“The Synapse” Launches Branch Publications

September 2, 2016

Amanda Nagy

The editorial staff of The Synapse
The editorial staff of The Synapse, back row, from left: Hillary Pan, Jane Sedlak, Rebecca Posner, Derek Palinski; second row, Tara Santora, Elena Hartley, Martin Mancini, Janie Chang-Weinberg; front, Rachel Dan and Gabriel Hitchcock.
Photo credit: Jeong Hyun Hwang

The Synapse, Oberlin’s student-run, general interest science publication, is going intercollegiate.

Editor-in-Chief Gabe Hitchcock, a fourth-year neuroscience major, says the magazine will begin collaborating with students from Denison University and Kenyon College this fall. He is starting his second year in charge of the magazine, which re-emerged in spring 2015 after a brief hiatus. The Synapse publishes an array of STEM-focused articles and essays contributed by Oberlin students.

Last fall, the magazine increased its circulation to 2,000 copies for the fall and spring issues. Fresh off of that success, Hitchcock formed a committee to explore other possibilities for the publication. They began reaching out to STEM majors in neighboring liberal arts schools Denison and Kenyon, as well as Ohio Wesleyan and the College of Wooster, to determine interest in establishing a branch of The Synapse on their campuses.

At Denison and Kenyon, students are working to make The Synapse a chartered student organization. Hitchcock and staff ran a crowdfund campaign last spring to help cover the cost of distributing the magazine on each of those campuses.

Hitchcock says the magazine’s intercollegiate reach fills a niche for schools that have strong science programs but no publication. “The intrinsic value is the opportunity for students to develop communications skills and read the breadth of work that others are doing. It also allows us to collaborate with a wider pool of writers, editors, and artists.”

Part of the magazine’s aim is to bridge the gap between scientific and artistic disciplines. Most stories are accompanied by original artwork and illustrations. “We have no shortage of artists,” Hitchcock says.

For the spring 2016 issue, The Synapse counted more than 50 contributors, including writers, artists, and layout editors. The magazine is produced in the multimedia lab in Mudd Center. The ninth issue will be distributed in September and available online.

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