NDMU Student Literary Magazine Wins National Award

Damozel Recognized by National Council of Teachers of English
Rochelle Thompson (left) and Lindsey Pytrykow (right) pose with copies of Damozel

(BALTIMORE, Md.) In persevering to publish a student literary magazine during the COVID pandemic, Notre Dame of Maryland University students were honored for excellence for the latest issue of Damozel from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

NCTE named Damozel a Merit winner in the REALM (Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines) Awards. A panel of national judges selected the top winners out of a total of 209 entries for student literary magazine programs from middle school to college in the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands, and American schools abroad.

A photo of a dog titled "Askal" from DamozelThe 2020-21 literary editors Lindsey Pytrykow ’22 and Rochelle Thompson ’22 led a team of their peers to review and publish submissions of poetry, short stories, photography, and drawings. Published by the NDMU English Department, the 114-page magazine celebrates the artistic talents of NDMU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni. The latest Damozel includes submissions from two academic years because the pandemic halted production of the 2019-20 issue. Both years’ editorial teams receive acknowledgement in the latest magazine, as they all help curate the submissions.

Both Pytrykow and Thompson joined the Damozel team as student editors in the 2019-20 academic year before being tapped as literary editors last year.

“I love that the great work in the Damozel has been seen by people beyond our NDMU community,” said Pytrykow. “I am proud that there is a safe space on campus that values all forms of art. Literature has always been a passion of mine and has only grown since being at NDMU.”

Thompson also enjoyed how the creative process strengthened her passion for literature.

“I am proud to be a part of a team that is so talented and insightful,” said Thompson. “I have always enjoyed writingA piece of artwork titled "Defending Black Womanhood" from Damozel and reading literary work, particularly poetry. I am enamored with the way I feel when I pick up a pen and begin to write about whatever is burdening my heart.”

Damozel’s faculty editor, Micah Castelo ’18, applauds the student editors’ leadership and fortitude in the face of unimaginable obstacles.

“Our team dealt with challenges due to COVID from not being able to meet in person to plan the magazine and promote Damozel to just the general exhaustion the students were feeling because of the pandemic,” said Castelo. “They were able to push through that to create something they can be proud of. That’s really why it means so much to me that we won this award — it’s a testament to their hard work during a particularly challenging time.”

Damozel has a long history as NDMU’s student literary magazine, dating back to the 1930s. When Castelo was a student co-editor of the magazine in 2018, she worked to refresh its design to the current format.

The latest issue reflects the students’ vision for the future.

“The theme for this issue was hope. The literary editors wanted to focus on having hope during a time when it feels like everything is falling apart,” said Castelo. “Although not all of the pieces are about life during the pandemic, they do touch on pressing issues or topics of this generation, including romantic relationships, friendships, politics, nationalism, and this idea of home.”

Damozel is accepting submissions from students and alumni for the 2021-2022 issue until Feb. 18. Submissions should be sent to at damozelndmu@gmail.com and can be poetry, short stories, non-fiction essays, photography, and digital or scanned art. Those submitting are asked to include their first and last name, preferred pronouns, class year, major/minor, the title of the work and the submission type. Poetry, short stories or non-fiction essays should be sent as a .docx, .doc, or .gdoc file. Images or artwork should be sent as a .jpeg, .jpg or .png file.

Established in 1895, Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) is a private, Catholic institution in Baltimore, Maryland, with the mission to educate leaders to transform the world. Notre Dame has been named one of the best "Regional Universities North" by U.S. News & World Report.

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