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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Early College Sets Path for Alum’s Editorial Career

By Daniel Melin

No student debt, a bachelor’s degree and a year’s work experience with Forbes Magazine—all before the age of 21. This may sound too good to be true, but it’s reality for 2020 LCCC graduate Alex Maaser. They completed the Early College program: a two-year program for 11th and 12th grade students to enroll full-time at LCCC, where Maaser earned their A.A. in General Studies while simultaneously earning their diploma from Parkland High School. During the program, they completed rigorous coursework and gained foundational knowledge before pursuing their bachelor’s degree. “It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Maaser says.

Because the Early College program allows for course flexibility, Maaser was able to gear their associate degree toward the career they wanted to pursue. “My strong suits were English and writing,” they say, “so my counselor recommended taking the journalism course.” In Journalism (ENG 225), they learned proper interviewing techniques, professional AP style and effective revision strategies, all while writing for The Paw Print, LCCC’s student newspaper. After being asked by their professor to become an editor for the paper the following semester, they were fully immersed in the world of writing and editing. “That was what really cemented that I wanted to be an editor going forward.”

Image shows Alex Maaser smiling against a black background.Maaser pursued writing and editing further when they transferred into Kutztown University’s Professional Writing program. “It gave me an introduction to everything,” they say. “I learned how to design websites, run social media pages, make movies, write stories, write blogs and more.” With the fluidity of the program, they easily found ways to further hone their editing skills, including working on KU’s student newspaper, The Keystone. In this paid position, they edited several articles per week. In addition, they joined Shoofly Literary Magazine as a copy editor, fiction reader and member of the public relations team.

With so much writing and editing experience under their belt, Maaser immediately searched for work opportunities in the field post-graduation. Their first experience came from a temporary position with Forbes as an administrative assistant for their wealth team. “I work in this massive database of files on the world’s billionaires that Forbes reports on,” they say. “I [reformat] them so that future reporters and editors can utilize the uniform setup as a starting point.” They also had the opportunity to report and write for the Forbes 400 List.

“I think everyone needs that first foot in the door,” Maaser says. “I was not super excited about a temporary position, but I needed something on my resume to show that somebody gave me a shot.” They see their current position as a jumping point from which they can go in virtually any direction.

Additionally, Maaser also works with Gloom House Publishing, a small-scale publishing house based in Allentown, as a freelance editor. “My goal is to work as an editor in publishing; I want to help people’s novels get to a point where they’re publishable,” they say. Their experience at Gloom House has opened the door to the industry, and they hope to take what they’ve learned to help marginalized populations, particularly LGBTQ+ individuals, become published authors. “I have a huge interest in diversity and inclusion. I want to get those voices out there,” they note.

In reflecting on their success, Maaser credits their education at both LCCC and KU as the foundation of achieving their dreams. One professor at KU, in particular, helped them see the bigger picture of their goals. “Professor Jeffrey Voccola, my fiction and copy editing professor, as well as my internship advisor and friend, was great in guiding me through what I wanted to do with my life,” they say. “I’ve also made many friends along the way who have helped me, like my friend Danny, who has been with me since the beginning of my college career.”

Maaser found a community at LCCC they didn’t expect to find. Although nervous to enter college so young, they utilized the many resources on campus such as counseling, faculty and staff who helped them pave their way to success. They advise current high school students interested in the Early College program not to worry so much about the potential social challenges of college. “You’re going to join new projects, find new passions and meet new people. This is the age where you need to start thinking about your future goals.” The rest, they say, will fall into place.

For more information about LCCC’s Dual Enrollment and Early College programs, visit the web page. You can also contact