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Five Questions (The Intern Edition): Mamadou Cherif Simpara

This post features Business Reference Section intern Mamadou Cherif Simpara’s answers to the Five Questions.

What is your background?

I was born and raised in Mali, a landlocked country in western Africa. However, I spent most of my vacations traveling to other countries such as France and Morocco. After graduating in 2012 with a high school diploma in science and economics, I faced an important decision most high school students in Mali face: whether or not I wanted to pursue my education overseas. Studying in England was my first choice; however, after being in the United States in 2011, I was intrigued to learn what education there was like. That is how I decided to pursue my studies in the United States, and after almost three years at Montgomery College in Maryland, I am now an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in Accounting and Information Systems.

How did you learn about the intern program and why did you want to work at the Library of Congress? Simpara - Copy

Being part of the Renaissance Scholars, an honors program at Montgomery College, I had the opportunity of having Ms. Bette Petrides, the Internship Coordinator, as my professor. She told me about the internship and explained how it related to my career goals. I fell in love with the internship as I learned more about it. I have always been passionate about books and I was looking for an internship that combined both my career goals and my passions. The internship at the Library of Congress in the Science, Technology and Business Division is my first internship ever. I knew if I had a chance to intern there, I would have the opportunity to work with professionals who would positively impact my experiences and improve my critical thinking skills. Reaching beyond my capacity is something that motivates me.

How would you describe your internship?

My internship has a perfect balance between skill and learning. As I am progressing through my project, I am learning things that I would not learn elsewhere; and, at the same time, I am exercising some of my skills. Specifically, I am working on a project involving the Listing Statements of the New York Stock Exchange covering June 1954 through October 1983. My job is to create an index of the Listing Statements that will help researchers access valuable financial data for “an estimated 15,000 U.S. companies.” Knowing that my work is going to help others in some way motivates me. In addition, I have the privilege of working with authentic documents such as financials, prospectuses, and other information that show how companies in the 20th century were operating. In my opinion, diving into this information is similar to investigating financial records–one of the many tasks Forensic Accountants have.

What has amazed you the most about the Library?

I am amazed by everything. I had never been to the Library of Congress before my internship. On the first day, I was like a child in a candy store who wants every candy, but in my case, I wanted books. I was looking around as if it were the last time I would ever see the Library. The Library’s art and architecture is inspiring. The reading room, on the fifth floor of the Adams Building, has an extraordinary painting of Thomas Jefferson on the walls that cannot go unnoticed. The architecture of the Jefferson Building is unique and amazing and brings people back to the 19th century, while the Madison Building has a modernized feeling and transports people to the 20st century. All three buildings are complementary.

What have you learned about the Library that you didn’t know before you started your internship?

I did not know very much about the Library of Congress before I started working here, as I had not thoroughly visited Washington, D.C. One of the things here that intrigued me are the tunnels that facilitate movement among the three buildings of the Library of Congress. Another thing would be the staff members with whom I have the opportunity to work. They are very supportive and will help even though they are busy. My internship exposed me to the professional side of life here. As a result, I learned more about how people can work together and generate great ideas that will nourish both the institution and the public.

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