Wednesday, February 06, 2008

EBSCO Internship

Thanks to the MFA blog and Brian's consistent alerts of writing opportunities out in the "real world" I was able to get a part-time job writing for EBSCO Publishing last semester. It didn't hurt that my brother works for EBSCO as well, although not in this department. With a full time teaching job on top of my MFA course load, I was worried about getting the job done and keeping my sanity but I took a chance and EBSCO hired me. 

I wrote research articles on education for their online database EBSCOHost. It was a busy semester but it was a great learning experience and, with a new baby on the way, the extra cash has come in handy. The other bonus about working for EBSCO is that I can work from home since the job entails mainly writing and research, most of which is done online. I learned a lot about education writing these articles and was able to refresh my skills writing in APA format. But I have to say that after awhile I grew tired of both the style and the subject matter on which I was writing. Fortunately EBSCO liked my writing and kept giving me assignments until their project ended in December. 

At this time inquired about the possibility of doing an internship with the company. I hoped to work in a different department to gain more experience writing in various modes, hopefully some that appealed more to my interests. A few weeks later, Emily Ryan contacted me and said that I was recommended by Karen Kalillo, my supervisor in the Education department. Emily said she had a position writing articles for their Literary Reference Center which is also available online. The job entailed reading esteemed literary works and writing 1500-3000 words articles that detail plot summary, biographical background, historical background, symbolism, religious and scientific contexts, as well as film adaptations, discussion questions and essay topics. Emily sent me a list of works they would like to add to their Reference Center and said I could choose which ones to work on. Getting to read great books and then write about them - a bibliophile's dream come true!

I have written four articles and each one takes about 8-10 hours to research and complete, excluding the time spent reading or re-reading texts. Once I complete an article, I email it to Emily and a few days later she responds with feedback and suggestions for improvement. I then make the necessary edits and return it back to her. With each article that I have written, I am getting better at covering all of the areas in a way that is appropriate for their Reference Center.

This job is not only interesting to me as a book lover, but it complements my job teaching high school English. I will be able to use my articles as a resource when it comes time to teach the works I have studied. I also really enjoy the independence of the job as I can work when I want provided I complete at least one article each week. In addition, as an amateur writer, I believe the more good literature I read and analyze, the more my own writing will benefit. 

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