The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

“Intersections:” A Celebration of Student Work

Student-run journal “Intersections” is opening First Year Writing Program portfolios for publication, spotlighting spheres of cultural and social dialogues.
Photo Courtesy / Unsplash Aaron Burden

A riveting piece of writing can emerge from anywhere, whether that be from a class assignment or creative ideas. Encouraging students to submit class assignments for publication, the collaborative digital journal “Intersections” addresses pressing topics such as social injustice, representation, cross-cultural identity and personal narratives.

Oftentimes, students write for a class assignment and nothing comes from it other than a grade; however, if a piece of writing is loved and wanting to be shared, students can bring it to “Intersections.” 

The magazine provides the opportunity for student writers to have their work printed in one of two annual Fall editions or submit audio-visual presentations for virtual publication. Additionally, included in the publication is an art and design section for original work. 

One of the journal’s most impressive features is its dependence on the flourishing student writing community, as it is both student-operated and solely student-equipped. In creating a distinct opening in the University’s writing circuit by dispelling the constraints of standard academia, “Intersections” provides “a platform for students to add their voices to public discourse,” says Teresa Delgado, the Dean of the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

“Developing the art of writing — and writing well — does not happen alone,” says Delgado. “It is guided and shaped by the dedicated faculty of the program who provide the mentorship and instruction for students to find their voices.” 

Acting as these mentors and advisors, First Year Writing professors Dr. Sophie Bell, Harry Ewan and Sharon Marshall materialized the idea for “Intersections” in 2021. Bell, Ewan and Marshall recognized the enthusiasm and eagerness for storytelling in their classrooms, and it was evident that the next natural step was to create an outlet for students to display these pieces of work.

The response from writers at St. John’s has been extremely positive and moves other students to revisit their First Year Writing portfolio for potential material. Being published early in your college career establishes a viable reference for your resume or portfolio, and it can be reflected on in the future as a hallmark of personal writing progression. 

Second-year English student Jessica Reyes was invited by her freshman year English professor to join the journal’s editorial board. 

“I remember writing about personal experiences and struggles, and I remember doubting myself, nitpicking everything about my writing,” says Reyes.

However, having recently reviewed her FYW portfolio, Reyes says, “It was really interesting to see the progress I have made over the course of a year. I feel like an entirely different writer now, but it’s still cool to see my work being published at such a young age.”

Not only does “Intersections” focus on transforming academic-oriented work into published-criteria, but it allows students a safe space to write what they are passionate about.

 “A lot of important topics that people don’t want to talk about are featured in the magazine,” said Reyes. 

Reflective of one of the University’s central missions — the commitment to cultural inclusivity — some recent articles from the Fall 2022 edition of “Intersections” cover the complexities of identity. From “Black Reality” to “Act Like a Lady” to “Code Switching: My Voice Belongs to Whoever is Listening,” these narratives knit together a tapestry of experiences, whether they were painful, triumphant or enlightening. 

“The fact that it’s so candid and personal is what makes ‘Intersections’ so unique,” says Reyes. 

Through the journal, students of all years are able to share their passions through their writing content and for writing as an art. “Intersections” members share their work in hopes of impacting and influencing other students — both on the grounds of pressing global issues and personal narratives

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