An open laptop, a phone, pens, and a sticky notepad

Internship Reflections

By Angela Leppig Date: May 9, 2024

This post is by Katherine Ning, GUP Editorial Intern from September 2022 – May 2024. We congratulate her on her graduation and wish her all the best!

I feel like it was only yesterday that I started my internship at Gallaudet University Press, awed and excited, but also nervous. I can’t believe it’s already been almost two years since I started working, but time flew by so quickly and now I’m facing the end of the internship. Looking back, my time at the press was such an exhilarating experience, getting to learn about academic publishing and working on scholarly works about deaf people, cultures, and sign languages.
Two years ago, I was still figuring out my future. I didn’t have a clear vision yet, but I thought it would be great if I could have a career working with books, given my passion for reading. When I mentioned the idea to my professor, they connected me with Katie Lee, the acquisitions editor at Gallaudet University Press. After learning more about publishing through research and informational interviews, I thought I had a vague idea of what publishing looked like, and I applied for the internship.
However, when I started the internship, I quickly realized how little I knew about the complexities (and still do!) of publishing. There is so much work that goes into producing books, and I am deeply grateful my internship lasted two years, allowing me to see each part of the book cycle and how these parts work together in bringing a book to life.
During my internship, I worked on numerous projects that allowed me to see the lengthy process of publication. I read and evaluated manuscripts, worked on social media marketing and metrics, sent comp copies to peer reviewers, participated in meetings, and more. These experiences were invaluable in learning how academic publishing works, the numerous challenges in bringing manuscripts to publication, and the importance of the scholarship they bring to the world.
I learned how to think about what the manuscript’s purpose is, who it is intended for, and how we can connect the manuscript to its audience. I learned not only how to read the manuscript critically but also to consider whether it fits the press’s mission of publishing books about deaf cultures and sign languages. As a Deaf person, I have always been interested in my culture, but to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help expand the scholarship of Deaf studies and sign language studies was beyond anything I imagined. It was such an incredible experience, getting to read scholarly works and giving my feedback on them. I was nervous about sharing my opinions, but the team always welcomed my feedback.
Having seen the amount of work that goes into academic publishing, I came to respect the small things I once took for granted. Before, I saw reading scholarly works for assignments as a chore, necessary but dull and not exciting. Now, whenever I’m researching, I genuinely enjoy reading scholarly works, knowing how much work went into researching, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing them.
My time at Gallaudet University Press showed me what a fully accessible and supportive work environment looks like. The experience helped transform an abstract thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to work with books?” to a concrete desire for a career in publishing. I am deeply grateful to the team for teaching me the intricacies of publishing, listening to my opinions, correcting my mistakes, and making me feel part of the team. I will never forget any of the lessons from GUP. Thank you to Katie Lee, Angela Leppig, Deirdre Mullervy, and Valencia Simmons so much for making this an extraordinary learning experience!