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For Sophia Purut, a double major in English and Women’s and Gender Studies, ECL leads to opportunity! Using skills learned in her English major, Sophia interned at the publishing house W. W. Norton & Company, giving her a leg up in the competitive writing, editing, and digital publishing job market.

Sophia, who started out as an Environmental Studies major, quickly found herself at home in the Department of English & Comparative Literature during her junior year at UNC after “being able to change and create drafts with the projects” in her courses, and having the flexibility to come “to everything with a sense of fluidity.”

Sophia’s studies in English led her to an incredible opportunity to intern at the publishing house W. W. Norton & Company. She lived in New York City for ten weeks over the summer, worked with a variety of professionals in the industry, got a “really strong sense of [the] history in publishing,” and “was presented with these really large, department-wide projects that I either had to help run or just run completely on my own.” Faced with so much responsibility in a high-pressure environment, Sophia learned to break it down. She explains, “I needed to be able to look at the bigger picture and see what I needed to do right now and how I could break things down so that it works at a manageable time scale.” Her skills from ECL helped with this because “critical thinking and being able to take these larger ideas and break them down into manageable pieces is something that you really develop” in ECL.

Sophia is grateful for the chance to work with and learn from a large group of experienced professionals at a major publishing house. “It was an invaluable experience.…You have only 10 weeks to learn as much as you possibly can from as many people, and there’s no one that’s too unimportant because everyone has something to tell you and has their own experience that you can learn from.”

For others looking for internship opportunities in English, staying confident is key. Sophia advises, “My biggest piece of advice would be that when you’re applying for an internship, don’t feel that sense of ‘imposter syndrome.’ Go ahead and apply. You do not have to be a 100% perfectly qualified candidate. As long as you feel like you can bring something to the table, that is all you need. Have an open mind and a willingness to be pushed and challenged in ways that you probably didn’t expect.”

Photograph of Sophia Purut
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