Award Winning Panku Literary Magazine Helps Expand Student Horizons
Mirjiam Frosth and Michael Nguyen will be among thousands of graduates at the Broward College fall commencement ceremony. They are excited about their academic achievements which they say have been impacted by their participation in Panku.
Writing Helps Broward Student Find Path
Frosth says her studies at Broward College became ignited by a creative spark. The 22-year-old is the current editor-in-chief of Panku, the Broward College student literary & arts magazine. Writing helped Frosth find her voice and different ways to use it.
Frosth says she floundered for a while when she first enrolled at Broward College—she withdrew from a lot of classes and failed others. Her academic path took off when she quit her job 18 months ago and applied herself to her studies.
Her attention to schoolwork and motivation got a boost when she submitted a poem to Panku last fall. She describes getting published as the event that turned her academic career around. “Panku saved my life,” she says. “Having my poem accepted and published was the first real success I ever experienced.”
Frosth says the process was incredible for her confidence and self-esteem. It also taught her a valuable lesson. “I learned if there is something you want, you have to go after it and ask for it,” she says. “If you do that and work hard, you can achieve your goals.”
After becoming a published poet, Frosth threw her name in the ring to become editor of Panku. She says the experience helped prepare her for the future. “Any school can put textbooks in front of you,” says Frosth. “But Broward College offered me a magazine where I could submit my work, gallery events, spoken word performances and much more. My professors also helped me plan for my life after graduation and influenced my decisions in a positive way.”
The former retail clerk describes her time at Broward as one of incredible personal growth. “I realized there’s a lot more to life and I can get it if I want it,” she says.
Frosth is graduating with an associate’s degree in English. She plans to continue her education by earning a bachelor’s degree. She’s applied to several schools—she hopes to get accepted to the University of Florida. Frosth says she always to be a teacher or professor. She would also like to work professionally as the editor of an arts and literary magazine. “This is an exciting, growing market and I can easily see myself doing something like that.”
Cooking and Visual Designs Get Student’s Creative Juices Flowing
Michael Nguyen describes himself as having a keen eye for creating contemporary styles and effective time management. Both of those attributes come in handy for this visual designer who doubles as a sushi chef.
“There are strong similarities between being a graphic designer and sushi chef,” he says. “Both require me to possess an eye for detail. When I create food and designs both have to please the senses by looking good and making others feel good.”
After graduating Broward College with an associate’s of science degree in Graphic Design in 2014, Nguyen began working at a design firm. The job wasn’t a great fit with his aspirations, so he set out to find work that challenged him and could pay the bills. That’s when he discovered working in hospitality.
Nguyen spent two years at Sushigami before moving to the world-renowned Nobu restaurant in Miami in 2016. During this time, Nguyen also became the Layout Editor for Panku, the Broward College student literary & arts magazine. “Working at Panku has been an amazing experience for me,” he says. “It has given me a glimpse of what working as a professional layout editor could be like. I have also had the pleasure of doing what I love and working with people who have similar interests. It has been a great way for me to make lifelong connections.”
Nguyen, whose parents are from Vietnam, is graduating with an associate of arts degree. He is the first in his family to graduate from college. He’s spent the last year as an intern designer and as a sushi chef at Bento Café. The 24-year-old hopes to eventually move to California to take up graphic design full time. He will take some valuable life lessons with him that he learned at Broward College.
“There’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to people and their talent,” he says. “I look around and think the person next to me could be the next Picasso, Poe or Hemingway. We’d all be wise to never judge a book by its cover.”