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Each month, this space will highlight the unique career path and insights of an SSP member. We hope that these brief profiles provide guidance to our early career members and those site visitors interested in the broad spectrum of scholarly communications opportunities. Please contact Phil Wallas with any questions or suggestions for future profiles.

PROFESSIONAL PROFILES:

Elizabeth Ralls

Assistant Editor, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

Elizabeth RallsPlease tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).

I grew up just outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, then came to the Washington, DC, area for college and somehow never left. I studied Linguistics at Georgetown University and received a Master’s degree in Publishing from the George Washington University.

Describe some of your current responsibilities, and what type of organization you belong to.

I am currently an Assistant Editor at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). I help authors, reviewers, and editors with the peer review process of our flagship journal, Journal of Clinical Oncology, create Tables of Contents, coordinate corrections, generate reports and track metrics (among other things).

What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?

I was hired in 2009 as an Editorial Assistant at ASCO, moved to Editorial Coordinator and then Assistant Editor within the Journals department.

If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.

In the spring of 2010 I applied to both the GW Publishing Master’s program and the SSP Travel Grant award program, and was lucky to be successful in both. Getting to attend SSP as a travel grant awardee was a great experience — I got to see different facets of the larger scholarly publishing world and meet all kinds of interesting people. Later that year I was able to explore the publishing industry more generally in the GW Publishing program.

What do you wish you knew more about?

I wish I was more plugged in (so to speak) to the “new and the next” in technology, especially with the ever-expanding menu of digital tools and devices.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?

One of best pieces of advice I’ve received is to say “yes” whenever possible – you never know where it will lead you! Being open to new roles, experiences, and ideas will take you interesting places. Go to meetings and webinars, keep an eye on what’s going on (by reading the Scholarly Kitchen, for example), and be ready to learn.