Today’s interview is with Felicia Rovegno, an intern in the Public Services Division of the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
I grew up in Queens, New York. I visited Washington, D.C., when I was in eighth grade, and fell in love with it. I moved here to attend college at the George Washington University. I took a break from living in Washington, D.C., when I lived in Howard Beach (Queens) with my parents to attend law school at St. John’s University School of Law.
What is your academic/professional history?
I graduated in 2003 from the George Washington University with a B.S. in biology and a double minor in women’s studies and sociology. In 2006, I received a M.S. in genomics, also from the George Washington University. I graduated from St. John’s University School of Law with a J.D. in 2010, and became an attorney licensed to practice law in New York in 2011. I started working at the Research and Publications Unit of the Office of the Solicitor General, Department of Justice in 2013 as a paralegal specialist and then as a technical editor in 2016. At the Office of the Solicitor General, I cite-checked briefs being submitted before the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of the United States and/or federal government agencies. I just recently began working as an associate counsel at the Office of the Law Revision Counsel, United States House of Representatives. I am also pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science from Catholic University of America. I am currently interning at the Law Library of Congress for the practicum class for that program.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I am interning at the Law Library of Congress with Ann Hemmens as my supervisor. Before the pandemic, I was predominantly answering online reference questions, while shadowing Ann and Emily Carr at the reference desk. During my time at the desk, I answered reference questions for public patrons face-to-face. Since the pandemic, I have been working exclusively online answering reference questions each week, as well as inputting data for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Records and Briefs project, which is a project that will provide access to the contents of the microfilm collection. One of the most rewarding aspects of this internship has been receiving replies to my responses to online reference questions thanking me for the help that I provided, as well as seeing public patrons in person be happy with the help that I provided them.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
First, this is a dream come true for my inner book-loving self. I always wanted to work in the largest library. Second, I wanted real-life legal reference work experience, and why not obtain it from the Law Library of Congress. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and learning experience.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I am amazed by how the majority of the collection that the Law Library of Congress has is not physically located in the Law Library Reading Room. During the first tour that I had of the Law Library of Congress, which was for a class assignment and given by Ann Hemmens, I walked around mesmerized by the collection that was physically located in the Law Library Reading Room, but I was more stumped by the fact that this was less than one percent of the collection. Through my internship, I have learned that most of the collection is located down in the stacks of the Law Library of Congress.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I love to bake, especially cupcakes and madeleines (French butter cakes). I started baking cupcakes in college when I was trying to duplicate Sunny Doodles (golden, cream filled cakes), which I no longer could eat due to my food allergies. Then, in law school, baking became a method of therapeutic stress relief and I would make cupcakes for different events put on by groups that I belonged to. I was introduced to madeleines through an assignment for French class. My mom obtained a recipe and both my mom and I have been making them ever since.