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An Interview with Mark Niedziela, Junior Fellow

This post is an interview with Mark Niedziela.  Mark is working in the Collection Services Division of the Law Library of Congress as part of the institution’s Junior Fellows Program.  The program’s focus is to increase access to our collections for our various patron groups.

Describe your background.

I was born in New Jersey and raised both there and in Poland.  My parents were immigrants from Poland.  Since high school, I have been involved in United Nations programs – I’ve always had a deep interest in international policy.  I fell in love with the world of law, diplomacy, conflict resolution and government when I was around 13 years old.  I’ve been following United States foreign policy since then.

What is your academic/professional history?

I am pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics with a concentration in International Relations, French, and Pre-Law at The Catholic University of America (CUA).  At CUA, I took various courses in constitutional law, foreign policy, comparative politics, and several language courses.  I am the President of the Catholic University International Affairs Association, Vice President of the Catholic University Chapter of Global Zero, and a member of the French Honors Society.  I also earned a certification in Terrorism Studies at the International Center for Terrorism Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies of the International Law Institute.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I get asked the question “what exactly do you do?” at least three times a week.  Every time I answer, I tell them that I read, sort, and categorize international legal gazettes that we received from the United Nations to add to the collection of the Law Library.  I am also preparing a final display for the Junior Fellows display day in July where all of the Junior Fellows of the Library of Congress have their work exhibited.  My supervisor, Ken Sigmund, is extremely helpful and always helps me with whatever questions I have about my project.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

I walked by the Library of Congress a lot throughout my semesters in DC and I always thought it would be an interesting place to work.  For me, an important part of a successful career in government would be to help keep people informed by making available as much accurate information as possible.  The Law Library has many international documents and books, which really quench my thirst for understanding the legal processes of other countries.  While writing papers and other publications, I have used the resources of the Law Library on countless occasions.  The legal books have helped me to write papers successfully, analyzing theocracies, democracies, and authoritarian regimes.

What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?

I loved finding out that there are special events hosted by the Law Library that discuss international laws, not just American laws.  My favorite event was “The Role and Impact of Islamic Law in Transitioning Arab Spring Countries.”  The panel was superb, being both extremely eloquent and knowledgeable about the subject matter.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I am very interested in the cetacean debate.  The debate consists of captivity of dolphins and whales in enclosed spaces, and harvesting the bodies of cetaceans for consumption.  It is an odd interest, but at the same time a growing issue in the world’s ecosystems.  There have been countless documentaries created about it, with a new one coming out soon.

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