How much do our student workers rock?

Our offices at the JHU Press sit just south of the bustling center of Johns Hopkins University: the Homewood campus. We don’t have an exceeding amount of interaction with the students there, but we do offer a number of employment opportunities for them. JHU students play a critical role in marketing, manuscript editing, production, and many other departments in the Books and Journals divisions, as well as Project MUSE.

These students add so much to our days beyond taking on some of the workload. In the journals marketing department, Kithmina Hewage has introduced my colleagues and me to decadent desserts from his native Sri Lanka. We are forever in debt to his mother for these treats. Jessica Valdez, a graduate student working in Project MUSE, had an article published last year in Victorian Periodicals Review, a JHUP-published journal.

Jessica Yoo, who worked in acquisitions before receiving her diploma last week, tops the list with the poem she wrote about her experiences at JHUP. She has gratefully allowed us the chance to publish it on the blog.

      Work Study, Acquisitions Dept.

      It all begins the same: coat off and hung
      around the swivel chair, my bag tucked in
      the bottom drawer, power button on.
      My inbox checked: new books to circulate,
      papers to shred, a few rejections here
      and there—a blend of scholars, Ph.Ds,
      doctors, some students (grad or undergrad),
      and of course, the random bits of those in jail,
      the bored and aged who need an outlet and think,
      “Why not?”, and everything in between. An hour
      has slipped away, but a never-ending mass
      of folders hums my name. It’s the job that no
      one wants, but must be done. “What do you do?
      ‘Weeding?’ I thought you worked at the press, and filed
      a bunch of shit.” A garden all the same:
      instead of pulling out unwelcome plants,
      I sift through forms, signed contracts, emails, pictures—
      the history of every book that goes
      to print—and organize them all. They range
      from Clio and the Crown to Central Neural States
      Relating Sex and Pain. My earbuds tucked in,
      I skim, staple, and file to the beats and rhymes
      of Biggie, Hov, and more—my saving grace.
      When they’ve all been checked, it’s off to the A(ncien)T room
      to squeeze the papers in like too-tight jeans.
      It’s a dirty job: the dust on the cabinets, the bits
      of blood from paper cuts (at least one per thumb),
      and dirt from the billions of paper clips I’ve touched.
      The last one shoved in, I check my phone for the time.
      It’s one o’clock: the power button dims,
      my bag around my shoulder, coat swung on,
      and I’m out the door. It all wraps up the same.

Yoo, Colleen Dorsey, and Christina McDonald graduated last week. We wish them the best in their future endeavors as we thank all of our 2011-12 student employees for their contributions.

  • Benjamin Barsky
  • Laura Ewen
  • Rachel Ewen
  • Sara Guenoun
  • Megan Hennessy
  • Kithmina Hewage
  • Jonathan Ho
  • Anna Lena Hoenig
  • Emma Huvos
  • Anna Kleinsasser
  • Molly O’Shea
  • Elizabeth Pfeffer
  • Monica Signoretti
  • Brittany Smith
  • Audrey Szepinski
  • Jessica Valdez
  • Zixiao Wang

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