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University of Denver Alumna Uses English Degree as Gateway to Academic Publishing

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Marissa Olveda-Maldonado

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Marta Pentecost
Marta Pentecost

In the final year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Denver, with both chemistry and English majors in her pocket, Marta Pentecost (BA '06, MA '13) entered the work force and considered her options going forward. One of her English professors, W. Scott Howard, suggested the Department of English & Literary Art’s master’s program as a pathway to a career as a professor, which appealed to Pentecost.

Pentecost had started working at Morton Publishing as a sales representative just prior to beginning the master’s program in 2009. Although Pentecost enjoyed working with books through sales, it wasn’t until she switched to editing that she really fell in love with the publishing world.

“I thought I would work in sales for a while, get my master’s and then jump into academic work, which is not what ended up happening,” Pentecost says.

In her work as an editor at Morton Publishing, where she brings science textbooks and laboratory manuals to academia, Pentecost says that DU’s master’s program helped her learn developmental editing, because of the length of her thesis, and allowed her to understand how to best assist authors who were creating books that were hundreds of pages long.

Pentecost is also grateful for the master’s program’s flexibility, which allowed her to be a part-time student while she worked at Morton Publishing. Though she worried about her choices being limited in the beginning, she says, the program ultimately supported her throughout her degree, and balancing work and classes taught her valuable time-management skills.

Through her studies in the MA program, Pentecost realized that she didn’t need to pursue the traditional routes that she associated with her degrees. The combination of her life experiences and DU’s programs opened her eyes to “realizing how many different types of work you can find with various degrees,” she says.

Pentecost also attended the Denver Publishing Institute’s four-week program in 2006, between her undergraduate and master’s programs, which further convinced her that there are far more roads to take with any degree.

As a first-generation graduate with a penchant for the sciences, Pentecost reminds younger students to keep their passions close to them. “In the moment, you may not realize how your current circumstances will help you or how wide open the world is,” she says, but “even with the weight of everything happening in the world, there will be a lot of opportunities available to you.”

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