Hot off the release of the 2022 edition of Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review, former editor-in-chief and University of New Mexico graduate Indica Simpson has been busy celebrating her hard work and looking forward to her post-graduation plans.
Simpson, graduating with a bachelor's degree in international studies and a double minor in Arabic and peace and justice studies, left her home town of Fallon, Nevada with her heart set on studying medicine at UNM. After her first year, though, Simpson realized that this wasn’t the field for her.
“My focus was in international disaster medicine and so then I kind of just switched it up to the policy side of that because I thought I think I would be able to save more lives preventing the wars from happening rather than treating people (affected by) war,” Simpson said.
During her sophomore year, Simpson saw an ad in the Daily Lobo calling for staff members to join Limina, at that time still called Best Student Essays. Even though Simpson expressed some disappointment after finding out the editor position was not paid, she still shared a very fond memory of entering Marron Hall, home to Limina, for the first time.
“I remember walking into Marron Hall and it just was like, this is what academia is supposed to be. It just smells like old books and it looks kind of dusty,” Simpson said. “I remember walking into this building and I was like, ‘This is right,’ like this feels correct in a way. I’m living out all my fantasies of being a college girl … I had found all my people.”
After having been an editor for a year for the 2020 edition, Simpson was promoted to serve as managing editor alongside Editor-in-Chief Alexandria Wiesel for the 2021 edition. Wiesel said that there was “no one else I could have done it with besides Indica.” Simpson said her and Wiesel connected not only over their dedication to the publication, but also through their religious and ethnic backgrounds.
“(Wiesel) is really great. We’re both Jewish which has been awesome because my family’s not from here and so her family invites me to Hannukah and stuff,” Simpson said. “She really helped me find my people in student publications, but then she also really helped me find my spiritual people … She’s just so great.”
Wiesel spoke just as highly of Simpson, citing her adept leadership skills and her “tenacity and determination” as the main reasons for her selection as managing editor, qualities that would help her in the editor-in-chief role.
“She really helped carry the team during the pandemic and all the chaos that ensued … She made sure that everyone is heard in every meeting and really just an amazing second-in-command and I’m glad she took over as editor-in-chief the following year,” Wiesel said.
Simpson described the careful balancing act she had to perform between editor-in-chief at Limina and her personal life, a balance that was especially important during a tumultuous fall semester.
“(Fall) semester, I got evicted, and so I went through a period of time of housing insecurity … That was really stressful just because I wanted my staff to see me not as like a boss necessarily, but as a leader and a really strong pillar and it’s like how do you do that when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep tonight,” Simpson said. “But I found a place and things kind of got back together. Things started working and that was really nice.”
On top of this, Simpson still had her classes to worry about as well as her internship with Albuquerque Public Schools and their Refugee and Newcomer Support Program. Simpson stressed the importance of these programs, citing specifically her work with refugees from Afghanistan.
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“That was really stressful because it’s a lot of very important work … With the influx of refugees from Afghanistan, that’s what I had been working on, that’s really important as well (on top of Limina),” Simpson said. “Just making sure everything had an equal amount of time.”
Wiesel was still around this year to mentor and help guide the staff. She said that it’s been “really amazing” seeing Simpson step into the role of editor-in-chief, specifically mentioning how Simpson has managed to handle any difficulties that have come her way.
“Obviously, it hasn’t been easy. It’s always crazier than you could ever imagine, going into the editor-in-chief role. But she’s done it with such grace and the magazine looks amazing … it’s really lovely and I’m very proud of her,” Wiesel said.
After graduation, Simpson will continue her work with APS as a refugee specialist. She said she will miss the flexibility that college allows for one to explore a variety of interests and she encouraged others to take advantage of this flexibility while they can.
“Nothing’s stupid. As much as you think like, ‘Is this a stupid question?’ like, no. Explore everything. Explore every single thought you have. Explore anything that you see … UNM just made me see that the world is just so freaking huge and it’s not just like a little tiny desert mining Mormon town. It’s massive and people have so many thoughts and ideas,” Simpson said.
John Scott is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @JScott050901