Name: Kayla Coco-Stotts
Position: Marketing Intern
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Alma mater; major; minor: University of Kentucky; B.A. in Print Journalism; Communication minor (December 2018)
Why should students be interested in their local university press?
I believe that students should be interested in their local university press because there is so much culture and accomplishment within university presses that I think is somewhat overlooked. I heard about UPK my freshman year of college and knew I always wanted to intern here, but so many others haven’t had the chance to learn about the amazing work UPK does for the Commonwealth. Students especially are able to learn so much from UPK; it’s like having a library of amazing authors, reads, and resources right on campus.
Why should students support their university press? How are some ways to support the press?
Students should support their university presses because they’re in need of our support! Even just sharing social media, buying UPK books, or going to events that feature UPK authors stimulates the marketplace of ideas and keeps the local book culture thriving within the universities.
What have you learned during your time here, and how will you use the skills you gained as you start a career, further your education, etc.?
I’ve learned how to craft a press kit and the true meaning of marketing. I never thought I would see myself enjoying the marketing side of publishing, but it is truly rewarding to excited people about the projects we’re working on. I’ve already been thankful enough to use the skills I’ve obtained here to set up a job when I graduate.
What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?
Mend: Poems by Kwoya Fagin Maples was amazing, heartfelt, and conveyed a level of anguish that I could never imagine being strong enough to experience. I also really loved Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master by Gwenda Young because it gave me an opportunity to learn about an age of Hollywood that I’ve just not taken the time to understand before.
If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them?
Actually, I’m from St. Louis originally so I’ve kind of become an unofficial tour guide for Lexington (I’m still waiting for my name tag to come in…I’m sure they’re sending it any day now). I always take people on a long walk around UK’s campus because I think it’s gorgeous, as well as downtown to some of my favorite restaurants and bars, like West Main Crafting Co. and Buddha Lounge. Breakfast? Josie’s for sure. Needing some lunch? Let’s head to Planet Thai! Can you tell I love food?
Did you always know you wanted to intern in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?
Growing up I was very driven and academically successful, and I always heard, “You’re going to be a doctor someday,” from relatives. When I started at UK, I began in biosystems engineering, but doing something I could do versus something I wanted to do was entirely different. After a quick Google search and some encouragement from friends, I switched to journalism and decided to intern at UPK during my first semester. I have always loved books, and being a book editor is what I used to tell people I would do, “when I grow up.”
What was the last book you read?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Rules of Magic: A Novel by Alice Hoffman. Both are amazing books!
Name three things you can’t live without.
My dogs, sweatshirts, and dry shampoo
If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Do you have a personal motto?
Just do what you love. People always are going to say, “life’s too short,” but life can get pretty long and dull when you’re stuck doing something you don’t really enjoy, whether that be in a professional or personal environment. Oh, and while you’re still in high school, get a credit card, only use it to buy gas, and always make payments on time.
What’s your favorite word?
Sonder: the realization that each random passerby is living a life as complex and vivid as your own.
What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?
I try to be as conscious as I can about living a minimal waste lifestyle by avoiding plastic containers or cups and avoiding using more than I need.
If you could have dinner with any three people—dead or alive, famous or not—who would it be?
Abraham Lincoln, Stephen King, and Malcolm X.
If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?
Andy Lassner, the executive producer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, because I love a good scare and I think Ellen and I would be great pals.