Students intern with faculty editors, gain prime publishing experience

Posted by Centre News in Academics, Campus, English, Internships, News 19 Dec 2014

Publications interns featured image PSInternships have become a cornerstone of the Centre Experience, as students engage in diverse internship experiences both near and far, from conducting cutting-edge genetics research in Strasbourg, France, to working with at-risk youth in Chicago, to editing academic publications with faculty members right here on campus.

This fall, Jeannie Corbitt ’16 (pictured above, right) interned with John M. and Louise Van Winkle Professor of Sociology Beau Weston (pictured above, left), editor of the official newsletter of the Altruism, Morality and Social Solidarity section of the American Sociological Association.

Corbitt assisted with two issues of the newsletter, working together with Weston on content, layout, aesthetics and more.

“This internship really helped me understand how important it is that ideas are presented in clear and interesting ways,” she notes.

The student-faculty collaboration component of this internship was also important for Corbitt.

“Dr. Weston was extremely helpful at guiding me in the beginning, and even when I became more familiar with how to put the newsletter together on my own, our conversations about different topics or questions raised by the material in the newsletters were very valuable,” she says.

Weston says he appreciated the literacy and persistence Corbitt brought to the role, and encourages other faculty editors in the future to take advantage of the many talented students eager to gain publishing experience.

Left to right: Patrick Haggerty '15, Scott Olsen '15 and Assistant Professor of English Stacey Peebles.

Left to right: Patrick Haggerty ’15, Scott Olsen ’15 and Assistant Professor of English Stacey Peebles.

“Many professors produce texts of various kinds, and many students have an interest in publishing,” says Weston. “I think it likely that someone on the faculty is editing something for publication at any given moment. If we looked for ways to connect the student editing corps with these shifting faculty needs, we could provide a valuable service to both students and faculty.”

Assistant Professor of English Stacey Peebles is the editor of The Cormac McCarthy Journal and has also recognized the mutual benefits of this type of internship. Senior English majors Patrick Haggerty and Scott Olsen served as Peebles’ editorial assistants this semester and though they were involved in all aspects of the journal’s publication process, their most important task was to review journal submissions, evaluating the effectiveness and originality of the writers’ arguments.

“The criteria for what constitutes a strong submission to a journal is so much clearer to me now,” says Olsen, who plans to attend graduate school in English and aspires to eventually publish his own academic writing. “I’ve learned that scholarship should be first and foremost an earnest, considerate discussion aimed at benefitting everyone involved.”

Both Olsen and Haggerty were grateful for this unique opportunity to work alongside Peebles, who has edited the journal since 2010 and has published extensively on Cormac McCarthy.

“Given that I intend to pursue an academic career, being able to work so closely with a professor who has been through the ringer and come out the other side as a successful scholar has given me the opportunity to learn much about scholarship that I would have otherwise had to discover on my own,” says Olsen.

“Dr. Peebles was an incredibly helpful supervisor,” agrees Haggerty. “She made sure that the experience was as much for our growth as it was for helping the journal.”

Peebles says that she hopes that this internship has provided them with a better grasp on the world of academia, and has shown them that they are capable of one day publishing their own work.

“This internship has helped Patrick and Scott get a sense for what constitutes a literary field and what pushes that field forward,” says Peebles. “They can see what a publishable piece of scholarship looks like as well as the process it has to undergo to get there. They can read a submission and say, ‘Hey, I could do this!'”

by Caitlan Cole

Photos: Jeannie Corbitt ’16, Scott Olsen ’15 and Patrick Haggerty ’15 shared their experiences as publications interns with members of the Centre community at the Fall Internship Showcase, which took place Tues., Dec. 2 in the lobby of the Norton Center for the Arts.

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