Stephanie Marie McComber
Stephanie began volunteering with the PCM collection at the end of the summer and is continuing to volunteer with us through the fall semester. At present, Stephanie is dedicated to updating our extensive mola database.
I’m a sophomore studying International Studies with a regional focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.
What made you want to volunteer with the Panama Canal Museum Collection?
Funny enough, my parents are vendors at the Panama Canal Society convention every year and brought this volunteer opportunity to my attention. Having spent my childhood in Panama with family, I’ve always been aware of my cultural heritage and had members of my family who worked in the Canal. I wanted to learn more about the Canal Zone and my heritage.
What has been the most interesting part of working with the collection so far?
So many things capture my attention about this collection, but I would have to say that the most interesting part is to see the dynamic nature of the Zonian. Most Zonians were Americans who came to work in the Canal Zone and grew up in Panama. Some people were born in Panama and spent a majority of their lives there and now reside in the United States. This is something I myself identify with being both Panamanian and American.
The complex identity of the Panama Canal is exemplified by the Zonians and really shines through in the collection.
How do you think you might benefit from working with the PCM collection?
As a sophomore at the University of Florida, I think most students perceive libraries as just a place to cram for exams and not as much as a resource at our disposal. Most don’t even look beyond Library West when they think of libraries on campus. In working with the Panama Canal Museum collection it has made me aware of all the resources available in my reach and how fortunate I am to have such an expansive knowledge network in my grasp.
Tell us a fun / interesting fact about yourself!
I have all of the United States Presidents memorized in order from George Washington to Barack Obama along with their election year. It’s a random talent that I am quite proud of.