Staff Stories: An Interview with Mikala Kolander

Anna Weir is a publicist at UNP. In “Staff Stories,” she interviews her newest coworkers to introduce them to the rest of the university press world.

Mikala Kolander is a crazy crafting gal who likes collecting journals she plans on using one day and enjoys living off the idea of “good vibes only.”

Anna Weir: What’s your current job at UNP, and how long have you held it?

Mikala Kolander: I am a compositor for EDP. Basically, I make the insides of books look nice.

AW: A very important job.

MK: Thanks. And to answer your other question, I’ve been here since August, so, just about six months.

AW: What brought you to UNP?

MK: Honestly, this job was kind of a gamble for me. I had been living in Omaha and working at a craft store—which was dangerous, because I learned how to use all the coupons. Anyway, I spotted this job online, I applied, got it, and I moved to Lincoln as quickly as I could. I was excited to work with the University again.

AW: Oh, how did you work with them previously?

MK: I had a few oddball student jobs while I was attending UNL. I worked in the library, the Johnny Carson theater, a some other places. My favorite was working at the UNL Writing Center. I believe everyone should know how to write a solid five-paragraph paper, and some people don’t, so I was glad to be able to help teach people how to formulate their thoughts on paper. Also, I love brainstorming. This job led to a lot of great conversations.

AW: Sounds wonderful! Which aspect of your job are you most excited about?

MK: The part where I’m actually using the skills I learned in college. Like InDesign—I love InDesign—I use it every day. It makes me feel like the time and money I put in to college was worth it.

AW: Excellent! What has surprised you most so far about working at UNP?

MK: Hmm. What’s surprising is less the job itself and more the surroundings. I didn’t realize how much I hate sitting. Sometimes I dance in my chair to help stay focused. I will say that I enjoy how self-driven and goal-oriented this job requires me to be. You need to pay attention to the details.

AW: Since a lot of what you do is self-directed, could you say this job has made you more organized?

MK: Absolutely—and I think that’s what’s surprised me most. I didn’t know I could be this organized. I’ve never been this organized in my life. I have a binder now.

AW: What advice do you have for people starting a career in publishing?

MK: The only way you’ll learn is by learning on the job. I took a few editing-oriented classes in college, and those helped, especially since they introduced me to InDesign. But what I learned in school is nothing compared to walking through the door and just doing it. I never imagined I would be doing what I’m doing now, but here I am, and I love it.

AW: And we’re glad you’re here! Thanks for your time.

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