Former English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic at her graduation Spring 2016
Former English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic at her graduation Spring 2016

Read all about how former English department communications intern Ashley Alfirevic spent part of her summer, at the University of Denver Publishing Institute:

Former English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic at her graduation Spring 2016
Former English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic at her graduation, Spring 2016

There were two final things I wanted to take home from Colorado this summer: a graduate certificate from the University of Denver Publishing Institute (DPI) and a cardboard sign from the summit of a fourteener.  As it turned out, the process of earning those two degrees of cardstock weren’t all that different.

The top is a daunting, idealized prospect. Looking ahead to the end of my journey, I was excited for what might come with a certificate from DPI. I had all sorts of expectations for new friends, reputable connections, and perhaps even job offers. But there was still work to be done, including mysterious manuscripts and advance assignments that I felt a little nervous about starting. I found myself enjoying the preliminary work once I got going, as writing reader’s reports, traveling to indie bookstores, and drafting press releases all provided a fun introduction to the trail ahead. 

You’ll meet a lot of fun, interesting people along the way. DPI provides an automatic introduction to almost a hundred other people who love books and want to contribute to making them, and it’s the most wonderful thing. Surrounded by fellow readers ready with ample book suggestions and the same frenzied determination to find a career in the publishing industry, I felt confident that this was absolutely the right place to be. 

Ashley at DPI
Ashley at DPI (third from the right), along with some of her fellow participants

Some just seem to have a talent for bounding up the mountain. The Institute also allows for introductions to industry giants. Whether they serve as fearless leaders in the digital age or have uncanny knacks for editing with a subtle turn of phrase, the lecturers are absolutely awe-inspiring. Many of the speakers seem to have those, “I moved to New York with empty pockets and a dream” stories, and they all made them work with perseverance, grit, and a little bit of luck. But as many of them reminded us, everyone struggles on the way to the top. All of them were remarkably accessible and eager to help us on our trek, offering advice, business cards, and free books (and there were a lot of free books).   

The summit is beautiful, gratifying, and uniting. The trail may have seemed a little difficult at times – there’s no shortage of homework and job applications – but it was always worth it. The top puts everything in perspective, and it’s fulfilling to know that the industry wants to create books that have the power to change people’s lives in some small way. I felt proud to be part of a group of graduates that I know will go on to do great things and contribute to making even greater books. 

There are a lot of new peaks around you. I could easily see the other adventures around me, and I felt equipped to handle them. There may not be fifty-three peaks in publishing, but there are a plethora of different jobs, including but not limited to: editing, agenting, copyediting, proofreading, packaging, design, marketing, publicity, public relations, production, sub-rights, law, sales, and bookselling in trade, scholarly, indie, children’s, textbook, digital, and religious publishing. 

You really enjoy the view on the way down.  On the way up, I was focused on the trail ahead; the whole month was an intense crash course in industry lingo and procedures. On the way down I had time to take it all in, enjoy the views, and catch my breath. I learned about the industry through funny anecdotes and crucial guidance, practiced the nitty-gritty skills needed to go into editing or marketing, and took a glimpse into the pros and cons of every role. I met new business contacts who’d be glad to offer a coffee and some wisdom, and new friends I’d be happy to call up in whatever city I land in. Most of all, I confirmed that I want to pursue the beautiful, if chaotic, path of publishing now more than ever.

We are so proud of Ashley and all she has accomplished, as well as so grateful for all she did for us in her year as our communications intern. We miss her, but can’t wait to see where she’ll land. If you’d like to find out more about DPI, contact our internship coordinator Mary Hickey,