An Interview with Allie Sipe

Allie Sipe is senior in the SOU Honors college. An English major, writer, coffee aficionado. She was the first student ever from outside the University of New Mexico to join its honors journal Scribendi.

EB: Tell us a little bit about your internship at Scribendi.

AS: I attended the University of New Mexico last term semester (Fall 2016) to work as a staff member for the honors literary arts magazine Scribendi.

EB: What sort of things did you do?

AS: During class time and in projects outside of class, I worked on a little bit of everything: staff teambuilding, typography and design practices, fundraising and community outreach, critical assessment of creative works, and copy editing. I’ve designed a flyer calling for submissions to the magazine, created a modern book cover for Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and read through hundreds of creative works to narrow down what belongs in the magazine. I’ve also gone to Santa Fe to ask local businesses to consider donating items to our magazine’s silent auction and spent hours making sugar skulls to sell as a fundraiser at the Marigold Parade. Some of my favorite time is spent in the office with the other staff members, working on design or copyediting assignments for class and sharing ideas and laughs.

EB: What did you learn?

AS: What’s become most clear to me is that the production of a magazine takes a whole range of skills, ideas, and hard work. Each staff member contributes their unique perspective to what should be in the magazine and how it should look. Every single person is essential – there’s an enormous amount of work and collaboration involved in the production of a magazine. Even when we have different opinions from one another (especially during the debates about which pieces belong in the magazine and which do not), I have learned the value of listening to each individual and respecting their opinions. Scribendi is one of the most tangible examples I’ve ever seen of a diverse range of thoughts and ideas coalescing into one successful creative effort.

EB: How did the work complement or expand on your academic studies?

AS: Almost everything I’ve been doing with Scribendi has complemented my academic studies in English in some way, which is incredibly rewarding. Specifically, I’ve learned tons about critically evaluating literary works. Reading through so much creative nonfiction and articulating to others what is effective has given me the confidence to pursue my own writing. This couldn’t be better timing right before I graduate from Southern Oregon University and hope to pursue graduate school.

EB: What was the most interesting aspect of the internship? Any surprises or revelations?

AS: I honestly didn’t expect to find such a welcoming, accepting community through Scribendi. Coming in, I didn’t know if it would be possible to find a close sense of community at UNM, a school with about 30,000 undergraduates. I’m excited to know that a healthy, inclusive community is achievable in many, if not all, environments and places.

EB: How did you like Albuquerque?

AS: I think Albuquerque itself is one of those places where, if you’re from there, it’s a family member: only you can insult it and no one else can because, deep down, you love it. That being said, I’m not from here, so I think I should keep my mouth shut. I do love the people I’ve met in Albuquerque, and New Mexico is a beautiful state. The green chile is also excellent.

EB: Any advice for other students thinking about internships?

AS: If you’re even considering an internship or study abroad opportunity, find a way to make it happen. Meeting new people and collecting different experiences is invaluable, and it just gets more difficult to take these kinds of opportunities the older you get. Apply, commit, and tell everyone your plan so you can’t back out. I almost talked myself out of this, but I am so glad I didn’t. I’ve made friends and professional connections that will change the course of my life.

EB: Thanks for talking with us. Congratulations on a successful internship.

AS: Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience!

About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels was released by Oxford University Press in March of 2020.
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