Meet a Lerner: Ashley McDonald

Today, meet our marketing intern Ashley McDonald! She’ll be with us through the end of the summer.

1. What brings you to Lerner—where and what are you studying, and what are your potential future goals?

I’m about to enter my final semester of college at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. I’ll graduate in December of this year with a BA in English (creative writing emphasis) and philosophy. Experience as a writing advisor and an intern at a literacy organization coupled with a deep and abiding love for good books, grammar, and clear writing has lead me to explore a future in publishing!

2. Describe a day in the life of a marketing intern.

At the beginning of the day, I usually work on projects like reading books that are coming out next season [Spring 2016] and writing discussion guides or press releases for them. Sometimes I read two or three books in a day! It’s a book lover’s dream.

I get emails intermittently with short tasks that sometimes get me out of my chair (Fight sedentariness!), like submitting books for awards, sending out review copies, or proofreading. There’s usually a second or third cup of coffee involved at some point.  Afternoons consist of finishing the projects of the morning and responding to requests for help from people around the office. I’ve done a bit of organizing, shelving, printing, copying, sorting, uploading. Just about anything that needs legwork and little knowledge, and I get to do it!

3. What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity in preparation for an independent study on Marilynne Robinson this fall since she interacts with his philosophy in her books. I’m also reading Robinson’s Home, the sequel to Gilead.

4. What’s your best source for finding new book recommendations?

I usually go off of word of mouth from friends and family whose opinions I trust, but I also just scour the library shelves for titles that look intriguing. I’m always on the lookout for a masterpiece that has flown under the radar!
5. Top five (or so) books. Go!

AH!!! Jane Eyreby Charlotte Brontë, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (I never claimed counting prowess)

6. Name some of your icons. Who do you admire, living or dead, and why?
The Brontës, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott—and other female writers who wrote realistic, strong female characters in times when women were seen as decorative child-bearers.
Jon Foreman—he writes meaningful music and prompts people to live beyond the life most think they were meant to. And he does it without the ego so many musicians have.
English teachers everywhere—really anyone who has ever fought the battle to get students excited about literature and help them see its value.
7. What is your ideal vacation?
I love quiet, warm places without chain coffee shops and with old buildings (the older, the better!).  If there was a beach, that would be a major plus. I would spend the day sightseeing and adventuring (preferably having someone with whom to share the experience) and spend the evenings reading and eating local goodies.
8. Who is your celebrity doppelgänger?
I’ve been told for about 8 years that I look like Taylor Swift. Startled many people with it actually. It’s a little eerie sometimes.