Beautiful Minds was created in 2015 by Rebecca Heilweil and Clare Connaughton, in consultation with Cecilia Silberstein, in New York City. The magazine was founded to share young adult narratives of mental illness.
The United States, according to The Atlantic, has the highest rate of mental illness in the world. Over the course of a year, one-in-four people will experience a mental illness. Of course, these illnesses manifest differently for everyone, and even your own disease can take new forms and produce new side-affects throughout your life.
Having a mental illness does not mean that your brain is broken, or that you’re crazy. In the same way our bodies do not always function the way we need them to, our brains sometimes need help too.
Beautiful Minds Magazine aspires to bring to light the way mental illness plays a role in the lives of young people around the country, and around the world. As a medium for sharing individual stories, we hope to cultivate transparency and honesty. Mental illness cannot be addressed antiseptically, and must be conceptualized in the complicated, messy, and surprising ways it can pervade and change lives.
Like all movements, discourse plays a significant role in shaping opinion. Discourse informed by experience can be even more influential. Feel free to read, think, and peruse our site.
— Beautiful Minds Magazine
REBECCA HEILWEIL (Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief): Rebecca is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is studying history and journalism. Currently, she is a Fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. In the past, she’s written for The Feminist Wire, Her Campus, 34th Street Magazine, and The Daily Pennsylvanian, in addition to having worked for three members of Congress. She also is also a research assistant for author and journalist Stephen Fried.
CLARE CONNAUGHTON (Executive Vice President): Clare is an undergraduate studying Political Science and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the Civic Scholars program. She has previously written for Penn’s independent student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, and has contributed to the New York Times.
ASHMITA DAS (Managing Editor): Ashmita is a current undergraduate at Binghamton University. Her writing has been featured in Brandon Stanton’s incredibly successful Humans of New York blog, and she has been published in his best-selling Humans of New York book. She has also been recognized by the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, as well as the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
CECILIA SILBERSTEIN (Founder and Creative Director): Ceci is a current undergraduate at Haverford College. She has worked as a conservationist and has written and edited for Chapter 11 magazine.
DAPHNE FONG (Deputy Editor): Daphne is an undergraduate studying Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. She has published a novel, Revenge of the Thirteen, which won The People’s Book Prize (UK): Beryl Bainbridge Award for First Time Authors in 2012. She has also written articles for the Shanghai Daily and Urban Family magazine.
NICOLE ALMEIDA (Deputy Editor): Nicole is a current undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, planning to study Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, and Psychology. Back in São Paulo, Brazil, she got involved with mental health by tying it to one of her main interests, theatre, and directing an adaptation of Sarah Kane’s play ‘4.48 Psychosis’.
Brian is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania studying Biological Basis of Behavior (neuroscience) with minors in Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Music. After seeing the impact of depression on some of his friends, he has become increasingly passionate about spreading mental health awareness. When he’s not studying or working as a biomedical research assistant, you can find him playing the latest pop hits on his violin, much to the amusement of his friends.
MARK TOUBMAN (Event Manager) is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Cognitive Science, which encompasses many of his academic interests including neuroscience, linguistics, behavioral economics, and philosophy. In addition, he has helped spread the word about Effective Altruism with the organization Giving What We Can. He is excited to put the same skills to use by helping organize a creative speaking event for Beautiful Minds Magazine.
SARAH SEEGER (Deputy Event Manager): Sarah Seeger is a sophomore studying Materials Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She first got involved with mental health advocacy by joining Active Minds Penn, and has since become passionate about destigmatizing mental health.
MICHAEL HEILWEIL (Web Director) is a student in New York City. He helps produce the online materials for Beautiful Minds Magazine.
ALEX ATIENZA (Graphics): Alex is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Cognitive Science.
JACOB GARDENSWARTZ (Executive Advisor): Jacob is a student at the University of Pennsylvania studying Communication and Nonprofit Management. He is Founder and Executive Director of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit impACT on Stage, and a frequent contributor to the San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego CityBeat Magazine, Penn Political Review, and others.