Student or Learner
Which one would be the interpretation more accurate for "stuffy publishing house"? Maybe stuffy is here understood as pompous, or maybe conventional, or old-fashioned?
"Stuffy" is a negative word. It would mean that it's a bit pompous, perhaps, but would only publish works on high-brow, "important" topics. It's not the one that will publish the steamy love stories, the vampire-romance novels, and probably not the Louis-L'Amour-type Westerns.
If it's old-fashioned, you could say "old-school."