The Academic Journal spotlights student and faculty scholarly pursuits

Elliot Lovitt

The new Academic Journal, Aquillae, launched Dec. 7 after months of designing, editing and intensive planning by the editors of Itinerary, ESD’s student-run literary magazine. The journal went to press on Monday, Nov. 14. Unlike Itinerary, which solely features creative pieces from students and faculty, the Academic Journal spotlights academic pieces: science reports or history essays, from students, faculty and alumni.

Emily Lichty, former Itinerary editor-in-chief and 2022 ESD graduate, designed the templates for Aquillae during the spring semester of the 2021-2022 school year.

 “The Academic Journal was really Mrs. Cernoch’s idea,” Lichty said. “I think she saw it as the next step for ESD publications, especially since Itinerary would get so many academic submissions that we couldn’t really do anything with.”

Upper school English teacher and Itinerary and Aquillae sponsor Heather Cernoch has wanted to create the journal for the last six years after attending a Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference in New York City. After being proposed to Eric Boberg, former ESD Chief Academic Officer, the journal was greenlighted.

“I was [at the conference] representing Itinerary (ESD’s literary-art magazine, which I also advise), and I attended a session on academic journals,” Cernoch said. “I realized an academic journal would provide an excellent opportunity to showcase ESD’s academic prowess since the literary magazine spotlights our creative writers and artists. I wanted a place for academic disciplines to showcase their work. Most high schools don’t have academic journals, and it felt like a scholarly, intellectual pursuit — I was intrigued immediately.”

While Itinerary has more room for creative design to highlight the artistic pieces, Aquillae has a more professional look that presents strictly academic work. Additionally, a brand new Itinerary format is created each spring whereas the Aquillae layout will last for many years.

“We wanted to keep the academic journal professional, simple and really clean so that it can be used for many years to come,” Lichty said. “[We wanted to] let the work speak for itself and contribute to the professional tone we were looking for. We didn’t want it to seem too artsy or creative. I think we just wanted to keep it kind of along the lines of publications like The Atlantic or more professional and scientific publications.”

Cernoch began collecting works to feature in the journal last year by sending a “Call for Papers” email to the upper school faculty which asked teachers to submit vetted student papers.

“We ended up receiving two academic pieces from faculty members [Dr. Civello and Fr. Bostian], four essays from Class of 2022 alumni, four essays from current ESD students and one academic photo from a current ESD student,” Cernoch said. “I thought it would be a 56-page magazine, but it ended up being 84 pages in the end.”

The name of the journal, Aquillae, comes from the Greek word aquilae which means eagle. After the Itinerary staff voted aquilae their favorite name choice from a list of potential titles, Lichty and Cernoch decided to add an extra “l” to the word so that it would become a play on words with “quill” in the middle. The quill, which represents scholarship, further emphasizes the academic nature of the journal.

“Getting to work one on one with [Mrs. Cernoch] was a really amazing opportunity,” Lichty said. “I think that really helped stimulate both of our creativities, but it definitely was challenging because we had to make a lot of decisions; coming up with the name was incredibly difficult. There was a lot of pressure on the both of us to come up with a name we were excited about and that we could see being captured by this publication in the future.”

We have a really fabulous publication program at ESD. I hope to see the Academic Journal blossom and grow like the Eagle Edition, Carillon, and Itinerary.

Emily Lichty

Itinerary has released a new magazine every spring since 1981 when teacher Fran Hillyer was asked to create a literary magazine for the school. The magazine has developed into an award-winning publication from the National Scholastic Press Association and the CSPA over its 41 years of existence with at least 27 awards from these associations. Cernoch hopes that Aquillae will follow a similar path.  

“Itinerary is a nationally known publication; schools across the country look to it as an exemplar magazine as we’ve won many national awards from Columbia University and the National Scholastic Press Association,” Cernoch said. “I’m hoping our peer schools can look to Aquillae too as inspiration to create academic journals of their own. Perhaps we can collaborate or even start a dialogue with other schools regarding the academic pursuits of our students, faculty and alumni.”

In the fall, magazine editors will work on formatting submissions to Aquillae while soliciting submissions to Itinerary, and in the spring, the staff will create Itinerary while teachers submit select students’ work to the academic journal. While the literary magazine’s submissions are open to all of the upper school students and faculty, only teachers can submit students’ (or their own) work to the academic journal.

Current editor-in-chief of Itinerary and Aquillae, Sophia Ukeni, spent hours designing and formatting the journal.

“It was nerve-racking to jump into the Academic Journal without prior experience in designing a structured/simple magazine like it,” Ukeni said. “I wasn’t sure where to start since I’m more used to the creative freedom of the Itinerary magazine. I love the fact that ESD offers opportunities like these for students to create such amazing pieces of work outside of the classroom. I look forward to seeing more students utilize resources in ESD’s publications, as they hopefully get inspired by this academic journal.”

Junior Kate Eastin was featured in the journal for her essay written for AP World History last year. Using books and databases, she researched the Ottoman and Chinese Empires.

“Between my rough draft and final draft I had to make many changes including adding and deleting paragraphs,” Eastin said. “The submission process was pretty simple after I made those revisions. I’m very excited that my work gets to be published because I think the academic journal is a great place for students to showcase their academic work.”

Lichty was not only the editor-in-chief of Itinerary, but also the 2021-2022 Eagle Edition co-editor in chief. She is optimistic about the future of the journal.  

“We have a really fabulous publication program at ESD,” Lichty said. “Obviously, I loved participating in it. It was one of my favorite parts of high school, so I hope to see the Academic Journal blossom and grow like the Eagle Edition, Carillon and Itinerary.”

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