Lae’l Hughes-Watkins is currently the university archivist at Kent State. Her research areas focus on outreach to marginalized communities, documenting student activism within disenfranchised populations, and utilizing narratives of oppressed voices within the curricula of post-secondary education spaces. Her most recent publication is “Moving Toward a Reparative Archive: A Roadmap for a Holistic Approach to Disrupting Homogenous Histories in Academic Repositories and Creating Inclusive Spaces for Marginalized Voices” in the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies. She is the Founder of Project STAND, a national initiative to create a centralized digital space where academic institutions can provide researchers access to historical and archival documentation on the development and on-going occurrences of student dissent. Project STAND focuses on digital and analog primary sources that document the activities of student groups that represent the concerns of historically marginalized communities (e.g., African American, Chicano/ LGBTQ, religious minorities, disabled, etc. Hughes-Watkins is also a 2018 ARL Leadership and Career Development Fellow and the recent recipient of the Merit Award for Society of Ohio Archivists for Project STAND.

I have a passion for biographies simply because I am inspired by moments of determination when the smell of defeat is near, but triumph is still somewhere on the horizon. I love documentaries for the same reason and will always choose a tear jerker over an action-packed movie. I LOVE when the human spirit prevails and leads to greatness, and that’s why I appreciate sci-fi too! I admire my parents because they are more amazing than I could ever hope to become in this lifetime. I am thankful for my husband because he is my inspiration to reach for what seems impossible! My weekends are filled with my family, yard work, reading, and all the work I didn’t get to during the week!