Mary Chen

From September 2016 to December 2018, I had the pleasure of being part of the Canadian Literature team via the UBC Arts Co-op and UBC Work Learn programs. My time with CanLit has been invaluable. The editors are some of the sharpest, smartest folks in the business, but even more so, their dedication to mentoring young professionals such as myself is unparalleled. I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to work for Canadian Literature. I am also very grateful for the generous financial support from the CanLit Student Award, which allowed me to focus on my studies and internship without interruption.

As an Editorial Assistant (Sept 2016 – Aug 2017), I had the opportunity to work on Canadian Literature issues 227 – 232. I was involved in numerous aspects of the journal’s editorial process and very much entrusted with real responsibilities. I quickly learned to coordinate book orders and reviews, communicate efficiently with both in-house staff and industry professionals, coordinate proof schedules, and proofread rigorous academic texts. Over the course of this one year, I proofread over half a thousand pages, processed over three hundred book reviews, and spent countless hours honing my editorial and project management skills. I continue to use these skills daily.

After the completion of my co-op term as Editorial Assistant, I was fortunate to be re-hired as a Digital Resources Coordinator (DRC) (Sept 2017 – Dec 2018) for Canadian Literature. Specifically, I coordinated CanLit Guides, Canadian Literature’s open access resource for undergraduate university students and instructors. Distinctly Canadian, CanLit Guides has chapters written by area specialists on Alice Munro, Canadian indie-rock music, and Chinese restaurant literature, among others. As the DRC, I coordinated the workback schedule for the creation of 16 new chapters, each involving distinct editors, authors, and proofreaders; facilitated team meetings with in-person and remote staff; acquired publication agreements and image permissions; proofread and fact-checked each chapter; designed both print and web ad campaigns to market CanLit Guides; and oversaw the publishing of each new chapter on our WordPress website, among other tasks. I learned to juggle multiple tasks and priorities, to pinpoint potential issues before they become urgent, and to be flexible and creative when problem-solving.

It’s incredible how much the past two years have taught me. My time at Canadian Literature has unquestionably had a profound impact on me and my future. I feel well prepared and excited for a career in the arts, and I know that whatever I choose to pursue, the skills and experiences I gained at Canadian Literature will continue to serve me well. I also look forward to a time in the future when I’m at a place in my career to “pay forward” all the opportunities I’ve received at Canadian Literature and provide mentorship to aspiring professionals.

Thank you to the fantastic Canadian Literature team for a great two years together and to the generous donors who made the CanLit Student Award possible!