English BA; Creative Writing MFADegree(s) earned at UCF and year degree(s) was/were conferred
BA 2005, Burnett Honors College graduate, and Honors in the Major; MFA 2007Employer
Full Sail University, Winter Park, FLWhat do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I am a Course Director in the English Department (8 years). I also teach writing courses at Full Sail and work for Full Sail's writing center.In what ways are you involved in the community outside of work?
I am active in Orlando's literary community by participating in readings and poetry slams. I am also the poetry editor for Fantastic Floridas, a literary journal website based in Orlando.Did you work full or part time as a UCF student? How do you think this helped you when you were seeking a permanent position?
As a grad student, I held positions in the English Department with The Florida Review, and UCF's Writing Center. I also taught English Composition, and Creative Writing. Off campus, I taught Spinning classes at the YMCA.What was your major? How did you determine your major? Did you change majors while at UCF?
I was an English major, Creative Writing track. I started with 3000-level courses my freshman year, so I felt like I had a focus on my major from the very beginning. With every gen-ed class I took, I thought, "How can I use what I'm learning in my writing?" Later, in grad school, I thought about what I would actually do for my career, and I had the opportunities to explore different areas through assistantships and jobs such as editing and teaching.Are you working in the field of industry/business you thought you would? Is your career what you expected it would be? How is it different? How is it similar to what you expected?
I think the dream of every creative-writing student is to make a living writing. The reality is that, for most writers, writing alone doesn't pay the bills. While in school and shortly thereafter, I gained experience in editing, event-coordinating, and teaching. I was interviewing for an event-coordinator position when, during the interview, I realized that I really wanted to teach. My family is full of teachers, and I'd had a passion for teaching since I was a child. When I focused on my career goals, I wanted to join teaching and creative writing. Shortly after graduating with my MFA, I was offered a full-time teaching position at Full Sail University. A few months later, I was given a Creative Writing course to teach, and I have taught that course ever since. For these reasons, my education directly affected my career. My career is better than I'd ever expected. The company I work for values me, and I value it. The creative atmosphere at Full Sail encourages creative endeavors, and is made up of talented, creative people. We motivate each other. I write when I'm not working, and I keep my writing career separate from my teaching career. I write poetry and memoir.What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
I would tell her to relax, and be more forgiving of herself.What person or group had the biggest influence on you as a student? Why?
I held offices, including a year as president, in UCF's literary organization (Cypress Dome Society). I coordinated readings and fundraising events, and I made friends with others who loved reading and writing. I joined CDS during the second semester of my freshman year. I had felt lost, disconnected, and overwhelmed by the number of students (now, 36,000 seems like nothing for UCF). Through Cypress Dome Society, I made friends that I still talk to today, and I worked closely with faculty mentors. I was also an editor for UCF's student literary journal, The Cypress Dome, and manuscript-reader for The Florida Review. These experiences led directly into my editor positions at The Florida Review when I was a grad student (one year as Assistant Managing Editor, and one year as Managing Editor).Looking back, what are you most proud of about your time at UCF?
I'm proud of earning a Founder's Day Award, and of the dedication I put into my work, and the effort I made to set myself apart from my classmates. I also received a study-abroad scholarship from the Burnett Honors College for a semester in Urbino, Italy, and several scholarships from the English Department through the years.What was your most valuable experience outside of the classroom and why was it valuable for you?
I learned a lot from having coffee with my friends in the bookstore's cafe. There, I felt like I belonged.