Children have an uncanny way of latching on to specific snippets and remembering them for the rest of their lives. As a child, I once came across a quote that never quite lost its effect on me: “Chase your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.” I knew I would, so at age 11, I told my mother I wanted to be a writer. Today, I work as a book editor and a writer, and above all, I am still a lover of stories and words.
I completed my undergraduate education at Southern Methodist University, where I majored in music therapy with a minor in psychology. My music therapy work further solidified my goals. Everyone I worked with had unique struggles, hopes, and dreams, each person a main character in their own story. Though I loved my clinical work, I wanted to help people who tell their stories in their own ways. As a music therapist, I learned to focus on patients’ goals and avoid imposing my own perspective on them while gently providing guidance as needed; as an editor, I found that my professional relationships with authors were much the same.
In Dallas, I worked at Student Media Company, at the time a small private company that managed the SMU newspaper and yearbook. I trained under the editors there, then eventually became chief copyeditor and stepped in as a writer when needed. There, I found my passion for helping writers organize their thoughts, revise their writing, and realize their visions.
Editing became my focus. Working full-time with reading, writing, and editing showed me that I wanted to take the next step and become further involved in the publishing field. Now, I’m working on my MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where I’ve picked up more industry knowledge and become a better publishing professional.
The first books I held in my hands that I’d authored were five books published by Capstone Press about Asian-American historical figures. The experience of writing about people from my own ethnicity, along with the publication process from an author’s perspective, motivated me to be part of creating these opportunities for other Asian-Americans. Having seen the numerous barriers to publishing for many disenfranchised and historically marginalized people, I hope to be part of the ongoing change to remove these barriers and increase the publishing world’s accessibility and diversity.
With this in mind, I’m so excited and grateful to join the Sundress Publications team as an editorial intern. The Sundress team has done a lot, and with this incredible opportunity, I hope to be not just a better and more knowledgeable editor, but also someone who contributes actively to the publishing field with compassion, insight, and care.
Stephi Cham holds a BM in Music Therapy with a Minor in Psychology from Southern Methodist University. She is currently working toward her MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where she manages the publishing program’s communications as a graduate assistant. She is a freelance editor and the author of the Great Asian-American series published by Capstone Press, and her work has appeared in Strange Horizons.