Q&A with Griffis Publishing Intern Natalie Brown

June 12th, 2023 , Posted by Marty Brown

Tell us a little about yourself and why you wanted to be an intern with OSU Press

I’m Natalie, and I am a recent graduate from OSU with a BA in English and a Minor in Earth Sciences!

Going into my senior year, I was looking for an opportunity to expand my knowledge and work experience beyond the handful of retail jobs I’d had, and when I saw the opening for the George P. Griffis Publishing Internship, I was immediately intrigued. I didn’t know much about the publishing industry, but I’ve always been interested in the mostly behind-the-scenes process of getting an author’s manuscript to become a fully-formed book you see on the shelves.

I was also drawn in by the kind of books OSUP publishes––as a lifelong Oregonian interested in the intersection of the Arts and STEM, the Press’s commitment to supporting diverse works that highlight regional history, natural resource management, and environmental studies spoke to me. I feel very grateful to have been a small part in supporting that mission!

What did you learn during your time as an intern?

I think the biggest thing I learned about publishing in general is how community-based it is. Although reading a book is often a solitary experience, getting that book into a reader’s hands involves so many people across many disciplines! With OSU Press being mission-based, it was so interesting and inspiring to see a project move through its many iterations and stages and get to hear the cross-disciplinary comments that reach beyond how well a book may sell.

I also learned a lot about how writing style changes between genres based on the intended audience.

Before starting at OSU Press, I was mostly exposed to academic writing in my English classes, which can sometimes be a bit formulaic or, at the least, not always intended for readers outside of the classroom. One of the most educational points in my internship was editing a sample chapter of a scholarly work based on a dissertation. That opportunity got me thinking a lot about how we can transform academic writing to be accessible to all kinds of audiences, not just those within academia.

What was a highlight during your time at OSU Press?

One of my favorite aspects of the internship was participating in Pub 101 each week. Since OSUP is a small press, I had a weekly opportunity to learn about a certain department of publishing in a one-on-one setting. These meetings gave me such an appreciation for how much work goes into each book and how much care and attention is afforded in every step of the publishing process. Everyone was patient and answered any questions I had, so it was a great learning environment!

Another highlight was attending the Oregon Book Awards and seeing OSUP books and their authors recognized and celebrated. In fact, seeing an OSUP book anywhere outside of the office was a really exciting experience for me. I’m pretty sure my friends and family are getting tired of me picking up every Press book I see in a bookstore and showing them, but it it very rewarding when you know how much work and dedication it takes to get a book to the stores!

What do you think you’ll be taking away from the internship as you move towards graduation and onto the next chapter of your life?

Because of the small size of OSUP, I can say I have a base level of knowledge and experience in almost all areas of publishing. Having that wide breadth of exposure, I feel much more confident in applying to entry-level publishing jobs as I graduate and begin a career.

Beyond my professional development, I’m also taking with me a general interest in knowing where my books come from––I find myself looking at the spines of my books much more frequently and seeing if I recognize the publisher and what I know about them. This internship has definitely helped me see publishers as not just another piece of front matter in a book, but as an active entity, working with purpose and great intentions to support authors and produce quality books!

Seeing all the consideration that goes into publishing a book, I’m also much more confident in my choice to pursue an English degree. Although the way we talk about books in a classroom differs from the way we talk about books in publishing, they both speak to the value of literature, and the impact that a good book can have on a person or community.

Related Posts

Q&A with Griffis Intern Sierra Sherland

July 28th, 2022 posted by Marty Brown

As our 2021-2022 Griffis Intern heads out the door, we asked her a few questions about her experience at OSU Press. For our part, our experience with Sierra was delightful. We will miss her keen intelligence and wicked sense of humor. We wish her all the best as she continues her studies at OSU, and we look forward to welcoming a new intern in the fall.

Tell us a little about yourself and why you wanted to be an intern with OSU Press

I’m Sierra and I’m a senior at Oregon State University majoring in English!

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