The History Maker - YRK Magazine
 

The History Maker

Writer michael vyskocil
Photographer Eric Forberger

Part record keeper, part researcher, part student, part teacher … York College’s Karen Rice-Young defies a single classification. While her title reads archivist, she’s really a history maker at her core.

Karen, a 1992 York College alumna, preserves and interprets the many College and community artifacts and texts from the College archives at Schmidt Library. Rather than look at objects as static items from the past, Karen looks at them as opportunities to make new discoveries about the past. Whether for special events such as commemorating York College’s 50th anniversary as a four-year institution of higher learning or helping the College community with research requests, Karen treats these occasions as opportunities to make history. 

“When I work with students in the archives, I teach them to keep exploring and make a list of possibilities. You may not be able to find all the answers, and you have to be OK with that,” she says. “Getting a definitive answer isn’t necessarily the goal. There’s always something to learn by going through the process of research.”

Understanding history, she says, means being fearless in the pursuit of knowledge. It means continually uncovering new perspectives and making new discoveries. It involves continually interpreting and reinterpreting artifacts and texts like those found in the College archives. It provides ways to contribute to the public collective memory with fresh insights and ideas about people, places and events.

And perhaps that’s why making history is so dynamic: uncovering the untold stories and finding new ways to look at historical accounts and objects to help piece together stories about the past. York College — which has been a part of York since 1787 — has already begun to engage with the York community (see pages 22-23) to tell even more stories that have shaped York’s development.

“History should be interesting,” Karen says. “Always consider every possibility.”

 

York College of Pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788
York College of Pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788