Clemson University Press is an experiential-learning lab for student interns and graduate assistants, who gain hands-on, professional experience in editing, design, and marketing. Students contribute to actual publications; they gain skills in industry-standard software and procedures; and they receive mentoring for pursuing future careers in publishing and related fields. During the 2019–2020 academic year, the Press had the honor of working with five exceptional students: Mary Frankovich, Elizabeth Adams, Lauren Soash, Kelley Gillis, and Patrick Coffee.
Mary Frankovich, a yearlong editorial assistant who focused primarily on the late stages of acquisitions (contracts) and on production learned how university presses serve their parent institutions and their key role in scholarly communications more generally. “Working with the Press,” she noted, “gave me hands-on experience and reaffirmed my decision to pursue a career in publishing.” Lauren Soash, who interned during the spring semester, likewise focused on production: she learned how to vet copyediting, clean up manuscripts for typesetting, and she even typeset a book due to publish this summer. Elizabeth Adams, another yearlong editorial assistant due to graduate with her MA next week, devoted the spring semester to managing the planning stages of a major project underway at the Press to publish a revised and updated edition of The South Carolina Master Gardener Training Manual in partnership with Clemson Extension. Adams played a key role in developing the project, serving as the primary liaison between the Press and the stellar editorial team behind the project. Adams notes: “My time with the Press has really been a demonstration of an excellent community for collaboration; book publishing is collaborative by nature, but there’s a particular air of supportive camaraderie among the staff and the assistants. Oftentimes it might be difficult to see where your own work has culminated to something impactful as an assistant, but this is certainly not the case at Clemson University Press. I look forward to the future publications from the Press, knowing that they come from a place of real, scholarly dedication from a network of collaborators.”
Assistants have also contributed significantly to the marketing and promotion of our list throughout this academic year. Kelley Gillis, who has worked with the Press since 2018 while earning her MA in English, is rightly proud of her work in designing seasonal catalogs during her tenure at the Press: “Working with the Press has been one of the brightest parts of my grad school experience. I’ve grown so much personally and professionally and learned so many different skills. I’m proud of all the work I’ve done, but especially the seasonal catalogs that I designed.” Patrick Coffee, an undergraduate History major, researched collaborations with public libraries, paving the way for increased collaboration with regional libraries on programing for the general public. He also created a video commemorating the Press’s first 20 years in publishing. Coffee recalls his internship at the Press as “an extraordinary learning opportunity”: “The Press staff provided advice and ideas that will really help me to open my mind as I continue to grow both as a student and as a professional.”
All of these student assistants have bright futures ahead of them, and everyone at the Press thanks them for their many lasting contributions to our publishing program. They will be sorely missed.