Plano East Senior High School junior Akshaya Annampedu loves to write, and she began to pursue journalism about a year ago. Akshaya holds a leadership position within the Underrepresented Students Society; through her own experience and hearing the accounts of others, she felt that many youth don’t have enough opportunities to share their voices. This knowledge, combined with her love for writing, sparked an idea.
“I realized a lot of really bright students that are minorities, first generation or low income – they’re not getting the representation they deserve. I wanted to create a space for them to do that. I started The Student Op magazine, and through it I’m bringing a free publishing platform for students around the world,” Akshaya said.
The Student Op is a free, online literary magazine aiming to unite student voices through writing and media. All of the authors are minorities, first-generation Americans, low-income or living in another country. Akshaya originally started The Student Op within the Underrepresented Students Society, but now the magazine’s reach extends all the way to Pakistan, Egypt, Ghana, Bangalore and other countries.
Akshaya says she loves learning in Plano. At her high school, there are students from all sorts of backgrounds. “It creates a diverse, buzzing learning environment. That is getting reflected in the magazine,” she shared. At Plano East, Akshaya has experienced the benefits of being surrounded by many perspectives. She wants her readers to experience that, too.
When she first started The Student Op – short for opinion – Akshaya messaged friends to ask if they were interested in contributing their stories. A few responded yes, but she knew she needed more people. She posted the opportunity on LinkedIn, and applications from all over the world came flooding in. Young students have the chance to make their voice heard through the literary magazine, and they’re eager to do so.
Akshaya’s main hope for the magazine right now is just to get more student writers from other countries and backgrounds. Hearing from a variety of perspectives is a sure way to gain a deeper understanding of the world, and she hopes to eventually have young contributors who represent each country across the globe.
“I hope for The Student Op to serve as a symbol of unity through diversity. A lot of people are embedded in polarization and pre-existing beliefs, but The Student Op unites all sorts of people regardless of ethnicity, background, skin color. I hope for it to be a symbol for all people out there to see that diverse youth can come together,” Akshaya said.
The join The Student Op team as a writer, send an email.The Student Op >