Profile by Michael Smith (’19)
Rebecca Zukauskas, Senior Editor
Northeast Editing (Pittston, PA)
Today, Rebecca Zukauskas (’05) is a senior editor and a mother. She writes everything from SAT prep materials to library reference articles for Northeast Editing—arguably the perfect job for an English major. Before she landed her current job, she graduated from Marywood University with a major in English. And before that, she was an avid reader. Zukauskas related that her mother was—and is—a prolific reader who “instill[ed] a love of reading” in her and her brother as they were growing up. Her favorite books include Pride and Prejudice and Dracula. The latter became the subject of a paper, entitled “But … You’re Just a Girl: Representations of the New Woman in Buffy and Dracula” which Zukauskas presented at the 2004 Slayage conference, which featured scholarship on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
In a literature class with Dr. Bittel, she learned of the Victorian “New Woman,” exemplified by the character Mina Harker in Dracula. Zukauskas saw a parallel between this archetype and another female protagonist from a story involving vampires: Willow Rosenberg of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She described revising her paper to present it at the conference as a “back and forth process” of deciding what her paper was about within the limitations of the conference presentation time limit. She went on to present another paper, “Princess Lessons: Gender, Power, and The Princess Diaries,” at the 2005 Southwest Popular/American Culture Conference. Its topic was the Princess Diaries book series.
Zukauskas felt that the classes she took and the information she got at the career nights she attended prepared her well for her career. She started work at Northeast Editing in November 2005, the year she graduated, and has been there ever since. While Zukauskas uses the writing skills she learned from her English classes every day, each day brings new and unique challenges. Northeast Editing’s clients have diverse needs, and meeting them often requires her to conduct research outside of her area of expertise. Thediversity of her liberal arts education has proven to be a valuable asset in this, giving her the background knowledge required to research effectively. She’s seen a significant shift in the way assessment is conducted in the time she’s been at Northeast Editing—tests are increasingly taken on electronic devices as technology becomes more prevalent in education. Despite this change, however, she has found that “good writing is still needed, and good editing is still needed.”
Zukauskas’s advice to English majors is simple: keep your options open. There’s “so much the English major can do.”