Ty Collins

Author: Ty Collins

The Denver Publishing Institute

By Lauren A. James-Spielman

Entering the publishing world is no easy feat, especially without experience. To stand out, additional education beyond Lawrence may be necessary.  Rather than attend a two-year graduate program, a much shorter training program exists to help you learn the relevant skills, create influential connections, and understand the ins and outs of the industry. The Denver Publishing Institute (DPI) is an option to turn your passion for books into a profession. 

Every summer, the Denver Publishing Institute enrolls 95 students in their four-week graduate-level publishing program that has launched the careers of over 4,000 participants across the country since 1976. Graduates can be found at work in every aspect of the publishing business–trade and textbooks, children’s and scholarly books. They have gone on to become designers and production specialists, sales reps and literary agents, editors, marketers, and publishers.

According to their handbook, “the program includes multiple workshops focusing on important processes within the publishing field. In the Editing Workshop, you will work on actual manuscripts to engage with the various stages of editing and will have the opportunity to practice editorial skills such as the preparation of a reader’s report, developmental manuscript editing, copyediting, and proofreading. In the Marketing Workshop, you will gain practical experience writing a publicity release for an actual manuscript, learn to identify target audiences and develop a complete marketing plan.”

In addition to hands-on workshops, prominent publishing executives from every area of the business will share their expertise on a broad range of publishing issues. You will also have many opportunities to gain general career knowledge, including tips on résumés, cover letters, interviews, and making job connections.

To learn more about the DPI, including costs and application requirements, visit their website here. Priority application deadlines are at the end of March, although applications are still accepted through early May.

What is Grant Writing?

By Lauren A. James-Spielman

Have you ever wondered how nonprofits and charities get the funds they need to complete their projects? Grants are given to these organizations by donors to support their missions of activism and social change. Grant Writers, therefore, play a vital role in the nonprofit and local community realm, using clear and specific language to persuade the reader of a grant application to provide the funds needed for potentially life-changing projects to come to fruition. Because of the wide range of programs, those who decide to pursue the path of grant writing can work in fields that are meaningful to them, including immigration, housing, food inequity, social justice, and more.

Grant writing is no easy task, but it does typically follow the same format. Those providing the grant (Grantmakers) will have specific rules that may differ from one another, but they will always want to see the following:

  • A short summary of your proposal that lays out the problem you are solving
  • The plan for the work you intend to carry out
  • A broad outline of the budget, distinguishing direct and indirect costs
  • The qualifications and experience of those carrying out this project

Despite the job title, there’s more to grant writing than just writing. In order to begin the process of developing a grant, extensive research is necessary to make your proposal as comprehensive as possible. This includes researching the impact of your project, the projects of adjacent organizations, related grants that have been accepted in recent years, and that only scratches the surface. It doesn’t just end with the grant itself, either. Tracking the progress and success of a grant makes it possible for other grants to be made for both your own organization and for others in the field who hope to also receive funding.

If you’re interested in becoming a grant writer, you’re already off to a great start if you’re enrolled here at Lawrence! Most positions require a bachelor’ degree, and majoring in a relevant field like English, creative writing, or any major that helps develop your writing skills can lay a strong foundation. However, the best way to begin grant writing is to get experience. Many organizations are looking for volunteers to help with their grant writing, so researching your local nonprofits can help you begin your journey and develop valuable connections.

Works Cited:

https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/professional_technical_writing/grant_writing/index.html

https://www.gcu.edu/blog/language-communication/what-grant-writer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_writing

How to make your Law School application stand out

You are approaching the end of your junior year at Lawrence. You have already carefully chosen your major, taken rigorous, relevant courses, and earned a strong GPA. You have also completed several pieces of research, become an excellent writer, and accomplished a great deal in an internship, specific extracurricular activity, or on-campus job. Now you are ready to start seriously thinking about your law school applications. How will you stand out from all the other applicants?

To stand out in a competitive pool requires a multi-pronged approach. Here are some specific actions you can take:

Maximize your LSAT score: This often carries the most weight. While aiming for a top score is ideal, consider retaking the test if you think you can improve significantly.

Tell your unique story: The personal statement is an especially important part of your application. Do not just list achievements. Instead, highlight your motivations, experiences, and how they shaped your passion for law.

Highlight specific skills and qualities: Use your personal statement and CV to demonstrate strengths like analytical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and leadership through anecdotes and examples.

Highlight relevant work experience and education: Your CV should also be used to highlight your academic achievements and any legal internships, or paralegal jobs you may have held. Unrelated jobs can also be included if they demonstrate responsibility, time management, and transferable skills.

Proofread meticulously: Eliminate typos and grammatical errors.

Get someone to review your material: Have someone with expertise in this area review your application material. Career Center staff and faculty members are extremely helpful in this regard.

Tailor your application to each school: Highlight features that align with their specific interests and programs.

Provide strong letters of recommendation: Choose faculty recommenders who know you well and can speak to your academic strengths and potential.

Consider optional essays: If offered, use them to address potential weaknesses or provide further context to your story.

Be genuine and authentic: Let your personality shine through, showing the admissions committee who you are beyond numbers and scores.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. However, by focusing on academic excellence, crafting compelling narratives, highlighting diverse experiences, and presenting a well-polished application, you can increase your chances of standing out in the competitive law school application pool.

Content Creators

By Lauren James-Spielman

Depending on who you ask, content creation can equate to entirely different things, from a seasoned journalist to a bombastic YouTuber. Many of us wish we could make a living through live streaming and uploading videos, and while most won’t, it is completely possible to apply those same skills to a more traditional job. As long as you are producing and sharing information or media content for specific audiences, you are a content creator!

With this in mind, let’s explore some of the various content creation opportunities in the workplace:

Social Media Managers: Keeping up to date on the latest trends and applying them to a company’s social media pages is an essential part of branding and exposure. Social Media Managers create content that is creative with fun and innovative posts that encourage audiences to engage with your content.

Content Writers: Every company needs writers to clearly explain their products, persona, and values. Blog posts, articles, and newsletters are often the most informative ways a company communicates with their audience.

Graphic Designers: Logos, illustrations, and photographs all capture the image of a company when you think about them in your mind. Developing a balance of creativity and professionalism is the key to maintaining a company’s reputation, which is why graphic designers are so vital.

Audio Content Creators: The audio aspect of content creation has a wide range of options, including podcasting, music creation, and voice acting. Being the literal voice of a company makes it vital to curate your tone and energy accordingly.

If you’re worried about the amount of experience you have, creating content for yourself or others through gig work is one of the easiest ways to add to your portfolio! Don’t be afraid to explore and try new things in Photoshop, Canva, or various image, audio, and video editing programs to create your own content on topics that interest you.

One of the best places to complete quick jobs is UpWork, a gig-based job seeking site with new opportunities being posted every week! Browsing through their various openings may also give you ideas as to what kind of content you want to make.

Works Cited:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_creation
https://www.upwork.com/freelance-jobs/content-creation/
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm

How to Spend Your Winter Break Productively

Winter break is a great time to relax and recharge after a busy fall term. But it can also be a valuable opportunity to prepare for your future career goals. If you are planning to have an internship next summer, here are some tips on how to spend your winter break productively.

Tip 1: Apply for internships early

Many summer internships have deadlines in January or February, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply. Start researching potential internships that match your interests, skills, and goals. You can use online platforms like Handshake, Glassdoor, Indeed, or LinkedIn to find internships in various fields and locations. You can also ask the Career Center for recommendations or referrals.

Tip 2: Update your resume and cover letter

Your resume and cover letter are the first impressions you make on potential employers, so make sure they are clear, relevant, and professional. Highlight your academic achievements, work experiences, skills, and extracurricular activities that demonstrate your fit for the internship. Use action verbs, quantify your results, and tailor your documents to each internship you apply for. You can also use online tools like VMock to help you create and proofread your resume and cover letter.

Tip 3: Learn new skills or improve existing ones

Winter break is a perfect time to learn new skills or improve existing ones that can boost your resume and prepare you for your internship. You can take online courses on platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or edX that offer a variety of topics and levels. You can also read books, watch videos, listen to podcasts, or join online communities that relate to your field of interest. Learning new skills or improving existing ones can help you stand out from other applicants and show your initiative and curiosity.

Tip 4: Network with professionals and peers

Networking is a powerful way to expand your connections, learn from others, and discover new opportunities. You can network with professionals and peers in your field by attending online events, webinars, or workshops that interest you. You can also reach out to Lawrence alumni, mentors, or contacts from previous internships or jobs and ask them for advice or feedback. Use social media platforms like LinkedIn follow influencers, join groups, or participate in discussions that relate to your field.

Tip 5: Prepare for interviews

If you get invited for an interview, congratulations! That means you have passed the first screening and have a chance to impress the employer with your personality and potential. To prepare for the interview, research the company and the role, practice common interview questions and scenarios, dress appropriately, and be punctual. You can use online platforms like Big Interview to help you practice and improve your interview skills.

Conclusion

Winter break is not only a time to rest and have fun, but also a time to plan ahead and get ready for your summer internship. By following these tips, you can spend your winter break productively and increase your chances of landing your dream internship. Good luck!

The State Department Consular Fellows Program Language Test

If you are applying for a Foreign Service Officer position with the United States Department of State, there is a good deal of testing involved in the application process. One of the tests is the Consular Fellows Program Language Test. The Consular Fellows Program Language Test is a language screening test administered by the Foreign Service Institute’s Division of Language Testing and Assessment (FSI). It is the second stage of the application process for candidates who have passed the Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP). The test is used to assess a candidate’s proficiency in Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic, or Portuguese.

The following account of taking the Consular Fellows Program Language Test was written by former Lawrence student.

“This is my experience taking the Consular Fellows Language Test. Disclaimer: I took the test in late September of 2022, so it is possible that the test structure may have changed by the time you are reading this. I am writing this for you because when I was preparing for my Language Test, there were very few resources out there to get me familiar with what the test was like. Hopefully, you will find this helpful.

To begin, you will meet two people during the test, one test proctor and one native speaker of the language you are testing for. You will be talking with a native speaker most of the time, the test proctor will give you directions in English and you direct any questions you have about the test to them.

Speaking Test (30 Minutes)

The Speaking Test is technically an OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview). Information on the OPI can be found here. The test is broken up into three parts (the warm-up, discussion, and interview of the tester). It is important to mention that in the test: What you say does not really matter, all that matters is that you can say whatever it is you are saying. Try not to say anything in your native language, only speak in your target language. The Speaking Test is only concerned with that and how you communicate in your target language. So, you could technically lie in all your answers, just as long as all that you are saying is grammatically correct and in your target language.

Part 1: Warm-up

The State Department description is, “The examinee and tester have a discussion centered on biography, current events, or other topics.” That description is accurate to my experience. The native speaker asked me to introduce myself. You can include details like where you go to school, what you study, recent travels, hobbies, etc. Note: Anything you mention here, even in passing, can be taken by the native speaker and they will ask you to expand on the thing you mentioned. Just make sure that with anything that you say, you are prepared to talk about it further and in your target language.

Part 2: Discussion

The State Department description is, “Discussion prepared and presented by the applicant, from a list of topics presented to the applicant.” From my experience, the title “Discussion” is misleading, Part two was much more like an oral presentation. You get 7 minutes (or so) to talk about/make a case about a topic of the test proctor’s choosing. This is not a discussion; it is a speech you think up on the fly. The test proctor will tell you the topic and give you a couple of moments to think about a response, then you will have to present whatever it is you want to say about the topic. Topics like politics, climate change, a recent international economic catastrophe/success, and any general global event all are fair game to be asked to talk about. After my test, I asked the test proctor if you were presented with a topic you have no knowledge of, can you ask to get a new topic. And unfortunately, you cannot. So, during Part two, just work with what you have and what you know.

Part 3: Interview the Tester

The State Department’s description is, “You get the chance to interview the tester.” That description is accurate to my experience. The test proctor gives you a topic to ask the native speaker questions about. After the native speaker is done answering, the test proctor will ask you to report back to them (in English) on what the native speaker said.

The Reading Test

You get to read two passages (each about one page in length)  You get 12 minutes per passage to read, and you can take notes during this time. After your reading time is up, the test proctor will ask you to tell them about what you read. Here, say everything you know about the passages. The two passages will be on topics pertaining to the country/countries where your target language is spoken, like a social phenomenon, current events, modern politics, and the state of that country’s economy.”

How to Prepare for the Test

● Brush up on vocab words you might need to know or that you might want to use during the speaking test

● Get used to reading the news in your target language

● Read up on current events (in English and your target language) to prepare for the speaking test

● Speak in your target language as much as possible. Talk with a friend in that language, and talk to yourself in that language

● Listen to your target language as much as possible. Listen to music in that language, watch movies/TV shows/the news from countries that speak that language

● Make an appointment to do a practice OPI. Ask your language teacher to sit down with you and do a practice OPI or just have a conversation in your target language

WORKS CITED:

https://www.boxyk.com/foreign-service-1/2022/12/12/the-qep-where-most-applications-go-to-die

https://www.languagetesting.com/oral-proficiency-interview-opi

https://www.languagetesting.com/pub/media/wysiwyg/manuals/opi-examinee-handbook.pdf