Island Press Interns: Where are They Now?

Island Press has had many interns over the years. After reading this interview with former editorial intern Joelle Herr, we wanted to know: what else have our interns been up to since their time at Island Press? We reached out to them and asked them to reflect on their time at Island Press and tell us a little about what they're doing now. From careers in publishing, to advertising, to cheesemaking, to full-time gigs at Island Press, check out what they had to say below: 

“During my time [at Island Press], I had the pleasure of reading book proposals and interviewing experts in the environmental field. It enabled me to gain a great perspective on the latest environmental issues, as well as the publishing process. After Island Press, I worked for Washingtonian Magazine and PBS. In a few weeks, I'm starting as a reporter at a local paper in Central California.”
-Paulina Kosturos, Editorial 

"As the publicity intern at Island Press, I helped authors extend their game-changing ideas about public health, wildlife and the planet to the media and public. Today I work at the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) as a Program Associate. In this position, I handle the logistics and day-to-day operations of the Borlaug Cocoa Program, a program in which WCF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) together sponsor cocoa scientists from Africa, Asia and the Americas to complete research fellowships in the United States. I've enjoyed the position as I'm able to interact with early and mid-career cocoa scientists from around the world, as well as government representatives and private companies. It's my long-term goal to continue to advocate for science diplomacy, sustainability and the advancement of environmental research."
-Bernadette LeMasters, Publicity 

“I was the publicity intern at Island Press from the fall of 2008 through the spring of 2009, during my senior year at American University, and I loved it! I was a public communication major at AU and interested in learning more about the publishing industry, and Island Press was the perfect opportunity to gain real experience drafting press materials and researching and pitching media. After graduating, I attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, a 6-week certificate program, which I discovered through my boss at Island Press, Jaime Jennings. My first real job was as Assistant to the Publisher at Minotaur Books, which is the crime fiction imprint of St. Martin's Press in New York. A little over three years later, I'm still at St. Martin's Press; now on the marketing side, I work with mysteries and thrillers, in addition to some nonfiction. I definitely credit my experience at Island Press for opening the door to my dream career in publishing.”
-Allison Ziegler, Publicity

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time working at Island Press. In my current position as Marketing Manager at Net Impact, I actually use the Drupal Platform that I learned while working on”
-Jordan Brewster

"I was a production intern under Sharis for about six months in 2011-2012. It was my first year out of college, and my first exposure to publishing. The experience I gained at Island Press was invaluable, both in terms of the skills I learned and how it launched my career. My first job in publishing was in the editorial department of a small academic press in Massachusetts. I worked in acquisitions in political science and environmental policy for almost four years, and I know for a fact that they offered me the job almost entirely on the strength of my experience and references at Island Press. As fate would have it, I'm now a Production Editor myself! I currently work for Sinauer Associates, another small independent press in Massachusetts that publishes college textbooks in biology, psychology, neuroscience, and related fields. I love my job, and I very much credit Island Press's stellar internship program and continued support for getting me here."
-Alison Hornbeck, Production

"I worked at Island Press in 2009 as an intern with the development department. My time there familiarized me with useful skills in non-profit fundraising, as well as an innovative, science-based approach to addressing environmental problems of all kinds. The skills I learned and experiences I gained help me secure my first full-time job after college as a development assistant at a conservation and renewable energy advocacy non-profit in Madison, Wisconsin. Since then, I have held a number of positions within environment or energy NGOs, and now serve as the communications director for Trout Unlimited's Alaska Program based in Anchorage, Alaska. I work to safeguard Alaska's wild salmon runs and unique, productive rivers. Though geographically I'm nearly as far from Island Press as you can get within our country, I hold the skills, relationships and experiences I gained there close on a daily basis!"
-Jenny Weis, Development

"I was an intern at Island Press in 2011 during my Sophomore year at George Washington. I supported the marketing team during my internship, helping to strengthen Island Press's presence on social channels. As my first internship, Island Press was an amazing experience. Both the caliber and passion of the people that made up the company left an impression on me. I credit a lot of my early professional development to my mentors during this internship. Since interning at Island Press, I graduated from GW and moved to New York to begin my career in advertising. I worked in Manhattan for two years before moving out to Boulder, Colorado where I'm currently employed at a smaller ad agency set at the foothills of the Rockies"
-Sarah Dalia, Marketing


Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

"Looking back, my time as an intern at Island Press was invaluable. My mentor, Jaime, took me under her wing and taught me the importance of publicity. I wasn't given menial tasks, but was instead encouraged to pitch titles on my own, curate media lists and learn about the publishing industry on a deeper level. I now live in New York City where I'm an Associate Publicist at Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. I've had the privilege of working with phenomenal authors like Nicholas Sparks, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ellen DeGeneres, Jessi Klein, Douglas Preston, Sarah Hepola and many others. My success in publishing is due in part to the sturdy foundation I built during my time at Island Press. I'm very thankful to the supportive team for helping me on my journey!"
-Shelby Howick, Publicity

"At Island Press, I served briefly as a marketing intern where I helped research a portfolio of awards and fellowships for which our authors might be eligible. I then worked as an editor and speechwriter for a civil rights organization in DC, before a two-year stint as a farmer and cheesemaker in Maine. Today, I am a public information officer for the State of Maryland's social services agency, and I'm proud of having started out as intern for a company with a progressive viewpoint."
-Kari Nye, Marketing

"After my amazing time as Island Press's editorial intern (fall 2013), I moved to New York to work in publicity at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. I'm no longer in publishing but still very involved in environmental activism through 350NYC and United for Action, a local anti-fracking group. I give my friends Island Press books every year as Christmas gifts because I am so grateful for the experience I had there (not to mention they're beautiful books that cover a wide range of interests and causes!)."
-Jill McLaughlin, Editorial

"I was an English major at the University of Maryland, and I had an extremely hard time figuring out what I wanted to do after I graduated. During my last semester of college, I interned for the editorial department at Island Press. My experiences at IP are the reason that I chose to pursue a career in the publishing industry. While interning there, I had the opportunity to work alongside such passionate, collaborative, and open-minded people from all different departments. Island Press helped me understand the ins and outs of the publishing world. I now work at Penguin Random House in New York City, and I absolutely wouldn't be here if it weren't for my experiences at Island Press. "
-Jordan Aaronson, Editorial

"I'm in my fourth year at Penguin Random House, sixth year in publishing, and loving it! I was recently promoted to Associate Managing Editor, and I work with the managing ed department in our Berkley imprint, planning and producing all of our galleys and ARCs (Advance Reader Copies). Berkley also includes our Prime Crime, Sensation, Jove, Ace, Roc, NAL, Caliber, and Signet lines, so there are tons of genres to read and get involved with. I have to say that without the Island Press internship, I don't know where I would be! I'm so grateful to them for hiring me on as an editorial intern in 2011—they really passed along a great passion for books with impact, and were such a great resource."
-Hope Ellis, Editorial

"I served as an editorial intern at Island Press back in 2012, the summer after I graduated from college. I worked under the supervision of Courtney Lix and Becca Bright to help review unsolicited manuscript submissions and book proposals (along with other tasks). I loved the super-friendly, collaborative, book-loving atmosphere of Island Press, and as an avid reader, it was such a thrill to see the behind-the-scenes process of deciding to publish a book. Plus, Island Press showed me that there really were ways to combine my love of creative writing with my interest in ecology and the environment. After my internship, I spent an academic year in northeastern Australia, continuing to combine these interests through an interdisciplinary project at James Cook University. I joined a team of field biologists researching the impact of climate change on the tropical rainforests of Far North Queensland and then, in collaboration with the education department, used the experience to write a children's adventure novel which we piloted in a local elementary school as an English/science curriculum integration tool. In 2016, I received my M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the New Writers Project at the University of Texas at Austin; my thesis, a young-adult novel involving religion and the natural history of the Washington, D.C. area, was recently shortlisted for the Bath Children's Novel Award. Currently, I teach creative writing as an adjunct at St. Edward's University in Austin, and also teach writing workshops for kids at two elementary schools.I love to bring my students outside to use the natural world as inspiration!"
-Noah Weisz, Editorial

"I'm a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park and I'm graduating this May 2017. I'm currently applying to graduate schools to pursue a master's degree in publishing. In the meantime I've been taking classes, working at the library on campus and remaining active in my living and learning community, the Jiménez-Porter Writers' House. I really enjoyed my internship at Island Press. I was able to learn a lot about managing a book publisher's blog, social media accounts and website. I also really enjoyed the IP101 sessions where interns were taught about the different departments of Island Press. This internship was great exposure to the publishing industry and I would recommend it to anyone who loves books!"
-Tiara Beatty, Marketing

"In 2010, I moved from working as a park ranger in my Alaskan hometown to Washington, DC, to be an intern in Island Press’ Editorial Department. DC seemed hot and muggy beyond reason, crowded, and noisy at all hours; yet here I am, living happily in the District and working as an editor for Island Press seven years later. While I was an intern, my boss had a sticky note on her wall that said something like, “will this book make the world better?” Apart from book industry tools and knowledge, my internship at Island Press taught me that learning from a team that’s both talented and passionate is a priceless experience. I feel very lucky to work on projects that I care about, still discovering something new every day, with our Island Press crew. "
-Rebecca Bright, Editorial

"My production internship at Island Press was an invaluable first experience in the world of media. I learned so much from Sharis and Maureen, and loved seeing books evolve from their earliest stages to a finished product. I felt very inspired by being an active part of the publishing process. After my internship ended, I won a fellowship with Indiewire to cover the Sundance Film Festival. Subsequently, I moved to LA, where I currently write for Entertainment Weekly. "
-Mary Sollosi, Production

"I had a highly enriching experience working with Sharis at Island Press. It was exciting to see so many titles go from a jumble of Word files to a polished typeset manuscript. The production internship is really interesting because you get to comb through each one so thoroughly to make sure it's perfect, and Sharis is so helpful and approachable whenever questions arise. As a person with a science background, I found the subject matter of Island Press books to be especially interesting, and I spent my fair share of minutes drooling over all the shelves of books lining the walls of the office. Since leaving the internship, I began working on the editorial staff at an ecology journal right around the corner, and my internship experience has proven to be very helpful, especially in the proofreading stage for the manuscripts we work with here. Many thanks to the great team at Island Press."
-Heidi Swanson, Production

"Interning at Island Press was a fantastic opportunity. Not only did I get to work with great people, but I also got to see how a publisher successfully works with authors and freelancers. Since leaving Island Press, I've graduated with a Master's in Publishing from George Washington University; moved to New York City to work as a proofreader; and come back to my beloved DC to work as an editor at CEB Global."
-Melanie Meaders


"After finishing my publicity internship at Island Press in Spring of 2014 I went on to graduate early from the George Washington University with a degree in Journalism and Creative Writing, Cum Laude. Soon after I moved back to New York where I began full time as a Marketing Assistant for History titles at Oxford University Press USA. In August of 2016 I moved to Copenhagen, Denmark to pursue my Master's Degree in Information, Data, and Library Science at Copenhagen University. I am currently working at an international library, and hope to reenter the publishing field with in a data-centric role. "
-Michelle Mangione, Publicity

"The experience I gained interning at Island Press has proved invaluable to me since I first worked in the editorial department in the autumn of 2014, specializing the built environment. At that point, I was a graduate student at Georgetown University, having already established myself as a historian and archivist at the National Archives. Working at Island Press, I gained expertise in the book publishing industry, and am thankful to have worked closely with editors Rebecca Bright and Courtney Lix and President David Miller. Since then, I have moved away from Washington, D.C. for my husband’s career and have written a debut novel. We are currently the owners of a historic Arts and Crafts style house, and I am a board member of the local historic preservation society and involved in local and national historic preservation issues related to the built environment. I look forward to returning to Washington, D.C. this summer and continuing my career in publishing."
-Amy Delong, Editorial

Amy Delong

"I had an incredible experience at Island Press and my time there helped me determine that I was passionate about the work and wanted pursue a career in publishing. Thank you again to Sharis for an amazing internship! After leaving Island Press I got married and then moved to Boston and completed a Masters degree in publishing and writing at Emerson College. After completing my graduate work, I moved back home to California where I now work just outside San Francisco as an Editorial Assistant at Ten Speed Press, an imprint under Penguin Random House."
-Ashley Pierce, Production

"Since my departure from Island Press I've been involved in elephant conservation. I recently worked with the World Wildlife Fund and the International Fund for Animal Welfare doing research on the sale of ivory via internet in the US. I'm also involved with webpage curation and blog development for the organization Ivory For Elephants, a non-profit media group that specializes in disseminating information about the current plight of elephants (and other species) through the use of a wide network of professionals in all fields who possess a passion to protect elephants. Both of these roles rely on lessons I garnered from experiences with IP."
-Danielle Underhill, Marketing

African bush elephants in South Africa, via Wikimedia Commons

"I was a Development Intern at Island Press the summer of 2014 when I was fresh out of college. This role gave me plenty of opportunities to really learn the ins and outs of donor engagement and the important role individual and foundation/corporate donors play in making Island Press a successful organization. Since my time at Island Press, my career took a complete 180 when I was hired by Northrop Grumman for their business management professional development program. During this two year rotation program, I gained experience in procurement, global supply chain, financial reporting, accounting, and internal audit. While business management was a great function to gain experience in, I decided to take on a role in strategy following my graduation from the professional development program. This role focuses on research and analysis of our competitors’ products and business portfolios as well as understanding the federal budget to determine what our company’s goals should be for the future. I’m also in the process of obtaining my master’s in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University. I hope to use this degree to leverage a career in international business and one day return to the non-profit and public policy world to focus on economic development. My time at Island Press was incredibly rewarding and I continue to talk about my experience to this day. Working with the development team taught me how to think differently about business, which has paid off tremendously during my time in the private sector. It was great to be exposed to various aspects of book publishing and the operations of a non-profit. On top of that, I really enjoyed working with people so passionate about the organization’s mission and objectives."
-Erin Parker, Development

"It feels like forever since I was at Island Press! I was there as a production intern in summer 2008 just after returning from a semester abroad... almost nine years ago! Wow. I vaguely remember helping to coordinate mailings and create binders... something about a CRM system... inputting edits from freelancers... and generally having a great time working with (and joking around with) the production team: Maureen, Sharis, Ashley, and Grace (another intern)! Though I didn't stay in the publishing industry, I'm pretty sure that the IP internship experience is the reason I landed in DC after I graduated a year later. I'm so grateful for that experience. It also helped me get my first job out of college as a production assistant for the National Wildlife Federation. After that, I worked for George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, for six years doing communications, marketing and recruitment for language-supported academic programs for international students. I also earned a master's in linguistics while there. I'm lucky to have been able to travel the world for work and do a little sightseeing over the years. (My top three favorites places I visited were Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Muscat, Oman, and Rio de Janeiro. I've also been a volunteer for a few different organizations, including Fairfax Inova Hospital, AFS Intercultural Programs and The Global Language Network. Last month, I started a new job as an accreditation manager with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, where I'm responsible for editing complex documentation. The office is near Dupont Circle, just like the old IP office, and it feels great to be back in DC proper—and to come full circle, back to where it all began! "
-Lindsay Kenton, Production

"I'm working now as an Assistant Editor at Springer Nature in the Philadelphia office, and I run five quarterly journals."
-Kelsie Renehan, Editorial

"Working at Island Press was a great experience because I got a lot of hands on experience and insight on the publishing process. I enjoyed being able to work in a variety of capacities, and in my time there I helped out with communications, marketing, etc. Now I'm interning at a women's health nonprofit, the Society for Women's Health Research, in their communications department. My contributions focus mainly on copyediting guest pieces and writing original content for their Huffington Post blog, and maintaining their social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc."
-Natalia Gurevich, Marketing

"In 2009 – a recent graduate with a BA in 18th century British Literature – I unsurprisingly found myself working at Borders (RIP) and interning wherever I could. One day, while helping a customer, I overheard her speaking with her friend about the publishing company she worked for. As someone who had decided she wanted to be in publishing at age 14 – I knew I didn’t have the skills to make it as an author – I immediately asked if I could have her contact information so I could submit a resume...I was hired by Sharis Simonian for the Production Intern position which meant I got to work closely with her in the old office’s basement, thank goodness we have much nicer digs now...Six months after I was hired as the Production Intern, the Production Assistant position opened up. It was while I was working as the Production Assistant that I learned, never manually do a thing that a computer can do for you...Six years after I was hired as the Production Assistant I was hired to become the new IT & Web Manager. I’ve been at this for six months now."
Continue reading her full story here
-Caroline Sperry, Production