An Eye-Opening and Goal-Affirming Internship: My Time with Penn Press

Penn Press--Elizabeth Hallgren headLiz Hallgren
2015 Sigma Tau Delta Summer Internship Stipend Recipient
Alpha Ro Theta Chapter
Macalester College, St. Paul, MN

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Penn Press, the University of Pennsylvania’s scholarly publishing company. I always have considered working in scholarly publishing, so for me, this internship was a dream come true. However, this internship would have been just that—a dream—if not for the help of Sigma Tau Delta. I commuted from Baltimore to Philadelphia (about three hours door-to-door!) in order to participate in this internship, a trip that would not have been possible without the Sigma Tau Delta Summer Internship Stipend. I cannot thank Sigma Tau Delta enough for supporting my internship experience, as it proved a pivotal step in my career path. My time with Penn Press allowed me to inform my career goals and gain an inside look at the publishing world.

Penn Press--Elizabeth Hallgren 2.1During my time at Penn Press I worked in the Journals and Acquisitions Departments, participated in press meetings, and took part in informational seminars. Because the program was comprehensive, allowing me to work professionally while also acting as a student of publishing, I developed an enlightened perspective on my career goals and on this field. Among other lessons, Penn Press taught me the important differences between scholarly and trade publishing, and the ways in which scholarly publishing is a multi-dimensional field.

While working in the Journals and Acquisitions Departments I was reminded daily that the publishing world is deep with each of its parts working to reach similar, but distinct, goals. Both departments reinforced that scholarly publishing is a field of its own, unique from trade publishing. My previous view of publishing was amorphous, ignoring the nuances between trade and scholarly publishing. However, at Penn Press I realized scholarly publishing departs from trade publishing in its emphasis not on sales, but on meaningful contributing to scholarly conversations. Each day Penn Press members worked tirelessly to promote and champion original, intellectual thought, showing me scholarly publishing is mission-oriented, requiring a passion for academia. The goal-oriented environment at Penn Press was inspiring, confirming my desire to work in a field that values intellectual property and the accessibility of ideas.

Penn Press--Elizabeth Hallgren 6Penn Press not only showed me scholarly publishing is a field with a focused mission, but also that this field is multifaceted. Before this internship I focused on the editorial side of publishing without realizing I was ignoring the multitudes of other people and tasks involved in bringing a book to fruition. Because Penn Press had a transparent and comprehensive internship program I was able to gain access to the sides of publishing I had never experienced before, learning for the first time about the intricacies of marketing, production, and business management in publishing. Seeing each of these different departments utilize unique skills while working together was informative, revealing that scholarly publishing provides an option for a wide array of learners and workers. Because of Penn Press my perspective on publishing as both a field and a career is expanded, and my goals affirmed.

Penn Press--Elizabeth Hallgren 4Requiring an avid interest in a spectrum of subjects, and combining unique skill sets, scholarly publishing provides a career opportunity that encourages one to learn constantly while calling upon an array of strengths. Seeing how scholarly publishing allows one to be both a professional and a student at the same time was encouraging to me, as someone with a passion for both publishing and academia. This internship allowed me to determine that scholarly publishing is a fulfilling career option, and thanks to Penn Press and to Sigma Tau Delta, I can pursue my goals confidently!

When have you had a goal-affirming experience regarding your desired career path?

 Sigma Tau Delta Summer Internship Stipend

Application Period: February 1 – March 21
Sigma Tau Delta offers funding for current undergraduate and graduate student members accepting non- or low-paying summer internships. The Summer Internship Stipend is a competitive program providing a limited number of stipends of up to $1,500 each.

The internship must involve working for an “organization” while being directed by a supervisor/mentor within that organization, and the internship’s duties must be consistent with the applicant’s level of education, area of study, and career goals. Financial need will be taken into consideration. Applicants are responsible for obtaining and providing verification of the internship. Decisions will be made by May 2.

Family Holiday Conversations on Why I Write

Kelly KramerKelly Kramer
Zeta Tau Chapter
Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA

It’s Thanksgiving. If I’m lucky, I’m being interviewed by well-meaning family members; if not, it’s my college roommate’s family. Regardless, when they hear I’m an English major, they want to know if I’m writing a book, which reminds me that, again, I’ve been too scared to try NaNoWriMo this year. I scramble to sound like a normal person, because it’s hard to talk to people who aren’t habitually reading six books at once and daily scribbling down notes for their next project. I like to tell people I love stories, implying we definitely can talk about Twenty One Pilots and the new Star Wars film, and they don’t have to pretend to be interested in my odd niche of the world. Also, that I am open-minded, cool, and mysteriously in-the-know about all creative mediums.

KKramerBlogPic2Really, that’s why the new, sexy topics for English students are films, TV shows, and song lyrics: It’s just where our culture is headed. We can’t be too academic about it, or we’ll get behind the times. I’d know. At my Sigma Tau Delta induction the professor talked more about Terrence Malick’s film The Tree of Life and some rap lyrics by Kendrick Lamar than more traditional literature. What matters isn’t the medium so much as what kind of stories are shaping the world. If more people watch Memento than read Metamorphosis, then that’s where we, English majors, the expert analysts of culture, need to be headed.


Story medium totally changes what kind of stories are told. No one’s ever said the story that reaches the most people wins. With a film, you have a massive group of people, all working together to create a thing. The final product can be pretty ambitious, with many different components, like acting and cinematography. A written product, while still just as complex (take Tolkien, for instance), only needs one creator. You can build a whole world independently, a whole philosophy, and pass it on.

When you interact with the written page, you feel like you’re about to respond, that the person across the table from you is waiting for your answer. If it existed as a song lyric, you’d be tempted to sing along, to identify with the speaker instead of giving her an answer. And, if you saw it as a line of dialogue in a play or a film, you’d be tempted to watch, as an outside observer. Writing encourages your reader to interact with you, almost personally.

Today, the form of writing might appear to limit your audience; however, it also opens up incredible possibilities. If you’re frustrated by sexist rappers or screenplay writers, there’s not a lot you can change by yourself in that field. But, with the written word, you can do something. Frustrated about your school? Critiquing the latest blockbuster? Analyzing your home culture? You can do this with the written word, and you don’t need an army to back you up. In fact, writing is the best tool for metaphorically raising an army, because it gives one person the ability to approximate a conversation with their audience.

KKramerBlogPicI’m not trying to say English majors should isolate themselves from other creative mediums. However, we have to interact humbly and cautiously. All mediums are not created equally. We’re probably hopelessly out of our depth when it comes to story beats and lighting and cinematography. Just keep writing! If this is what you’ve chosen, don’t be embarrassed about it. Whether you’re analyzing great writing, or doing it yourself, you belong to a glorious tradition of shared opportunity: self-expression. So, don’t stop writing. Love the experience, with deletions and writers block and overdosing on coffee. Embrace it.

How do you plan to field questions about your English major this holiday season?

How Can A Summer Program Change Your Life?

Sara StammerSara Ashley Stammer
Student Representative, Eastern Region
Alpha Epsilon Alpha Chapter
The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ

For years I always have solicited my mother for advice. That sentiment was true in February when I learned about the NYU Summer Publishing Institute in New York City. I asked her if she thought I should take a chance, apply, and see where it led me, and as always, her unrelenting support backed me the entire time.

When I arrived at the six-week intensive magazine, book, and digital media program I did not know the extent of the powerful, unsolicited advice I would receive. My education in this graduate program spanned well beyond what was directly told to me in my classes. Although I learned a lot about the publishing industry from the program I also learned a lot about life that is applicable to any career—academic, professional, or otherwise.

First, in a world in which we find the need to have all the right answers all the time, it is imperative to remember data doesn’t create content. Data and analytics will not help the quality of our lives. Data may inform, our entire life is spent collecting knowledge and experience, but people have the ability to persuade. Many human problems cannot be solved with algorithms or computers, they need human solutions.

Second, every move in your life does not have to be calculated—break the rules and take chances. It is time to stop thinking like a student and start thinking like a human. You have an opportunity to get it right next time; worst case scenario right now is playing it safe. We are making microevolutions every single day. It is fine if some are deliberate, but we never will have the ability to control everything. Companies and jobs do not and will not love you back; this is your journey, make it about you!

Finally, be a collector of many great thinkers, know and need the people around you. Understanding you are not an expert in everything is the first step because the best work is never done alone. That being said, identify your unique selling points and market yourself in your own way. Networking is just systematic development and cultivation of professional relationships so keep it simple and know who you are. Be where you are and look around, and most importantly, don’t be so focused on looking ahead that you forget where you are.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given that you have either listened to or ignored? Comment below!

Sigma Tau Delta Summer Program Scholarship

Due November 9, 2015, 11:59 p.m. Central Standard TIme (CST)

The Summer Program Scholarship is available to active undergraduate members, including seniors who are about to graduate at the time of application. The scholarship provides up to $1,500 for the purpose of attending a special summer program, either in the U.S. or abroad, which furthers the applicant’s engagement with Sigma Tau Delta’s mission. Qualifying summer programs must be at least three weeks in length and no longer than three months. Applicants should demonstrate academic scholarship and chapter service, and must explain the relevance of their summer program to fostering their engagement in the discipline of English, including literature, language, writing, or literacy. Note: This scholarship cannot be used toward a regular summer session at the student’s home institution.

Before receiving this scholarship, applicants are required to provide proof of their enrollment in the summer program described in their applications. Should winners not be able to provide such verification within three weeks of being notified about the scholarship, their awards will be presented to the runners-up.

Applications being accepted through Monday, November 9, so apply today!

New York School of Professional Studies