Lecturer, Writing Program, University of Southern California; Founder, Life Writers Collaborative
Studying at Pitt was a gift to me. The three-year program, which demands rigorous scholarship from its MFA students, offered me an opportunity to do intellectual work I wouldn't have done at a typical two-year program, and which, professionally, opened more doors for me after I graduated. More than that, however, Pitt's English department is the center of a thriving and growing and rich culture of art and artists, of poets and storytellers, of scholars and critics, all who want to make the most of art. This art-centered culture exposed me to a never-ending list of great artists — the list of famous names is too long to include here, of course — who inspired me, taught me, mentored me, connected me, and gave me a real sense of what art can do in the world. But this says nothing of the diverse and talented and generous MFA faculty I studied with, who inched through my prose so patiently, who gave me the tools to see my own writing clearly, and who were my storyteller hero-friends. They led by example: they continued to push me as a writer as much as they pushed themselves. In two senses, then, they were great writing teachers: by teaching me how to write, and by being teachers who themselves never stopped writing. I am only ever grateful for my time and experiences at Pitt.
Publications: My work has appeared in Best of Relief, Relevant Magazine, Acentos Review, Pittsburgh Noir, Twelve Stories, and Catholic Digest, among others.
Date of graduation: April 2008