Sky Barsch first came to Castleton with little to no idea of where her education would lead her, but since graduating in 2002, the Castleton alumnus has become a successful editorial and publishing professional, and is currently the associate publisher for Vermont Life Magazine.
Barsch returned to her alma mater on April 6 to share her post-Castleton story with current Communication students.
“This is the first time I’ve heard an alum in my prospective field talk, and it’s kind of neat to see what you can do with the degree,” said Catherine Twing, a sophomore journalism student.
Barsch detailed the steps she took that landed her where she is today, from working at Friendly’s in Rutland, to freelancing, to successfully buying and selling her own publication, and finally to the position she holds today at Vermont Life.
Journalism professor David Blow had Barsch in an editing class and remembers her as a free-spirited, intelligent student who was always willing to participate and learn.
Blow said the opportunity for current students to talk to a successful alumnus is “invaluable.”
“It’s one thing for me to say it, but for a student to come back who has done it and really risen, I think it’s so much more meaningful,” Blow said.
And risen she has. When asked, Barsch said she feels her biggest accomplishment was buying and selling Vermont Sports Magazine.
“In the beginning, there would always be these problems, and I would just keep thinking I was failing,” Barsch said. “And then all of a sudden I realized when you own a business that’s your job, to deal with the problems.
Barsch said that shift in thinking came about six months after she bought Vermont Sports and once she realized that, things were much easier.
Chair of the communication department Bob Gershon asked Barsch what she had to do in order to buy a magazine.
Barsch chuckled and joked, “Drink a lot of wine and press send.”
This struck a chord with Twing.
“That showed me that a lot of people who seem really confident also have doubts,” Twing said.
In reality, Barsch took out a loan and didn’t sleep for three months.
“I was so nervous … people’s livelihoods were in my hands. I had to make the business work,” she said.
She did make it work, and eventually sold the publication and began working with Vermont Life.
Barsch attributed much of her success to her education and her professors at Castleton.
After entering the work force, she realized that she had an advantage over many of her colleagues due to the diverse skill set she developed while in the Communication program at Castleton.
“Castleton helps you with your sense of self, because you can really figure out who you are,” she said.
Blow hopes that students are able to learn from the passion that she shows for her work.
“Students can feed off that. That’s what it takes to keep climbing,” Blow said.