By Stephanie Thompson
Name: Heather Simental
Heather Simental is a self-described word nerd. She says she has always been fascinated with reading and has had a long-time love of language and words and how they work in both systematic and poetic ways. Heather worked on the school newspapers for both high school and college and was often the person her classmates and friends came to for unofficial editing. When she got to college and found the study of linguistics, she was immediately hooked on the idea of working with words for a career. Her copyediting certificate from UC San Diego Extension rounded out her skill set and was “hugely beneficial” to her career.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I work as a freelance technical copyeditor and I run Geek Girl Editing. I specialize in editing copy like manuals, marketing collateral, academic material, and instructional materials. I like to vary up my workload with occasional writing projects, and I typically write informational web content oriented for search engine optimization. I like reading fiction, but not working on it.
I was fortunate to be able to have the support to leave my full-time job and dive into an editing career, and it just sort of happened that I became a freelancer. Word of mouth referrals, networking and doing great work keep the work coming.
I started practicing yoga (badly) a few years ago and it helps a lot with both physical and mental stress release. I take lots of walks with my dog. I enjoy trying new restaurants and foods, and I cook and bake a lot, too.
Why did you decide to study at Extension?
Extension was a natural choice for continuing my education because I studied at UC San Diego for my bachelor’s degree. I was excited that I could supplement my linguistics degree with an equally esteemed certification. I was able to learn while still working a day job, which made getting the certification possible.
What have you learned in your class?
The copyediting courses are packed with very specific and useful lessons. I learned a huge amount about how to be a better editor, how to interact with people about my editing work, and how to run a business as an editor. I also learned how to keep learning to stay adaptable and up to date.
What advice would you give to incoming Extension students?
To just learn as much as you can while you are studying. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other students and the teachers and take advantage of the opportunity to draw on their expertise. Make connections and stay in touch with your peers; you'll probably see their names again in the future.
How has your experience at Extension changed (or improved) your life?
Completing the certification through Extension was hugely beneficial to my career. It allowed me to gain the confidence and skills to market myself well and it improved my editing much more rapidly than if I had gone about it on my own.
Learn more about our Copyediting program on our website, or contact the department by phone at (858)534-5760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.