by Alexandra MacMillan Uribe, PhD, RDN
When I applied to be the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) Mentored Editor, to say I had a vague idea of what the position entailed would be outright generous. While I had previous experience publishing in and reviewing for JNEB, how manuscripts moved through the editorial process was largely enigmatic. What I came to learn was far richer and more complex than I had imagined and has instilled a profound appreciation for the thoughtful and tireless work a dedicated group of Associate Editors (AEs) put into a journal that disseminates valuable information to help move the needle in advancing nutrition education and behavior change.
As a mentee to the JNEB AEs, I have learned from those at the highest level of the editorial process, a unique opportunity that has significantly contributed to my professional growth. I received mentorship from several AEs, learning different approaches to manuscript review and management, as well as further refining my expertise in various research methods, scientific writing skills, and providing constructive feedback. I have gained a thorough understanding of the editorial process and how the AEs, Managing Editors, Publisher, Board of Editors, Reviewers, and, at times, the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) Journal Committee must work together to transform a manuscript into a high quality publication. I now empathize with challenges AEs face, such as recruiting high-quality reviewers who meet necessary deadlines while maintaining a brief time to decision for authors. As an early career scientist, receiving dedicated and early training on the AE position is a valuable opportunity that not even AEs themselves have received.
An unexpected benefit was how the Mentored Editor position expanded my professional networks and increased my visibility as an early scholar. At the SNEB conference, I proudly introduced myself as the inaugural Mentored Editor, producing questions and discussions with new colleagues. I have fostered meaningful connections, both professionally and personally, with individuals in various academic and professional career stages through monthly AE and SNEB Journal Committee meetings, SNEB conference events and dinners, and at the annual AE retreat. After only a year, I truly feel like I am part of the AE team, receiving encouragement from AEs to ask questions and share my opinion on complicated issues related to editing and managing a scientific journal.
While the steps following the Mentored Editorship are yet to be written, the experience has generated an eagerness in me to continue contributing to JNEB as a reviewer and as a member of the SNEB Journal Committee, with the hopes to become an Editorial Board member and, eventually, an AE. Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the JNEB Editor-in-Chief, past and present, AEs, SNEB Journal Committee, and SNEB staff who have generously shared their wisdom and time with me and have made the JNEB Mentored Editorship possible. This opportunity has helped me grow as a professional in so many ways, and I cannot thank you all enough for that.