Jessie Estrella is a new graduate student in the MS in Publishing program. Residing in Mount Hope, New York, Jessie has always been close to the city. She got her BA in English, with a minor in communications, at The University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Jessie was a staff writer for the university’s student newspaper, The Aquinas, and became an editor her junior year. Jessie assisted in creating the school’s first student also titled, The Aquinas. She was also a writing consultant at Scranton’s writing center for two years and worked at the university’s human resources office for three. Jessie hopes to become an editor, but is excited to learn about the other career paths the industry offers. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a Graduate Assistant at Pace University Press.
Daren J. Fleming, the new Student Aide for the Pace University Press, is a classically trained actor, writer, and comedian whose talents have spanned theatre/cabaret, film and television, and literary scenes in New York City and Los Angeles. Daren is a native of the Midwest and graduated from Pike High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2001, he graduated from the American Musical & Dramatic Academy of New York (AMDA). He also holds a BS from The New School, where he majored in Creative Writing and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He starred in LOGO TV’s first original feature-film, The Ski Trip. His theatre credits include The Hip-Hop Misanthrope and Julian & Romero, and for ten years he appeared as the glamorous yet zany co-host “Miss Grenadine Ross” in the Off-Broadway game show The Ultimate Drag Off. His autobiographical essay, “The Night Diana Died” was included in the anthology “For Colored Boys (Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough),” published in 2012. The book won The Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award from the American Library Association and was nominated for a Lambda Book Award for best LGBT Non-Fiction.
In addition to being a full-time student, he is in the process of writing a novel. Daren urges everyone to follow their dreams and to never give up their individuality for the sake of trying to “fit in” with others.
Brenna Haney is the Multimedia Lab Graduate Assistant for the 2018-2019 school year. She is originally from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, but has lived in New York City for the past five years while attending Pace University for her undergraduate degree. She is in her last year of the 4+1 English BA/Publishing MS program and will be graduating May 2019. Brenna’s most recent internship was with Marvel Entertainment and she would like to continue working with comics and graphic novels in the future. In her free time, she skates for Gotham Girls Roller Derby (GGRD) in their rec league.
Alicia Hughes has known publishing was her path since she was twelve years old and asked her dad “What’s a job where I can be around books all day?” Originally from a small town in western New York, Alicia traveled north up Lake Ontario to SUNY Oswego, where she received her BA in Journalism with a minor in English. Alicia is a Graduate Assistant for the Pace University Press and works on the production of several of the journals they publish. She is interested in design or library and school research.
Melissa Rechter is one of the Publishing Lab Graduate Assistants who work on the blog and its social media accounts. She is originally from Montgomery, New Jersey, and has her BA in English Literary Studies with two minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing from York College of Pennsylvania. She worked for her undergrad’s literary magazine, The York Review, and took publishing classes during that time, which developed her interest in publishing. In her senior year, she interned for a publishing company for almost a year, which solidified her decision to pursue a career in the industry. She is excited to see what the future holds for her in publishing!
Ayana Underwood is currently in her second semester as a Student Aide for Pace University’s MS in Publishing Program. She earned her BS in Chemistry from Duquesne University in 2016. She worked in a biochemistry lab conducting research and later created polyurethane coatings at Bayer Material Science. She realized lab work was not her passion, and after taking a comics analysis class, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in the comic book industry. This led her to Pace! She’s since written for pop culture platforms including Black Girl Nerds and Women Write about Comics. You can find her reading a comic or splurging on cosplay stuff when she’s not obsessing over cat photos or eating pizza!