From Small School Magazine to Big Time Publisher
Ash Lago, RWU Class of 2010
English, Creative Writing, and German Alumni
Have you ever dreamed about corresponding with famous literary critics, such as Harold Bloom, or asking the renowned American novelist, Toni Morrison for blurbs? As an Editorial Assistant at Yale University Press, Ash Lago gets to do tasks like these, every single day.
However, Lago didn’t get to where she is overnight. Her journey has been filled with many long hour days; attending conferences, writing project memos, emails, jacket copies, and working on as many as fifty manuscripts at one time, while still finding time to go out, socialize, and even squeeze in some Netflix binge-watching.
Each of her skills, along with learning how to balance all her responsibilities, all sprouted from Lago’s time at RWU. She says, “No way would I have thought that my practice of starting a paper at 5am for a 2pm class would give me the speed-writing skills I needed to summarize three projects in three hours for an editorial meeting, and the like,” and that’s only the first of many of the skills that Lago has been able to transfer from college to her career.
Lago’s involvement with Roger William’s own literary magazine, Mt. Hope, previously called roger, gave her most of her project management and conferencing skills. The publication allowed Lago to keep a schedule, manage her own staff, and taught her the big-picture of publishing. Attending conferences with the University, Lago learned how to talk to strangers about a book they’d never heard of, discern what workshops were worth attending, and how not to get altitude sickness during her first trip to the Mile-High City, allowing her to “kill it” when she traveled to the same city when she first interned at Yale University Press. The literary magazine helped Lago anticipate her needs in her full-time job and has kept her from getting completely overwhelmed on a day-to-day basis.
Through roger and her many other experiences, Lago confidently advises, “Start your career early. The sooner you intern and start making connections in your field, the easier it will be to get a job.” With the supportive environment of the English and Creative Writing programs, Lago has learned the value of being able to advocate for herself, and her skills, in her career every day. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have encouraging voices in your ear.”