"Panorama" wins national design competition
Posted: 10/06/2005
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Student magazine "Panorama" at The University of Texas-Pan American was recently awarded two "Awards of Excellence" from the University and College Designers Association's (UCDA) annual competition.

"Panorama," which was selected for the excellence awards out of more than 200 student entries, received two of the nine awards given in the student published work category - one for the overall magazine and another for the cover.

The 172-page magazine, which is free to the community, showcases many aspects of University life including student organizations, sports and features about each of the colleges, as well as articles about religion, war and pregnancy.

Pictured is the award-winning cover design of "Panorama."
Dr. Kimberly Selber, former "Panorama" adviser, said this year's issue was an improvement from the previous year - especially in content, and credited the progress to the staff, who she said, at times worked like the "most beautifully-crafted machine."

"The stories were more provocative and insightful," Selber said. "The Panorama has a huge challenge; it is charged with being both a magazine and yearbook. I think the staff created a publication that successfully bridged both worlds."

UCDA annually accepts both print and electronic submissions of work created to promote higher education. Print entries were judged for excellence in concept, design, illustration, typography and printing as well as effectiveness, quality, and creativity in solving problems inherent in design.

Eleven students, including Selber, worked on the publication for nearly a year - devoting much of their free time, including spring break to the magazine.

Melissa Martinez, Panorama staff photographer and senior majoring in journalism, said she enjoyed taking abstract photos for the magazine and attributes the publication's success to the talented and artistic team who worked on it.

"I was amazed when I first learned about the awards," she said. "I was happy, but as an artist, of course, I feel there is room for improvement. I'm always learning, and being critical helps me grow and go further with new ideas and creativity."

Elizabeth Garcia, Panorama staff writer and senior majoring in journalism, said she is proud of the stories she wrote about AIDS and abortion because of the feedback she received from students who could relate to those issues. Using the concept of metamorphosis to guide the creation of the publication, she said the issue was new, unique and reflected UTPA's spirit.

Pictured in a photo collage, are the "Panorama" staff members.
"We experimented and had fun with it. We even broke some rules," she said. "We wanted our magazine to be beautiful from beginning to end. We all tried our best to keep things objective but I definitively think that 'Panorama' had an attitude of its own thanks to every one of us."

Martinez said the theme of the magazine describes how a student evolves and gains knowledge by pursuing a higher education. Using the analogy of a cocoon and butterfly, she explained how the magazine portrays education.

"It begins with a cocoon - the birth of education is the beginning steps. Then at the end, the student is free - out of the cocoon, free to make the choice with what they want to do in life after graduation," Martinez said.

The process of creating a magazine is difficult and it takes dedication from every person involved, including a strong editor in chief with a vision and leadership skills, Selber said.

"It takes a staff that comes to the table with their own ideas and are willing to collaborate with their colleagues in a synergistic manor to create something bigger than what they could have done alone," she said.

Selber, who devoted about 500 hours a semester to the magazine, resigned as adviser so she could pursue her tenure. "Panorama" will also be entered in several other competitions from now until February.

Donna Pazdera, current "Panorama" adviser and lecturer in the communication department, said she would like the campus community to provide ideas for the 2006 issue they are working on.

"I would like to hear from people who might be interested in letting us know about the small, but still significant things that happen on campus," she said. "Since the magazine comes out once a year, we aren't really covering individual events. Rather, we're looking at things on a continuum, like meeting freshmen when they move into the dorms and following their experiences throughout the year."

Story and photo ideas for the next issue of "Panorama" can be submitted to Pazdera at or Lori Chavez, managing editor, at