January 12, 2021 Category: Our Programs Partnerships

Penguin Random House Virtual Workshop Series: Exploring Careers in Publishing

“The opportunities are beyond one or two jobs – we wanted to open up the world of publishing to students. I think that everybody has their own journey just like each book has its own story,” said Miriam Tuliao, Library Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House.  

The Fresh Air Fund’s Career Awareness Program gives students a chance to explore their interests and learn more about the relationship between education and career opportunities. At Camp Mariah, The Fund’s Career Awareness camp, students learn to create a resume and practice mock interviews. They also take classes including film, coding, culinary arts, fashion, photography, international relations and drama – as well as dance and music classes, debate and chess. 

The program hosts several Job Shadowing opportunities throughout the school year giving students a behind-the-scenes view of a range of careers from finance to architecture or public health.  

The Penguin Random House Group for Diversity Outreach and Recruitment partnered with The Fund to host a workshop series for our Career Awareness students and provide exposure to the different careers in the publishing industry. The series included three one-hour sessions focusing on Graphic Design & Editing, Marketing and Technology.

“I was looking forward to learning about the different careers. I was really interested in the different career journey’s leading up to the panelists work in publishing,” 14-year-old Fresh Air student, Irene said.

Let’s Get Creative: Graphic Design and Editing 

The first workshop highlighted the beginning stages of publishing a book with panelists from Penguin Random House with roles ranging from editorial to cover design.  

“We shared about our day-to-day jobs and the work that we do, but also prepared activities to draw the kids in – like asking them about book ideas that they might have. I was really impressed with some of the ideas that they came up with,” Editor at Penguin Random House, Molly Turpin said.  

Senior Designer and Art Program Manager, Jen Wang, talks about the role of a designer and what a typical day looks like for her.

During the workshop, students discussed the question, “Is there anybody that you know who you think should be writing a book and what do you think they should write about?” Students pitched that some of their favorite actors, chefs, writers and even TikTok creators should write books!  

“Hearing about some of their nonfiction ideas for books or people that they would love to read books by was one of my favorite parts. I was impressed with their responses and thought they were really engaged,” Molly says. “I was excited when a few days later, one of the students followed up with a question they were thinking about!”  


The second workshop in the series focused on the technology side of publishing from producing audio books to understanding online retail and how it continues to change the industry.  

The students were very interested in learning about audio and about the full process from voice auditions to editing. Caleb Stull, Audio Head Engineer for Penguin Random House Canada, led a very interactive activity with three different voices “auditioning” for an audio book and students voted on who they would hire! 

“It was fascinating to see all the kids engaging during the activity. It was interesting and a lesson for me, the kids and the other panelists when we found out we all chose wrong,” said Matt Schwartz, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Random House.  

Caleb Stull, Audio Head Engineer for Penguin Random House Canada led an activity about audio book auditions.

“I learned that it really takes some patience, but it is a good skill to develop even if I don’t pursue a career in book audio. Reading aloud text is a helpful skill to learn and I’m practicing it because I learned at Camp Mariah the importance of getting my ideas across are key in an interview and for building relationships,” Irene said.

Marketing: Staying Innovative 

The final workshop focused on the different types of marketing strategies and publicity used when launching new books. Panelists from digital marketing to library marketing joined the conversation and shared about how each of their roles contributes to the stages of publishing a book.  

“We talked about some of the general job skills involved in these arenas, including good communication, organization, time management, and decision making,” Miriam said.

The workshop activity encouraged students to create their own marketing strategy for the book, Its Trevor Noah: Born a Crime. Panelists led the discussion in breakout rooms and advised students as they curated their marketing plans.

Students created their own marketing strategy for the book It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime.

“What is interesting, is hearing how the different participants engage with different authors we presented. Quite a few of the participants were book lovers and follow specific authors on social media. A few students also shared when they attended Comic Con and how they are actively engaged in book culture,” Miriam said. 

At the end of the workshop series, students were encouraged to submit what they learned and to answer, “What is the process of creating a book?” for a chance to win a gift card. After finding out that she won, 14-year-old Irene shared that she is excited to buy new books with her gift card!

“Job Shadowing’s are really informational because I learn about different careers. It is also meaningful because I get to meet new people. For me, The Fresh Air Fund has had a really powerful impact. I don’t know where I would be without The Fresh Air Fund.”  

Learn more about The Fresh Air Fund’s Enrichment Programs