Posted by Jean-Ann Kubler
On March 4, a team of 9 students received a grant from Student Opportunity Funds to launch an interdisciplinary academic journal titled "What Iff."
Hugh O'Kelly ‘13, founder and editor-in-chief of the journal, said he was motivated to create "What Iff" by a lack of resources for students to publish academic work on campus.
"It's not that we don't have outlets for writers here. We have the newspaper, Folio, which is primarily for fiction and poetry, and a couple of other subject-specific publications, but nothing for interdisciplinary work or general student scholarship," O'Kelly said.
The journal's editorial team is seeking out work students have completed for classes and are proud of. "I really hope that it gets students more driven about their work and each other's work, as well as a little more notoriety. I also hope it makes more people even more focused on academic work," said Alex Brehm '12, a co-editor.
Other editors became involved because of their desire to combine work from two of their majors. "As an English and Theater double major, I am always looking for opportunities to combine my two interests. I think starting this journal will allow students to read and be exposed to the academic works of their peers in a cool, nontraditional way," said co-editor Adrienne Schaffler '13.
To get students interested in contributing, the editors sent e-mails to the chairs of each academic department on campus, requesting that they inform the students in the department of the new opportunity to have academic work published.
"Not to be too crass about this, but having your work published in any venue is going to be useful for your resume," wrote Katherine Hauser, chairwoman of the art history department, in an e-mail to art history majors.
Despite advertising with department chairs, the editorial teams had not received any submissions as of March 23.
"No students have submitted work yet, but we have received a couple of questions, so there is definitely some interest," O'Kelly said.
The editorial team is working with a graphic artist, not associated with the school, to create a large poster and several fliers advertising the journal. The team said it hopes the advertisements will encourage students to submit. Submissions will be reviewed by all 9 members of the editorial team for quality of writing and diversity of content.
"We're really looking for submissions from as many different departments and view points as possible. We also hope to get science-oriented submissions as well as humanities, though we expect more humanities-based submissions simply because those classes are more conducive to in-depth writing assignments," O'Kelly said.
All submitted works will be reviewed anonymously. When a submission is received, one member of the editorial board will remove the student's name and replace it with a number. After works have been chosen, the student's name will be replaced prior to publication.
The team hopes to publish by May 1. Student Opportunity Funds provided the group with $445—enough to cover the printing costs of 100 80-120 page issues of a 5x8 inch journal.