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Student Interns in Drexel Publishing Group Produce Book Honoring Black Alumni Experience

By Gina Myers

A copy of the book A Legacy to Share held up on Drexel's campus


February 10, 2022

During Homecoming Weekend, the Drexel Black Alumni Council (DUBAC) launched a special collection of essays. Titled A Legacy to Share, the new book honors over 50 years of history since the first wave of Black students arrived on Drexel’s campus in the late 1960s. Contributors to the collection, who span in graduation years from 1968 to 2020, share their firsthand experiences of challenges, success and resilience at school and in their professional lives.

The project was led by Angela Dowd-Burton ’74, MBA ’79, who gathered all the materials, recruited alumni to write their pieces and oversaw the DUBAC editorial team. But when it came time to bring everything together into a finished product, the Drexel Publishing Group (DPG) stepped in.

Led by Teaching Professor of English Scott Stein, DPG is comprised of students who gain experience as interns through the course WRIT 405 – Internship in Publishing. The students were responsible for copy editing, proofreading and applying styles for formatting the book.

“We really operated as the publisher. The students got to experience a little bit of everything on this project,” Stein explains. “They developed that real-world publishing skill of evaluating layout and design, and they read the documents to not just catch typos, but to also make other copy-editing suggestions for clarity. They also helped with administrative and organizational tasks, working with the charts, tables and index included in the book. And they saw early concepts for the book cover and provided feedback.”

This was DPG’s first major book project besides The 33rd, an anthology of interdisciplinary student and faculty writing it has produced each year since 2008.

When the physical copies of the books arrived, the students were excited. “They got to see their name in the acknowledgments in the book, and they had their phones out to take pictures to put on LinkedIn,” says Stein. “They worked really hard to make sure the book was at a top professional standard—that it looks really great and reads great.

“This is that real-world work experience that is a big part of Drexel’s ethos, but these students did it in the context of a three-credit course rather than a co-op.”

While A Legacy to Share provided students the opportunity to gain these publishing skills, the book will also pass on valuable lessons to its wider audience of readers. This project is a strong example of DUBAC’s vision, which “is to embrace our collective responsibility to those who led the way among Drexel’s people of color community and to those who will follow, both on campus and in the world.” They hope, according to their website, that A Legacy to Share will inspire Black students while also raising money for their scholarship fund.

Stein notes, “That’s why it’s called A Legacy to Share—it’s something DUBAC can pass on to the next generation of students to inspire them. And that it is also being used to raise scholarship money makes it a really meaningful way to have one generation hand the baton off to the next generation.”

So far, response to the book has been positive, and DUBAC is already considering when they will need to do a second print-run. Stein says, “A Legacy to Share is full of compelling personal stories. Maybe that’s why people are making bulk orders and giving copies out as inspirational and motivational gifts. It is really cool to see the enthusiastic response, especially since the funds go to a great cause.”

Learn more and purchase the book.