Tim holds a BA in English/Theater from Franciscan University of Steubenville and a Secondary Teaching Certification from Madonna University. Tim recieved his MAE in literature from NKU in 2020. While Tim has sampled all tracts of English studies at NKU, he has maintained a research focus that is comic book and graphic novel related. “My JSTOR searches now begin with the keywords, ‘Scott McCloud’.”
He was the co-host of the “Literally Anything” podcast (available on Apple Podcasts and Google Play) and has been featured in Cincy Magazine as a recognition of his obsession with teaching. He also maintains a blog at literallyanythingmovies.com.
He chose NKU because, in his words, “I like NKU. Is that okay?”
His advice to potential grad students is this: “Here's the trick: Raise your hand for everything. EVERYTHING. If you can answer it, do it. Here's the perk. It makes the time fly for a class. You gain a reputation. Also, it gives you a get-out-of-jail-free card for when an answer gets too hard. Also, peacock somehow. With me, it was bringing donuts for every presentation I had given. Another pro-tip: When it is time to sign up for presentations, request the first presentation. Jump to the front of that line. Then, go above and beyond. Fly, meet elephant gun. We're talking about transitions, video clips, a clicker to advance, tons of slides with reasonable information in bullet points, citations, all that stuff. What it does for you: The first presentation is always given a free pass for mistakes. Let's say, in the midst of your overachieving, you forgot an important element of the assignment, no one can blame you. You were the first one, after all. But going above and beyond? That means that you've established what makes an A. You aren't chomping at someone else's bit. You are alpha dogging it pretty hard."
Tim teaches High School English and Film Theory at Villa Madonna Acadamy, where he has worked for the past seven out of his now twelve year teaching career. He would also love to get the podcast rolling again. Although considering getting a doctorate, Tim is “also really itching to catch up on sleep sometime.”
Valierie holds a BA in Philosophy, with a focus in Ancient Greek Philosophy, from SUNY New Paltz and an MA in English from NKU. She originally moved to the Cincinnati area to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati with the goal of becoming a college professor. After marrying and having her first child, she put her plans for graduate education on hold and focused on raising her family. Two decades later, Valerie applied for admission to the MAE program at NKU, seeking a non-traditional route to acceptance by first taking classes as a non-degree-seeking student.
In her second year of studies, she presented a paper examining the philosophical underpinnings in the poetry of Wallace Stevens entitled “A New Knowledge of Reality: Epistemology and Phenomenology in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens.” She continued this pursuit of the relation of philosophy and poetry in her MA capstone project “On the Threshold of Transcendence: Poetic Image as Liminal Space,” touching on Platonic and Kantian Idealism and how the poetic image can propel us into a transcendent understanding of reality.
Valerie has enjoyed all aspects of English studies at NKU, focusing on Literary Theory and Creative Writing. Her research interests revolve around Medieval literature, the history of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland c. 1171, the poetry of Wallace Stevens, and collaborative learning in the community college classroom. She also acted as Graduate Assistant for the English department during her time here.
Her poem “Memoria” was published in the Jan. 2020 edition of Passager Journal, a literary journal dedicated to showcasing emerging writers over the age of 50.
Valerie chose NKU for its cost, location, the fact that the GRE isn’t required for admission, and the chance to take afternoon/evening classes so she could still care for her family, whom she home-educates. She believes that the faculty here is fantastic and they have helped her grow as a writer and as an academic.
Her advice for potential grad students is to “take the time to get to know your professors and classmates. When you feel a part of the community here it makes learning less of a challenge.”
Since her final year of studies in the MAE program, Valerie has been teaching first-year composition at Cincinnati State and UC Clermont, first as a participant in the TAMP program through NKU, and now as a part-time instructor. She plans to continue to teach composition, write poetry, and finish the historical fiction novel she began before coming to NKU. She is considering continuing her education in either an MFA or PhD program.
About her experience at NKU, Valerie states, “Pursuing my MAE was a life-changing experience for me as a woman in her 50s. I've made some wonderful connections and have had such positive experiences, both academically and professionally.”
Hayley recieved her MAE with a focus in English Literature in 2019. Her graduate capstone was titled: “The Moon Is the Same Wherever You Go”: Masculinity, Setting, and Loneliness in The Goldfinch.
She chose the NKU MAE program because she had such a good experience in the English undergraduate program that she knew she wanted to continue in the graduate program. She says, "I knew there was more to learn from the amazing faculty and I was happy to find out I was right."
In October, 2021, she is moving to Kumamoto, an ocean-side town in the South-West part of Japan, to teach English with the JET Program. She has a two year contract. She says the English program at NKU helped her prepare immensely to achieve her lifelong goal of teaching English in Japan.
Her advice to current graduate students is to make use of all the great resources at NKU. Particularly, she highly recommends using the Writing Center at any part of the writing process. She worked there during her time at NKU, as well as used her fellow tutors' services. Hayley says she regrets not getting as involved in her undergraduate program so she made sure to change that in her graduate experience." I cannot emphasize how much that improved and deepened my academic experience. Any event you can get to I promise will be as wonderful as it seems!"
Christen Noel Kauffman graduated from NKU with an MAE in Literature and Creative Writing in 2011. Her literature specialization was African American/Women writers. In creative writing, she focused on poetry and fiction. Christen chose NKU because after receiving her BA in English from NKU (’09) it felt like home to her.
After receiving her MAE, she earned an MFA from Northern Michigan University and is a recipient of the King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship awarded by the State of Michigan. She also taught Creative Writing at NMU before moving back to the Cincinnati area with her family.
Her hybrid chapbook Notes to a Mother God (forthcoming, 2021) was a winner of the Paper Nautilus Debut Chapbook Series. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays (University of Nebraska Press), Nimrod International Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Willow Springs, DIAGRAM, Booth, Smokelong Quarterly, Hobart, The Normal School, and elsewhere.
Currently, Christen Noel Kauffman lives in Richmond, Indiana with her husband and two daughters. Other than teaching College Writing at Ivy Tech Community College, she spends her time writing and playing with her creative and spunky young daughters. Christen also has a part time photography business.
Christen’s advice to current students is that “when it comes to the MAE, careers in the English field, or writing, the best advice I can give anyone is to be persistent. Success in any capacity comes to people who consistently put in the work and never give up. I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but being rooted in persistence has always paid off. Persistence and kindness are the two most important things.”
Ben Darby holds a BA in English from Hanover College, an M.Ed. from Xavier University, and an MA in English from NKU. He currently teaches Dual-Credit Senior English and AP English Language and Composition Junior English at Bishop Brossart High School in Kentucky.
He chose NKU for its convenient location and because “the professors are top notch.” His advice to potential grad students is “If you’re looking for a supportive and rigorous academic environment with professors who are a wealth of knowledge, you’ll find it at NKU!”
He plans to continue to teach English at the secondary level and to write, “some bright day, something of publishable merit.”
Ben’s research interests include the growth of artificial intelligence, the interface of humans with technology (specifically how technology enables, or disables, communication and growth), and all things literature. His creative interests include making musical parodies, writing bad poetry, and various video projects (you can check out his YouTube channel.
Elizabeth Lea earned her MAE in Composition and Rhetorics in 2020 and Bachelors in both English (Creative Writing) and Library Informatics from NKU previous to that. She currently works as a Data Analyst for University Advancement at NKU. In her free time, she writes romance novels under the pen name Liz Ashlee. She is the author of Step Toward You, Sort of Normal, and Heart’s a Mess. She currently lives in Independence, KY with her husband and their plethora of pets.
There were two reasons why Liz says she chose the NKU MAE program. A good friend of hers started the program a year before, and they would often talk about what she was learning. Her passion for furthering her education was infectious – Liz wanted to find that same passion, further her education, and continue on the neverending pursuit to perfect her writing. The second reason she chose NKU was that she also studied English here during undergrad and it was a wonderful experience. She says, "I grew more than I thought I ever could during that time – I grew more confident in myself and my writing, I conquered worries and fears, and I pushed myself. NKU is my second home – so returning to it for the next step in my education was the perfect trajectory".
When asked about advice for current graduate students, Liz says, "As someone who has always been very shy, I think the best advice I have is really a reminder: whatever you have to say is important. Personally, I was always worried that my words weren’t worth saying being they were a reiteration of my peers’ or that they wouldn’t be correct—or intelligent enough—or that I didn’t have enough time to formulate them fully. But the truth is, all of that is better than not saying anything at all. I don’t know how many classes I left, wishing I’d participated more in the discourse of the classroom. It took me a while to realize that my peers who were talking were sometimes incorrect, that they sometimes had questions, but they were working toward their own meanings and thoughts. In a way, they were just giving in to their passion for learning. So don’t be afraid to unlock that passion—don’t be too shy to speak."
Find out more about Liz and her work at www.liz-ashlee.com
Brittany recieved her BA in English in 2016 and MAE in 2019, from NKU. Her master’s thesis was titled “The Autobiographical ‘I’ in Feminist Poetics: Survival, Connection, and Empowerment”
She chose the NKU MAE program because she enjoyed working with the English department professors in undergrad, and she wanted to continue to be a part of the supportive writing community that she had found here. While in the program she had the opportunity to teach composition at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, where she found her love of teaching writing.
Currently, she is a graduate assistant pursuing her Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition at the University of Louisville, where she specializes in the rhetoric of health and medicine. Her research interests include feminist theory and pedagogy, narrative studies in research and writing, digital/multimodal literacy, and teaching information literacy in first-year writing courses. She is also the Assistant Director of Creative Writing at UofL, which means she gets to help with all of the visiting writer events, manage the program’s social media, and teach creative writing.
Right now, she is working on three specific projects, which include researching affective rhetorics in COVID-19 illness narratives, uncovering and investigating problematic rhetoric and narratives in medical literature and research archives, and examining how hospital administration regulatory documents are interpreted and taken up in practice by physicians, particularly in emergent health crises.
Brittany is also a poet at heart, and her work has appeared in magazines such as Pennsylvania English, Kansas City Voices, and Gravitas, among others.
To current graduate students, Brittany advises, "Don’t give up! Everything seems overwhelming at first, because you are learning a new language (the language of graduate-level academic theory and research). It doesn’t mean you don’t belong, or you’re behind—you’re just learning along with everyone else. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your professors are there to help mentor and guide you, and you will get so much more out of the program if you let yourself be open and vulnerable with your supportive academic community. Lastly, this is such an excellent time to network and make connections with people—especially if you are interested in publishing or pursuing a Ph.D. Go out of your comfort zone and take risks! It will be so much more rewarding in the long run."
Andrew (they/she) graduated with an MAE in 2018. They are a high school English teacher at Scott High School in Kentucky, and also teach dual credit classes for the NKU School Based Scholars Program. They teach theatre as well and are very involved in the theatre program at Scott.
In addition to teaching, Andrew helps lead diversity and technology initiatives for their school and district. They also serve on the board of directors for the Kentucky Thespian Society.
Andrew says they chose the NKU MAE program for its flexibility and convenient location. The program allowed them to take all of their classes in the evening, which supported their schedule a full-time professional teacher during the day.
Andrew's advice for current graduate students is, "find your passion and make your classes work for you! Also, get to know the faculty. They are amazing people!"
Jenny Henry received her MA in English and a Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Composition from Northern Kentucky University 2018. She chose to return to NKU to pursue her graduate studies because the late afternoon and evening classes that NKU offers enabled Jenny to continue working as a teacher during the day. By earning her MA, Jenny was able to achieve Rank I status, the highest certification status for Kentucky teachers, and is now qualified to teach dual credit courses at Dixie High School in Ft. Mitchell.
Her advice for potentialor current graduate students is to not to become “content with the status quo. Sometimes we need inspiration to help revise our methods and our thinking. A graduate degree can be a new beginning or a fresh perspective.” Of her experience in the MAE program, Jenny states, “The professors at NKU care about their students and treat them as individuals on their own learning quest. It's a phenomenal group of specialists in their fields. I felt they sowed into me and made me a specialist in my own right.”
Jason graduated in 2011 with his MAE with a focus in rhetoric and composition. He is currently employed as a project manager in the clinical research field. He is also currently enrolled in NKU's online Master of Business Administration program. Once that is completed, he is interested in moving further upward in the clinical research field.
He chose NKU for the MAE graduate program because he already had strong relationships with many of the faculty from when he completed his bachelor’s degree in English (Creative Writing) in 2008. He already knew he loved NKU’s campus, and it was very convenient for him to attend.
Jason says, "I took the long way around to where I am today. When I was still working on my undergraduate degree, I was employed at a clinical research organization in downtown Cincinnati. Once I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to pursue a graduate degree. English made sense and I was very happy with my undergraduate experience, so I enrolled and followed down that path. Before I graduated, I began working as an adjunct instructor in Developmental Writing at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and I eventually was able to win a full-time, tenure track faculty position. Unfortunately, not long before I was to apply for tenure four years later, my campus was downsized, and my position was non-renewed. I knew I wanted something outside of academia and that I had really enjoyed working in clinical research, so I focused my search in that area and was hired as a Medical Writer / Clinical Research Coordinator at St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s research department. Eventually, in March 2021, I upgraded and am now a project manager at CTI, a major globa Clinical Research Organization based here in Covington, KY."
Jason's advice to current graduate studies is to "learn to just roll with whatever life brings your way. Do whatever you have to do to get through the next thing, whether that’s another class in your program or a job search. Sometimes it can be very hard to see in the moment how what you’re doing is contributing to your goals, but you must learn to see the opportunities that come your way, take them, and trust that you’re building toward something further down the line in the future. Because you are, and once those weird threads and random experiences start to come together you will find that you’re in a unique position for which only you are qualified."
Renea Frey is a 2011 graduate of the Master of Arts in English (MAE) program at NKU. When she first entered the program, she was not familiar with the field of Composition and Rhetoric. Recently she stated, “it was NKU's graduate program that first introduced me to the discipline that became the foundation for my career.” Although she initially had no intention of pursuing a PhD after completing her MA, she enjoyed her studies so much at NKU that she wanted to continue on. “The love of learning I experienced at NKU was the true motivation for me to apply to the PhD program at Miami University,” she said.
Renea completed her PhD at Miami University in 2015. Dr. Frey is currently the Writing Program Director and an assistant professor of English at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. Her scholarly work examines the rhetorical strategies of silenced populations who choose to speak out despite risks, women's nineteenth-century rhetorical practices, composing and teaching in digital spaces, and using empathy as inventional practice. Her advice to graduate students is to “explore what you love, no matter how ‘impractical’ or specialized it seems. Graduate-level study takes a lot of effort, and if you don’t genuinely love your work, it can be drudgery; however, if you are passionate about your learning, the effort feels more like a challenging sort of fun.” Dr. Frey can be reached through her departmental website.
John Silvestro is a 2011 graduate of Northern Kentucky University’s MAE program. John came to NKU after receiving his BA in Journalism, unsure what his focus would be other than to learn more about writing. After taking the Composition Pedagogy Practicum and History of Rhetoric with Dr. Jen Cellio, everything clicked into place for him. “Writing wasn't the mythical activity that only a few, blessed individuals could do,” he states, “but was a complex, emergent process governed by the local contexts into which it emerged. This meant writing could be improved (although never truly mastered) and it could be taught.”
John later attended Dr. Cellio’s alma mater, Miami University, where he completed his PhD in Composition and Rhetoric.
Of his time at NKU, Dr. Silvestro says, “With the frameworks I learned from Dr. Cellio, and the other faculty at NKU, I started to closely study the more mundane, everyday writing around me - fliers, reports, e-mails, street signs, etc - thinking about how it worked and what it could do.”
He is currently an assistant professor in the English Department at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. His research interests include Public Writing, Circulation, Non-Profit Public Advocacy, and Professional Writing Pedagogy. Dr. Silvestro can be contacted through his university’s English department: https://www.sru.edu/academics/colleges-and-departments/cla/departments/english/faculty-and-staff/faculty-p-z.
Rich Shivener received his MA in English from Northern Kentucky University in 2010. He is indebted to Professors John Alberti, Andrew Miller, and Kelly Moffett for taking him under their wings. “They supported my interests in visual composing and nonfiction writing, and they helped me think about publications and teaching possibilities in first-year writing and creative writing,” Shivener said in a recent interview. He is also thankful that Professor Jen Cellio helped him discover his “professional and academic experiences [in] the field of rhetoric and composition.”
Rich completed his PhD in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Cincinnati in 2019. He is now an assistant professor in the Writing Department at York University in Toronto, Canada. His latest research investigates the relationship between digital media practices and emotions, most recently turning to authors of webtexts and digital comics. His advice to current MA students is “to maintain a close, working relationship with your professors. They will mentor you and help you see intellectual paths you never knew existed.” Dr. Shivener can be reached through his university and professional websites.
Amy earned her MA at NKU where her concentrations centered upon Service Learning through Community Literacy and technical writing. Her capstone was titled, "Composition-Based Community Literacy Projects: Making Change One Person at a Time" which was an ethnographic study of a literacy-based service-learning project in an Over-the-Rhine homeless shelter that provided a special program for participating women to secure permanent housing. This project examined the ethics and overall successes and obstacles in working with individuals who were experiencing socioeconomic, mental and/or physical challenges, as well as demonstrating how service-learning projects empower both individuals and communities by promoting support through proactive citizenship.
She then worked for 4+ years in a military subcontracting corporation that provided both domestic and international medical and mental health services to Veterans and Active-Duty personnel. In 2015, she began work as a Grant Administrator at the University of Cincinnati where her duties include assisting researchers locate funding and developing competitive proposals in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM fields. Amy served on the College of Arts and Sciences Staff Board and served as Chair in 2018-2019. Her dedication to excellence earned her nominations for the A&S Staff Excellence Research Award in 2018 and the Provost Staff Excellence Award in both 2018 and 2019. SHe continues to give back to the community and volunteers as a grant writer for the Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP).
When asked why she chose the MAE program at NKU, Amy said, "As an undergrad and returning adult learner, at first, I had explored many majors from social work to journalism. It came time to finally buckle down and choose one major. After discussions with department heads, I was referred to the English Department Chair to talk with Danny Miller, who asked me why I was not pursuing an English Degree since I had apparently already majored in English by taking so many electives. I told Danny that I felt English was a limiting degree only for future teachers and professors. Dr. Miller then pulled out a piece of paper from his desk that listed over 80 career choices that English majors could pursue after graduation; it was a versatile degree with the major limitations being your own self, as it is actually your post-graduation career choices truly makes a difference. I loved that the degree was so flexible, much more than I could imagine as a student, and never regretted this decision.
Dr. Miller introduced me to faculty who helped eventually lead me to the MAE program at NKU, including Roxanne Kent-Drury and Christopher Wilkey, who encouraged me to apply to the new MAE program. Here, I met Janel Bock and Jen Cellio, who also became vital parts to developing and providing help with my thesis and career paths.
I was attracted to the small classroom sizes and the faculty’s compassion in both their own research and dedication to student success. I developed strong, long-lasting mentorships with these faculty who allowed me to think creatively for my thesis study and co-create an almost three-year long Women’s Writing Program at the Drop Inn Center, where I was able to broaden my worldview and become more active in giving back to my community. I wrote some small student grants to help us support the program, which led me to the career that I hold today.I am always so thankful to the dedicated faculty who guided me through my educational path to career success. They provided flexibility, encouragement to break boundaries, and much support of my project and career goals."
Amy's advice to grad students is: "Develop mentorships with faculty whose compassion about research topics matches your own, and think outside the box—don’t be afraid to try new approaches to existing ideologies and practices!"
Alexander Walz graduated from NKU in May 2015 with his BA in English (Creative Writing) and the MA in English (Creative Writing) program in May of 2022. Though his focus had been in Fiction writing throughout his Undergraduate and early Graduate studies, his focus shifted into the realm of Creative Non-Fiction in grad school, where he incorporated his love of cooking and travel into his capstone project. He is also co-editor of the literary journal Many Nice Donkeys, along with four other NKU MAE alumni.
It was his experience during his Undergraduate years that drew him back to NKU and the English MA program, hoping again to study with past professors, and learn from those whom he hadn't been able to take courses with in the past. He continues to be inspired by the talent of the professors within the program, as well as that of his fellow classmates.
Alex currently works at NKU as the Admissions Coordinator of Processing and Compliance, and hopes to continue to grow in his career in academic administration. For those who are looking to start the English MA program at NKU, he has this to say: "your professors, classmates, everyone within the English program wants to see you succeed! And that network of support carries with you way after you've graduate, friends."
Jen Davis graduated from the program in December 2020 with a Master of Arts and also a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing. She chose the NKU MAE program for the faculty; in particular, Kelly Moffett and Steve Leigh, both of whom she knew from her undergrad minor in creative writing. Once in the program she got to know more of the faculty, and today she continues to be wonderstruck by the talent our small town attracts. Jen's graduate capstone was titled: “Fine Art of the Honest Heart: The Performance of Vulnerability in Lyric Poetry”. This research sought to understand and implement the nuance of authenticity via concrete theories and techniques. "Vulnerability in art is always a performance to some degree, but what differentiates a poor performance from an effective one?"
Jen is currently a first-year academic advisor in the Haille College of Business at NKU. She finds the work meaningful and impactful.
Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and long-listed for the Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award. Her publication credits include McSweeney’s, Rust + Moth, Whale Road Review, Licking River Review, and many others. She was the co-recipient of the 2020 Danny L. Miller Award for Advanced Graduate Study.
Currently, Jen is compiling her first poetry collection, reading as much as possible, attending virtual open mics and readings, and preparing for some planned travel including a trip back to Ireland with some grad school friends she got to do a Study Abroad with!
Jen’s best advice for current students is:
· Never allow yourself to be the smartest or most talented person in the room, and never assume you are, either. You'll learn nothing that way.
· Shut your cakehole during workshops; criticism may sting, but friendly fire that blasts open the holes in your work is worth taking, because without it, you'll find yourself on a battlefield littered with the corpses of your most precious works when you start submitting.
· Don't write bad, extended metaphors to condescend to people (see what I did there?)
· View your classmates as colleagues and teachers, not as competition.
· Leave your hometown every chance you get.
· Be okay with writing more stuff that isn't publishable than stuff that is. That's
called practice. No one gets medals for training.
· Read Anne Lamott and bring a highlighter.
Nik graduated in December 2020 with their MAE and a Certificate in Creative Writing. Nik's graduate capstone was titled: "Smells like Teen Melancholy: Queering Creative Writing through Sensory Memory and The Body". This project explored what we might learn as creative writers (and teachers of writing) when we queer our writing processes and pedagogies and seek to connect more deeply with ourselves and the communities outside our subjective experiences.
Nik is currently working on their MFA in Poetry as well as a Teaching Assistantship at the University of Montana.
They chose the NKU MAE program because the English Department at NKU already felt like family to them. They were intimidated by the idea of grad school, but they knew this program would be welcoming and compassionate. The ability to be a part of that warm and engaging community again was more than enough to get them past their nerves and reservations.
In addition to reading/writing/teaching/procrastinating, Nik likes wandering aimlessly around town and eating delicious food prepared by other people. You can find some of their poems digitally on Feminine Collective, printed in The Finger Literary Journal, and in multiple issues of Loch Norse Magazine. Nik's favorite people in the world are their niece and nephews, who remind them not to take themself too seriously.
Advice Nik gives to current graduate students is: "Seize every (feasible) opportunity this program provides. Go to the readings. Meet up with classmates to review/laugh/decompress. Support Loch Norse. Take the summer workshop. Sign up for the retreat. Apply for the part-time jobs. Teach a class! Embrace the community around you - it is full of kindness and knowledge and creativity. It might teach you some things about yourself."
Maggie Fulmer is an emerging writing from Kentucky with a passion for creative nonfiction and poetry. Her work has been featured in Atlas+Alice, Dime Show Review, The Coil and Ice Lolly Review. Her graduate capstone presentation was titled, “It’s Not Me; It’s You – How Creative Nonfiction Writers Make Personal Stories Universal". She can be found on most corners of the internet (@mfulms21) talking about boybands, books, and reality television.
She received her BA in Journalism from NKU in May of 2017 and truly had no intentions of continuing schooling after that, but she very quickly realized how much she missed it. After one single semester out of school, she was back at NKU in the MAE program in January of 2018. She picked the English program because she minored in English during undergrad and always felt like she didn’t get enough out of that, but felt that the faculty were amazing. She wanted to keep learning, and specifically wanted to keep learning from the professors she had come to know in undergrad. So she just did what made the most sense and came back to NKU for grad school.
She worked as a copywriter at Kroger for a few years while pursuing the MAE, and then for a while after, but found herself once again wanting to be back in that academic environment in whatever way she could manage. She applied to MFA programs and was accepted into one in Arizona before COVID happened, which obviously shook things up. She didn’t end up attending that program, but she says she doesn't regret the decision because she likes what she is doing now. She currently works as the Assistant Director of Digital Recruitment and Retention at Xavier University in Cincinnati. She is really enjoying the work and having a lot of fun helping recruit students through various forms of communication.
When asked what advice she would give to current grad students, Maggie said, "I was talking with some of my friends from the program the other day and someone said, 'I wish I could go back and do it all again and be in grad school at NKU forever.' And there’s a lot of truth in that for me, as well. But the reason we all feel that way is because we went through it together. So my best advice is to put effort into finding your people. I learned so much and am so grateful for how much I grew as a writer throughout the program, but it was really those connections that made the experience worthwhile. Also, when you’re being workshopped… make sure you are actually listening and not just being quiet. You don’t have to like or agree with everyone’s suggestions. It’s your work and you know it best and will always have the freedom to do whatever you want with it, but being open to the constructive criticism is the only way for your piece to get where it’s meant to be. Writing IS rewriting, so your first draft might be good, but is it? Is it really?? Take the time to think about that and let your peers guide you."
Alex holds a BA in Adventure Leadership from Asbury University. In that program they used outdoor activities (backpacking, rock-climbing, and canoeing) as the basis for theoretical discussions about nontraditional education. She recieved her MAE with a focus in Creative Writing from NKU in 2019. Her capstone was titled: "How Feminism Benefits Nature Writing in Prose: Finding My Place in the Lineage of Women Writing About Nature". After that, she completed an MFA in poetry at Miami University.
She is teaches English courses at Cincinnati State Community and Technical College, which she started doing with the TAMP program through NKU while working on her Masters, as well as at NKU. And in the fall of 2022 she is starting a new career as a High School English teacher at a local Catholic School. She also serves on the editorial team of Moon Cola Literary Magazine.
Alex's debut book of poetry, Bowlfuls of Blue, was released from Assure Press in 2021. Currently, she is querying literary agents to represent her memoir. She says it is great to have the manuscript complete, but very vulnerable to be sending it out into the world.
Her work can be found in publications including The Raw Art Review, Broad River Review, Allegory Ridge, Milk and Cake Press, and Griffel Magazine. You can find links to her publications and pictures of her dog on her website AlexandraMcIntosh.com
Alex chose the MAE program at NKU for its faculty. When she was doing her grad school search, she made contact with Professor Kelly Moffett and she says, "Kelly was so helpful and encouraging, and embodied the type of graduate community I was looking for." Having completed the program, she expresses that she is "so thankful for NKU’s MAE program". She says, "I learned so much that has helped me in my teaching, and my writing improved immensely. I can’t say enough about the high caliber of the professors and the students! I have a wonderful writing support community from NKU; it truly is a team committed to making each student successful."
Advice Alex has for current grad students is: "Take advantage of getting to know your amazing professors! They are great contacts and will continue to support you after you graduate. If you’re a creative writer, send out your work for publication! Check out Submittable.com and get in the habit of sending your work out regularly! It’s scary, but it’s great practice."
Jasmine Williamson graduated with an MAE in Creative Writing in 2019, focusing on Creative Nonfiction. After receiving her BA in Anthropology (with minors in Women's and Gender Studies, and Honors) from NKU in 2011, and then taking a 5 year hiatus from academia to focus on raising young children, Jasmine chose to return to NKU in 2016 and join the MAE program because of its familiarity. During her undergraduate years she got to know many of the professors in the English department and enjoyed their classes, so she wanted to study with them again, but at a more challenging level. Jasmine's graduate capstone was titled: “Seeking New Eyes: Finding My Place in the World of Travel Memoir”
Jasmine spent over two years employed as the Academic Secretary in NKU's English Department and has since moved into the position of Academic Coordinator for the School of Kinesiology, Counseling, and Rehab Services at NKU. Currently she is also working toward a BFA in Visual Communication Design, because she figures going to art school in your mid-30s seems like as good an idea as any, and at the very least she gets to impress her kids with her art projects.
Jasmine is mother to two human children (a future zoologist and a future child therapist, respectively), three cats, two guinea pigs, and one tortoise. She has had a passion for the written word since childhood, when she was always lost in a book or writing one of her own. Now, she spends her free time making art, lackadaisically learning new languages, thrifting for kitschy decor, traveling, or planning her next travels. Her publications include work in many places such as Paddler Press, Northern Otter Journal, Farside Review, Daily Drunk Mag, Hearth & Coffin, Sledgehammer Lit, and Selcouth Station, and forthcoming in Ós Pressan, out of Iceland. She is a reader for Cutbank Literary Magazine which is based out of U. of Montana and is also the editor of the Spring Grove Village Newsletter, in her respective Cincinnati neighborhood. She is also co-founder of Many Nice Donkeys Literary Magazine, along with fellow alumni Nik Moore, Jen Davis, Maggie Fulmer, and Alex Walz. (www.manynicedonkeys.com) She plans to one day get an MFA and/or Phd, but hasn't decided in what area yet. Once her kids are grown and flown from the nest, Jasmine hopes to move abroad to teach English, and/or possibly join the Peace Corps.
Advice Jasmine would like to share with current students is: “One of the best things you can do in grad school, beyond the work, is to make lasting connections with your instructors and the other students in the program. These are your colleagues now and building bridges with each other can lead to great things in the future. I made some great friends in my grad years and we continue to support each other in our careers and beyond. It's so important to have people in your life who have developed opinions about James Joyce's ego, know what CNF stands for, and feel just as passionate about the oxford comma as you do.”
Carola Bell is an artist, writer, museum professional, amateur weightlifter, and traveler who takes to the road whenever possible. She graduated with her MAE in 2017, with a Certificate in Creative Writing.
Following her graduation from NKU with her BA in 2001, Dr. Robert Wallace remained a mentor to Carola. They sometimes met for lunch, and at one of those lunches Carola explained how she took her English classes toward the end of her undergrad years, and had she taken them sooner possibly her academic choices may have been different. Dr. Wallace told her about the MAE program at NKU, and a few days later he sent her more information. Before she knew it, she was in graduate school!
Once in the program, Carola met Professor Kelly Moffett and found her love of poetry. Carola remains friends with both Dr. Wallace, and Professor Moffett today, and still enjoys their wisdom. Carola has worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum for 20 years. Currently, she is the Registrar for Loans, managing the program for lending artwork from the museum's permanent collection for exhibitions all over the world. It is an engaging career that changes and evolves all the time. Her latest on-site projects include working with the museum's team to bring large outdoor sculptures to the Art Climb.
Advice Carola has for current students is: “Allow yourself to follow your curiosity. Explore ideas without preconceptions and embrace the experience for all that it is. Your time in graduate school is a gift. Your diploma may signify the end of your official studies, but not the end of your ability to continue learning about the world."
Sara Moore Wagner graduated with her Master of Arts in English from NKU in 2013. At the time she chose the NKU MAE program, she was teaching literature to high school students in a homeschool co-op, and she had also just returned from teaching abroad. She wanted to expand her knowledge of literature to be able to one day teach at the college level. NKU had the flexibility that allowed her to care for her young child while furthering her education, enabling her to reach these goals.
Sara won the 2019 Sustainable Arts Foundation Award—a huge honor. Previously, Sara published a chapbook, Hooked Through (2017). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals including Beloit Poetry Journal, Rhino, Third Coast, Poet Lore, Waxwing, The Cincinnati Review, and Nimrod, among others. She has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart prize, and Best of the Net.
Currently, Sara is teaching Creative Writing at NKU and working toward publishing her two full-length manuscripts, which have been finalists over a dozen times at well-respected presses. Her book Tumbling After is forthcoming from Red Bird Chapbooks this year.Sara has also been homeschooling her three bright-shining children through this pandemic—one of whom is a budding poet.
Sara’s advice for current students is “don’t focus too much on publishing before you are ready. This world is full of mostly rejection and can easily crush people looking for that quick acknowledgment of their work. Build your work so that the work itself is what matters and make your focus always on improving yourself. It's endurance that brings success, as Baldwin says. If you believe in your work and are constantly trying to be better, you will endure.”
You may visit her work via her website: www.saramoorewagner.com.
Christine graduated in 2012 with a Master’s of English with focus in Writing (She split my coursework between both creative and technical writing) Her capstone was titled, “Unlocked Doors on Raven Lane,” and encapsulated a family’s struggle alongside the domino effect of grief associated with a family member being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
Currently Christine is the Director of Global Program Management at an EdTech corporation called Berlitz. She leads a team of project managers, coordinators, and consultants to manage the design and execution of global training programs for top companies like Apple, NVIDIA and Abbott Laboratories.
She has been Grand Champion for the Greater Cincinnati Alzheimer’s Association repeatedly over the last decade – supporting the organization and their Walk to End Alzheimer’s
She chose the NKU MAE program for the flexibility to not have her degree focus on only one area. "The option was available to get certification in Technical Writing, for example – but I preferred a mix of all writing courses to better round out my skillset and be more versatile to potential employers."
Christine's advice for current grad students is, "Don’t ever stop believing in yourself. To get to where I am now I plugged my way through the gig economy teaching ESL and working bartending jobs. I never gave up and continued to grow my skills to get to where I am today."
Stephanie Knipper received her MA in English from Northern Kentucky University in 2011. She began work on her first novel, The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin (Algonquin 2017), prior to working on her MA and came to the program at NKU with the intent to push herself as a writer, workshopping parts of the book in Steve Leigh’s Fiction Workshop. She credits NKU’s English faculty, which she describes as “something special,” in helping with her success as a novelist. “From the beginning, everyone in the program was extremely supportive. The professors treated the students like ‘real’ writers from the moment we entered the program,” she states. “In addition, the MAE program helped me carve out space in my life for writing. It helped me make writing a priority.”
As a busy mother of six, Stephanie shares her advice for graduate students who are interested in creative writing. “Make time for your writing. It’s easy to let other things get in the way and let your writing slip to the wayside but try to write a little every day.” She also suggests approaching each assignment “with an eye toward publication” to create a “portfolio of pieces you’re ready to send out to publishers upon graduation.” Stephanie is currently working on a second novel.
Ryan gradauted with his MAE in 2010. His capstone was titled: "Wrestling Reality: The Life and Mind of Chris Kanyon, Wrestling’s Gay Superstar". This is a biography of Chris Kanyon, which was subsequently published in 2011 by ECW Press. After recieving his MAE from NKU, he went on to earn MSEd from University of Kentucky in 2017.
Ryan currently works as the Director of Communications for the University of Kentucky’s College of Health Sciences. He writes, edits, and supervises stories and marketing for the college. He went to UK after previously working at NKU for 10 years, and then Xavier University for five years, doing similar work. As an author or co-author of eight books, he also still works on creative writing projects.
Along with his dayjob, he also writes for Ripley’s Believe it or Not! which has taken him all across the country in search of really interesting things. But he also loves sports, and currently is working (with a friend) on an oral history book about University of Kentucky football. His goal is to follow that up with a book about some really weird places and stories he's gathered from around the state.
At various times in his life, Ryan has chased hurricanes, hunted for ghosts, searched for buried treasure and interviewed some of the world's most famous athletes. The point? He loves to tell stories, and he's been doing it for 20 years — ever since he graduated with a journalism degree and started writing for newspapers.
When asked why he chose NKU's MAE program he explained, "I looked far and wide at similar programs all over the state, and I just remember feeling like NKU was the place for me. You had the freedom to kind of create your own curriculum, tailored to what would benefit you, and I took advantage. And Dr. Robert Wallace and Dr. Roxanne Kent-Drury helped guide me; overall, the professors were always there when I needed it. It was a great decision because I was able to not only pursue the project I wanted to, but I also got it published, which I’m still proud of."
Ryan's advice for current graduate students is: "Try new things. Don’t be afraid. A very successful writer friend of mine said to me once, 'There’s two kinds of people in the world — those who talk about writing a book, and those who actually do it.' I’ve always remembered that."
Of his time at NKU, ryan states, "NKU’s writing program made a huge difference in my life and success. I went on to earn another Master’s — this one in Education — which helps me in my current role, but I’m not sure I would’ve had the confidence to do that without my success at NKU. And of the first 10 or so people in my initial writing workshop, I want to say more than half of those students got published in a major way, with one becoming a critically acclaimed poet and at least two others releasing novels from major publishing houses. You can do it. And you can do it at NKU. I know because I’ve seen it happen."
You can learn more about Ryan and his creative writing work at www.forryanoutloud.com
Keri graduated in 2010 with an MA in English focusing on Creative Wrtiting.
Her capstone was titled: "Through Slanted Eyes". She wrote three chapters of a memoir that explored her Asian American and gender identities.
She chose the NKU MAE program because she believes writing is a skill that can be used in any job. She thought this degree would make her more marketable, paired with her background in Communication Studies, which gives her the tools to interact with people in higher education as well as business environments.
Keri is currently working as a full-time Data Analyst in Columbus, OH while simultaneously pursuing her Ph.D. in Sociology. She will be starting my fifth year this Fall. Her scholarly "Reppin’ and Rice: How Asian and Pacific Islander American Hip Hop Fans Negotiate Their Racial Identities and Make Meaning of Their Experiences in the US Hip Hop Community" has been published.
In the future she is hoping to work as a lead or head of a data analytics department. "The skills gained through the MA in English have been invaluable. I am constantly writing emails as well as having to explain data findings in reports."
Keri's advice for current grad students is: "time management is the key to the graduate programs. It's a lot of hard work, but once you get time management down, you're golden. Find mentors as soon as you can; these systems are difficult to navigate so mentors are so necessary."
Lorraine was born and raised in New York City, but now lives in Cincinnati with her husband. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Education from the University of South Florida. She then earned an MAE, with a concentration in American and British literature, from Northern Kentucky University. Lorraine’s debut novel, Other Words for Love, was published in 2011 by Random House. Her second novel New Money, was published in 2013, and her third novel, Independently Wealthy in 2014, also published by Macmillan/St. Martin's Press.
She also contributes to Women Writers, Women's Books
Lisa Kuhn earned her BA in English with a focus in Psychology at NKU in May of 2021. Like her undergraduate track, she is on her way to an MA/Certificate in Literary and Cultural Studies and plans to go on to obtain a Ph.D. Her main topics of interest are YA lit and sci-fi/fantasy, especially when the texts discuss race, gender, and mental health issues.
Lisa is a lifelong bibliophile and has worked in libraries and bookstores since her mid-twenties. She currently works in a library in NKY and also in the writing center at NKU. She intends to become a literature professor because she loves to discuss all the interesting ways to dissect a text and explore its cultural significance. To that point, she is currently formulating a literary podcast with fellow English major Kaitlyn Craig, and has plans to publish some books in the future. She says a gig in publishing is her solid plan B.
Her advice to English majors is: "Squeeze everything you can out of your college experience. Make friends in the program because you'll need the community. Speak up at least once in every class. Talk to your professors every chance you get. Submit works to the Pentangle and Loch Norse. Apply for every opportunity. Take a study abroad trip. The more you involve yourself the better off you'll be. Most importantly, don't let anyone tell you that an English degree is useless. That's a myth. An English degree is an open door to many careers."
Caroline Plasket received her BA in English (Creative Writing) from NKU in 2016. From there she spent time focusing on her writing and her family. In this time of focusing on her work she was chosen for a spot as a Mentee in the AWP Writer to Writer Program.
She entered the NKU MAE program as a way to further educate herself pedagogically, to broaden her writing skills, and further fine-tune them. Her current writing interests, aside from poetry, are environmental writing as well as hybrid writing. She is fascinated by what happens when genre is pushed aside in a way that allows creativity to explore itself without limit. Her research interests include the ways in which genre reflects societal ideologies in a detrimental way.
She loves NKU for its small class sizes that allow for intimate discussion of the topics and close attention from faculty. The knowledge and support from the teachers in the English Department continues to amaze her. She feels lucky to have such an amazing university in her own backyard. Even in the pandemic she feels a part of this beautiful community.
She is currently working with Prof. Kelly Moffett to run the new NKU MAE Mentor/Mentee Program. She finds the work incredibly rewarding and it fulfills her love of helping people in reaching their own goals. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Hobart, Copper Nickel, The Laurel Review, Cherry Tree, The Cortland Review, Atticus Review, Threadcount Magazine, and elsewhere. She is working toward publishing two manuscripts which contain poetry and hybrid essays.
Caroline's advice to prospective students is not to stop working toward your goals, “I know it sounds cliché, but life will always be happening, it will never be convenient—just keep doing the work.” After graduating she hopes to teach as well as continue to write.
Rachel is focusing in Literature, though she says she's not super married to any specific era just yet, she does have a very special place in her heart for the theoretic application of the Sublime, which is a philosophic trope that was first commonly used in Romanticism. It seems to keep finding its way into her studies one way or another!
She chose the NKU MAE program because she has a great love for the English department here at NKU.She attended for undergrad from 2015-2018 and loved every second she got to spend in her English classes with peers and the faculty.
Rachel currently works in higher education publishing and technology. She is a Digital Success Specialist at Cengage, which basically means she assists instructors get their online courses up and running as well as assists them throughout the semester in ensuring the success of their courses.
Rachel likes the idea of continuing her education while working, and of continuing her work in academia. She would love to have papers published or attend conferences to present her own research, and she hopes to continue that after graduation.Unrelated to school, she would like to one day buy a house and add a third cat to her current pair, Jack and Jude.
When asked what surprised her about the MA program, Rachel said, "It surprised me how fulfilling academia really is for me. I took a small break between undergrad and coming back for grad school, and just being involved in the department again has lifted my spirits so much! I have been so excited to push myself academically and extend my skills in research and writing to new levels that the program has given me the possibility to do."
Rachel advises potential grad students to, "follow your passion—even if it seems silly, you can always apply your passions to your academic work in some way. Many times, this is how we discover our greatest works! If you are interested in something, chase that interest. You’ll be surprised at what doors that will open for you in your research and your writing!"
Daniel hopes to graduate in 2023. Currently his focus is creative writing, but he is strongly considering comp and rhetoric.
He chose NKU because he lives in Northern Kentucky and works in downtown Cincinnati. It began as convenience of location, but as he's gotten to know the staff and professors, he feels even more that it was the right choice. Recently he has been accepted into the TAMP program and he is working on gaining experience teaching so that he can become a college professor, eventually going on to earn a Ph.D.
Daniel is the Senior Event Planning Manager at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati. He enjoys cooking, eating, taking photos of food, napping, woodworking, reading, watching movies, and creative writing. He loves to make his own beef jerky for road trips. He began writing when his wife challenged him to find a hobby that was quiet and wouldn’t disturb her while she was studying for school exams. He always liked making up stories, so writing was a natural fit. Daniel is currently working on several different writing projects.
Daniel's advice for grad students is, "Communication is key. If you don't know something, ask. You can't learn anything if you're too afraid to find out."
Grace Spaulding earned a BA in Organizational Leadership with a minor in English in 2020 from NKU. She was able to take advantage of the Accelerated English Master’s program and take her last two undergraduate classes at the same time as her first two graduate classes. She will be graduating in fall of 2022.
She has interest in teaching composition, running her own business, and creative writing. She says, "It’s about time management and mind management. My mantra is, I have more than enough time and money to get everything done. I have plenty of time and plenty of money!”
As a mother of 7 sons, she needs to use every spare minute wisely. Knowing when to work and when to rest is essential. She says making herself a priority was the best thing that she's ever done. Once she obtains her degree, she wants to use the knowledge and experiences she's gained by being a part of the NKU family to help others find their best self.
"If anyone is thinking about attending grad school, I highly recommend the English Masters department at NKU because of the consistency and depth it brings to your higher education. NKU is like a family because of the supportive atmosphere and that’s why I have been able to be successful. There are a lot of work-study opportunities and resources to take advantage of at NKU."
While Sara’s current studies have been a blend of everything, she is considering a future in composition and rhetoric because she would still like to be able to teach college composition. She is interested in researching the changes that were made to the different feminist activism areas around the late 60s and early 70s when certain issues in literature and cinema began to arise. Sara chose NKU because the staff was very communicative about the application and admission process and welcoming to start right away. Her advice to potential grad students is to “be prepared for the additional time that it takes to read books, complete assignments and more, especially if you already have a full-time job.” After graduating from NKU, Sara is considering going on to study for a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric, though she is currently teaching ENG 101 at Cincinnati State as well as operating her own freelance writing business.