Lae’ l Hughes-Watkins is the University Archivist for the University of Maryland. As the University Archivist, she is responsible for the University of Maryland collection area within Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and oversees reference services, collection development, donor outreach, and stewardship, outreach, and instruction activities. Collaborating with other staff, she provides input into the overall direction for accessioning, arrangement, description, cataloging, digitization, and preservation of university archives materials. From 2013-2018 she served as the UA at Kent State University, where her responsibilities included working directly with the University records management program, providing reference and instruction, and development of collections. She was the curator for Kent State’s May 4 Collection, including the May 4 Oral History project that documents the 1970 campus shootings and the Black Campus Movement, highlighting student activism.


She is the founder of Project STAND. Project STAND received a 2019 resolution from the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Council for its contribution to the profession. Lael’s 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,” Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies: Vol. 5 , Article 6. She is also a 2019 Mover, and Shaker serves on SAA’s College and University’s Archives section, ARL LCDP 2018-2019, and a recipient of the SOA Merit Award. She also just received a CLIR Postdoc Fellowship grant in partnership with the University of Maryland Libraries and University of Maryland’s African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum) Initiative for a restorative justice project.