People

Current Students

Student Ambassadors

Connect with current MFA students, ask questions, arrange a campus tour, and learn about the student experience from our Student Ambassadors.

Current Students by Cohort

Read about some of our dynamic Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics students, their educational backgrounds, and writing interests.


2022 Cohort

Elisa Balabram [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.S. in Civil Engineering from Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil); M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship Management from CUNY Bernard Baruch College.

Writing Interests

Transformational fiction, creative non-fiction, entrepreneurial and inspirational journeys, self-love novellas.

Other Interests

Painting (clothes, shoes, walls, canvases), walking in nature, dancing, going on adventures, traveling, being present, and mindfully connecting with others and with pets.


Mae Ellen Barbee [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.A. in Applied Computing (UX Design focus) from University of Washington Bothell; A.A. in Arts and Science from Bellevue College.

Writing Interests

Surreal fiction, womanhood and society, Lovecraftian horror, lyrical prose, and magical realism.

Other Interests

Learning how to sew; finding new (old) strange books from secondhand bookstores; video games, especially those with female protagonists or beautifully written stories; reading, of course (and writing about what I read, so I'll remember it in a few weeks); studying the ancient world, mostly through documentaries.


Carole Hsi-Lin Hsiao [she/her]

Previous Degrees

Degrees in Education and Painting.

Writing Interests

Creative non-fiction, poetry, fusion, silence and un-silence.

Other Interests

Good Chinese food/my mother's cooking, the ocean, the color blue, warm weather fruits, yoga, internal practices, a good cup of coffee, listening to music, dancing under the stars, kitchen-based endeavors, flowers (looking at, smelling and talking about).


Lindsey Keefer [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.A in English from the University of Portland.

Writing Interests

Dystopia, environmental fiction, biopunk, satire, the study of semiotics, free-verse poetry, and surrealist fiction.

Other Interests

Spending time with my cat, reading/watching all things sci-fi, cooking, swimming, jigsaw puzzles, autumn, and horror films.


Melissa Knopp [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.A. in English, Creative Writing (minor in French) from La Sierra University; DELF B2 from Campus Adventiste du Saleve.

Writing Interests

Short story, personal essay, memoir, family history, magical realism, place-centered.

Other Interests

Clouds, bees, coffee, eclairs, laughter.


Heather Lowenthal [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.A. English Literature, University of Washington (memoir writing).

Writing Interests

Creative non-fiction, short form, humor, identity exploration, comedy, visual arts

Other Interests

Time, raising my son, laughing until it hurts, sunshine, silence, secret-late-night-tv-binging, good sleep, design, eating well, inspiration, connection and making lists.


Emma McVeigh [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.S. in Public Health from Northern Arizona University.

Writing Interests

poetry, memoir, creative non-fiction, music and playwriting, coming-of-age, spirituality, landscape, time and aging, mental health, family.

Other Interests

musical theatre, being outdoors, climbing, yoga, hugging trees, cooking semi-homemade masterpieces, learning how to work with the natural world to make things, painting, talking to myself, intentional solitude.


Korede Oseni [she/her]

Previous Degrees

Bachelors of Law, LL.B Hons. Lagos State University (Nigeria)

Writing Interests

African Literature, Descriptive Poetry, Prose, Short Stories, Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Experimental Writing.

Other Interests

Advocacy, Music, viewing Paintings, Football, Road Trips, and watching the sunrise.


Felicia Payomo [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.A. in English (emphasis in creative writing) at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Writing Interests

Reimagining the ways in which stories are articulated. While much of my focus remains within subject matter mirroring my own personal experience, I am constantly engaging with the small unnoticed moments in life.

Other Interests

Visual art, digital story telling, language studies, photography, and music.


Parker Dean Smith [he/him/his]

Previous Degrees

B.A. in Creative Writing (fiction emphasis) and B.A. in English Literature from the University of Redlands.

Writing Interests

Realistic Fiction, Magical Realism, LGBTQIA+ Fiction, Erotica, Romance, Found Family, Mythology, Writing-in-Verse, and Shakespeare.

Other Interests

Birds and Birdwatching, Rock Climbing, Rock Collecting, Guitar, Native American Art of all kinds, DC and Marvel Comics, Cross Stitch, Letter Writing, Drinking too much Coffee, and Listening to Music that is usually too loud.


Kathryn Tran [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.A. in Sociology and Political Science, State University of New York - Geneseo.

Writing Interests

Poetry, short story, creative nonfiction, experimental storytelling, playwriting, philosophy, nature writing, spirituality

Other Interests

Forest bathing, hiking, camping, kayaking, SUPing, reading, gardening, dogs (my dog), swimming, cooking, baking, gardening, foraging, videography, film and existentialism.


Phoenix Kai [they/she]

Previous Degrees

B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Writing Interests

Queer stories, poetry, prose, memoir, multimedia, and collage.

Other Interests

Reading everything from poetry to academia to trashy fiction, cartoons, drawing, moss, music, and the color blue.


Candace Whitney-Morris [she/her]

Previous Degrees

B.A. in English from Simpson University, California (former HS English teacher).

Writing Interests

Psycho-spiritual, gothic non-fiction that explores the nature of supernatural states. The effect of grief on the brain/Neuroscience. Visual art and white space in literature. Watercolor and sketching.

Other Interests

Empathic introvert who hermits with plants, gardening, dusty old books, vinyl, and who stares eerily long at the ocean. Interested in all things archived. Wannabe monk in next life. This one, I live to make art, be one of three in my tripod of daughter and partner, and love the people I know.


2021 Cohort

Amy EdlridgeAmy Eldridge

Previous Degrees

B.A. in Writing from the University of Tampa

Writing Interests

Short stories, novels, interactive fiction, creative nonfiction, coming of age, experimental fiction, crime fiction, and numerous elements of gothic literature, such as the grotesque and alienation.

Other Interests

Playing video games, spending time with my family, painting, making miniature sculptures out of clay, fawning over my sphynx cats, and falling into rabbit holes on Youtube.


Madison GainesMadison Gaines

Previous Degrees

BFA in Creative Writing with a double concentration in fiction and poetry from George Mason University

Writing Interests

Historical fiction, Black and African American literature, qualitative research as a foundation for creative writing.

Other Interests

Farmers markets, mythical creatures, tea kettles, front porches, interactive people watching, valleys, Old Bay, cephalopods


Conor JamesConnor James

Previous Degrees

B.A. in English from the University of Michigan

Writing Interests

Science-Fiction and Fantasy, Horror, TTRPG Worlds and Stories, Video Games, Adaptation

Other Interests

Cooking and baking, trying new foods, singing, sports, walking through nature, laying on the couch and petting my kitties while watching a stream or show, reading modern adaptations of myths.


Matt Livezey WMatt Livezey W

Previous Degrees

B.A. in Cultural Studies & Interdisciplinary Film, Evergreen State College.

Writing Interests

Poetry, Short Stories, Fantasy/Sci Fi Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Animation, Film, Photography.

Other Interests

Hiking and camping, skating, gaming, disc golf, traveling to other countries, chatting with friends, obnoxiously playing guitar when no one is around, attempting to overcome existential dread, cooking and eating food, failing at baking, petting dogs, swimming and surfing in the ocean, and sun-soaking on a beach anywhere.


Alysa Levi-D'AnconaAlysa Levi-D'Ancona

Previous Degrees

BA from Lawrence University in English and Italian studies, minor in creative writing, secondary education teaching certification.

Writing Interests

prose poetry • magical realism • fantasy • creative nonfiction • stream of consciousness • liminality • italy • spirituality • culture • second person p.o.v. • deep diving into the human psyche • metaphors.

Other Interests

discovering and cooking food • finding new ways to exercise • feeling small in a new country • soaking in the view from the apex of a hike • combining words in novel ways • befriending every cat • educating teenagers • making fun of myself • dad jokes.


Marwah SheblMarwah Shebl

Previous Degrees

A.A.,  Integrated Studies, Cascadia College; B.A., Interdisciplinary Arts, University of Washington Bothell.

Writing Interests

Short Stories, Novels, Novelettes, Poetry, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Horror, Heavy Imagery, Interactive Writing, Coming of Age, Fiction, Experimental Writing.

Other Interests

Reading, Painting, Writing Drawing, Digital Art, Crocheting, Knitting, Petting Cats and Dogs, Watching Movies and TV shows, Cooking & Baking, Long walks in nature, Corny Jokes, Occasionally playing video games, hanging out with my brothers, Mythology & Mythical Creatures.


Raelynne WooRaelynne Woo

Previous Degrees

B.A. in Writing Studies (Creative Writing) and Arts, Media, and Culture, University of Washington Tacoma

Writing Interests

poetry, fiction, non-fiction, short stories, realistic fiction, coming of age, comics, slice of life, identity, Asian American literature, children's literature, and multimedia work.

Other Interests

reading, dancing, arts and crafts, crocheting, playing the piano, baking treats, watching (Disney) movies, playing games with friends, gaining new knowledge and skills from Youtube.