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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Featured Students

Page address: http://english.mnsu.edu/grad/featuredstudents.html

Current Students

 

Kate MacLam

Creative Writing

Kate MacLam

Kate MacLam is an eighth generation Vermonter living in Minnesota. She is an M.F.A. candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato where she serves as Managing Co-Editor of the Blue Earth Review and teaches composition. She has work forthcoming from New Ohio Review.

Why did you choose MSU?

A good reputation, ample funding opportunities, and genre flexibility were important to me when applying to programs. I like the landscape of the midwest, and I wanted to attend a three year program that offered course work in creative nonfiction, in addition to fiction and poetry.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

I hope to continue to lead creative writing workshops in my community. At MSU I've been fortunate to be able to write with a social justice community theatre club and residents of senior living community.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

I love being a part of a community of writers. MSU students and professors truly champion one another and their writing.

Shyam Pandey

TESL

Shyam Pandey

Shyam Pandey is from Nepal, where, upon his graduation from Kathmandu University with his first graduate degree, he led a U.S. government sponsored program named English Access Microscholarship Program. Additionally, he taught English as a foreign language at the high school and undergraduate levels. He came to MSU in Fall 2015 to pursue a research-intensive graduate education, and now he is completing a Master's degree in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Why did you choose MSU?

I chose MSU because of the two major reasons. First, I was looking for a university where I could obtain a degree and have the opportunity to teach as a teaching assistant. Second, the faculties at MSU are diverse in terms of their interest areas, which allows students to work on their desired capstone project with a professor who matches their interest areas.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

Right after my graduation from MSU, I am planning to start a PhD program for the purpose of strengthening my research skills and enhancing my understanding on my areas of interest. On completion of my PhD, I plan to have teaching and research interests more specified than I used to have before. I hope to do research on South Asia as a whole, about both the needs of those learning English and also of language minorities learning the respective national languages. Although learning a system of academic written discourse pragmatics is the most fundamental and important step for writing students’ academic success in the United States, it still has not constructed its own separate field in EFL contexts like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and the rest of South Asia.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

The best part of being a student at MSU is the opportunity to develop big ideas with real world thinking in the field of TESL/Applied Linguistics. The courses work that you do at MSU prepares you to be the citizen to the world. It happens in a few different ways. First, the professors’ teaching and research interest areas are diverse, and they are always professional and helpful. Second, the heterogeneous student population in the MA TESL program provides such a unique opportunity. My classmates are from four continents – North American, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Additionally, half of them are Fulbright scholars. The critical discussions that we have both in and out of our classes represent the dynamic ELT issues from all over the world. The assignments and projects that we carry out as part of our course requirements genuinely prepare us for our preferred teaching context. Third, MSU is a great place for students who really want to grow professionally through multiple opportunities. During my two-year stay at MSU, I did not limit myself to just the required course work. I chose to participate in additional professional development opportunities, such as attending and presenting at various workshops and conferences including CARLA, MIDTESOL, SSLW, and MSU’s GSEA. Additionally, I have been collaborating with my professor and advisor, Dr. Henderson Lee, on two research projects outside of my own capstone. These are just few examples that demonstrate how MSU is a strong fit for graduate TESL students who are passionate about language teaching and research. I know I will be a proud graduate of MSU!

Justin Eells

Creative Writing

Justin Eells

Justin Eells received his BA in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin. After a few years of working as a line cook and writing on his time off, he enrolled in the Creative Writing MFA program at Minnesota State University, where his focus is in fiction. In addition to the MFA, he is also working on his Teaching of Writing Certificate. He is now in his final year in the program, splitting his time between taking classes, teaching English Composition, and working on the novel that will serve as his thesis. His work has appeared in Molotov Cocktail, Mad Swirl, The Rumpus, and other places.

Why did you choose MSU?

I wanted to be in a program where my classmates and I would all be on the same team. I had heard stories of cutthroat environments in some of the programs, and I didn’t see that as conducive to my growth as a writer. I first heard about Mankato State’s program in a Huffington Post article, and it had what I was looking for: an excellent faculty, opportunities for funding, and a three-year track.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

So much writing. During my time at MSU I‘ve amassed a huge stock of projects that will require some time before they’re ready to go into the world. One of those projects is my novel, which I hope to have ready soon. I am now in the process of looking at post-MFA fellowships and adjunct positions.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

That’s a hard one. I could say a lot about the individual attention I’ve gotten from my thesis chair, Geoff Herbach; or the opportunities to meet and learn from a diverse lineup of writers through the Good Thunder Reading Series; or the teaching experience and professional development opportunities. But I think I’m going to say the best thing is the cohort of friends I’ve made here. I now consider myself part of a writing community, and I consider that indispensable to my life as a writer.

Michael Peterson

Technical Communication

michael peterson

Michael Peterson currently works as an editor for a UNESCO center in the Republic of Korea. His areas of interest include visual rhetoric, document design, typography, and information design. He is now completing an MA in Technical Communication and will publish his thesis project in spring 2017.

Why did you choose MSU?

The choice was an easy one for me. MSU, Mankato had the right mix of what I was looking for: good class choices, excellent faculty, and reasonable tuition, and the entire program could be completed online.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

Building on the knowledge and experience acquired at MSU, I plan to continue studying topics related to visual communication, with particular emphasis on designing information for digital media.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

I’m not so sure about any particular “best thing,” but I do appreciate how the professors encourage students to explore ways of integrating theory and class assignments into real-world projects. It helps students build portfolios and gain practical experience that they can use to further their careers.


 

Abigail Saffert

Literature and English Studies

abigail saffert

Abigail Saffert comes to the English department from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she studied philosophy and theology. She is a southern Minnesota native, so coming to Mankato feels a bit like returning to her roots. Upon completing her degree in Literature and English Studies, she intends to continue on towards a doctorate, possibly focusing on ethics in literature, since she would like to make use of all her previous courses of study! When she's not reading as many different books as physically possible, Abigail also enjoys choral singing and using re-enacting to teach about women's roles in WWII.

Why did you choose MSU?

I looked at the class offerings from past semesters as well as the areas of study of the professors and felt that it would be a good fit. Additionally, my mother had been an English major here, so I felt a connection to the school.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

I wish to pursue my doctorate in literature.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

I love the interactions between the professors and students, especially in the classroom. We learn together and work together to understand the works that we're reading.


 

René Wegner

TESL

rene wegner

René Wegner was born in Leipzig and came to the United States for the first time in 2005 as a high school exchange student. After returning back to Germany and finishing secondary education there, he attended Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU), in Marshall, Minnesota. René graduated with a B.S. in Communication Arts and Literature with a teaching licensure as well as a B.A. in Speech Communication. In 2014, René started to pursue his Master degree in TESL at Minnesota State University (MSU), Mankato. His field of research is tied to teaching practices in the language classroom.

Why did you choose MSU?

As a future educator, I was looking for a strong ESL program within Minnesota that wouldn’t break my bank account. As an alumnus of SMSU, which was part of the Minnesota State Colleges and University (Minnesota State) system, I was familiar with their philosophy of educating individuals. When I then, decided to look at MSU, Mankato, as the Minnesota State’s flagship university, I was impressed by the modernity of the campus, the class sizes, and the expertise of the TESL faculty. All of them had lived and/or studied abroad. This was important to me, because I felt, with that experience, professors could easily relate to my “foreign” culture experience. In the end, I was happy with the choices that MSU, Mankato and especially the TESL department could offer me – a high quality educational experience for a reasonable investment.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

There are many great things about MSU, Mankato and especially within the TESL department. First, the TESL professors are highly competent in the field and are able to relate the information in a way that makes learning real life applicable. In addition, I was able to establish a great relationship with all my professors, who pushed me to become a highly qualified educator. Second, the accessibility to resources on campus and within the community. The Mankato area offers a variety of rich language and culture programs, which enhance and complement my classroom experience. Third, the comradery amongst peers fosters high level educational development. Finally, and the list is not exhaustive, accessibility to transportation to off-campus locations is quite rich.


 

Rae Wood

Creative Writing

rae_wood

Rae Wood is a Minnesota native and third-year MFA candidate with a focus on fiction. When she’s not reading student papers or at work on her novel, she co-edits Throwback Books, a chapbook press that publishes typewritten, perfect-bound editions of innovative short fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in the Loft Literary Center’s Writer’s Block blog, Writing Tomorrow, and Vita.mn.

Why did you choose MSU?

I wanted to stay in my home state and was delighted to learn about MSU’s excellent faculty across genres and opportunities to gain teaching experience.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

In addition to focusing on my writing, I plan to apply for teaching positions at community colleges and do some freelance copywriting work.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

The professors in the MFA program are incredibly supportive and truly care about their students’ growth as writers. The program also offers many opportunities for artistic and professional development – I feel like I’m always learning something new about myself, my craft, and the literary world at large.


 

Claire Lundeby

Technical Communication

claire_lundeby

Claire Lundeby is in her final semester in the M.A. Technical Communication program. Her capstone research focuses on author support for wiki help systems, specifically genre conventions for content templates. She is also assisting Dr. Roland Nord with usability testing of the Minnesota State Mankato Graduate Catalog. Lundeby grew up in north Idaho, where she also attended the University of Idaho, earning a B.A. in English, Literature and Professional Writing with a minor in geology.

Why did you choose MSU?

I chose to pursue my graduate degree at Minnesota State Mankato because this university was affordable and attainable, as well as having a technical communication program with excellent faculty and varied coursework.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

I intend to work as a technical writer at a company that develops business software.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

The best thing about being a graduate student here at Minnesota State Mankato is the community of graduate students in a variety of disciplines.


 

claire_lundeby

Michael Torres

Creative Writing

Born and brought up in Pomona, California, Michael Torres spent his adolescence as a graffiti artist. In 2012, he was a student of NYU’s Writers in Paris. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in BOAAT, Huizache, Miramar, Okey-Panky, Paper Darts and other journals. Currently, he is an MFA candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato where he teaches creative writing and works on Blue Earth Review. In his free time he co-hosts Writer’s Bloc Open Mic and teaches poetry to homeless youth at the Reach Drop-in Center.

Why did you choose MSU?

I'd heard good things about the program and faculty. Also, I wanted to get out of California for a while. Now I know, truly, what winter is.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

I intend to continue writing and teaching. I will also be applying for grants, residencies, and mostly anything related to the literary world.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

The MFA program offers so many opportunities for its graduate students. From what the Good Thunder Readings series has and does, to working with Blue Earth Review and all the goings-on in between. That, coupled with a wonderful community of artists who care about the development of each other's artistry, has made for an unforgettable three years.


 

elizabeth_mouw

Elizabeth Mouw

Literature and English Studies

Elizabeth Mouw was born in South Dakota, raised in Iowa, and matured emotionally on Whidbey Island in Washington state. She graduated from Northwestern College in 2010 with a degree in Writing & Rhetoric and is currently getting her Master’s in Creative Writing and English & Literature Studies. When she’s not working on a paper or writing a short story, she can be found caring for her embarrassing number of plants, building furniture, reading the Harry Potter series for the hundredth time, or ruminating in her rocking chair.

Why did you choose MSU?

I chose MSU because I heard in undergrad that the creative writing program was good but hadn’t gotten too big for its britches. The cohorts are relatively small, which keeps class sizes down, so we get to spend a fair amount of time on everyone’s writing. Also I heard the professors were awesome. I am pleased to say all that hearsay turned out to be true.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

I’m currently applying for English faculty positions at community colleges, but I’ll start applying for adjunct positions if nothing turns up. Ideally I’d like to teach literature or creative writing since I’m getting degrees in both of those fields, but I have the most experience teaching composition thanks to teaching assistantships. Immediately after graduation, though, I intend to get some sleep and rejoice in the fact that I’m done with homework. I cannot wait for that day.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

I appreciate the variety of extracurricular events and groups grad students can join. I’m not a terribly social person, but I wanted to get involved in something, so I spent a year as an interviewer for the Weekly Reader program the local radio station runs. In undergrad I never would have seen myself as a voice on the radio, but it was an awesome experience to interview emerging authors. We also have the Good Thunder Reading Series, the GSEA, the Blue Earth Review – basically, if you want to get involved in something, you’ll be able to.


 

nignina

Nigina Boltaeva

Teaching English as a Second Language

Nigina Boltaeva is from Bukhara, Uzbekistan. She graduated with a BA in English from Bukhara State University. She is currently finishing her coursework in the MA: TESL program and will be graduating in May 2016.  Her research focuses on the use of notetaking in the development of speaking skills for language learners.  She has presented this research at several conferences including the International TESOL conference in Baltimore.

Why did you choose MSU?

I have always had a dream to receive a teaching degree from a US university and chose the MA TESL program at MNSU because it houses world-class faculty, and the faculty-student ratio aids the closer relationship and cooperation between them.

What do you intend to do after graduation?

After graduating, I am planning on going back to my own country and opening a language school where I will be able to implement the professional skills I received in US I want to build a team of collaborative and reflective practitioners whose main goal is to create a student-centered classroom.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here at MSU, Mankato?

The best thing about being a graduate student at MSU, Mankato is that we are given a chance to grow both education-wise and professionally. I am very happy to have chosen MSU, Mankato because I would have never received this kind of high-quality education and professional development in my own country.


 

Alumni

jennifer_rogers

 

Jennifer Rogers
English Studies

Jennifer Rogers is a student in our MA: English Studies program. She is currently writing her thesis on Flannery O'Connor.

Why did you choose MSU?

I completed my undergraduate at MSU and I just had too much fun so I decided to stay two more years before I head out of West! I really enjoy the connections I have with the professors, as well as my friends and teammates at MSU. I also had one more year of eligibility to run on scholarship for the cross-country and track team and decided to take advantage of that opportunity.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on marrying my best friend, moving to Utah, and going to graduate school for my Ph.D. in English Literature somewhere in the area.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here?

The best things about being a graduate student at MSU are the people and opportunities to get involved (I can't pick just one!). First, there are some excellent professors who are really invested in their students. The enthusiasm they have for their subject is contagious and their encouragement priceless—I can't thank some of them enough. In addition to some of the great professors, GSEA is a fun way to get involved, develop friendships, and gain professional development.

 


 

alicia_catt

Alicia Catt
Creative Writing

Alicia Catt is the 2013 Robert Wright Award winner. A third-year MFA candidate in creative writing, she focuses on creative nonfiction and has had essays published recently in MARY, The Citron Review, Pithead Chapel, and 1966: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction.

Why did you choose MSU?

MSU's MFA program was appealing to me for several reasons--the size of the program (not too big or too small!), the opportunity to gain teaching experience, and the fact that working in multiple genres is encouraged. I also found the faculty very approachable when I had questions about the program. I'm from Minneapolis, so the proximity of the school to home was also a draw for me.

What are your plans after graduation?

I haven't made any concrete plans at this point other than focusing on my writing. Eventually I'd like to go back to school for a MSW (Masters of Social Work), but for now I think I'll take a break from academia and see what the real world has to offer.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here?

I've found the built-in community of writers incredibly supportive--whenever I'm feeling stuck or uninspired, I don't have to go far for help. Also, the Good Thunder craft talks and readings have been great!

 


 

anthony_wacholtz

Anthony Wacholtz
Technical Communication

Anthony Wacholtz is a student in our MA: Technical Communication program and a Senior Editor for Capstone Publishing.

Why did you choose MSU?

MSU has a great technical communication program, and I received my undergraduate degree from MSU in 2005. After I decided to continue my education, I knew I wanted to return to MSU for my M.A. in Technical Communication. MSU also runs in the family; my two sisters are MSU alums.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to use (and continue to use) what I've learned for my degree in my current job as a senior editor for Capstone. The courses in my degree have helped me build on the research, project management, and usability strategies I use in my daily work. The degree has also helped enhance my communication practices both inside the company and with SMEs.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here?

Hands down, the best thing about being a grad student at MSU is the professors. Having gone through the program for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I had the pleasure of taking multiple courses with the same professors who had a genuine interest to see me succeed. Each professor has valuable insights and real-world experience with various aspects of technical communication. The professors reach students on an individual level and push them to get the most out of their degrees.

 


 

Gaudence2

Gaudence Uwamahoro
Teaching English as a Second Language

Gaudence Uwamahoro is a student in our MA: TESL program.

Why did you choose MSU?

I was granted a scholarship by Fulbright to pursue my MA: TESL degree at MSU. Though I did not know much about this university before I joined it, I like it very much and appreciate that the Fulbright program suggested it to me.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate, I will go back to my home country (Rwanda) and apply what I will have acquired from this inexhaustible source of knowledge. This will help me contribute to my country’s development.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here?

The best thing about being a graduate student at MSU is that there are great professors who are at the same time excellent (in their organization and teaching methods) and friendly (in social life). As a teacher, I have learned a lot from them; for example, the necessity of avoiding students’ anxiety to allow learning to take place effectively.

 

 


candice

Candice Deal
English Studies

Candice graduated with an MA in English Studies in 2011. After graduating, she moved to Kansas where she currently teaches with the Teach for America program. Candice is also working toward a second MA degree in Education.

What are you doing now? How are you using your degree?

I am teaching 6th grade in the heart of urban Kansas City through Teach For America. I am also finishing my Masters of Education and plan to apply to doctoral programs next fall.

How would you describe your experience in the English Graduate program?

The literature track program and the professors encourage an interdisciplinary approach to literature, which I thoroughly benefited from during my program. The professors' interests expand through genres, times, and subjects, which allowed me to expand beyond my somewhat narrow perspectives/interests. My experience pushed me to intellectual limits. I would think about my research and different approaches to my research daily. Overall, my experience with the program taught me to build academic relationships, push intellectual limits, and realize that sleep is overrated.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

Ask lots of questions and reach out to professors within the English Department and other disciplines to get the most out of your education. And, most importantly, establish a close network of people with whom you can talk to about your ideas.

Are there any memories you would like to share about your time at MSU?

Most times, the TA offices at MNSU have a buzz to them, especially the offices set aside for the "book nerds." You can walk down the hall and hear grad students laughing at some obscene book, article, or YouTube video, or see undergrads still wearing their pajamas outside the TA office door waiting to speak to their instructor (you.. the TA). There is a constant ebb and flow of ideas, humor, stress, and anxiety. It's fabulous. It's how students develop and build relationships. However, my fondest memory of grad school is realizing that everyone is simply trying to figure out their own interests and contributions to the world. So, around March/April of my last year, the chatter in the offices disappeared. Undergraduate students were no longer coming to the T.A. offices for help, and there was generally less laughter. It felt good because I knew everyone was hard at work, plotting through boundless ideas, writing ferociously, developing self-interests, and contributing to the field they love. To me, silence in grad school is an indication of success.

 


 

sara

Sara Kosiba
English Studies

Sara graduated with an MA in English Studies in 2002. Since graduating from MSU, she went on to earn a PhD from Kent State University. She is now an Assistant Professor of English at Troy University in Montgomery, Alabama.

What are you doing now? How are you using your degree?

I'm an Assistant Professor of English at Troy University's Montgomery Campus.

How would you describe your experience in the English Graduate program?

Attending MNSU for the Master's degree in Literature was one of the best decisions I ever made. At the time I was still a little unsure of what I wanted to do for a career, and through my time there, I had an opportunity to try a lot of different courses, try my hand at teaching, and got great advice and feedback from the professors in the program. The program provided a great foundation for pursuing my Ph.D., and I still draw on some of that coursework and those experiences in my current teaching.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

The program is great, but it's also about the effort you bring to the degree and the overall experience. Get to know your classmates and participate in all the opportunities you can.

Are there any memories you would like to share about your time at MSU?

My favorite memories will always be about the people and the activities—particularly TA picnics, post-class discussions and drinks, and attending the Good Thunder Reading Series events.

 


 

andrew

Andrew Robertson
Technical Communication

Andrew graduated with an MA in Technical Communication in 2007. He now works as an information architect at Daktronics in South Dakota.

What are you doing now? How are you using your degree?

Currently, I'm working as a information architect.

How would you describe your experience in the English Graduate program?

MNSU provided a solid basis of technical communication ideas and techniques that covered a balance between the practical and the theoretical ways to communicate.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

Do lots of projects and try a bit of everything. Figure out what you don't want to do and then by default you'll focus on projects that are rewarding, bring new challenges, and use your best skills.

 


 

zenobia

Zenobia Redeaux
Technical Communication

Zenobia graduated with an MA in Technical Communication in the Spring of 2012. With 20 years as a technical communicator under her belt, and the addition of her degree, she was promoted to Manager of Technical Publications and Training Development at her current company, Sensys Networks, Inc., located in Berkeley, California.

What are you doing now? How are you using your degree?

I have been a technical communicator for over 20 years. Since obtaining my master's degree from MNSU, I have been promoted from Lead Technical Writer to Manager of Technical Publications and Training Development at my present company.

How would you describe your experience in the English Graduate program?

Having had a great deal of experience in the field of technical communication, I didn't think that the program would offer me much, but was sorely mistaken. I learned a gread deal about the origin of technical communication, and I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and tackle theoretical topics, which turned out to be very rewarding. I also had the opportunity to study under some of the best professors in the field, and I met some very bright students—many of which, I now call friends.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

My advice for current students is to utilize their professors to the fullest and do not wait until they are completely lost to seek guidance. For prospective students, my advice is to keep an open mind and be prepared to work hard.

For those studying technical communciation, keep all of your final assignments, as they might be very useful to you later in your career. My company recently implemented a procedures manual that I wrote for one of my classes, and it has been very useful in helping new writers become productive in our environment in a very short period of time. The manual provided me with not only academic but monetary rewards.

 


 

caitlin

Caitlyn O'Sullivan
Creative Writing

Caitlyn graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing in Spring 2012. She currently holds a residency at the Kerouac House in Florida. She has had many stories published and is currently working on two novels.

What are you doing now? How are you using your degree?

I'm currently (fall 2012) the writer-in-residence in Jack Kerouac's house in Orlando, Florida. The Kerouac Project, a community-based literary organization in Orlando, chooses four writers each year to stay and write in the Kerouac house. (It's very cool--you can check it out here http://kerouacproject.org/.) I'll teach a workshop on flash fiction (http://madaboutwords.com/2012/09/flashing-into-fiction-at-kerouac-house/) while I'm in Florida, and also give two public readings in November. The writing I'm working on includes two novel-length projects, both of which are pretty different from the novel, The Kiss-Off, that I wrote for my graduate thesis. I spent my summer editing and expanding The Kiss-Off, so now I'm seeking representation for that novel. And I'm still running The Postcard Press (http://the-postcard-press.com), the literary magazine I started at MNSU with the help of friends in the program, and keeping up my blog, http://caitlinosullivan.com, where I've been posting interesting bits of research from The Kiss-Off.

How would you describe your experience in the English Graduate program?

I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have come to Mankato when I did. I joined a positive, professional, hardworking group of fellow students and learned both from them and from a talented group of professors whose enthusiasm, knowledge, and general big-heartedness ensured that even though I worked like a dog for three years, I never felt alone or unsupported.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

For current students: Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can--from the semi-obvious ones like working on the Blue Earth Review and going to Good Thunder events to the less obvious ones like taking creative risks in your work, forming a writers' group, or starting a literary magazine. Only if you are extremely, extremely lucky will you get a chance to return to a community like this one which supports creative work and creative risks--don't waste this chance!
For prospective students: If you're worried about coming to grad school after a hiatus from academic life: don't be. Life experience is an asset to your writing and your education in the program, and you'll have support from your fellow students and professors. Ditto if you're worried about teaching or working as a graduate assistant: your fellow teaching assistants will have your back 100%.

Are there any memories you would like to share about your time at MSU?

In retrospect, one of the most valuable parts of my experience in Mankato was the opportunity to listen to dozens of career writers who came for the Good Thunder reading series. Listening to them talk about their writing methods, careers, and philosophies has given me a broad perspective for planning my own career, and listening to them read from their work (in addition to hearing our talented professors read!) has taught me so much about how give my own public readings. (Another great thing about the Good Thunder reading series--even if you can't get to campus to hear the writers speak, you can listen to recordings of their craft talks and readings on the Good Thunder webpage http://english.mnsu.edu/gt/interviews.html.)

Recent publications: Consequence Magazine (spring 2012), Crack the Spine (May 2012), 100 Word Story (Spring 2012), Midnight Screaming (Summer 2012).

 


 

molly

Molly Hoffman
Teaching English as a Second Language

Molly graduated with an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language in 2008. She taught abroad in South Korea for a year, advised international students at Saint Cloud State University, and is now working at the University of Minnesota in the International Student and Scholar Services division.

What are you doing now? How are you using your degree?

After completing my MA coursework I taught English abroad for a year, and when I returned to the US I was able to use my degree and experience to obtain a job as an advisor for international students at St. Cloud State University. Now I work in the International Student & Scholar Services division at the University of Minnesota. In this position I do immigration advising for the university's international faculty and staff. While this is not exactly a teaching position, I use much of the knowledge and skills that I learned through the TESL program, as I work in an educational institution with individuals from other countries on a daily basis.

How would you describe your experience in the English Graduate program?

I liked the fact that even though Mankato is a larger school, many of the graduate classes felt personal and intimate enough that I could really make them my own. Through the TESL program I had an opportunity to volunteer at a language camp one summer in Gyeongju, South Korea. This opened up a whole set of new ideas and life plans. I returned to South Korea to teach for a year, which I believe gave me a competitive advantage in the jobs that I have had since returning to the US. I was a little uncertain about starting a Master's degree only a few years after graduating from college, but it definitely ended up being part of the bridge that got me to where I am today (in a career field that I love!)

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

Get connected to others in your department, and become involved on campus. I didn't live in Mankato so it made it more difficult to be involved outside the classroom, and I regret that a bit. Develop a good relationship with your faculty advisor. I did that, and it opened up some great opportunities! I still keep in touch with my advisor today.

It is surprising where life can take you! My advice to students and recent graduates is to DO what you like to do. Stay active, and put yourself in situations (personal, volunteer, professional) where you are around people who have jobs that you could see yourself doing. Show people your strengths and interests. You never know what opportunities will come up and when!

 


 

matt

Matt Christensen
Literature

Matt graduated with an MA in Literature in 2005. After graduating, he moved to Japan where he taught at a private language school. He is currently living in Turkey, teaching at a private high school.

What are you doing now? How are you using your degree?

Since graduation I have been living and working overseas. In 2006, I moved to Utsunomiya, Japan, and taught at a private language school. In 2009, I moved to Izmir, Turkey, where I have been working at a private Turkish high school. I teach Advanced English and Higher Level IB Film.

How would you describe your experience in the English Graduate program?

MSU's MA in Literature program was perfect for me. I'd been out of school for over ten years and initially had some concerns about returning to academia. The faculty were engaging and expertly guided me through my two years. My colleagues, many of whom are still good friends, challenged and inspired me to realize my academic goals.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

Take the time to forge strong connections with your colleagues and professors; it will enrich your experience. You are (or will be) studying in a fantastic community of people all with a strong commitment to academics.

 


 

aruni

Aruni Kashyap
Creative Writing

Aruni is a student in the Creative Writing program and also works as a Teaching Assistant in the English Department.  Originally from India, he is enjoying his time in Minnesota.  While attending school, he has been working on several projects, one of which is set to be published with Penguin in Spring 2013.

The House With a Thousand Stories (Viking/Penguin India, 2013) is set in Assam. It follows the story of a family during the late 90s when a series of extra-judicial killings by the Indian government to weaken the Assamese insurgency troubled the state.

 

Why did you choose MSU?

Minnesota seemed like a very literary state, with a lot of support for literary expression.

What are your plans after graduation?

To teach and to find time to write.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here?

The Good Thunder Reading Series, of course. I have been able to meet some of the best contemporary writers through this program.

 


 

kelsey

Kelsey Wiseman
English Studies

Kelsey is a student in the English Studies program. She is currently working on her capstone project, a thesis on the sexual politics within the novel Light in August. When she isn't busy working on her schoolwork, she enjoys she enjoys reading, playing games, and spending time with friends. She plans on graduating in Spring 2013.

Why did you choose MSU?

I ended up at MSU pretty much by accident. I applied because I was living in the area and was looking for a grad school. I was accepted and decided to stay.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation I am looking into either going into a doctoral program or working on a second masters with an emphasis on editing and publishing, which is what I would like to do long-term.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here?

The best part of being a graduate student here is the people I am surrounded by. There are some really great professors that care deeply about the subjects that they teach as well as the students that they teach. There are also some excellent people I met through courses that are my good friends.

 


 

Marion Pratt
Technical Communication

Marion is a student in the Technical Communication program, who moved here from Washington D.C. When she is not busy with school work, Marion enjoys bird watching, going to our many state parks and wildlife refuges, and making her way around Minnesota, which she says is a beautiful state.

Why did you choose MSU?

I decided on MSU for a variety of reasons: excellent reputation of the school; affordability; and the location in a rural setting since I wanted a change from living in Washington, DC for the last 16 years. Plus, the Technical Communication's director, Roland Nord, was very encouraging and enthusiastic. I guessed that if other faculty members were as welcoming that MSU would be a great place to be.

What are your plans after graduation?

My plans after graduation are to find a job as a science writer, or as a technical communicator in a small company or non-profit.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here?

I have only been here a month so it is early for me to decide what I like best, but the friendliness of Minnesotans lives up to its reputation! I have also been extremely impressed with the services that are available to the students at MSU.

 


 

neo

Neo Pride Mogari
Teaching English as a Second Language

Neo is a student in the Teaching English as a Second Language program, who moved here from South Africa. With many years of teaching and many degrees under her belt, she was offered a Fulbright Scholarship. Once she completes her degree, she plans on moving back to South Africa where she feels she will be better equipped to teach her students and colleagues.

Why did you choose MSU?

I was offered a Fulbright Scholarship, which gave me the opportunity to pursue a M.A. degree.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan on moving back to South Africa where I hope to utilize my degree by helping students with their reading skills.

What is the best thing about being a graduate student here?

I like MNSU because it is where great knowledge is born and passed on with a purpose of enlightening nations. I also feel that the knowledge I have learned here has met my needs and will better my academic career.

 

 

 

 

 

 


  

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