sometime in the mid-90's (exact end-date unknown). I was disappointed when I heard the program had ended because it made such a great impact on hundreds of teenagers--many of which are still employed and making great contributions here at Stanford University.

You can imagine the excitement that came over me when I learned that the Stanford Libraries partnered with Eastside High School to pilot an internship program. I looked forward to meeting these young interns who would come through the doors of the library with the same hopes and aspirations as I--the hope of wanting to learn and contribute and apply those learned lessons to the next chapters of my life. Opportunity and inspiration can be found in many different places but I'm grateful to have found them both here at Stanford University and more intimately, in the Stanford Libraries.

Thank you, Chris Bourg, for your desire and willingness to offer this opportunity to aspiring students through this internship program. Thank you, Felicia Smith, for your hard work, diligence, and dedication to this program and to these wonderful students. Both of you deserve a BIG round of applause. Thank you, interns! I consider it a great pleasure to have met you and to have worked with some of you.

I don't know what is in store for these aspiring, young students but I believe each one of them will be successful in whatever they decide to do in life. I hope this intern program has been as positive for them as the Youth Opportunity Program was for me. I'm glad I got a chance to see them take their "first steps" into their futures in academia.

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March 9, 2016