Best Student Essays (BSE) returns to the University of New Mexico this April with their 2019-2020 spring edition.
BSE is a nonfiction magazine student review of UNM and is published annually. It solicits nonfiction work including essays, photo essays, research, criticism, memoirs, foreign language with English translation, journalism, articles and more from UNM undergraduates and graduate students.
The magazine, which has been part of UNM since the early 1980s, is meant to give students a platform to not only share their work but share new and different perspectives.
"UNM students are creating a lot of excellent nonfiction work, and we want to celebrate that," BSE Editor-In-Chief Bella Davis said.
Davis had an article of her own published in last year's BSE edition before she joined the staff in June 2019.
The staff of the entirely student-run publication is tasked with soliciting and selecting submissions, discussing each submitted essay, editing the accepted pieces, designing and marketing the magazine and managing social media. The editor in chief has the added tasks of recruiting staff members, managing the budget, designing a production schedule and reporting to the UNM Student Publications Board. The BSE staff is also composed of students with different majors with the purpose of bringing unique perspectives and angles for the magazine.
BSE is also very open when it comes to its submissions. There are no specific themes or topics for students to write about, but they mostly receive academic papers from different classes which is very encouraged.
"It showcases what students are working on," BSE editor Alexandria Wiesel said.
This year's submissions of essays accomplished the BSE goals of increasing their numbers from last year's 23 essays to this year’s 31. Still, the number of essays that get to be published varies from year to year — 11 essays in one magazine to as few as five.
Choosing which essays will be published is a process of different factors, such as their length, technical strength in content and originality.
"We're looking for essays that are well-crafted and thought-provoking," Davis said.
For some editors, their majors influence their expectations of a good essay and the process of choosing which one should be in the magazine. This helps to broaden their edition's content by having different types of essays.
"I want to be informed in something. I want there to be a reason for me to read it. And I want it to be call of action, like a purpose for me to read it," Wiesel said.
Publication in BSE can have a lot of positive outcomes for students, from having a great achievement added to your resume to — in some cases — monetary perks. This year's edition will include a chance to win a $250 prize.
"If you want to submit an essay, just submit. I think a lot of students are intimidated by the idea of submitting their work to a publication, but it doesn't have to be a scary thing," Davis said.
All essays are revised by fellow students with no expectation of "perfect and polished" writing, but with the eagerness of reading what other students have to say.
"All of them are so different, and that is a huge part of BSE. To diversify your reading and think about different topics," Wiesel said.
Submissions are now closed.
"I think this new edition is going to be one for the history books,' Wiesel said.
Annya Loya is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @annyaloyaDL