Summer Centered: Sierra Zareck ’20 Uncovers Histories of Race at Haverford
The English major, who is also minoring in political science and Africana studies, is exploring the untold stories of people of color on Haverford’s campus.
For Sierra Zareck ’20, when looking for the perfect summer opportunity, the Diversity and Activism Summer Archive Internship checked all the boxes. That internship is funding Zareck’s access to Haverford’s archives across disciplines with the aim of compiling narratives of race on campus that have previously been overlooked or omitted from the historical record.
"As an English major with Africana Studies and political science minors, this internship is a great combination of both my academic and extracurricular interests,” said Zareck. “With my major and minors I have learned how to take my research and synthesize it into final, critical piece while still letting the primary sources speak.”
Extracurricularly, Zareck was a 2017-2018 resident of the Black Cultural Center, an Ambassador of Multicultural Affairs for the Customs Program, and a writing tutor in the MAST program, for which Fords mentor and teach students from Philadelphia schools. She is also an active member of the Black Student League, Womxn of Color, and a member of The Clerk’s editorial board.
"I have strong academic and extracurricular interests in writing, race, publications, and multiculturalism,” she said. “What better way to intersect those than an internship where I research race at Haverford and create a magazine on it?”
As the only intern on this mostly digital project, Zareck is able to take her work with her around campus with her “portable workstation” (read: laptop).
"A large part of my research is on individual perspectives, as they serve to expand the narrative in ways the documents I have access to cannot fully do,” she said. “As a result I am often contacting various members of the Haverford community to see if they can contribute, be it through email, a phone call, or a survey I created for alumni, faculty, and staff.”
Zareck plans to compile her research into a magazine that will feature her findings in an accessible manner and that also allows her to exercise her interest in publishing. Ultimately, the knowledge Zareck has gained from this internship will stay with her long after summer’s end.
"I hope to not only gain more personal knowledge about the histories of race at Haverford, but also to share such [knowledge],” she said. “So many stories and perspectives can get lost with time. I want to bring to light both how people, especially people of color, worked hard to push Haverford when it comes to race, but also how people of color were failed. I want to give voice to those who have been forgotten, but also investigate why certain silences exist.”
The Diversity and Activism Summer Archive Internship is made possible through numerous offices and initiatives on campus, including the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Student Life Office, and Haverford College Libraries.
"As a black, mixed Caribbean women I have both studied and experienced how race deeply intersects with many facets of life, be it social interactions, political identities, or administrative actions,” said Zareck. “This internship has allowed me to experience so many things, from conducting in-depth archival research to interviewing people to creating a complete publication on my own. While I know there are limitations on what I am able to do [over one summer], I hope my research will show the Haverford community how rich and complex the histories of race at Haverford are.”