Guest post by Laura Ewen
I came to Johns Hopkins in 2011 as a freshman English major with no doubts about what I wanted to study but no clue how to transfer it into a career path. All I seemed to hear was how difficult getting a job would be with an English degree, especially from all the future doctors and engineers who made up most of my classes. As a nervous freshman with no career prospects, I figured it was time to get an on-campus job; it seemed like the minimum wage I could earn at the admissions office or the gym might be supporting me through most of my twenties. Fortunately, I had come to Hopkins on the heels of my older sister, who had gone through the same process the year before, ending up with a job she really enjoyed at the Johns Hopkins University Press. When I asked for advice, she suggested I apply to fill a temporary position in the JHUP marketing department. Anything involving books couldn’t be too bad, so I took a chance and applied.
To this date, I have never made a better decision in my life. Working at JHUP has taught me something new every day and provided me with accomplishments to be proud of. My daily duties can range from filing paperwork to communicating with authors, so I’ve been exposed to various levels of office work and publishing-specific projects. By managing our review copy requests, I get the chance to correspond with contacts from all kinds of media outlets, and by helping to create review lists for new titles, I’m able to make sure that our books end up in the hands of those who will appreciate them most. Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States may not be at the top of everyone’s list, but for the editors at the Social History of Medicine, it could contain important information for their academic community.
My temporary position quickly became permanent, as did my passion for publishing. As an English major, there’s no better feeling than being able to pick up a book and know that I helped contribute to its success, in however small a way. As a student, there’s nothing I love more than seeing the enthusiasm that greets an academic title like Dealing with Darwin or Subverting Aristotle. As an employee, there’s nothing that makes me happier than working day in and day out with people who teach me, support me, and encourage me in everything I do.
Through their guidance and assistance, I managed to procure three incredible internship opportunities, each of which prepared me for life in the publishing world in different ways. I’ve gone from the publicity department of a non-profit literary press to the editorial department of a major academic publisher, and this summer I will be interning in the marketing department of Harper, the flagship imprint of one of the largest publishing houses in the world, HarperCollins. Without my experience at JHUP and the constant support of my co-workers, I would never have had the opportunity for such amazing experiences.
Even though I may only be a student, I have always felt included and appreciated by the wonderful people of JHUP. My supervisors are more than happy to let me sit in on meetings and share my ideas, ensuring that I always feel like part of the team. And it truly is a team, this incredible group of people who support and care for each other, and in doing so create an inviting environment in which it is so easy to feel welcome.
Through observing all their hard work and dedication, I’ve learned so much more than the best places to market a biology book or the purpose of an ISBN; I’ve learned to apply passion, patience, and perseverance to everything I do. While I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student, I’ve also realized that some lessons are best learned outside the classroom. What may just seem like a part-time student job to others has been an invaluable part of my time at Johns Hopkins. My position at the Johns Hopkins University Press has not only provided me with the skills and knowledge necessary to advance my career, it has helped me cultivate the confidence I need to thrive in the professional world.
Laura Ewen has been a student intern in the JHU Press Books Marketing Department since 2011. She studies English at the Johns Hopkins University and plans to continue working in publishing after graduating next spring.