In honor of our fantastic undergraduate employees, Notre Dame Press invited each of them to share their personal experiences of working at the Press and in publishing by asking them a series of questions. Thoughtful and refreshing, here are parts of the responses by Chelsey Boyle (‘22), Emilia Castelao (‘22), Sydni Brooks (‘22), Theresa Tulsiak (‘23), Victoria Dominesey (‘24), and Posey McKeon (‘22).
Part I: At ND Press
Q: What brought you to the Press?
Chelsey Boyle (CB): After working at Ave Maria Press as a Junior, I was hooked and knew I wanted more experience in publishing, so I applied for an internship at the ND Press.
Emilia Castelao (EC): My interest in publishing comes from my love of books and passion for helping people gain access to information.
Sydni Brooks (SB): The editing process of publishing has always interested me, so I was excited by the opportunity to learn about how a book comes together.
Theresa Tulsiak (TT): I came to the Press because their core values align with mine—advancing knowledge and impacting lives. I came to the Press because of my respect for the publishing industry and fondness for the written word, despite not being interested in working professionally in publishing.
Victoria Dominesey (VD): I’m very interested in the process of bringing a book to print, especially because I am a writer aspiring to be published one day.
Posey McKeon (PM): 3 main reasons: an ardent love for reading and books; use my free time to pursue an unexplored interest; and understand publishing as a potential future career path.
Q: What are some of the projects you have contributed to at the Press, and is there one you are particularly proud of?
CB: Since August 2021, I’ve been proofing and editing the metadata for our massive backlist as we switch over to a new system. It’s been an incredibly rewarding task.
EC: I’m usually at the front desk touching paper and scanning for formatting errors, but I still feel like I’m a part of putting a book on people’s shelves.
SB: I interviewed my Godmother, Ramona Payne, who wrote an essay in Black Domers (published by the ND Press), as well as my Godfather and ND alum, Tony Fitts. It was a really unique experience to hear their stories, and their response to my completed blog post made me incredibly proud to be part of the Press and Notre Dame.
TT: I am particularly proud of the written work I’ve produced—the sight of a media announcement I have published always excites me, especially when it is picked up by another Notre Dame department.
VD: For the Press’s Women’s History Month campaign, I selected titles by women or about women and then created various blog and social media posts.
PM: A significant product is the very one you’re reading right now! I wrote this questionnaire, from which I created a series of potential blog posts and filmed video interviews with a few of the other student employees to turn into an editorial video. It was a great opportunity to utilize my very amateur videography and editing skills as well as to give back to my colleagues and the Press before I graduate.
Q: What is the best aspect of working at the Press?
CB: Truly, it’s the people who make UND Press the brilliant, collaborative environment that it is.
EC: The people are extremely kind and willing to teach me or answer my questions about publishing.
SB: At the Press, I am surrounded by incredibly knowledgeable people who truly care about the work they do and the information they publish.
TT: Undoubtedly, the people—they are the reason I enjoy coming to work each day.
VD: I love being able to be creative in the process of selling a book, and the people I’ve met throughout my work are super kind.
PM: As cliche as it sounds, the people. (If I can’t answer ‘the people,’ then it would be arriving at shelves and shelves of books for work.)
Q: Valuable skills gained or lessons learned whilst at the Press?
CB: Taking on many different roles and responsibilities as well as how to be more adaptable and attentive to detail.
EC: Improved time management skills as editorial entails a lot of independent work, so I’ve had to think about how many days it will take me to proof a book depending on its length.
SB: Office professionalism, time management, and different software skills have expanded my capabilities in creative design.
TT: I’ve learned a ton about the inner workings of the publishing industry and the many intricacies of creating a singular book.
VD: Navigating different sights like Consonance (the Press’ book database), Hootsuite (social media), and Mailchimp (email marketing), as well as my research and communication skills.
PM: No job—not even the smallest of tasks, is a tedious one. All jobs require hard work and are value-adding.
Q: Words of wisdom for someone considering working for the Press?
CB: Get as much out of the experience as possible! Don’t be afraid to ask to take on new roles and learn about other departments.
EC: If you’re considering working at the Press, and you don’t think you have the skills or never in your life dreamt of a career in publishing, just try it out! You may be surprised by how much you come to love it.
SB: Have fun with the work you do! The managers want your creativity, insight, and ideas, so take it as an opportunity to grow.
TT: Be a self-starter, challenge yourself, and be curious.
VD: Put in your best work, take in everything you can, and don’t be afraid to use your creativity.
PM: Everything is worth a try. If you have the passion or simply curiosity for publishing, give it a shot because there are only things to gain.
Part II: On Publishing
Q: If you are/were to pursue publishing in the future, in what way?
CB: I hope to continue working in marketing and sales at a university press.
EC: I’m not sure I will pursue a career in publishing, because I always dreamt of working in international politics. So, if I do go into publishing, it will be later in life, but I’d love to work in acquisitions/editorial with international authors.
SB: I would love to continue exploring the marketing aspects of publishing, especially social media.
TT: Definitely something in marketing or acquisitions.
VD: I have not decided on pursuing publishing yet, but I would most likely work in marketing and sales.
PM: I’ve always wanted to contribute to the aesthetics of a book—the physical design, finish of the cover, fonts and lettering, etc.—as a way to combine my marketing/merchandising knowledge with my artistic creativity.
Q: The most interesting/important thing you have learned about publishing?
CB: The value of the academic book, which may only interest a very niche audience with very particular interests.
EC: The sheer number of diverse books and writing styles Notre Dame Press publishes.
SB: How vital publication is for the academic and professional careers of scholars and professors, who may be pursuing tenure or simply trying to advance their careers.
TT: University publishers are very different from corporate publishers—in structure, organization, and the type of authors they acquire and publish.
VD: How books are marketed (through social media, outreach, events, etc.)
PM: Academic books are not meant for only people in academia!
Q: If there is one published book (not necessarily by ND) you wish to have been a part of the publishing process, what is the book?
CB: Milkman by Anna Burns.
EC: In the Distance by Hernan Diaz.
SB: Black Domers edited by Don Wycliff and David Krashna.
TT: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
VD: Home Body by Rupi Kaur.
PM: Albatross by Terry Fallis.
Part III: Student Impact Video
Learn more about the Press in this video featuring our students!