Mindy Groff: Living History
“At Transylvania, I was pushed to become the best student that I could be, and that’s why I was competitive for this fellowship. I’m really thankful for the way that Transy prepared me for graduate school and my future career.”
Mindy Groff knows that history is not solely the dominion of times gone by. History is continually made, repeated, reanalyzed, and rewritten.
Groff is doing her best to add to Transylvania's storied history. The William T. Young Scholar received a graduate school fellowship at the University of Kentucky that offers full tuition and a stipend—one of only five such awards offered to incoming students across all non-professional disciplines each year. After taking a year off, the 2009 Transylvania graduate is using the fellowship to pursue a degree in library sciences, with hopes of a career in archiving and museum work.
"One of the things I've gotten to do is serve as an intern at Keeneland Library," says Groff. Her internship involved working with damaged copies of The Daily Racing Form dating back to the 1800s, helping Keeneland (world-class thoroughbred race course and auction company located in Lexington) archive the history of horse racing events. "My job was getting them ready to be filmed, to be digitized."
That was last semester. Groff recently received news of another opportunity: acceptance to a program in which, over spring break, she will shadow and assist a librarian at Washington D.C.'s Library of Congress.
Groff has a history of getting involved beyond the classroom. While a student at Transylvania, she received a Kenan Grant that allowed her to study in England for a summer and conduct historical research at the Imperial War Museum and the British National Archives. The paper presenting her research went on to win a collegiate writing award, and the experience went on to influence her future. Immersed in such cultural history, Groff found herself thinking, "Yeah, this would be fun to do for the rest of my life."
Groff sees Transylvania as a vital source of the opportunities she's taken advantage of in her short, but illustrious, academic career. She says that Transylvania allowed her to enter her UK program more than prepared. Reflecting on the history department, she continues, "Without the help of faculty members I never would have received this fellowship. Learning how to do research while I was in the program was what pushed me to pursue this field." Groff's favorite aspect of Transylvania was getting to work with her classmates and professors. "That is so unique," she says. She was also challenged to pursue "every extracurricular activity that [she] could."
That same fervor has been applied to her post-Transylvania career, where she continues to see value in the past—both the past she works with and her own past, in which Transylvania is but one important chapter in the ongoing narrative of Mindy Groff.