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The 2022 edition of Scribendi, a literary arts magazine published out of the UNM Honors College, which recently received a Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press.

UNM student publication Scribendi awarded Pacemaker Award

On Friday, Oct. 28, Scribendi magazine’s 2022 edition was honored as one of 19 winners of the 2022 Pacemaker Award by the Associated Collegiate Press out of 45 finalists. Student magazines nationwide apply for this award, with 45 being named as finalists, according to the ACP.

Scribendi is a literary arts magazine published out of the University of New Mexico’s Honors College. It is designed and created by honors students and accepts submissions from honors programs across the U.S.

Unlike previous years, the staff for the 2022 edition of Scribendi had three collaborative editors rather than one editor-in-chief and either one or two editors below them: Flannery Cowan as digital editor, Sierra Martinez as managing editor and Spenser Willden as communications editor, according to Willden.

This win marks the second time Scribendi has won a Pacemaker Award – the last being back in 2013, according to Scribendi faculty advisor Amaris Ketcham. While thankful for the win, the main objective for Martinez and Willden was to ensure that everyone on Scribendi’s staff had a positive and enjoyable experience while creating with one another.

Even if they themselves don't want to go into a publishing career path, they wanted to encourage their fellow classmates to become future editors. 

“Hopefully, you can get people who are interested in being editors themselves, which is so exciting when you feel like somebody watched what you do, and is like, ‘I want to do that too,’” Martinez said.

Martinez said that being able to showcase artwork that resonates with its audience was also important to her when creating the magazine. The staff worked alongside the editing team to go through over 360 submissions and select the art featured in the 2022 edition, according to Ketcham. This makes it unique every year, according to Martinez.

“We discussed these pieces that I thought might not be right for the magazine, and inevitably there would be people who said that was their favorite piece that they read. So it taught me that there's no subjective best: no matter what you write, there will be people who like it,” Willden said.

The work selected for the 2022 edition was very oriented on nature, and the staff chose a smaller size to highlight the photography selected which Willden described as “phenomenal.” He also said that the Scribendi team took time to ensure the magazine had a good flow to it while also creating a distinct aesthetic and magazine from the 2021 edition, which was bold and more colorful.

“And so you swing the other way … The elegant, simplistic vibe was something that I always liked in my own graphic design. So we ended up going for that. And then a staff member — Ethan Ward — he was the one who introduced the marble, and here were different things that different people … came up with and we pieced it all together … (and) made it into what it is, which was really cool,” Martinez said.

The staff was wildly diverse and varied in major and backgrounds, which was something Martinez said became their greatest strength, and Ketcham said made for a better magazine.

“Everyone's got a different backgrounds, different disciplinary lenses along with their different personal lenses, that they're looking at things to talk about when you're standing to work. And so I think that having students from different majors and different backgrounds really enriches what we ultimately make,” Ketcham said.

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The staff is composed of honors students enrolled in the year long Scribendi class, where they learn the principles of graphic design, how to run a magazine and copyediting, with returning students serving as editors, creating a deeply collaborative environment, according to Ketcham.

“I think that we were able to kind of take those ideas and really run with it to sort of incorporate different elements from different people's designs into the magazine, the final magazine design so that it's not something that comes from any one head or any one hand or any one computer but something that is really a group effort,” Ketcham said.

The award was meaningful to the editors as they felt it represented the year-long hard work of all the students involved and the University itself.

“It's really cool to have that legacy coming from UNM, and especially with the Pacemaker, have this national attention coming towards Albuquerque and towards this local publication,” Willden said.

Maddie Pukite is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at or on Twitter @maddogpukite


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