The Press as Launching Pad

Each year, the Bucknell University Press typically gives a graduate student the chance to join the staff as an editorial assistant. Earlier this decade, the press also began the Cynthia Fell Internship Program, a competitive, one-year, unpaid position for undergraduates that covers all aspects of scholarly publishing and offers the equivalent of one course credit

For many of those students, working at the press profoundly influenced their path into professional life. We spoke to some of them about their experiences

An Entrée into the Academic Life

Kate Parker ’03, M’04, a newly tenured professor of English at University of Wisconsin–LaCrosse, specializes in 18th-century studies, a field that was her passion during her two years as an editorial assistant at the press. She is currently co-editor of the Press’ series of publications called Transits: Literature, Thought and Culture, 1650–1850. “Everyone [in the field] wants to publish with Transits, especially if it’s their first book,” she says.

Parker’s time with the Press was “like an apprenticeship in 18th-century studies,” she says. “Greg [Clingham, former director] was an incredible mentor. In so many ways, I owe my career to Bucknell.”

Patrick Henry M’10 was uncertain about his future goals and was merely “exploring opportunities” when he began pursuing a master’s in English. But his two years as an editorial assistant at the Press “gave me a new sense of the value of scholarly work and inspired me to continue my own scholarly journey,” he says. Henry now teaches creative writing at the University of North Dakota and is associate editor for fiction and poetry at the journal Modern Language Studies. Working at the Press “was absolutely foundational in shaping the way that I think of both scholarship and teaching,” he says.

Kate Parker ’03
Kate Parker ’03, M’04 says she owes her career to Bucknell.
Nate Freed ’21
Nate Freed ’21 is in his second year as a Press intern.

Catching the Publishing Bug

Jennifer Weber ’13 parlayed her press internship into a job with Guilford Press, an academic publisher in New York, where she handles the marketing of education titles. It’s a great fit, she says. “I love the job. I love the company. A year of getting my toes wet at the press was really helpful in making me stand out” among other applicants, she says.

Tong Tong ’17 is pursuing a master’s at Boston College, focusing on modern and Irish literature, an interest she developed as a Cynthia Fell Intern. “The Press is very prestigious in Irish literature,” she says. “I read so many manuscripts and titles from our list. It was fascinating.” Before entering graduate school, Tong did a summer internship with the publisher W.W. Norton in New York City. When she has her master’s degree in hand, Tong wants to go into publishing, perhaps as an editor. Whatever job she seeks, she says, it will be “something to do with books.”

A Foundational Experience

Alana Jajko ’15, M’18 says her Bucknell Press experience (as both undergraduate intern and graduate student) helped her build the writing and graphic design skills she uses in her current work with Susquehanna Greenway Partnership. She’s also project manager for a series of student-produced films, Stories of the Susquehanna Valley, which was inspired by the Bucknell University Press series of the same name. Jajko credits the Press with providing solid foundations for her efforts to combine her twin passions — art and environmental concerns — and says, “I’m excited to see where those foundations continue to take me.”

Suzanne Valley Flinchbaugh M’04, P’18 says she “was fortunate to be offered an opportunity at the Press” when she enrolled as an older graduate student in the English master’s program in 2001 because “it was a match made in heaven. It opened up a huge field for me. It really lit me on fire.” After working as an acquisitions editor for two academic publishers, she is now an administrative coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she writes and edits a variety of communications for the public-health development team. Of the new career she launched in mid-life, she says, “I owe it all to Greg [Clingham] and the experience I had at the press.”

Still Preparing to Launch …

Nate Freed ’21 is an English–creative writing and Japanese major who is finishing his second year as a Presidential Fellow at the Press. He handles correspondence with readers who are peer reviewing manuscripts, helped launch the Press’s new partnership with the Rutgers University Press and writes an occasional post for the Press blog.

A self-professed “big grammar nerd,” he has always been interested in editing and wants to go into publishing someday, on the general interest side of the business. For now, he’s busy at the Press and says, “I’ll continue working here as long as they’ll have me.” — Matt Zencey