We commemorate National Women’s History Month 2017 with a series that profiles remarkable women who work for Historical Research Associates (HRA). Dawn Vogel copy edits cultural resource management and history reports, assists with report production, assists with historical research, and manages the HRA Seattle office.
HRA: Before working at HRA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
Dawn: While I was an undergrad, I worked with a Chinese history professor who tasked me with combing through the city directories for the small town where the university was located to find individuals of likely Chinese descent living in the town. The town was located in northern Missouri, and did not appear particularly diverse outside of the university setting, but we found that a good number of Chinese immigrants had been in the town even before larger numbers of Chinese faculty and students came to the university.
HRA: What was your dream job as a kid and why?
Dawn: I wanted to be an interior designer so that I could rearrange furniture and pick out the prettiest paint, drapes, bedding, etc. I suspect this was because I grew up in a room painted pale yellow, accented with bright orange and avocado green, and it was not attractive in the slightest.
HRA: How has HRA helped you in your career development?
Dawn: I came to HRA with a somewhat narrow set of editing skills, honed in working with historical documents and essays. Since arriving at HRA, I’ve encountered a much wider array of documents in need of editing, and I’ve learned to approach each with a slightly different eye for detail. So I’ve become a much more rounded editor. I’ve also gotten to apply my organizational skills to a wide variety of tasks, which is always a fun challenge for me.
HRA: What woman inspires you and why?
Dawn: J. K. Rowling. She’s created a very successful book (and movie, and merchandise) franchise out of a middle grade and young adult fantasy novel series, which is something I would love to someday do.
HRA: If you could interview one woman (dead or alive) who would it be?
Dawn: G. Willow Wilson, the author of (among other things) the Ms. Marvel comic book. I met her briefly and she was very kind, and I’d love to get to sit down and talk with her about her fascinating life and writing career.
HRA: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
Dawn: In high school, one of my friends suggested Winona Ryder as the person who should play me in a movie. I still like that idea.
HRA: What project at HRA has been your greatest success, and why?
Dawn: In 2009, we were tasked with creating a database of repositories that hold documents related to Pierce County, Washington. There was an older printed document that covered many repositories, but it was in need of substantial updates. I was able to organize and orchestrate the updating of the database, visiting a number of the repositories in person, but also covering substantial ground by calling and emailing with other repositories. In the end, the database we created was posted to Pierce County Library System’s website, and we have used it for a starting point of research for subsequent HRA projects in Pierce County. (Ihttp://histdocs.piercecountylibrary.org/)