In 2015 I spent nine months working as an Editorial Intern at Journal of Cell Science. Coming from a postdoc, this was my first foray into the non-academic world, which I undertook to gain experience to help me start a career in science publishing.
Anna Bobrowska (Intern) and Sharon Ahmad (Executive Editor, Journal of Cell Science)
My primary project was to help start and run “Cell Scientists To Watch”, a new interview series with up-and-coming cell biologists. It involved coming up with questions, selecting and inviting candidates, as well as conducting, transcribing and editing the interviews.
I met many exceptional scientists and it was great to hear about their careers, research and advice they had for the younger generation. Of course, the most satisfying moments were seeing the interviews published and when they turned out to be very popular with Journal of Cell Science readers. As several of my interviews were conducted at scientific meetings, I also had the chance to interact with scientists at different career levels and attend sessions in different areas of cell biology. Approaching established researchers was something that I used to find daunting, but thanks to my experience of representing Journal of Cell Science, I now have the skills and confidence in striking up conversations with anyone I wish to speak to. Apart from my Cell Scientists To Watch project, I also helped with writing “In This Issue” article summaries, which gave me the opportunity to polish my writing skills and learn a great deal about what the newest developments in cell biology are.
In addition to gaining experience through my projects, there were many enlightening aspects of my time at The Company of Biologists. I found out what happens ‘behind the scenes’ as a research paper progresses from submission to publication, or what the different editorial roles are within scientific publishing. Through a series of lunchtime presentations that the Company organised, I also gained an awareness of grant structures and the current issues that the publishing industry faces; for example, how Open Access options can be integrated into different journal models or how different metrics can be used to measure a journal’s impact.
Thanks to the guidance I received from my mentors the internship was an amazing learning opportunity and gave me invaluable experience that I can now rely on to further my career. But it was also a most enjoyable time, thanks to the exceptional people working at The Company of Biologists, who made me feel welcome and part of the team from my first day there.