Internship Spotlight: Alyssa Explains It All (About Working for Gray Dog Press)

EL double major Alyssa Parkinson (’12) recently spoke with Whitworth English Blog about her rad internship.

Whitworth English Blog: Alyssa, tell us about yourself.

Alyssa Parkinson: I’m from Santa Clarita, CA, where the mountains are made of course giant hair and need to be brushed once a week or else disastrous wildfires occur. I just finished directing and acting in Almost, Maine, the culmination of my BA in Theatre. I am in charge of the Velociraptor Revolution and am currently accepting applications. Check out my blog: or email me for more information at:

Vive le dinosaure.

WEB: OK, great. Sign me up. Also, please describe your internship. What are your duties?

AP: I am the intern at Gray Dog Press, a small independent publishing company in Spokane. I am in charge of marketing for three authors, which entails emailing fifty people a day asking them for reviews or interviews of books, getting in touch with distribution companies and television and radio, and research, research, research.

I also design flyers for books and help with the design elements of books in the process of publishing. I copyedited my first entire book and I am currently copyediting a second book for the company. I recently designed a little logo that will be seen throughout the most recent book in process, which was surprisingly exciting. I try not to get too excited, though, because as our final edits draw near, it could be taken out.

WEB: What do you like most about your internship? 

AP: Gray Dog Press is unique because it doesn’t treat interns like interns. I’m left on my own a lot to learn and try to make things happen. I feel like after this, and my crazy years lifegaurding and mixing acid for the pool, I can handle literally anything. It helped that I had extensive knowledge of InDesign and PhotoShop.

WEB: Right on. What have been the biggest challenges? 

AP: The biggest challenge has been keeping optimistic. Research can get lonely and it can feel like there are few rewards.

WEB: How did you hear about this internship? 

AP: An email was sent from the English Department—thanks! And Jaquelyn Wheeler gave me a run down on what I could expect as she had done an internship with Gray Dog last summer. But don’t wait for emails—there are hundreds of companies out there seeking applicants with information available on their sites.

WEB: What advice would you give to students who are considering internships?

AP: You HAVE to get out there and try what you think is your “ideal”  job. I worked as an assistant make-up artist to a professional make-up artist based in LA last summer. I thought make-up was my dream job, but I realized that it was not something I was inspired by or invested enough to do long enough to actually break into the make-up world.

Try things out so you can rule things out, and so you can learn things. After this internship, I feel like I could go into marketing, become an agent for an author—anything. In college is the time to experiment because you have a huge support group to fall back on. Internships prepare you for what you think you would never be able to do, or show you the truth of what you once believed would be your perfect job.

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