Caroline Davidson '09

Caroline Davidson '09 graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in psychology and a minor in English. She currently works at Poets and Writers Magazine in New York City as an assistant editor.

Why did you decide to attend the College of Charleston and pursue a psychology degree?

Growing up in central Ohio, Charleston held a magical appeal. I visited the campus and immediately fell under the Holy City spell. As for my psychology degree pursuit, music and theater were my major focuses throughout my childhood and high school, so when I went to CofC, I wanted to branch out and explore other fields. The human mind is endlessly fascinating, so I took a few psychology courses (I thoroughly enjoyed neuropsychology, clinical psychology, and social psychology), and thought I might want to become a clinical psychologist.

What is your typical day at work?

I am Assistant Editor of Poets & Writers Magazine. I research, write, and edit hundreds of upcoming grants, contests, and residency opportunities for creative writers, all of which appear in the bi-monthly print magazine and the online database. I also read and evaluate article submissions, write posts for our grants & awards blog, compile and edit letters to the editor, assist in fact-checking, and proof edits to all articles during the production process. In addition to editorial work, I help plan and execute six writing conferences in several cities across the U.S.

How did your degree help prepare you in your current role? Any specific College experiences stand out as having prepared you (e.g., internship or student abroad opportunities)?

Though my career path shifted, my psychology degree ensured that I was well-equipped to think critically and understand people without jumping to judgment. This is important in any workplace.

Two experiences stand out: During my senior year, I was a psychological research assistant to social psychologist Dr. Lisa Ross, who became my psychology mentor. After that, I was lucky enough to study abroad in Spoleto, Italy, with the creative writing program. That trip remains one of the fondest memories of my life.

In this tech-saturated and politically volatile world, a solid liberal arts foundation feels more important than ever. CofC’s psychology and English programs gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of humanity, and encouraged a lifelong love of learning. I also met some of my best friends in these programs. Uh oh, the nostalgia wave is here!

What do you like most about your job? 

I love working with like-minded individuals who believe in the value of literary arts and who want to encourage and support creative writers. I get to work next to my best friend all day! Living in New York City is often challenging, but the opportunities and creative energy make it worth the difficulties. You can’t beat the music, art, culture, and diversity. As a writer and musician, it’s an amazing place to find inspiration. 

What advice would you offer students interested in pursuing a career similar to yours?

I know this is said often, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and find your community. I let shyness control me for a long time, but I am lucky to have had important mentors along this winding career journey; none of this happened in a vacuum. Practically, I would suggest getting involved with a small press or magazine to understand the basics of the publishing process. Read and write as much as possible. Nonprofit literary publishing is also much different than for-profit book and magazine publishing, so I suggest learning about both to see which environment you would thrive in.