According to annual tradition, we have lifted the most impressive (and amusing) tidbits from the short biographies of the 104 students who are completing this summer’s Columbia Publishing Course 2012. While we’ve added a few phrases here and there to make a cohesive narrative, the adventures and accomplishments are as recounted by the students themselves.
This year’s Typical Columbia Publishing Course Grad grew up in London, where she founded the Cheese Appreciation Society at her boarding school. She has been scuba diving since age ten, an activity she enjoyed on summer vacations, while winter break often found her minding the net on all-male ice hockey teams, fending off pucks and prepubescent boys.
Traveling to the United States for university, she indulged in her love for Americana by learning to play the banjo, clawhammer style; interning as a new markets analyst for Native American books; and spending one semester working for the Department of Homeland Security in the Office of Strategic Plans. Her spare time was spent writing her award-winning etymology column, “Word Up” in the school paper and working in a locally-owned boutique for three years. She is proud to say she’s remained penpals with her favorite customers.
After graduating summa cum laude with a double major in Environmental Humanities (a major that combines environmental studies with literature and creative writing) and Japanese; and a minor in mass communications, she set out to travel the world. Typical Grad corralled cattle in Celorico do Basto, Portugal; studied flamenco in Seville; bottled Domaine Baillat wine in Montlaur, France; and spent four weeks sailing from Honolulu to San Francisco on a brigantine with thirty-nine other people. While abroad, she organized India’s largest short-film festival, FulMarxx and worked as a voice-over actor for Japanese anime, along with a stint as a VJ for MTV Asia.
At the end of her travels, she decamped to Washington, D.C., where she found work proofreading Amtrak’s national timetable and writing for the Smithsonian blog. (Her latest post illustrates the strenuous process for making banana beer in Burundi). When not researching exotic cuisines or mass transit, she can be found traveling to report on Paris arts and culture for The New York Times’ blog In Transit.
As much as she enjoys this blogging life, though, a recent sojourn in the Midwest, complete with graphic design internship at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, introduced her to book publishing: it was there that she designed The Bakewell Ottoman Garden, a commemorative book for the Gardens’ gift shop. This fantastic experience, and the desire to be in New York, has made her eager to use her creative skills in book design or marketing.
If you would like to read all 104 real bios, or to meet a grad who might be your perfect new assistant at the Career Fair on July 30, contact Susan Caplan of the Columbia Publishing Course at sc2719 @ columbia.edu or 212-854-9775.