Publishing in a Pandemic at Penn Med

See a gap, and fill it. That’s a classic start for many an indie magazine and the new student-let title from Penn Med is a perfect example.

Released in early June, apenndx features content created by and for the Penn Med student community, according to Jordana Pearlman writing in the Daily Pennsylvanian. (The title is a beautiful play on words and makes me think this magazine has a lot to offer intellectually.)

“First-year Penn Medicine students Sonia Wang, Diane Rafizadeh, and Catherine Yang, all of whom received their bachelor’s degrees at Yale University, came up with the idea earlier during the academic year after realizing Penn Medicine was lacking in its science journalism offerings for students,” writes Pearlman. “While studying at Yale, the trio worked on the Yale Scientific Magazine, and believed that bringing a similar model to Penn would be successful.”

The idea was born before the pandemic and resulting lockdown, yet COVID-19 brought an unexpected benefit.

“It forced us to really think about what we wanted the messaging of the magazine to be,” Penn Medicine student and apenndx publisher Andrew Ahn said.

Their inaugural issue features content primarily focused on the impacts of the pandemic on the student body and includes personal essays, opinion columns, poetry, art and photography submitted by fellow students, Pearlman explains.

The magazine unexpectedly served as a way to stay connected while Penn Med students and the magazine team quarantined around the country. Feedback so far has been positive, editor Likhitha Kolla says, and the team hopes to engage the incoming class of med students.

According to Pearlman, the apenndx team hopes readers see the qualities of “compassion, openness, and clarity” reflected in the magazine’s literature and art, as stated in the opening note of the inaugural issue.