Content Creation Manager, Association of National Advertisers (NYC)
MFA: Fiction, 2013
How did you get from your major to the work, the life you have now?
My current day job is in the advertising industry. I write for a trade organization about best practices and new trends in the field. As far as I can tell, writing fiction and teaching persuasive rhetoric for three years is more or less the equivalent of a degree in advertising. When I graduated from CSU’s MFA program I didn’t know what to do. I wanted a job that would use my skills but wouldn’t require too much sacrifice, so that I could still do my creative work. I attended an artist’s residency and met an author who worked as an agency copywriter, and she was so enthusiastic about her work that I was inspired to move in that direction.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments (both personally and professionally)?
Every time I finish a story it feels like my greatest accomplishment to date, just because it’s done. So far I have been most proud to get a story in Joyland Magazine, which led to some fortuitous meetings with other writers who are now my friends. That story was in my MFA thesis.
What did you like about the English program? Why did you choose to study here?
My favorite writing professor from college suggested that I look into the MFA program at CSU, so that put it on the radar for me. And I was very serious about researching programs; I had Kealey’s MFA Handbook all dog-eared and highlighted throughout. What he says about CSU’s program is how happy the students are. You can tell from his tone how implausible it is that a group of writers in workshops could enjoy each other’s company. I applied because I prefer nice people to jerks. It turned out to be true; CSU’s English Department is full of lovely people, and the people were what I liked most about the program.
How did your CLP internship contribute to your career path?
The job I’m in now is all about writing and publishing our own content, and trying to design an experience that’s enjoyable for the reader, so I learned a lot from the CLP internship that applies to my work. I know that it helped tremendously when I got my first job after graduate school, which was in editorial at a publishing house. The internship offers opportunities to play with design, blogging, and social media, which are all valuable for any kind of work in communications. As far as my writing, interning for a literary magazine helped me develop my instinct for good storytelling.
Do you have a favorite or funny story from your time with the English Department?
Leslee Becker is a legend. Every meeting with her was an adventure. I showed up at her house unexpectedly once with a late stack of papers when she was busy gardening, and she dropped everything to offer me a soda and chat.
Was there a specific class, professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you, helped you, or inspired you when you were at CSU in the English Department? Do you still keep in contact with your classmates or professors?
Everything I read and thought about in Sasha Steensen’s hybrid literature class continues to inspire me. I have been in touch with my classmates and professors, and some CSU graduates also live in New York. Recently, Kir Jordan and I were blessed with a visit from Joanna Doxey, who ventured into the gritty city for Moroccan food and a game of darts.
What would you like to tell prospective CSU English Department students?
For prospective MFA students, I would say that the MFA is an intensive period of growth for you as a writer/person. Do it because you want that specific experience and not because it seems like the logical next step. It’s a personal decision that should be based on personal desires over professional goals.
What advice do you have for current CSU English Department students?
The wine pours are bigger in Fort Collins. Take advantage.
What are you currently reading, writing?
I’m currently reading Sick In the Head, Judd Apatow’s book of interviews with comedians. I’m still writing fiction and I’m also playing around with theater and screenplays.
What are your hobbies or special interests?
I like to run. I recently completed my first 10K and I see more races in my future.