(Pictured: Thais Miller, Rights & Media Specialist and Lindsay White, Marketing Manager)
By Thais Miller
Before joining the Rights and Media team at Jones & Bartlett Learning, I worked as an admissions counselor for three years. Though I was definitely ready to say goodbye to making 100 phone calls per week, assuring parents that their child would definitely get an internship, and having conversations about financial aid which were far above my pay grade, I have missed the facetime with one’s customer that comes with a sales position. Thus, when presented with the opportunity to represent Jones & Bartlett Learning along with Matt Kane, Director of Product Management and Lindsay White, Marketing Manager at the NSTA 2018 National Conference on Science Education in Atlanta, I was thrilled to dust off the old college fair skills and learn about marketing the text books I work on behind the scenes.
The National Science Teachers Association conference, currently in its 66th year, played host to over 10,000 science teachers, serving elementary school through college. This gave us the opportunity to speak not only with our primary market of college professors, but also to learn the needs of high school teachers and show them where our books could fit into their higher-level curriculum. We even spoke with one teacher who excitedly told us he had an ambitious group of seventh graders, and wanted to make sure he was providing them with as many resources as possible to feed their curiosity. The most popular text among this demographic turned out to be the 6th edition of Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions by Michael L. McKinney, Robert M. Schoch, Logan Yonavjak, and Grant Mincy, which offers a “big picture” approach to environmental science through a variety of lenses. The college professors we met were able to get a preview of our unique microbiology lab skills videos that accompany Jeffrey Pommerville’s eleventh edition of Laboratory Fundamentals of Microbiology, which feature actual students of Dr. Pommerville performing the 34 instructor-chosen labs.
My personal college experience was sequestered in the drawing studio and as far away from biology labs as possible, but browsing our fellow exhibitor’s booths at NSTA reminded me that art majors are not the only ones who value creativity. LEGO Education was there showcasing their tools for the visual learner, NASA brought a giant dome for stargazing, countless booths held exotic plant life, and the Legends of Learning representatives could be seen running around the exhibit hall in superhero capes to promote their classroom games. Prior to the conference my only frame of reference for 3D printers was their use on Project Runway, but now the dashboard of my husband’s Jeep boasts a tiny plastic teddy bear that I watched being made by a 3D printer a few yards away from our textbook display.
Going from working on solely the media in these textbooks to watching them serve their purpose for educators gave me a valuable perspective on my day to day role at Jones & Bartlett Learning. Some of the teachers in attendance looked fresh off their semester of student teaching, while others had clearly been in the classroom for years, yet they all shared the same passion for giving their students the very best. My piece of the publishing puzzle can seem far removed from the books getting in hands of these students, so I am thankful to have caught a glimpse of it. Plus, these New Englanders traded a triplet of Nor’easters for 65 and sunny, and managed to find what looked to be the only Dunkin’ Donuts in all of Atlanta. Who knew the best part of the CNN headquarters would be caramel iced coffee?