Alumni Report: Jay McPherson Credits His Woodbury Internship with His Graduate School Goals

Professional Writing alumnus Jay McPherson has been accepted to the prestigious master’s degree program in library science at the University of Washington. Jay’s Woodbury career, which included editorial work for MORIA and a published poetry chapbook, made him an attractive candidate, as did his internship at the Sims Library of Poetry. Jay shared his thoughts about attending graduate school and how his experience in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences helped him find his passion.

Since graduating, he had yet to find a job that he found fulfilling. When he started thinking about what work he’d done that met that desire for meaningfulness, he kept coming back to his time interning at the Sims Library of Poetry. The Sims Library is the first black-owned poetry library in California, with a mission to “serve, educate, and find love for poetry, especially for marginalized people of color in the community of South Los Angeles.”

“I could feel the impact my work had on the library, and how the library impacted the community it was created for. Being there meant something,” he recalls. Jay considered a master’s in library science because it will give him this same sense of purpose while supporting his love of writing and creation. “Something that really stuck with me from Sims was their oldest book of poetry. It’s over 100 years old, and yet we can still read it as though it was published yesterday,” he explains. “How incredible is that? How wonderful is it to be able to share in the art and experiences of people who lived lifetimes ago?”

In his future career, Jay hopes to pursue archival work, so he can help “preserve the writing and art people poured their hearts and souls into, so that people decades after they’ve passed can read it and go, ‘Wow. I understand you.’ . . .  I think people forget far too often just how similar we are to people who lived lifetimes ago.”

Jay was introduced to the Sims Library by CLAS faculty Mike Sonksen, and he cites that opportunity along with his love of poetry fostered at Woodbury with leading him to his current path.

Last Updated February 13, 2024

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