Staff Spotlight: Sylvia Hernandez


For our last Staff Spotlight of the summer, we caught up with another new addition to the Baylor Collections of Political Materials: Sylvia Hernandez.

Where are you from originally?

I am from here in Waco. I grew up in Lorena, went to High School in Lorena, then did my undergrad here at Baylor.

What did you study?

Interior Design. Around that time, there were a lot of interior design television shows on HGTV and TLC. It was always kind of cool, but I was more interested in the architectural side. At one point, I wanted to be an architect, so interior design was a good way to bridge from one to the other. I graduated in 2008, and that’s when the economy went bust. There were no jobs, so I thought, “Well, what am I going to do now?” I was a student worker in the athletic ticket office at Baylor, so I stayed on for another couple of years after I graduated. It was interesting, very customer service oriented. Learning the back end of selling tickets versus just buying a ticket gave me a different perspective on the process.

How so?

Because you always know there’s something available and you can figure out the best way to go about getting tickets. There’s a lot of quirks to the systems that can be manipulated if you know what you’re looking for.

Do you go to a lot of sporting events for fun?

I do, actually. That’s how I ended up in Pittsburgh for graduate school. In 2009 a friend of mine said, “Hey, let’s go to a Steelers game.” I’d never been to Pittsburgh, never been to a football game, so I said, “Why not?” We ended up going to this football game in the middle of winter, December 20th 2009, Steelers versus Packers. It was cold and gross in the city but I absolutely fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to live there. It took me a while and I did other things, but eventually I got back to Pittsburgh and did my MLIS there.

Masters of Library…?

Library and Information Science. That grew out of me not getting into architecture school. I applied to architecture school, I sent in my portfolio from undergrad and some of the other stuff I had done in-between. I knew when I sent it off that I wasn’t going to get in. I sent it off, got the rejection letter, and started looking at other options. At that point, I was already thinking about being a librarian. I’m not sure at what point that switch clicked over, but I think it had something to do with service. I figured out that i wanted to be in a service field. It took two or three years to figure that out. When I did, the University of Pittsburgh was the only graduate school I applied to.

Was there anything more to your decision than wanting to work in a service-based field?

Interior design was service-based, but it wasn’t personal services. It was more about things and I’m more interested in serving people.

Was it intense?

I enjoyed it. It was a good intensity. I was very busy the whole time I was up there. I would go to class and then to a part-time job in a hospital, where I got to work on searches and processing an archive. I also worked at the Special Collections at Pitt, where I worked on an archive of scientific philosophy. I was processing Nicholas Rescher’s papers, who is a really big guy in that world.

What are you working on now?

I am the Graduate Research Center Operations Manager. We are housed within the Poage Library. W.R. Poage wanted there to be a space for graduate studies here back when the library was first founded. The GRC is connected to the Moody Library, which benefits both the main libraries and the Baylor Collections of Political Materials by raising visibility. Students will hopefully start to see the BCPM as more available to them, that they’re allowed to come in here and do work. Right now, we’re working on getting the GRC up and running. The Incubator space should be open for the first day of classes.

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