Note: The Brock Employee Feature is a Q&A-style series that aims to highlight those who contribute to the University’s positive working environment and make a difference in the campus community. The full series is available on The Brock News. Employees interested in being featured are asked to fill out an online form.
Chantal Cameron’s very first job led her down the path to her current career.
The summer she was 19, she worked for the Niagara Falls Public Library taking photographs of landmarks to document changes to the city’s development and landscape over time. She visited tourist attractions and rode in a helicopter over the falls.
“It was an important turning point in my life,” said Cameron (BA ’98), an Archives Processing Assistant with the Brock University Library. “It changed the trajectory of my studies and led to other summer jobs with a local historical association and museum, which ultimately led me to where I am now.
A resident of Niagara Falls, Cameron joined the Brock University Library 24 years ago as a part-time circulation clerk and later worked in Reference, Reserves, and now Archives and Special Collections.
What does your role involve and what do you like about it?
I mainly process archival collections, which involves organizing and describing the material in a collection, as well as providing some historical context. It could be a single item such as a letter from the War of 1812, or a large collection of 30 boxes of papers, photographs and other media formats from an individual or organization. I have always been an organized person who enjoys keeping things neat and orderly, so being able to sort, arrange and create an inventory of the contents in a collection is something I find rewarding.
I get to work with a variety of items and topics related to Niagara’s history, such as the Welland Canal, wineries, development of hydro-electric power, tourism, military conflicts and so much more. It is such interesting work because I am always learning something new. I also create digital exhibits featuring some of the items in Archives and Special Collections.
What do you like about working at Brock?
The sense of community. Over the years, I have received such tremendous support from colleagues, both professionally and personally.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A ballet dancer. I was fascinated by ballet from a young age. I studied locally in my teens and attended summer intensives in Collingwood and Aspen, Colorado. In my early 20s, I studied in Toronto for a couple of years. It was a great experience. It taught me about discipline, resilience and the importance of a strong work ethic.
What are your interests and hobbies?
I enjoy taking ballet and yoga classes, reading, and gardening.
How would others describe you?
I have always been told that I am very quiet. But if you find a topic I am passionate about, I can be very talkative.
What do you do for self-care to maintain positive mental health?
I am very introverted, so it is important for me to make time to be alone so that I can clear my mind and replenish my energy.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I briefly dabbled in modelling when I was living in Toronto in my early 20s. I generally do not like to be the centre of attention or travel too much, so I quickly realized it was not a good fit. I did get to work as an extra in a Bette Midler movie though, which was an interesting experience.
What are you most proud of?
My two daughters. They are in their teens and are such talented and kind people. They keep me young and help me see things from a different perspective.