Your words in print

The Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association brings together eight on-campus publications that showcase student scholarship.

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The Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association is made up of staff from eight on-campus student journals, five of which are pictured here. (Photo by Sarah Morton, College of Letters & Science)

All across campus, students are writing about big ideas.

An argument for theology as an instrument for political change. An examination of redistricting in Wisconsin. An expression, through poetry, of growing up under the threat of domestic violence.

And they’re getting published.

Undergraduate journals published at UW-Madison span disciplines from science to history to poetry. They’re a great place for students to submit thoughtful writing and experience the process of working with editors to refine their work for a larger audience.

Last year, a student collective formed to support both the writers and the editors, all of whom are undergrads.  

The Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association is made up of staff from eight on-campus student journals: ARCHIVE, Journal of Undergraduate Science and Technology, Madison Journal of Literary Criticism, Sifting and Winnowing, Wisconsin Engineer, The Wisconsin International Review, Equilibrium and Avukah.

The group met four times over the fall and spring semesters to share best practices on everything from creating editorial schedules to securing funding. They also created a website and held an end-of-term celebration.

Hilary Miller, founder of the Wisconsin Undergraduate Journal Association (WUJA). (Photo by Sarah Morton, College of Letters & Science)

This fall has already been a busy time for WUJA members, with a board meeting coming up, an event in the works and a “best of” publication featuring selections from each journal slated to come out in mid-October. All journals are currently seeking submissions, and some are also in need of editors.  

All this activity started due to Hilary Miller working as an editor of both ARCHIVE, the undergraduate journal of history, and Sifting and Winnowing, which features essays by students of political science, law and public policy. Noticing how each publication took a unique approach to highlighting undergraduate scholarship sparked a desire to talk shop with fellow editors.

“I thought, it would be so cool to get in a room and collaborate,” Miller says.

People here work so hard, not just for a grade but because they’re genuinely passionate about what they’re doing. We want to share what they’ve learned. We want it to go beyond the classroom.

In addition to helping all member journals become stronger, Miller says another goal of WUJA is to serve as a starting point for students interested in publishing their work. “If they’re not sure where to place a piece, we’ll work with them,” she says.  

Miller and her peers are big believers in the power of sharing knowledge through the printed word. WUJA encourages students to consider submitting class papers they are especially proud of to a journal.

“People here work so hard, not just for a grade but because they’re genuinely passionate about what they’re doing,” she says. “We want to share what they’ve learned. We want it to go beyond the classroom.”

WUJA is creating opportunities for students to participate in larger conversations through publication, as well as connections across disciplines, says Sarah Thal, an associate professor of history and the faculty advisor of ARCHIVE.

“We talk a lot about the value of a liberal arts education — that by studying science, social sciences and the humanities, students learn to approach topics from a variety of different analytical perspectives,” she says. “What better way to continue students’ appreciation of these multiple perspectives than by learning about other approaches to research and publication as well?”

Got the Write Stuff?

Students, now is the perfect time to submit a paper for possible publication in one of the WUJA member journals. All eight publications are seeking submissions for their upcoming issues — with most deadlines ranging from late September to late October — and some also have editorial opportunities. Visit the WUJA website for details.