Emma Hamilton is a ’22 Ball State graduate with a major in Philosophy who currently works as an editorial assistant at Wiley Publishing. In the interview below, she offers her knowledge and experience in creating three Oxford Research Encyclopedias as well as a medical research journal. After finding her passion in philosophy, the skills Emma gained from her time at Ball State taught her how to be open-minded in the workplace as well as compassionate in disagreements. When she’s not working, you can find her spending time with her cat.
What did you study at Ball State?
I started my undergraduate career as a psychology major, but quickly fell in love with philosophy after taking an intro class and switched my major. I realized philosophy helped me explore the bigger questions that were at the root of my interest in psychology.
What led you to your current career?
The philosophy department at Ball State is special in that it offers immersive learning courses that allow students to apply philosophical skills to real-world problems. As a sophomore, I got involved in the department’s undergraduate philosophy journal Stance, the department’s philosophy outreach program, which aims to bring philosophy into high school classrooms, and Compass Creative, an in-house marketing team for Ball State. These projects helped beef up my resume and taught me project management skills that made me feel confident entering the job market upon graduation. I ended up accepting an offer from Wiley publishing, and I now work as an editorial assistant on three Oxford Research Encyclopedias as well as a medical research journal.
Working on the editorial board for Stance allowed me to be one step ahead when it came to understanding the editorial process, industry best practices, and how to work within editorial management software. The philosophy community at Ball State helped me harness my passion for philosophy and let it motivate me to apply my philosophical skills in new ways, which ultimately led me to the opportunity to start my career in academic publishing. Transitioning out of being a full-time student after graduation can be difficult and overwhelming, which is why I’m thankful I was given opportunities to see how philosophical skills can be beneficial in real-world ways during my undergraduate experience. Those opportunities showed me how I could leverage those skills to potential employers.
Can you describe your work environment at Wiley Publishing?
I’m currently working from home full-time, so my work environment is about as relaxed as it gets. I enjoy being able to set my own schedule and be home with my cat all day. However, it has made me very thankful to have friends and family close by to spend time with when I’m not working!
Even though I work from home, I still engage regularly with my team. Each member of our team specializes in specific chunks of the editorial process, so our workflow operates somewhat like an assembly line: from first submission all the way through to final publication. We meet regularly to discuss problems and questions related to specific manuscripts or editorial protocols, but we also work independently to ensure manuscripts smoothly make their way through our own stages of the process. The biggest plus to working from home is that other than scheduled meeting times, I’m able to build my own schedule each day. If my work is getting done, I can choose when I’m doing it based on when I know I’ll be most productive.
Wiley is relaxed when it comes to workplace attire for internal company meetings. However, when meeting with our clients (for example, Oxford University Press subject editors) we’re expected to be wearing business casual attire. I’m early on in my career with Wiley, so as of now I’m being assigned projects. However, I’ve found that my colleagues are more than happy to allow me to shadow them when I’m curious about projects they’re working on, which is great because it allows me to gauge what kinds of projects I might be interested in pursuing in the future.
I’m still pretty new, but I’ve been impressed thus far with Wiley’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, with an advisory council that aims to promote inclusion within Wiley’s culture. I just joined our “Rainbow Readers” LGBTQ+ book club.
What are the most valuable skills you learned studying philosophy?
Philosophy taught me a lot about how to communicate and effectively work with people that may have approaches that are different than my own, which has been extremely valuable. Because philosophy involves learning about varying perspectives and engaging with others respectfully even when you disagree, it has taught me to be more open-minded and compassionate. More specifically, working on Stance and POP taught me how to be self-sufficient while also knowing when to ask questions and seek guidance. I gained so much confidence in my problem-solving abilities during my time in philosophy immersive learning classes. Furthermore, I obtained a better understanding of my own learning and leadership styles which has allowed me to feel more comfortable voicing my needs and advocating for myself. I personally learn best when I’m thrown into the deep end and am allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
What is your advice to other Humanities students?
I think my biggest piece of advice would be to step outside your comfort zone and try new things even when they feel difficult or scary because that’s when you will learn the most about yourself, gain new skills, and possibly find an unexpected passion.