Cody Caetano and Amna Azhar prepare for the annual release of Mindwaves and Compass.

olivia adamczyk/the medium

Every year, the professional writing and communication program at UTM offers an outlet for students to publish original, nonfiction writing. Mindwaves and Compass comprise a diverse blend of writing, ranging from stories about childhood to scientific articles. Most importantly, the two journals welcome writing from all origins. Writers are encouraged to submit their work for consideration, regardless of their field of study. While Mindwaves and Compass are a product of the PWC program, they are in no way limited to the writing of PWC students. Cody Caetano, the editor-in-chief of Mindwaves, and Amna Azhar, the editor-in-chief of Compass, advise anyone with an interest in writing to submit.

Mindwaves accepts short stories written in the style of creative nonfiction. These narratives emphasize the importance of storytelling and personal reflection.

“I think the best stories are about real people,” Caetano notes. “We all have stories, they’re inherently there within us. All it takes is the tools to find that. People should be so excited that they can do this, because so many other people can’t, or don’t know how. The chance to tell your story is unique.”

Alternatively, Compass publishes pieces from a more objective background. The journal accepts all research-based writing, including work from PWC courses. Compass welcomes work that dictates information in a manageable format, regardless of the author’s experience with research-based topics.

“It seems like science, or any research-based piece, is something that we designate only for scientists,” Azhar says. “Compass emphasizes the fact that science can be read by anyone. Science shouldn’t be limited to one sector of the population, to research students who know how to read articles. It needs to be accessible to everyone.”

Combined, Mindwaves and Compass provide a full spectrum of opportunities for writers. Whether you prefer narrative writing or research-based articles, there’s a place for you among the pages of these journals.

One of the many admirable features of Mindwaves and Compass is their acceptance of new writers. The journals regularly work with new authors to help kick-start their experience in the fields of writing and publishing. “We function as a foot-in-the-door for first-time people getting published. And that’s a really great, wonderful role,” Caetano says.

Robert Price, a course instructor for the PWC program, acts as the faculty advisor for Mindwaves and Compass. He’s been involved since the 2013/2014 academic year. “The journals give students an outlet to learn. They are a first time for many students—a first time to publish, or a first time to work on an editorial team.”

Price collaborates with the members of each journal, including Caetano, Azhar, the associate editors, and authors. He advises them throughout the editing process, ensuring a strong final product. Price emphasizes the importance of student decision-making: “Students make the decisions, and by making decisions, they learn about the publishing process.”

The Mindwaves and Compass teams host a book launch at the end of the semester, following the publication of the journals. The launch offers authors and editors an opportunity to share their work with their families and friends. During the event, select authors read their pieces to the audience, sharing the diversity of writing within each anthology. “It’s a really proud moment,” Azhar says. “The perfect end to everyone’s hard work.”

Mindwaves and Compass foster the importance of writing at UTM. “The journals make public the writing of people in our community—writing that might not otherwise be heard,” Price says. “Each year we publish—Mindwaves in its eleventh year—we add to our campus history.”

Community is essential to the journals. Mindwaves and Compass not only provide a platform to publish student writing, but they also offer an opportunity for authors to reciprocate with their peers on campus.

“Students should take advantage of the many opportunities on campus to apply what they learn in classrooms to public life of [the university],” Price adds. “The opportunities are golden. Grab them.”

Submissions for Mindwaves and Compass ends on January 13. Judging is blind.

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