Experiential Learning: The Process of Making "The Sublime Reader"

Three Gwynedd Mercy University students with three different majors participated in a research project with Dr. Robert Clewis which offered them a unique experience. While Elanna Dructor, Abigail Friel, and Amanda Wortham worked with Dr. Clewis on his upcoming book, The Sublime Reader, each student gained a new-found understanding of humanities research and experience with book publishing.

The three students met during one of Dr. Clewis' philosophy courses focusing on the sublime. At the time, Dr. Clewis was in the beginning stages of creating The Sublime Reader and saw an opportunity to provide his students a unique experience to learn more about the concept of the sublime and book publishing industry. Even though they each came from different majors and expertise, each student was up for the challenge of publishing a book.

"As a biology major, I assumed any research I participated in during college would involve sitting at a laboratory bench dealing with bacteria," reflected Abigail. "Looking back, I am very glad Dr. Clewis gave me the opportunity of helping him put his book together. It was an experience that has provided me with unique skills that I would not have developed otherwise."

As a part of their research, Abigail, Elanna, and Amanda worked diligently to assist Dr. Clewis with various tasks associated with publishing an anthology. Some of their responsibilities included tracking down original copies of source material, requesting permission from publishing companies to use excerpts, in addition to proofing and editing various drafts of the book. Considering that the anthology is marketed for college-level philosophy courses, the students also provided their opinions and feedback on the selected readings and the cover design.

The students found the entire experience rewarding, as well as valuable to their various career paths following graduation, even though they were pursuing fields outside of philosophy. Abigail graduated from GMercyU with her biology degree in May 2018, while Elanna and Amanda will be graduating in May 2019 with degrees in nursing and radiation therapy, respectively.

"I think part of the reason this was such an interesting experience was because I was able to work with students and faculty members I may not have been able to outside of this project," said Elanna. "This experience will be very beneficial for me as I move into my future career. Many nurses publish pieces over the course of their career and I desire to publish my own work as a result of this process."

After many months of dedication to the project, including presenting their research experiences at Gwynedd Mercy University's 2018 Research Conference, the students' hard work paid off when the final product of The Sublime Reader was published on November 29, 2018, by Bloomsbury Publishing.

To learn more about The Sublime Reader, check out the Bloomsbury Publishing's website.