Today’s interview is with Samantha Mendoza, an intern working on transcribing the Herencia: Centuries of Spanish Legal Documents crowdsourcing campaign at the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
I was born and raised in Auburn, Alabama. I come from a very diverse background as I am a first generation American on my dad’s side of the family. He is originally from Mexico and immigrated here in the late 1980’s. My mom is from here in Alabama, so I grew up in a multicultural atmosphere. It’s always fun sharing my Mexican culture with my American family and vice versa. In my free time, I love watching TV and spending time with friends and family.
What is your academic/professional history?
I graduated from high school in 2018 and am currently going into my senior year at Auburn University. I am studying political science and Spanish and hope to go to law school to become an immigration attorney. I have previously worked at a math and reading center for kids, which was a great way to be exposed to many different cultures, and I have assisted in the office of my family’s business. This is my first internship and I love working every day with documents that pertain to what I’m studying.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I typically just tell people that I help transcribe historical Spanish legal documents, but it does go a little deeper than that. These transcriptions help make these historical documents more accessible for research, and what is amazing is that you never know what you may find in these documents.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
I was initially drawn to this internship because it pertained to my two current areas of study. It was a huge plus that it was with the Library of Congress because of the many learning opportunities within the Library.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I think it is just amazing how much history is housed within the Library of Congress, such as collections that were once owned by historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, congressional publications that date back to the beginning of the United States, etc. I also find it very cool that the Law Library contains the largest law collection in the world.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I played trumpet in band throughout middle school and high school, from seventh grade until I graduated. I can still play now, but I don’t sound as great as I did during my prime trumpet playing years!
Samantha, it is awesome to see someone your age so dedicated to the profession you chose to follow. You can’t go wrong with law. My philosophy is,” How can I respect someone’s house if I don’t know their rules?”I am 76 and decided that I want to study Constitution al law. You go girl!!
You are very lucky to have her helping you. Have known her since she was born.
In a day and time when most young people don’t care. She is a throwback. She indeed really cares.
Let her help you as long you can.