Students climb ‘Fishladder ‘en route to publication

Caitlin Horocks, the faculty advisor for the fishladder

Nicole Lamson

Caitlin Horocks, the faculty advisor for the fishladder

Josh Brunsting

College is often a time for students to take the world into their own hands.

Be it a newspaper, a radio station or a literary journal, Grand Valley State University offers an abundance of outlets for students to express themselves.

One such outlet is Fishladder, GVSU’s “student journal of art and writing.” Coming out once each year, the journal allows students to submit pieces of writing, photography or art for publication.

“It comes out once per year, in the spring, and aims to publish the very best fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, art and photography being produced, and submitted, by GVSU students,” said Caitlin Horrocks, faculty supervisor of Fishladder. “There are no requirements about things like length or subject matter. The editorial decisions are entirely student-made, and the staff just wants to publish the very best of what’s submitted to us.”

Creating the publication is truly a group effort as well.

“The whole staff is composed of students with coursework, jobs and other extracurricular activities to take up their time,” said Maureen Di Virgilio, Fishladder editor-in-chief during last year’s publication cycle. “The staff was more than great, and we were able to truly produce a quality improvement in product, that I’m sure will only be improved upon this year. I can’t wait to see this year’s release.”

Fishladder is supported by the Writing Department as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and according to Horrocks, is looking to expand onto the online world as well.

“Along with the print publication, Fishladder is slowly settling into its permanent web home,” Horrocks said. “Soon, content from the print version, will be able to be seen at It’s going to allow our readers to be able to access any piece that they want, where ever they are. Especially alumni who cannot get their hands on a print issue.”

For those with the opportunity to get published, there may be more in store than just seeing your name in print.

“Getting published was absolutely wonderful,” said Kendel Goonis. “To see my name in print was amazing, but then to get the chance to read my piece out loud at the publication’s unveiling, made the whole experience that much better. I’m a very animated person, and to be able to put the other side of my writing, the theatricality of my presentation, took the piece to a completely different level. It was a really incredible feeling.”

Goonis had a piece titled “Twenty Something Lovelorn Angst: A Personal Study” published in last year’s publication.

“I had worked on the essay all semester, and simply sent it to the correct e-mail,” she said. “Submitting pieces to Fishladder is literally as easy as sending an e-mail. The wait to hear back is what gets most people I would assume. It was definitely worth the wait however.”

For more information, to learn how to submit and what to include in a submission, visit

“Any and all submissions are welcome,” Horrocks said. “We don’t have any quotas for either number of pieces or page count in different genres. All it takes is one e-mail. We’ll take care of the rest.”

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