I owe a lot of who I am to Maplewood, New Jersey, the small town where I grew up. A 30-minute drive from New York City, this diverse, artistic and socially conscious community fostered my passions for creative writing and social activism. I loved to read at the library a short distance from my house, listened when friends with different experiences of race and class told me about their struggles and wrote down my emerging ideas in countless notebooks.

When I started looking at colleges, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to study writing in an urban setting. I spent weekend days in New York with friends through middle and high school, loving the fast-paced environment. But I also knew the difficulties of surviving financially as a writer. When I found out Emerson College’s Writing, Literature & Publishing program would allow me to study writing and learn about publishing while living in a city—Boston—I was sold.

Once at Emerson, I immediately joined the fiction-only literary publication Stork Magazine as a staff reader. Now a junior, I’ve moved up to the managing editor position. I’m also a member of a labor solidarity group on campus. I’m usually quiet, but I’ve found that I am more outspoken when it comes to issues I care about. The confidence I get from standing up for my core beliefs and the rights of others is the same feeling I’ve known from putting pen to paper since I started writing short stories in elementary school. Writing and social justice have helped me find my voice.

Although I’ve always incorporated social justice into my fiction writing, I wanted to find a way to combine my passions into a career after college. When I started researching, I realized there were entire publishing houses devoted to social advocacy and publishing underrepresented voices. Eager to build my skills toward getting such a job, last May I started interning remotely for Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit that publishes hybrid genres. I proofread their books, keep track of publicity articles and research mailing lists from home.

My hunger to continue developing my skills and knowledge of the industry brought me to PSG. During my internship so far, I have seen all sides of the publishing industry come together, from sitting in sales meetings to assembling marketing materials to fact-checking. I have honed my professional writing skills as I write blog posts about educational publishing and related topics. My time at PSG has also acquainted me with how an office in the publishing industry runs on a daily basis. At PSG, I am eagerly learning about the multifaceted world of publishing and the place I can find for myself within it.

Little Known Facts about Maria 

Maria has helped countless shoppers find gifts over five consecutive holiday retail seasons as a sales associate. The first four were spent as an employee of a locally owned gift shop in her hometown, and last holiday season was spent working at her current job at a jewelry store in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. She has done more than enough gift wrapping for a lifetime.

Maria has also had the same hairstyle for (almost) her entire life. She wears her dark brown hair long with full bangs. She went on a brief hiatus in her early teen years when she tried to pull off the then-trendy side bangs, but it didn’t stick.