About Us

Current Students

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

2013 Cohort

Sarah Baker

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Undergraduate Degree: Anthropology, minors in Linguistics and English

Writing Interests: Digital poetry, translation

Other Interests: Archaeology, teaching, culinary arts

Breka Blakeslee

Undergraduate Institution: Penn State University
Undergraduate Degree: Journalism

Writing Interests: Fiction, experimental and absurdist writing, collaborative writing, creative nonfiction 

Other Interests: Sustainable agriculture, media studies, backpacking and cooking

Scott Brown

Undergraduate Institution: Whitworth University
Undergraduate Degree: English (Writing track)

Writing Interests: “Writing interests me very much.”

Other Interests: “I like bikes, breakfast and basketball (note: this alliteration was not planned or contrived, I just apparently like "B" stuff.  See: honey).”

Laura Burgher

Undergraduate Institution: University of Michigan - Dearborn 
Undergraduate Degree: Anthropology, minor in English
Other Degrees or Certificates: Writing Certificate 

Writing Interests: Weaving fiction and reality, travel writing/memoir/journaling, intertwining poetry and prose, social change/empowerment, storytelling as culture making, the interaction of other arts with writing, the effects of spirituality/meditation on creativity and inspiration 

Other Interests: Spending time in the great outdoors - hiking/kayaking/backpacking/picking berries, reading, martial arts, meditation, myths/magic/archetypes/dreams, science of all sorts (biology, ecology, psychology, astronomy, quantum physics…), music 

Denise Coville

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: English (Creative Writing track)

Writing Interests: Creative non-fiction and literary fiction, non-traditional forms and experimenting with new/social media as a medium for fiction

Other Interests: Denise likes board games, baking, dogs, craft beer and Seattle sports teams. Also, she aggressively collect teal, she likes the idea of traveling and might try it someday, and all she wants in life is to live on a boat and avoid jury duty.

Lynarra Featherly

Undergraduate Institution: St. John's College
Undergraduate Degree: Liberal Arts (Philosophy, Literature, Mathematics)
Other Degrees or Certificates: Level 2 German Language Certificate, Goethe Institute 

Writing Interests: Lynarra is interested in questions of time and space, agency and affect, muck and ethereality.  These come together in the way writing can open things up, allow for or constrain movement, beyond what looks like it should be possible in our everyday use of language, allowing us to expand or choke off time and space.  She has some beginning sense of the dialectical possibility between freedom and constraint, between anarchy and culture—to be with or without words.

Other Interests: Existential phenomenological psychology, questions of crisis and communication, exteriority and interiority, and more generally what it means to be ‘in a family’ (and other forms of sociability) over time. Lynarra is also left with a set of questions about “material” from her year studying at the Appalachian Center for Craft (emphasis Wood Studio).

Samuel Iniguez

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Davis
Undergraduate Degree: Chicano/a Studies; Rhetoric & Communication
Other Degrees or Certificates: MA English, San Francisco State University

Writing Interests: Playwriting, screenplays, poetry, prose, fiction, memoir, rap lyrics, short story

Other Interests: Photography, cooking, freestyling/cyphering, Photoshop, reading, Dungeons & Dragons, grant writing, hiking, social justice networking, editing, publishing

Colin McArthur

Undergraduate Institution: Northern Arizona University
Undergraduate Degree: Electronic Media
Other Degrees or Certificates: Editing Certificate, University of Washington

Writing Interests: Semi-autobiographical exploration of community, friendship, relationship, rivalry, and desire in prose and poetry

Other Interests: Colin is an avid storyteller, drawing on his rural upbringing in the desert southwest, and someday hopes to watch "Field of Dreams" without crying. 

Megan McGinnis

Undergraduate Institution: Principia College
Undergraduate Degree: English - Creative Writing, minor in Religion

Writing Interests: Historical fiction, children's literature, screenwriting, fairy tales, feminism

Other Interests: Movies, music, reading, yoga, hiking, religion, card making

Penny Quinteros

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Seattle
Undergraduate Degree: Political Science, focus in American Government

Writing Interests: Penny is interested in writing genre novels particularly fantasy and young adult, but she enjoys other types of writing including speeches and political essays. She thinks one of the best things about writing is the entertainment it gives to the reader, so she wants to develop powerful and moving stories that can really make someone’s day.

Other Interests: Penny spends most of her free time reading (aka “researching”), but she also likes video games, movies and all sorts of technology.  She tries to constantly learn new things, like horseback riding.

Travis Sharp

Undergraduate Institution: Athens State University
Undergraduate Degree: English and Drama

Writing Interests: Cross-genre writing; prosetry; flash fiction; vignettes; playwriting; creative writing which explores the post-gender mind, the fluctuations of identity throughout event(s), and the intersections of identity, the mental/emotional state, and the everyday; academic writing focusing on literary criticism and gender studies

Other Interests: Teaching, tutoring, editing, journal management, theatre, photography, LGBTQ rights, queer theory, gender studies

Todd Simmons

Undergraduate Institution: Whitworth University
Undergraduate Degree: English, minor in Philosophy
Other Degrees or Certificates: Washington State Certified Teacher: English/Language Arts grades 4-12 

Writing Interests: Children’s fiction, adolescent fiction, surrealistic fiction, and comedy – fiction and non-fiction – Funny is funny whether it’s real or not.

Other Interests: Coaching Special Olympics basketball and track, running, reading, and many other fun activities

Christine Smith

Undergraduate Institution: Seattle Pacific University
Undergraduate Degree: Creative Writing and English Literature

Writing Interests: As a writer Christine enjoys exploring the extraordinary aspects of ordinary human lives, and making the emotion and experience of another person tangible and available to the reader.

Other Interests: Christine is interested in curating space for different artistic media to come together to produce one cohesive experience. She is drawn to travel, Spanish poetry, surrealist art, and full-bodied evocative music across many genres. She strives to better understand how humanity, while overflowing with potential for kindness and mercy, so often chooses hate and judgment. She dreams of using art as a way to help heal trauma and produce a movement of understanding and grace.

Heather Vigliotti

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: BSN (Nursing)
Other Degrees or Certificates: AAS, Journalism, SUNY Morrisville

Writing Interests: To write and illustrate a graphic novel. Make a study of the politics and history of hip hop as a music form, an expression and as a cultural movement. Explore haiku. To study current practices in farming (local movements vs factory farming). The 1920's Paris vs, New York. Creative writing as a healing tool.

Other Interests: Heather is a nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center. In her life, she enjoys dancing, cooking, gardening and traveling with her partner. When it comes to reading, she is an omnivore, she devours everything from cookbooks, to historical nonfiction with a marked sweet tooth for young adult fiction.  She regards going back to school as a fantastic chance to study, reconnect, and develop the writer within.

2012 Cohort

Ellen Bauer

Undergraduate Institute: John Carroll University
Undergraduate Degree: English

Research Interests: Reproductive rights, mountaintop removal, anti-racism, LGBT resistance movements, socialism, medicine, the intersectionality of oppressions, post-colonial literature, music, memory conditions

Snapshot: Ellen is an aspiring novelist and poet from the Midwestern rust belt.  She loves tea, and is an avid baker who enjoys experimenting with new ingredients and recipes.  She has many nicknames, the best among them being "Cactopus."

Marcus Bingham

Undergraduate Institute: Central Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: English Language and Literature: Writing Specialization, minor in Theatre Studies, magna cum laude

Research Interests: Creative nonfiction writing, film studies, playwriting, new historicism and post-colonialism

Snapshot: Marcus has led an eclectic life, working as a laborer, stage tech, graphic artist, media technician, writing consultant, videographer, actor, playwright, script analyst, and film extra. He recently delivered his speech The Global Age as the student speaker for the CWU 2011 graduation ceremony. Marcus’ mid-life goal is to inspire a new generation through teaching and writing.    

John Boucher

Undergraduate Institute: Evergreen State College
Undergraduate Degree: Creative Writing, Film Theory and Production

Research Interests: Poetry, micro-fiction, screenwriting, interactive narrative design

Snapshot: John is a co-founder of the Seattle-based writing collective Les Sardines, which publishes a bi-annual lit zine called "Les Sar'zine." He is also co-founder of "The IIWII Project" with artist Aaron Morgan. In 2011, he edited "Heart Breaks Open," an award-winning feature film that played festivals worldwide. John also represents the MFA program as a Student Ambassador.

Susan Brown

Undergraduate/Graduate Institute: Evergreen State (BS), The University of Washington Seattle (BA), Florida Atlantic University (MUP)
Degrees: Environmental Studies (BS), Anthropology (BA), Urban Planning and Regional Planning (MUP)

Research Interests: Creative industries entrepreneurship, material culture, history & historic places, magic, theater, and mixed media

Snapshot: Susan likes to imagine things that don't exit, then cause them to materialize, or at least appear. Lately she is doing a lot of digital collage combining elements of vintage illustrations & her own photography, like in the self-portrait. The new images are being published by Cream City Review, Mayo Review, and Breakwater Review. They are also being fabricated as installations, artist books, and a card game for storytellers that celebrates creativity. Plus, she is working on Kickstarter fundraising projects, and writing short fiction.

Margaret Chiavetta

Undergraduate Institute: SUNY Buffalo
Undergraduate Degree: Anthropology

Research Interests: Margaret focuses on fantasy fiction; however, she is looking to expand her skill set to writing for the internet as well as the gaming industry.

Snapshot: Originally, Margaret wanted to be a National Geographic girl. She graduated in 2005 from the University at Buffalo with a BA in Anthropology and spent one year in Puerto Rico studying free-range monkeys. However, this incredible experience was followed by a series of bad decisions. She ended up pigeon-holed in the animal biomedical research industry. She had a flighty career, moving from one facility to the next, all of which were the same… monkey holocausts. Eventually Margaret had... sort of... a nervous breakdown, followed by a premature-mid-life-crisis. But, like all transformations, she got it together and found the better path for her career. She figures since the world is coming to an end any way, she might as well do what she loves. She foresees two very productive years here at UWB.

Sandy D'Entremont

Undergraduate Institute: Central Washington University
Undergraduate Degree: Interdisciplinary Studies: Social Sciences

Research Interests: The hero/heroine's journey in film and literature, the role of archetypes in fiction, and the power of myth/story to initiate change, both personal and cultural

Snapshot: Sandy is a technical writer for the software industry who lives outside Entiat, Washington.  Her interests include reading, gardening, and exploring wild and beautiful places.

Kelle Gaddis

Undergraduate Institute: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Interdisciplinary Studies: Culture, Literature & the Arts

Research Interests: One of Kelle's research goals will be to create a platform to help individuals: cultivate their writing voice; enhance self-awareness, and expand creativity and imagination. She believes creative writing can empower people to claim personal agency or reclaim a lost sense of agency.

Snapshot: Kelle Grace Gaddis has a passion for writing, particularly literary fiction and poetry. Travel and writing has helped her become a thoughtful global citizen and active volunteer for change both at home and abroad. Kelle strongly believes all people; regardless of race, ethnicity, age or social class deserve respect, dignity and opportunity.

Aimee Harrison

Undergraduate Institute: Massachusettes Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Degree: Creative Writing

Research Interests: Surrealist fiction, narrative poetry, and the intersection of photography and video with literature

Snapshot: Before becoming a writer, Aimee studied geology, environmental science, biology and mathematics, and she has worked in animal care with sea lions, macaques, baby ducks and porcupines. She loves electronic music, crayola crayons, arts and crafts involving yarn and house cats as much as words. Aimee also represents the MFA program as a Student Ambassador.

Andrew Huskamp

Undergraduate Institute: Seattle Pacific University
Undergraduate Degree: Educational Ministry

Research Interests: Children's literature, mythology, fairy tales, young adult fiction

Snapshot: Andrew grew up in Montana and has worked with Youth for Christ in the Crossroads area of Bellevue during the last three years. He enjoys working with youth alongside his wife and hopes to continue investing in young people throughout his life by engaging them with the power of story.

Jay Loomis

Undergraduate Institute: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Interdisciplinary Studies: Culture, Literature & the Arts

Research Interests: Collaborative/interactive fiction, the intersection of games and story creation, game design, popular fiction across many media

Snapshot: Jay loves nothing more than the exotic alchemy of people connecting through the medium of story. A jack-of-all-trades, he is easily excited by a wide variety of subjects, most of them admittedly pretty geeky. The best way to get to know him is to sit down and play a story game with him.

Tiare Mathison

Undergraduate/Graduate Institute: Evergreen State College, Fuller Theological Seminary
Degree: Masters of Divinity

Research Interests: Exploring the connection of the word written, spoken and heard; examining the space of silence; and how do visuals and music enhance words

Snapshot: Tiare is passionate about life, enjoys good food and good conversations, dabbles in watercolor, and cares deeply about doing her small part to make a better world for everyone.

Michael Paschall

Undergraduate Institute: Brooks Institute of Photography
Undergraduate Degree: Film and Video Producation, concentration in Screen Writing

Research Interests: Visual journalism, poetry, and the relationship between poetic visual and journalistic expression, Native American culture, mythology, and astronomy


Billy Phillips

Undergraduate Institute: Brigham Young University
Undergraduate Degree: Philosophy, Political Science, a-letheia and poiesis

Research Interests: Epic narrative poetry, art as rupture to hegemonic thought, Anarchism, genre challenging narrative, women's poetry and literature, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Levinas and ethics, children's advocacy

Snapshot: Billy is a poet living in Marysville with his wife and two children. He has vanity published books of poetry, and produced two of his plays. He paints and does charcoal drawings, organizes reading groups, and tries to stay up on his philosophy studies.

Talena Lachelle Queen

Undergraduate Institute: Montclair State University (BA), University of Washington (Teacher Certification)
Undergraduate Degree: Broadcasting (BA), Elementary Education, Middle Level Humanities (Teacher Certification)

Research Interests: Talena is interested in poetics as an educational tool to help close the opportunity gap for urban youth. She is also interested in multi- media and literary collaborations as a means to showcase the written word as a fine art.

Snapshot: Talena, a proud native of Paterson, NJ, began writing stories when she was five years old and won her first writing award at age seven. She graduated from Rosa Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts where she majored in Creative Writing and fell in love with poetry. Talena is the founder and president of Her Best Self a non-profit organization that empowers high school age girls by combining rite of passage activities and mentoring. She is also a mother, martial artist and gardener.

J.D. Satlin

Undergraduate Institute: SUNY Buffalo
Undergraduate Degree: Philosophy

Research Interests: Rhetoric, futurism, the way in which language affects ethical decision making, the place word connotations play in expression, the ability of words to reinforce or lessen cognitive biases, the relation between identity and writing (or more generally creative expression)

Snapshot: J.D. grew up in the Seattle area, and went away to undergraduate at University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY to study philosophy, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He is an avid consumer of information in nearly any form he can get it. His thought process verges on Socratic, if Socrates really loved puns.  His interests range into the sciences as well as the humanities; sciences from astronomy to neuro/cognitive science fascinates him.

Diana Savora

Undergraduate Institute: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree: Interdisciplinary Studies: Culture, Literature & the Arts

Research Interests: To explore the rapid change that the literary world is experiencing as the development, modification, and expansion of technology closes the gap between community, writer and reader.

Snapshot: Diana loves living in the Pacific Northwest and takes advantage of the rainy days to stay indoors and write. She lives with her amazing husband and two sweet English Bulldogs. When she’s not busy writing or reading, she enjoys cooking, skiing, or just hanging out with family and friends.

Kat Seidemann

Undergraduate Institute: University of Washington Bothell
Undergraduate Degree:Media and Communications; Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior.

Research Interests: Kat's first loves are creative non-fiction and poetry. The MFA in CW/P has inspired her to experiment with other genres and to play with different media to present her work. Kat's poetics work explores the use of photographs in creative works and how documentation supplements or supplants memory. She's interested in how creative writers use images to mislead and/or to enhance their work. As a communications tutor she enjoys helping others learn the love of writing, or at least to become more confident in their own abilities. Word play figures large in her creative work and her job. Kat also represents the MFA program as a Student Ambassador.

Other Interests: Neuroscience, photography, animal welfare advocacy, music, thoroughbred horse racing, social sciences, and editing.