Stephens Life, the student-run magazine at Stephens College, has once again been named a finalist for the Pacemaker Award by the Associated College Press. The nomination is for the 2017-18 school year. The Pacemaker is considered the Pulitzer Prize of collegiate publications, and Stephens Life was among the winners in 2017. Learn more about past awards here.

Stephens Life is also an individual award finalist in two categories: A set of stories on polyamory and asexuality (“Love, etc.” by Mary Kate Hafner ’18 and “The A-Team: Navigating Nonexistence” by Erika Westhoff ’18 in the Spring 2018 issue) are nominated in the “Diversity Series” category, and the Fall 2017 cover by Alexandra Martin ’18 is nominated in the “Magazine/Special Section Cover” category.

“In my time working with Stephens Life, I have been blown away by the students’ talent, creativity and hard work, so it’s great to see them rewarded,” said Stephens Assistant Professor Mikkel Soelberg Christensen, the magazine’s adviser.

He hopes that the recognition will serve as motivation for this year’s staff.

“It never gets old working for Stephens Life,” said Allison Moorman ’18, the magazine’s 2017-18 editor-in-chief. “The creative freedom, drive, fun and passion we all bring is what makes us stand out across the nation — we bring it to the table.” 

Moorman, who graduated in May, works as a graphic designer for Carolina One Real Estate, one of the largest real estate companies in the southeast. She worked at Stephens Life for three years.

The lessons learned from Stephens Life helped last year’s creative director, Alexandra Martin ’18, land her first job after graduation.

“I truly believe that my experiences and lessons learned in Stephens Life helped me land and excel in my job I have today,” said Martin, who is now the editor of Fargo Monthly. “Being able to work within the Columbia community on putting together an issue helped me be able to lead a hyper-local publication.”

She is excited to see the staff’s hard work be rewarded.

“It’s a wonderful feeling getting to see all our team’s hard work being recognized on a national scale,” she said. “We may be small, but we are mighty!”

In total, 104 magazines were entered into the Pacemaker competition, and of those 34 have been named as finalists. From these, 17 magazines will earn Pacemaker honors when the winners are announced at the Associated College Press convention from Oct. 25-28 in Louisville, Ky.

Stephens Life is produced by Stephens students as part of a practicum class available through the School of Design. However, students from any major can enroll. The practicum encourages a real-world publishing environment where students take on the roles of creative director, art director, graphic designer, photographer or writer, and work together to produce a high-quality magazine publication.

Stephens Life is a prime example of the emphasis the School of Design places on entrepreneurial practice,” said Dr. Monica McMurry, interim school dean and a Stephens professor. “Our students are connected to real-world learning through managing a layered design process to produce a bi-yearly magazine that showcases all that makes Stephens College one of the most unique places to learn and live.”

Stephens Life underwent a rebranding process in 2016 that included the students and reflected a more modern, photo-centric approach to journalism. Students on the magazine staff get hands-on experience from pitching articles to the final production and every step in-between.


View Fall 2017 issue.

View Spring 2018 issue

View all Pacemaker Award finalists.


Pictured above (L-to-R): Hannah Dorey ’18, this year’s editor-in-chief; Allison Moorman ’18, 2017-18 editor-in-chief; Alexandra Martin ’18, 2017-18 creative director; and Aurola Wedman ’20, this year’s copy editor. Photo by Aurola Wedman ’20.

Tags : Student Success, School of Design

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