Every now and then, we like to boast and gloat, and this is one of those times. Imagine our pride recently to see members of the Publishing Students Association on stage at NYU’s Kimmel Center to receive a 2017 President’s Service Awards from NYU President Andrew Hamilton. This was a first for this graduate-level student club hosted by the NYU MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media program, and so well deserved. Under the leadership of the group’s president, Lainey Mays, the PSA has fulfilled its mission to help students connect with one another. This student-led group strives to be a resource for both new and returning students through an interactive mentorship program, academic and professional development, and promoting a meaningful graduate school experience. To tell you more about the PSA, we asked their officers to write a brief report on their accomplishments this spring—and what led to their amazing award.
Making Connections and Helping the New Students
One of the PSA’s most important activities is the mentorship program. Every semester, incoming students are paired with current students who have been in the program for at least a year. Because many incoming students are new to the school, program, and New York in general, it can be a scary time; the mentorship program gives them one-on-one interactions with a seasoned mentor who can help them navigate their first year, including giving advice on teachers, classes, and internships, or just being friendly faces to meet up and have coffee with.
The officers review all applications, keeping the mentee’s preferences and goals in mind, and match each student with a mentor who has similar publishing interests and background experience. After the pairs are arranged, the PSA officers try to check in on the mentees throughout the semester to make sure that they are having a productive mentorship experience. Publishing student Siqi Chen shared his satisfaction with the program, saying that his mentor “patiently answered questions and gave a lot of advice based on experience.” The PSA also offers several events throughout the semester, like our pre-class socials and book club, which serve as opportunities for mentors and mentees to connect.
One of the most popular events this year was a panel titled “How To Land Your Dream Job in Publishing,” featuring two top human resources directors and two recent alumni sharing tips and tactics for entering and rising in the industry. (For more on this panel, please read our blog post.)
Reading Our Way Through New York City
As an additional way for publishing students to get together, the PSA launched a book club in fall of 2016. Held every two weeks, this club is open to all, and is a great opportunity for discussion both about specific titles and the publishing industry overall. Led by Lauren Evans, an alumna of the MS in Publishing program, the group has read a range of books from various genres and publishing houses.
To kick things off, Lauren and the PSA chose Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. The group met in the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Chelsea and discussed the intricacies of the story, including quantum physics, alternate universes, and decision making. In addition to the content, the group also examined the book from an editorial perspective: Was the pacing appropriate? Were these characters well developed? How would I edit this? (Remember that many of us want to be editors!) “The PSA book club keeps me up to date with relevant books and makes me think about them more critically in terms of how they relate to working in publishing,” Lauren commented.
Over the course of the year, the Book Club continued these lively conversations in various locations around the city, including the Whitney Museum, MoMA, Central Park, and, of course, Bobst Library at NYU. Members voted to select the books for the rest of the year, including My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman; The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan; What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi; and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The final title was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which we selected in support of the “One Book, One New York” initiative.
Giving Back to New York City
The PSA is committed to giving back to the greater NYC community. This year, we’ve partnered with the national early education organization, Jumpstart. The PSA assisted in hosting literacy-themed events in libraries and parks in underserved NYC areas. A group of volunteers from the NYU MS in Publishing Digital and Print Media promoted literacy through reading and crafts based on the children’s book Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri at Jumpstart for a Day (JFAD). In conjunction with JFAD, the publishing student association supported a book drive where students can contribute a book if they were unable to attend the Jumpstart event.
All PSA events aim to help publishing students excel in the program, in the community, and as professionals. PSA Vice President Meg Greene said: “Joining the PSA gave me the invaluable opportunity to get involved in publishing-related activities, make an impact as a leader on campus, create a strong network in publishing, and make wonderful friends. The PSA has enriched my time at NYU.”
by Lainey Mays, Alexandra Hightower, Morgan Greene, and Kaibin Lei