Sandra Schaefer, a first-time ACES attendee and presenter (she’ll convince you about the singular, gender-neutral “they”), is more than excited about what’s ahead at the 2012 conference in NOLA.
By Sandra Schaefer
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Since peer-revision in elementary school, I have been passionate about editing. The marks, the red ink. It was a secret language that I had to learn and master. Now, at 29 years old, I finally have the opportunity to turn that love of marking into a career. At least I hope so. And I’m hoping that ACES and the 2012 NOLA conference will help me to do that.
I wanted to go, oh so badly, but my university would only contribute money if I was presenting. Hoping to convince them that they needed to give me to the funding as primary research for my thesis, I rummaged through nola.copydesk.org to try to find a list of presentations, searching for something that I could not miss. Through my own poor navigation, I stumbled upon the link to Lisa McLendon’s email address and the call for speakers. I emailed her immediately, not stopping to give myself time to become nervous. A week later, she approved my outline and presentation topic and my name was put up on the website.
I can’t fully express how awesome and overwhelming this entire process has been. When I looked at my name on the website, it was next to those of editors for the New York Times, the Times-Picayune and the LA Times. I’m glad I didn’t see this list before I sent my email; I never would have done it. Now, I’m preparing a 90-minute presentation for an audience of professionals, whom I hope to join in just a year.
The business contacts that I hope to make at NOLA 2012 may make my future career. I may meet a future client or a future boss in NOLA over cocktails at the Freelancer’s Reception, or over dinner at the Friday night banquet or in the audience of my presentation on gender-neutral pronoun usage. I don’t know; I have no way of knowing and I will probably not know even when I’m on the train back home on Sunday. All I know is that none of these things would happen if I were spending the second week of April in class.
Oh, and New Orleans has an open-container law and a constant celebratory atmosphere. What better place is there to begin (or not) my career?