Carls on break: Julie Zhou ’17
Julie Zhou ’17 describes her experience working at a literary agent office in New York
Carleton’s unique trimester schedule incorporates a little over a month of break between Thanksgiving and the first week of January. Although rest and relaxation are usually first priority for Carleton students, the long break also enables students to find a part-time job or internship. Carleton’s Externship Program, run by the Career Center, offers students an opportunity to connect with alumni and parent volunteers whose jobs are similar to the students’ future career interests. Students spend 1-3 weeks with their hosts at their workplaces for a career exploration experience that usually includes networking, shadowing options, and a focus project.
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Julie Zhou ’17 spent her two and a half week externship in New York, externing at Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. A literary agent’s main job consists of reading manuscripts from aspiring authors and determining whether or not they should be sent to a publishing company. Brandt & Hochman specializes in young adult literature and is best known for their work on the Magic Tree House books. Julie dove headfirst into the literary agent business, reading three to four manuscripts from a variety of authors every day. Julie was given the responsibility of writing summaries of the manuscripts and evaluating them on whether or not the agents should take them on and submit them to publishers.
Zhou found the experience to be both formative and enjoyable. In particular, Julie reflected during her two and a half weeks on her experiences reading as a child, and thought about what she would have enjoyed reading about when she was a young adult. Gaining an understanding for the reality of how commercial literature functions and an improved ability to articulate and critically evaluate writing, Julie expanded on her education as an English major at Carleton. Julie’s experience demonstrates how Carleton offers students exciting and influential experiences outside of the classroom. And who knows, maybe one of the manuscripts Julie approved over her two and a half weeks as a literary agent will end up on a local bookshelf in a few years.