“Eye Contact” awarded first place for anniversary issue

Seton Hill University’s (SHU) literary magazine “Eye Contact” recently received a first place award for their 20th anniversary issue from spring 2009.

By Megan Seigh

Sports Editor

Seton Hill University’s (SHU) literary magazine “Eye Contact” recently received a first place award for their 20th anniversary issue from spring 2009.

The name of the award is the 2009 American Scholastic Press Association Contest for Magazines.

“We are extremely excited about winning this award, especially since it was our anniversary issue and we had just incorporated graphic novels into the submissions,” said Kayla Lesko, who was an assistant literary editor during production of this particular issue.

Micheal Arnzen, who was the faculty advisor for the issue, described the differences in the anniversary issue from the usual issues:

“We had tried all sorts of new approaches to this issue — from the size (double issue!) and playful use of “graphic fiction” and comics all the way down to the color scheme and binding — so the whole issue was a grandiose experiment. I was happy to learn that it was deemed worthy of a prize, because that means the experiment was a success!” said Arnzen.

Lesko, now business manager and a literary editor, also commented on the changes to the anniversary issue.

“What made this issue extra special was the full color, glossy cover and the perfect binding. We worked on this issue for the entire year, instead of out usual two magazine’s a year. I believe [the] issue challenged the artists and writers who submitted their work, as well as those of us who worked on it. It opened new doors, and showed us that there is so much more out there in the world of art that can be incorporated into Eye Contact.”

Recent graduate, Erin Mitchell, was editor in chief last spring when the award-winning issue was sent to the contest.

“Erin left us with a challenge to create a stunning and superb magazine. Winning first place for the 20th anniversary issue of Eye Contacts is only going to make us work harder as editors and staff to make an issue worthy, of Seton Hill University I am grateful that I get to work with such a dedicated staff,” said Lesko.

Timons Esaias, an English adjunct instructor now presides over “Eye Contact” as the faculty advisor. “Many of the magazines are awarded a first or second prize, but most are not. This provides a way for the students to get independent feedback on the success of their publication,” said Esaias.

Esaias notes the other advantages of students sending their work to this kind of press. “I think that “Eye Contact” is a great opportunity for student dedication to produce a tangible result; and it gives the University a magazine to be proud of, gives the contributors a publication to add to their resume, and gives the artists and writers in our student body a goal to strive for.”

According to Esaias, the challenges of running a publication are all present; the inside experience of editing, copyediting, proofing, and designing. “Being part of Eye Contact or The Setonian can be an empowering experience for students who might be interested in a publishing career, or a career in business,” said Esaias.

He continued, “For me as an advisor, the experience of watching the students meet and overcome the complicated challenges that go with a literary magazine is memorable. Eye Contact has a long tradition of excellence, as the recent award shows. With the students we have on the staff now, and SHU’s real dedication to writing and to visual art, I expect that to continue.”

“Eye Contact” released its most recent issue last semester. Esaias commented on the process, “I’m very impressed with the staff of “Eye Contact”…There was a good deal of staff turnover, but they put together an issue in very short order, got it out sooner than usual…While I was hoping we’d have more contributions from alumnae, I was more than happy with the 20th anniversary issue. “Eye Contact” continues to grow and keep up with the tmes, while retaining our traditions and focus.”

Arnzen also looked forward to the fall 2009 issue. “The Victorian look of the magazine and the contents of this issue reflect the character and amazing talent of our new staff. Tim Esaias, Mara Barreiro and company all deserve another award, and I’m sure one will come!”

The deadline for submissions to “Eye Contact’s” spring 2010 issue is March 12.

“While I was hoping we’d have more contributions from alumnae, I was more than happy with the 20th Anniversary issue. Eye Contact continues to grow and keep up with the times, while retaining our traditions and focus,” said Arnzen.