I graduated from university this summer with an undergraduate master’s degree in biochemistry. Although I had thoroughly enjoyed carrying out two different laboratory-based research projects during my time at university, I decided I wanted to see where my degree could take me without the need to wear a white coat and goggles.
I am passionate about science and at first the idea of fleeing the lab was intimidating. I was worried that I’d be leaving science behind forever. I found out about Prepress Projects through a careers fair at my university, which was aimed at the school of life sciences. I was surprised to see publishing services in the list of careers unlocked by a science degree, so naturally I wanted to find out more. That’s when I heard about the summer internship – it sounded perfect! Long enough that I could get a taste of the world of publishing but not too long if I felt that a career in publishing wasn’t for me. I went straight to the Prepress Projects website and saw that applications had just opened for this year’s internship. I applied and was delighted when I received an email inviting me to interview.
The interview process was described clearly in the email and was explained to me again when I arrived at my interview. It consists of lots of questions about you, why you would like to work for Prepress and what you have done that has led you here, as well as how you think you fit in with the company’s values. Then there is a general knowledge test, followed by a short proofreading test. I remember the text was about the immune system and disease, which I was pleased with, as I was in the process of writing my thesis about immune cells at the time.
The following week, I was offered the job. I was delighted but also nervous, as I had so little experience of publishing. However, when I started, I was relieved when everyone was so helpful and friendly. My colleagues were more than happy to show me how to do things, starting with the basics.
My first day began with lots of induction tasks such as reading company policies and health and safety, as well as learning how to use a Mac as opposed to a PC. Then after a coffee break with all of the staff to get to know one another, I got to do some real work straight away. I was shown how to use ScholarOne to invite people to review manuscripts. I’d never even thought of peer review falling under the publishing umbrella and after spending over a year in a lab that regularly published papers it was exciting to see what went on behind the scenes.
Since then I have also been involved in styling, collation of author corrections, online quality control, proofreading and other aspects of editorial office. What I have loved about the internship is that I have learned so many new things but also still feel in touch with some of the most recent scientific publications. I think it is so important to communicate the science you are doing and it’s great to know that I now help with that process.
I have been fortunate enough to have been offered a permanent position here at Prepress Projects as a project editor. I will be moving to a different team and will have the opportunity to learn more skills, such as copy-editing and project management. Not a bad outcome for my first experiment without goggles!