UM Scientifica Debuts

College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Students Create New Magazine to Bring Science to the Masses

UM Scientifica is hot off the presses! The first issue of the first-ever undergraduate student-run scientific magazine will be available throughout campus next week.

The UM Scientifica core team.

UM Scientifica is the brainchild of Victoria Pinilla, a junior in the microbiology and immunology program in the UM College of Arts & Sciences. While working for the Ibis yearbook last year, Pinilla saw a spread on research on campus.

“I wanted to create a platform for students’ scientific innovation and curiosity, to give them an opportunity to think beyond the facts on paper, to create, to think outside of the box,” she said.

In May 2014, Pinilla put a post on Facebook inviting interested students to apply to join the UM Scientifica team. The response was overwhelming, and the team of editors, writers, photographers and designers now includes more than 40 students.

“Each person wants to be here, and that has driven the success of our magazine,” Pinilla said.

UM Scientifica Managing Editor Jennifer Chavez, a sophomore majoring in microbiology and immunology, reviews all story proposals and works to make submitted articles publication ready. “Passion is what we want,” she said, adding that UM Scientifica “gives everyone an outlet to become a ‘science person.’”

A student designer reviews the proofs for UM
Scientifica
magazine.

Pinilla said the publication is geared toward the whole UM community, and not just students pursuing a degree in the sciences.

Indeed, the UM Scientifica core team brings together a diverse group of students, many double majoring in scientific and non-scientific fields. The magazine also transcends the UM’s schools and colleges, with art students leading the design team, and business students handling advertising and other commercial aspects of the publication.

The first issue has come together remarkably quickly, just six months after Pinilla’s first Facebook post – a feat the core team has managed to pull off in addition to their full schedules of classes, research work and other responsibilities.

Mark Keroles, a junior biology major and one of UM Scientifica’s photography editors, said each member of the group brings a strong commitment and superior organizational skills to the magazine. “Busy people are good at getting things done, and good at managing their time,” he said, adding, “We make it as efficient as possible, working with specific deadlines and expectations.”

The core team has been meeting twice per week since the beginning of the semester to put together the 100-page issue. It includes eight sections, including: demystifying research, food science, ethics in science, and more.

“The articles are about making science friendly,” said Chavez. “We want to spark discussion.” She said she received more than 50 story proposals for the issue, and eventually whittled it down to 20 for publication.

UM Scientifica has two faculty oversight boards. The 17-member advisory board includes professors from the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Engineering, the School of Communication, the School of Business and the Miller School of Medicine; they review articles and help to guide the general direction of the publication. The professional board includes 13 professors from the Miller School (where many students on the UM Scientifica team work in research labs), who mentor the pre-health students and offer input on content when necessary.

The students plan to publish four issues of UM Scientifica per year. They are selling advertising in the magazine, and have received funding through the Committee on Student Organizations and other UM sources.

Pierrah Hilaire, a sophomore psychology major and marketing director for UM Scientifica, said the time is right for this groundbreaking publication. “UM is becoming a top research school, and this will help bring science to students,” she said.

UM Scientifica will be tabled in locations throughout campus.

November 04, 2014