Rafferty Shares Publishing Experience with Students

Caroline Fassett, Assistant News Editor

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Erin Rafferty ’11, a program manager at Pearson Education, returned to the University Nov. 9 to share advice with those interested in the world of educational publishing. An event was held in the Bucknell Press offices from 4:30 to 6 p.m., where Rafferty spoke about her experiences in textbook publishing and informed both new and returning students of how she successfully transitioned from college to a career.

Before being promoted to the position of program manager, Rafferty was employed as an editorial assistant. Rafferty said that adapting from being a student to holding an occupation wasn’t as difficult a process as one might expect.

“I found it to be an easy transition, because I wasn’t the only editorial assistant. There were about six or seven others, so when I started, there were a lot of people going through the same thing I was. And I’ve been fortunate. Everybody I’ve worked with has been amazing. I really have good guidance,” Rafferty said.

An English major, Rafferty had already gained publishing experience during her undergraduate years by working as an editor of Be Fashion Magazine. Though she said she loves her current line of work, working on a magazine in college led her to originally see herself employed in either the magazine industry or a novel publishing company.

“I wanted to work on the ‘Harry Potters.’ That’s where I saw myself. But this opportunity presented itself, and I took it, and now I don’t think I would ever go to a different industry. It’s one-hundred percent not what I thought I would be doing when I graduated, but it’s a hundred times better,” Rafferty said. 

English major Jackie Nicoletti ’18 attended the event and shared her concern that there are limited career choices for those within her major. Regardless, she expressed excitement in considering publishing as a possible career path post-college.

“I didn’t really know anything about publishing. It’s interesting to hear about the disconnect between authors and their actual published works, and how the publishing companies are involved in that and how the digital world is affecting that. It’s really cool to get an inside perspective,” Nicoletti said.

Not everyone Rafferty works with includes individuals who have a strong desire to work in publishing. Rafferty stressed that those interested in the publishing industry should make such a desire known—in addition to boasting that they are University alumni.

“I think that’s why people love Bucknell students. Because they’re people who think outside of the box, who have great ideas … people who can communicate with others,” Rafferty said.

Alumna Alana Jajko ’15 was an intern at the Bucknell University Press and was invited back to meet Rafferty by the program’s director, Greg Clingham. Though already knowledgeable about the world of publishing, she said that she was very pleased with the event.

“I got a lot of useful information, some things I didn’t know before. So yeah, it was worth it,” Jajko said.

Though Rafferty acknowledged that she didn’t know too much about the publishing industry when starting the job, she felt that internships she had done in the past had given her the skill set to adjust quickly. Now in a position that requires her to hire development editors to work on the textbooks Pearson Education publishes for the nursing industry, she understands what qualities make a good employee.

“Right now we have a project going in maternity and pediatric nursing that has six authors on it. When I hire a person for that, they are responsible for all six authors. We still have a copy editor that does all the nitty-gritty work, but these editors make sure everything flows right. For me, the biggest thing is organizational skills, and being able to manage a whole bunch of things at once,” Rafferty said.

When asked what she misses the most about the University, Rafferty didn’t hesitate before responding that it was shopping on Market Street. A beat later, she changed her answer to the discussions that took place in her classes.

“Nine times out of 10 you won’t be in a gigantic conference room talking to a whole bunch of people; it’ll be you and one person one-on-one, and you’ll have to drive conversation. Having such intimate classes here, and talking to so many intelligent people. That really prepared me for the real world,” Rafferty said. 

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