Q & A with Jon Ovadia '23

Antonia Gentile
February 15, 2023
person smiling for camera in front of beige wall

Jon Ovadia '23, English Language and Literature, embodies the notion of following your passions, embracing a love for creative writing that has led to publication in literary magazines and a prestigious internship with the National Book Foundation.

How did you become interested in pursuing a major in English Language and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing?

I have always loved to write. As early as elementary school, I was crafting little stories in my notebooks, creating worlds with my imagination based on the books that I was reading. Initially, I came to Pace as an Arts and Entertainment Management major [from the Lubin School of Business], which is now my minor, but quickly found that not having creative writing in my daily schedule was a bummer, so I changed over to majoring in English Language and Literature with a Creative Writing concentration, and I have been incredibly happy ever since with that decision.

Why did you choose to attend Pace?

I grew up in suburban New York and always dreamed about moving to the city to pursue my music career and write someday. Pace provided me an opportunity to live out that dream, so four years later, here I am.

What have your experiences been like with the English Department? Have certain faculty members been instrumental in your academic journey?

Pace’s English Department has been instrumental in my academic and professional journey. I’ve had so many wonderful professors who have taught me valuable skills that have improved my writing, and thanks to them, I’ve even gained publication credit in a literary magazine. Professor Chris Campanioni’s recommendation that I submit my work to Across the Margin most recently paid off, as has another publication in You Might Need to Hear This. I’ve also had wonderful experiences with Professors Stephanie Hsu, Eve Becker, Beto O’Byrne, and Paul Levitz.

I’ve had so many wonderful professors who have taught me valuable skills that have improved my writing, and thanks to them, I’ve even gained publication credit in a literary magazine.

In the fall 2022 semester, you had an internship with the National Book Foundation, which administers the prestigious annual National Book Awards and produces programs that help connect readers to books.

What was your role and how has this internship been meaningful to you?

Interning with the National Book Foundation has been a wonderful experience. I specifically worked in their programs department, where I had the opportunity to conduct research for and assist in several important programs like Book Rich Environments, BookUp, and the Teen Press Conference, and I was often tasked with projects that spanned the entire foundation as well. And of course, I had the pleasure of working at the National Book Awards. It’s been such a joy getting to work in a fantastic environment surrounded by so many books. I’ve learned so much about the literary industry as well, which I believe will be a huge help for me in my career moving forward.

Have you had any other internships as a student?

I worked for a music software company called Quadio from my freshman to sophomore year as a Pace campus representative and was involved with the early stages of the platform, which was designed to connect musicians and music lovers in colleges all throughout the country.

What other activities and organizations have you been involved with as a student?

I’ve been a member of Pace’s radio station, WPUB, since my sophomore year. In the spring, I’ll also be assuming the role of the club’s secretary. WPUB is a wonderful club that gives students the opportunity to learn what working in a radio station could be like as well as allow them to create their own shows based on their music listening or other creative ideas.

What would you like to do upon graduation/what are your career goals?

I would love to work in publishing after graduation. My time with the National Book Foundation has taught me that I love working with books, and in some capacity, I would love to keep working in literary spaces that would allow me to write more of my own work while also being able to pay the bills.

What advice would you like to give to our current students?

Don’t worry if your plans change. I came to college with a very particular idea as to how my life was going to go, then realized I liked doing other things even more. Don’t be afraid to take classes that interest you if they don’t exactly fit into the plans you’ve made for yourself. Try new things and figure out what makes you tick.

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