Students Develop Real-World Skills at the RSC

Brent R. Nordgren

The RSC is the publishing arm of BYU Religious Education and employs students who assist with publications, conferences, and research. Each year, students are hired to work alongside three full-time staff members and the publications director to produce twelve to fourteen books, three issues of the Religious Educator, a scholarly journal, and two issues of the Religious Education Review magazine. They also help facilitate no less than two conferences. Over the years the RSC offers internships and mentoring opportunities to several students. Although some have come to the RSC with superior talent and know-how in design or editing but have no intention of pursuing a career in that area, most are typically studying to practice in the real world what they learn at the RSC and go on to careers where they can apply the skills they develop. The following are some comments from some of the students who work at the RSC.

Jonathon Owen, who is finishing a master’s degree in linguistics commented, “Working at the Religious Studies Center has given me the chance to broaden my skills in both print and electronic publishing. I have been able to manage projects from the manuscript stage all the way to the finished publication, which will better prepare me for a career in editing and publishing.”

Annalise Belnap, a senior studying vocal performance, said, “Within my undergraduate degree, I’ve been able to use editing and research skills acquired in my work at the RSC in my own personal writing and research and allowed me to help other students with papers and projects. As far as influencing my career, I’m beginning a master’s program this fall in opera performance and after that I might pursue a doctoral degree in music. These skills will be crucial to my conquering the theses and research papers coming my way!”

Jeff Wade, a senior majoring in mathematics and linguistics, says that “working at the RSC has been an amazing experience for me. It has helped me improve in many ways and has convinced me that my career should be oriented more toward graphic design than research, which I was favoring before. I've found something that I really love to do and I might not have if it weren't for the RSC.”

Jake Frandsen, a graduate student majoring in linguistics, had this to say: “As a student who will soon be entering the workforce, having experience in my field of study is invaluable. I want to have a career in editing, and my experience at the RSC has given me a huge advantage as I have applied for internships and jobs. The work I do here fits right into the type of work I want to do in the future, and the mentoring process has really helped me develop and hone my skills and learn new ones.”

Alan Taylor Farnes, a senior studying ancient Near Eastern studies, added, “Working at the Religious Studies Center has opened many doors for my career. In the course of conducting interviews for one of the RSC websites, one of the professors I interviewed offered me a job to be a research assistant for his New Testament classes. I also received another job through the contacts I made working for the RSC. In short, I can honestly say that every professional opportunity I have had has in some way come through my association with the RSC. I am grateful to work here.”

The mentoring and learning that takes place at the RSC is priceless. Students come to BYU to learn, study, and grow, but there are few places available where they can develop such a variety of real-world skills. We are honored to be associated with so many amazing students as they prepare for the next phase of their life.