Photo Credit: SER Texas A&M Student Association - Bastrop Park Fire Restoration

On Interning at Island Press: A Whirlwind of Invaluable Experience

I have loved books my entire life, and I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to focus on reading and writing. As an overenthusiastic undergrad, I spent a lot of my time trying to figure out which path I wanted to follow: teaching, writing, researching, or something unrelated to English altogether; there were too many options. Then, during my junior year, I met a fellow student and former IP intern who introduced me to the world of publishing—a field that combined many of my greatest passions. She told me about her experiences as an editorial intern and how excited she was at the prospect of one day becoming an editor. So, I decided to follow in her footsteps and do some research.

As I began learning more about publishing, I started searching for possible internships in the Maryland / DC area. Upon reading about Island Press and its overall mission to inspire change, I was immediately intrigued. It was amazing to learn about a company that not only publishes great books, but publishes great books that are so important. I have taken a number of courses about environmental change and sustainability at the University of Maryland, and it was remarkable to find a publishing house that is dedicated to making those issues known.

I showed up to IP on my first day with a stained shirt from a minor coffee spill and a stressed mind from the overly crowded rush hour train, but I instantly felt welcomed and appreciated. I went on a brief tour of the office and got to meet everyone and learn about their respective departments. There is such a strong sense of unity and compassion in this office; it’s so nice to be working with a dedicated group of people who support and collaborate with each other. And though I am only here three days a week, I still feel included in a wide range of projects.

I am very fortunate to work most closely with Courtney, an editor focused on issues related to the built environment, and Becca, an associate editor focused on projects that connect larger audiences to environmental topics. In my short time at IP, I have already learned how to review book proposals, search for book art and obtain image permissions, manage contracts, review and format manuscripts, and attend weekly meetings where we discuss current and future projects and weekly meetings where we discuss potential covers for forthcoming books. I also owe a huge shout out to Courtney for constantly answering my endless number of questions.

I would say that my favorite experiences so far have been reading and responding to book proposals. Though I am only an intern, my feedback about these potential projects is taken seriously. This editorial internship provides so many opportunities to truly get a feel for the publishing field and what the daily work entails. I am really looking forward to the rest of my time here!