New Journal of Undergraduate Student Writing

By Shawn Gakhal

The New Journal of Undergraduate Student Writing is an inaugural program designed by Roosevelt University’s Composition Program.
The program’s mission is to showcase and publish student writing that engages with change and is also in conjunction with the university’s social justice mantra.
Melissa Walker, an English composition lecturer, is spearheading the program and talked with the Torch about how the journal came to fruition.
“Well, I’ve been interested in starting a journal like this for a long time,” Walker said. “This past summer, Marin Barney, another [English composition] lecturer, worked on creating this with Amanda [Wornhoff].”
Walker also talked about the main idea behind the creation of the journal.
“The project is going to showcase undergraduate student writing from Roosevelt,” Walker said. “We’re interested in the way that which writing is related to Roosevelt’s mission for social justice and the way that we see, interact and describe the world also serve to create it.”
Amanda Wornhoff, lecturer and interim director of English composition, talked about the priorities in manifestation of the journal.
“Our first priority with the journal — and sort of where our heart is — is showcasing the work that our students are doing in our classes,” Wornhoff said. “But, we also want to encompass any writing that is going on in the Roosevelt community from undergraduate students. … We want to open the dialog about how writing relates to social justice, and what that relationship is and really showcase the different ways in which … writing transforms the writer and the reader.”
Walker also broke down the different categories ascribed to the journal.
“There will be four different categories,” she said. “They are personal essay, research writing, multimodal composition and writing across the disciplines. … Multimodal writing are writings
from websites and PowerPoint presentations. … Writing across the disciplines is any writing created for other classes or outside of school, so in the category… short stories and poetry would be housed.”
Once the Feb. 24 deadline passes, Walker said an editorial board will review submissions.
“It’s three faculty members and two students,” she said. “The board will talk about what best reflects the values of the composition program in these pieces and what showcases the breadth of writing that students are doing at Roosevelt.”
Walker spoke to the heart of why the journal exists and its ties to the school’s mission.
“Helping students find access to their own voice is part of creating a social and just world,” she said. “We wanted to create an outlet for students to see their own work in a more real venue.”
Wornhoff looked to the future of the journal.
“We want to do it next year,” Wornhoff said. “We’re hoping every year to get a group of submissions, publish them and select a few as really stellar and reward that. … Long term, we really would like to expand it even more to external audiences and maybe collaborate with outside nonprofit or writing organizations to really engage the entire community in the transformational aspects of writing.”
The deadline for submissions is Feb. 24. Submissions can be emailed to

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