ABINGTON, Pa. — The editors of Penn State Abington’s award-winning literary and arts magazine are getting down to business for the 2021 publication, and they are looking for submissions. But they want to be clear: The Abington Review is not just for English and art majors.
“We are so close to Philadelphia and have such a diverse student body that we have lots of capable, creative, intelligent students,” said Jimmy J. Pack Jr., faculty adviser and assistant teaching professor of English. “We have a lot of people who aren’t English majors but who like to write. We really want to reach out and grow and more accurately represent the voices on campus.”
The publication, which Pack calls "a hidden gem," is funded by the Student Activity Fee. The annual has a theme, and the student editors, in consultation with Pack, have chosen the 40th anniversary of the debut of MTV as the theme for 2021.
“We curate to the theme, but we don’t ask students to write to the theme. The theme is a framing device,” he said.
"We really want to reach out and grow and more accurately represent the voices on campus."
—Jimmy J. Pack Jr., faculty adviser, The Abington Review
The editors for the 2021 magazine are Abington students Ariel Hooks, Rhjea King and Bianca Musial. There also are individual editors for nonfiction, fiction and poetry as well as an editorial board.
“Students can dash off a piece and send it to us," Pack said. "Even if it needs editing, we have a team that works with students who submit. We try to include as many voices as possible to ensure diversity."
Eric Seamans, Class of 2020, was the editor of this year’s publication. He said the magazine is a product of student collaboration with Pack’s guidance.
“Ninety-five percent of the time, Jimmy stayed out of our meetings. He was a firm believer in the student-run aspect of the magazine," said Seamans. "The other 5% of the time, if he thought feedback needed some tweaking, he would come to our meetings. Instead of lecture, he would guide the discussion. He wouldn't tell us where to go, but he would lead us to it. He doesn't tell people how to write or edit; he leads them to the proper techniques. He allows mistakes because mistakes are necessary when learning.”
Seamans, who is now in a Penn State accelerated master's program for education, credits The Abington Review experience with giving him career direction.
“I realized how much fun it was to lead a group of students, how much I enjoyed learning from them, and how much stronger my writing and editing became. The Abington Review taught me not only how to lead, but also how to let others take the lead,” he said.
Pack considers himself lucky to be able to work with students on The Abington Review.
“Their stories are important. They connect us all. They help create empathy and help make the world a better place in some way,” he said.
The Abington Review recently won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Directors’ Prize for design for its 2019 edition.
About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With nearly 4,000 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 22 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors College, NCAA Division III athletics, and more.