130 years after the University of Alabama first admitted women, we are witnessing them become a vital part of its narrative – and the ones documenting it.

Heading four of UA’s main publications – Alice Magazine, Nineteen Fifty-Six, The Crimson White and Mosaic – these editors-in-chief are not only taking on the task of telling our campus’ stories, but are striving to highlight those that have previously gone untold.

UA senior Ashlee Woods, editor-in-chief of The Crimson White, has already reaped the rewards of taking on this responsibility – a driving force in her imprint on the publication.

“I’ve seen a lot of people come to me and talk about the way that we are covering different events this year and how they’ve appreciated the fact that we’re taking a more nuanced approach to covering diverse communities on campus,” Woods said. “That was one of the initiatives that I had when I first got hired as editor-in-chief in my proposal – making sure that we entered in those spaces of underrepresented communities in media with active nuance.”

Viewing her position as one in which she can be a catalyst for change, Woods hopes for the advancement of her publication to be internal as well as external.

“It’s more so about creating relationships and creating bonds to make sure that people in the future have a better workplace to come into. That is something that I’ve taken on with The CW, making sure that I create a place where people can learn and grow and become innovative people,” Woods said. “I want this to be a learning lab to learn interdisciplinary skills that you could take to whatever workforce you went into.

As Woods was formerly the editor-in-chief of Nineteen Fifty-Six, a magazine dedicated to featuring Black student experiences, her successor, UA senior Ta’Kyla Bates’ work is also influenced by her time with another campus publication.

I’ve worked for both Alice and Nineteen Fifty-Six, so anything I put out in Nineteen Fifty-Six, I’m proud of when it’s telling stories of marginalized groups of people,” Bates said. “I would say one of my favorite stories – I co-wrote a story with a writer at Alice – it was a story on protest music and how the engagement has been from the past to the present to the future, and we got nominated for a national award for it.”

With the recent release of its fall 2023 issue “Blackology,” Bates has witnessed the impact of Nineteen Fifty-Sixs spotlight on marginalized groups through interactions with the campus community.

“Going through a PWI as a black person in Nineteen Fifty-Six, being a black publication where we can reach really all of black UA, and really just writing stories and sharing stories about the black experience here among students and teachers; I think the influence has been good,” Bates said.

The impact is two-fold for each of these editors, however, as UA senior Sassy Mednikow’s growth parallels that of her publication. Making history as she heads Mosaic’s first all-female staff, she has had a larger – and more versatile – hand in the creation of its upcoming issue: a celebration of women making their mark on campus.

“I started with Mosaic my freshman year because I was looking for an Honors class to take, and I was placed on the digital media team, so I helped handle social media and publishing on the website,” Mednikow said, “and throughout my time in Mosaic, I have focused on that, but I’ve also branched out into a more editorial role, writing some stories as well.”

With the pressures of newfound responsibilities in her role as editor-in-chief, Mednikow is grounded by reminders that she offers to all in similar positions.

“You were placed in this role for a reason. You might feel like you aren’t good enough. I have really bad imposter syndrome, and I definitely had a lot of doubts when I started this role,” Mednikow said, “but you were placed in this role because people have faith in you and people know you can do it, and you’re the only one who doesn’t believe in yourself most of the time. I know that’s very true for me, so you can do it even if you don’t think you can.”

Senior Emma Kate Standard, a practicing photographer, has also embraced her unique lens as the first editor-in-chief of Alice Magazine from the creative department to create the first issue of Volume 9: “Muse.” However, her new position of leadership has provided her the space to blend her prominent passion with a new skill set.

“Being the first EIC from the creative department has definitely given me a unique perspective when it came to combining photography with both writing and design. I’ve definitely had my learning curves being introduced to the journalism aspect, however my Managing Editor, Caroline Karrh, made the transition a breeze,” Standard said. “Overall, I do believe that coming from the creative side played a vital role in fostering a more cohesive and visually appealing magazine, but it hasn’t been my sole focus throughout the publication process.”

130 years after women’s voices were first introduced to our campus, each of these women uses their platform to not only ensure that they remain heard, but to amplify those that have remained silenced.Just as all four of these women have navigated their approaches to this task in ways individual to them, Standard advises young women in pursuit of leadership roles to do exactly that.

“My advice to young women aspiring for leadership roles, particularly in media, is to resist the urge to constantly compare yourself to other creatives or journalists. Embarking on this path is undoubtedly easier said than done, but the journey is a personal one, marked by growth and self-discovery,” Standard said. “It’s natural to be inspired by others, but resist the trap of comparison and understand that each creative journey is inherently different. Embrace the challenges as opportunities to refine your skills and character, and trust that staying true to your passion will ultimately lead to a fulfilling and impactful leadership role in media.”

To continue following these women’s journeys, you can find The Crimson White, Nineteen Fifty-Six and Alice online and on stands across campus, and Mosaic’s upcoming issue on our website. 

IMAGES ABOVE: Mosaic sits down with the all-female editors of The University of Alabama’s major publications. Sassy Mednikow, Mosaic; Ashlee Woods, editor-in-chief of The Crimson White; Ta’Kyla Bates, editor-in-chief of Nineteen Fifty-Six; and Emma Kate Standard, editor-in-chief of Alice Magazine. Watch their interview here: