Fresh from graduation, Michelle Chung ’20 began an extensive job search and, having previously interned for Penguin Random House, knew that she had an interest in publishing. After identifying an opening with Simon & Schuster, a top publishing company based in New York City, she reached out to Brian Belfiglio ’90.
Belfiglio, who oversees Simon & Schuster’s Speaker’s Bureau and serves as vice president and director of publicity at Scribner, supported Chung throughout the application process. And now, Chung will look to him as one of her primary supervisors.
Chung will serve as an assistant in the Speaker’s Bureau and publicity assistant for Scribner imprint, a publishing division within Simon & Schuster. In the Speaker’s Bureau, she will organize, plan, and execute events featuring the company’s authors, helping market the events and managing event logistics. In her publicity role, she will assist in promoting Scribner authors and their books.
Describing what she most anticipates about her new position, Chung said, “For both of my two roles, I’ll be working for authors like Stephen King, R.L. Stine, Keke Palmer, Angela Duckworth — all these people who have such great voices and great writing. To be able to work on those titles is really exciting and something I’m looking forward to.”
Chung also said that she is eager to reenter the publishing community. “The people [in publishing] were what really propelled me to be interested in marketing … Even after I got the job, all the people I talked to from HR and other departments reaffirmed my interest in publishing and made me more comfortable in that space.”
On campus, Chung majored in literature and Chinese, participated in clubs such as the Asian Student Union, and worked for both the Communications Office and the Career Center. In one of her jobs at the Career Center, she worked with the connect team, which hosts events on campus and creates relationships between students and alumni.
“I didn’t expect for the on-campus job to turn into something much more,” Chung said, explaining how her work with the connect team gave her the skills for her job at Simon & Schuster. “It’s rewarding to see the work that I’ve been doing become much more important in my life.”
Moreover, literature has been a guiding force throughout much of Chung’s life. Growing up in a family that primarily spoke Cantonese, Chung learned English through books, and they provided her both a “safe haven” and an interest in storytelling. That interest later extended to her decision to attend Hamilton.
Michelle Chung ’20
Majors: Literature, Chinese
Hometown: Malden, Mass.
High School: Malden High School
“I found out about Hamilton through [the Posse Scholars Program], and I really appreciated [Hamilton’s] emphasis on writing and communications,” she said. “I remember during my interview saying I was always a really big fan of books and literature and loved English.”
Once at college, learning, working, and connecting with the Hamilton community have helped her come full circle, from finding fulfillment in books as a child to building relationships that are launching her into the publishing world.