SD/PEN Member Profile: Kathleen V. Kish

Each month, SD/PEN selects one of its members at random to profile his or her background and experience. This month we are featuring Kathleen V. Kish of Kish Academic Editing.

K.Kish.Portrait-2017How do you describe what you do to someone whom you’ve just met at a networking function?

My company offers a range of editing services, including copyediting, substantive editing, developmental editing, proofreading, and publishing advice. Specializing in literary and cultural studies, Kish Academic Editing has also collaborated with scholars in the social sciences, as well as with practitioners in fields as diverse as medicine and English grammar. English is not the first language of a good number of our clients. The direct contact between author and editor is the hallmark of Kish Academic Editing. Together we rejoice when the author’s project—be it thesis, article, dissertation, manual, or book—becomes a finished product to be proud of.

What made you decide to become a professional editor?

After taking early retirement from my position as Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at San Diego State University, I wanted to continue to be active professionally. An online UCSD Extension course, “Editing as a Business: How to Succeed on Your Own,” illuminated a pathway that would allow me to put my particular editing expertise at the service of scholars at a range of levels, from graduate students to seasoned academics. Besides offering technical advice to my clients, I could apply the store of knowledge acquired in my academic career to assist them in their work. And, best of all, I would always be learning.

Which quality or qualities would you most like your clients or professional colleagues to remember you for?

I am humbled, but also gratified, by remarks made by clients in the Testimonials section of my website. I like that they singled out my “nimble, expert, and kind editing,” and that they mentioned my moral support and my care in helping them to find their own voice, jump-start their independence, refine their style, and enliven their scholarship. I appreciate that they see me as a thought partner and a respectful writing coach, always available for consultation. I am proud of each and every one of them and pleased to share their joy in their accomplishments.

Tell us about a book you recently read that you would recommend.

I enjoyed reading Roots and Wings: Growing Up in Apartheid South Africa by Shoshana Kobrin, who was selected as featured author in October 2016 by the Published Writers of Rossmoor, the California East Bay retirement community where I now reside. This slim volume of beautifully written stories held special meaning for me because of my own experience in South Africa on a research, speaking, and writing trip in 1976. I missed the Fourth of July bicentennial celebrations in the United States, but I did witness some of the fallout from the Soweto uprising that same year.

Describe a volunteer activity or cause you are involved in.

I strongly support efforts to enable worthy students to follow a path to higher education. I continue to contribute to the Bridges Academy Scholarship program at the University of San Diego. I also take an active role in screening young women seeking Tech Trek scholarships. The Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek branch of the American Association of University Women, to which I belong, sends about a dozen rising eighth-grade students for a Tech Trek week in the summer to Sonoma State University.There they join other scholarship recipients to focus on math, science, and engineering. I have also helped to evaluate applications for Cal Alumni Scholarships, a program from which I myself benefited as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley.

Describe one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.

I once won a trip to see the Yankees play in New York City and left directly from the ballpark of their farm team in Greensboro, North Carolina. The club’s manager said that they had never before had a winner ready to leave right away. The promotion was called Suitcase Night; I was so convinced that I would win that I showed up at War Memorial Stadium packed and ready to go. And my intuition was right!

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