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Alumna Holds Senior Associate Editor Position at Focus on the Family

  • By: Anna Molendorp
  • Published:
Professional Writing alumna Rachel Pfeiffer

Rachel Pfeiffer studied Professional Writing and graduated from Taylor in 2018. Now, she is the Senior Associate Editor for Clubhouse Junior, a Focus on the Family magazine written for children ages 3-7. She is also a contributing editor for Clubhouse magazine for children ages 8-12.

Following God’s Plan

Pfeiffer applied to ten colleges, but Taylor was her first choice. The most important part of her decision concerned her faith.

“I knew this was going to shape me so much as a person, being able to take the biblical core, being able to look at my career through the lens of faith,” Pfeiffer said. “And it did. It really shaped my worldview. It shaped how I approach life and my career.”

This is evident in her work with Focus on the Family and her in-progress MA in Biblical Studies.

During her time at Taylor, Dr. Eugene Habecker, a former Taylor President, gave the 2017 baccalaureate speech, and Pfeiffer remembered one significant lesson from that speech that she took into her career: she needed to strive to be faithful to God’s plan in her career instead of striving toward her own significance. 

Prepared for an Ever-Changing Job Market

After looking at many different academic programs, the Professional Writing program stood out to Pfeiffer as a program that will give her strong real-world experience in writing, editing, and industry knowledge.

Assistant Professor of Professional Writing Linda Taylor, who teaches from her own editing experience, teaches an editing class that helped Pfeiffer prepare for the editing tests that come with job interviews and enabled her to discover which types of editing suited her best.

“That prepares you,” Pfeiffer said. “Just taking that one class. You’re already so far ahead of so many people.”

In her experience, Professional Writing and other majors under the umbrella of the Communication Department have versatile skill sets that apply in many career contexts in an ever-changing job market. 

Pfeiffer also earned a minor in History, a study that gave her helpful research and fact-checking skills, landed an internship with McGraw Hill Education, and fit a fulfilling Peru Lighthouse J-term trip into her three years at Taylor. 

Job Interview in the Skywalk

During her senior year job hunt, Pfeiffer received a phone call from one of the many places she’d applied to. The moment she saw the Colorado number, she knew it was from Focus on the Family. 

There was one problem: she was walking back from the Dining Commons on a skywalk that connects to Bergwall Hall. She couldn’t take the call in the Dining Commons—it was too loud—and she couldn’t go back to her room in Bergwall because she knew her roommates might be there. 

“I literally sat down in the middle of the skywalk and just did a phone interview there,” she said. “A few weeks later, they sent me an editing test that I had been prepared for during the editing class.”

Soon after her second interview, she received an offer to become part of the Focus on the Family team. 

“If you’re going to write for the faith market, it’s important to have a solid faith foundation, and the foundation Taylor gave me was absolutely crucial,” Pfeiffer said.

Career Experiences

Pfeiffer edits 22-26 pages of Clubhouse Junior a month. She functions as a managing editor, acquiring freelance pieces for the magazine and doing first or second edits on stories. 

As a magazine editor, Pfeiffer is able to stretch her skills in multiple fields of editing like developmental editing, which concerns itself with the concepts behind a story or article.

“Sometimes I’m making bigger-picture changes to the structure of the story or taking away or adding characters,” Peiffer said. 

Other times, she’s copyediting or going through a piece and making grammatical changes. Depending on the piece, she might be expected to make changes to an article in-house, making her editing experience different from that of book publishers. 

She also collaborates with her fellow editors, writes articles, and manages the summer challenges that the magazine creates for its young readers to submit ideas for the magazine. 

One year, the magazine challenged readers to read or listen to the Gospel of John and memorize some of the verses. Despite their young ages, these children stepped up to the challenge. One mother shared that the challenge had encouraged her daughter to memorize verses that she could carry with her into heart surgery. 

“We have so many stories from families and kids sharing how the challenge has impacted and encouraged them in so many different ways,” Pfeiffer said. “Those stories help you remember to really give your best when that’s not what you’re feeling.”

Studying Professional Writing at Taylor

Employers in nearly every field are looking for versatile writers, and our Professional Writing major aims to prepare writers to embark into whichever field needs their skills. 

Classes like Editing, Freelancing, and Social Media Strategy open doors to several flexible fields, while classes like Book Editing and Publishing provide specialized, hands-on experience that mimics publishing houses. Because of this, Focus on the Family has hired numerous interns over the years, including most recently Elizabeth Molitor, a 2023 alumna. 

Interested in learning more about the Professional Writing major? Learn more here or schedule a visit and speak with a professor!