Reflections From Editing the Dialogue

Varsha Appaji ’21 took on the immense task of editing the latest issue of Dialogue, SMU’s premier student-run political journal on public policy and international affairs. We spoke with her to learn more about her motivation as editor-in-chief and what she learned throughout the process.

What made you interested in working with Dialogue?

My main interest in working with Dialogue was to give a platform to many of the talented students at SMU. I think our political science, public policy, and related departments are kind of like hidden gems. Over the past few years, I’ve been exposed to really unique and valuable perspectives from students in these departments, either through coursework or their personal research. Dialogue is able to bring these ideas together and share them with a larger audience. It also helps emphasize the issues that are important to SMU students, and our generation at large. I think that college student’s perspectives add critical value to the broader discussions that our world has about policy, international relations, social issues, and more. I was very happy to be involved with Dialogue, which plays a role in amplifying the voices of the future leaders in these spaces.

Varsha Appaji

Can you tell us about anything that stood out to you in your process working with Dialogue?

Definitely. It was interesting to see the distribution in topic area and writing style of the submissions. On one end we were looking at very theoretical political science pieces, and on the other, we had some policy-brief style pieces on current issues. From there, it was an engaging exercise to see how we could curate the journal—maintaining a variety of research but keeping a flow to the journal as a whole.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?

My reflection on this experience has underscored the value of studying in the political science, public policy, and international relations areas. These disciplines teach you how to think critically, how to be objective, and how to methodically approach nuanced and difficult questions. Subconsciously, you also learn how to be open-minded and empathetic, and you become equipped with skills that can be applied to meaningful work and research in any field. I would encourage any student at SMU to take a class or two in these departments, even if they are not directly related to their major!

Furthermore, Dialogue illustrates how young people can and are currently impacting the world with their careful ideation. There are many more such leaders out there, and I am looking forward to seeing student involvement in Dialogue and in other initiatives grow over the years. I am thankful to the Tower Center for this opportunity to empower SMU students.

To read the latest issue of the Dialogue, go here.

Varsha Appaji is a senior at Southern Methodist University pursuing a B.S. in Statistical Science, a B.A. in Public Policy, and a B.A. in Economics. She is also an SMU Dean’s Scholar, Pre-law Scholar, and Discovery Scholar.