People

Student Ambassadors

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics at the University of Washington Bothell.  The Student Ambassadors are current graduate students in the MFA program who have volunteered to connect with prospective and newly admitted students and answer any questions you may have about the student experience. Read more about our Student Ambassadors below.  You can contact them by emailing iasgrad@uw.edu.

Meet the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics Student Ambassadors

Ashley Noelle, 2018 cohort

Ashley NoelleFormulating connections with people and being of service is what my previous career as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist was about. Throughout my first year in the MFA program, I attempted to weave these same principles into my writing. Continually asking myself, how can I create connections with people through my creative work that promotes growth and healing? The faculty and coursework have encouraged and enabled me to explore various mediums of artistic expression, including writing poetry and prose, in both fiction and non-fiction. As well as dabbling in live reading performances and recorded video poetry.

Going into my second year as an MFA candidate, I am interested in focusing on reading and writing more contemporary poetry with an emphasis on live and/or installed creative works that combine hybrid text and mixed media. Themes and topics that I enjoy contemplating over because they excite and scare me are: mental illness and the care provided (or not provided) within the United States mental health institutions, living in a violence-driven culture, surviving trauma, and therapeutic modalities originating in both Eastern and Western cultures.

Contact me at iasgrad@uw.edu.


Stephanie Segura, 2018 cohort

Stephanie SeguraOver the years, when people have asked me, "why do you write?" my answer has always been centered around how I have always found therapy in writing by hand; fulfilling an experience through a stream of consciousness. Brain vomit. "Why do you write?" is such a loaded question. Coming to UW Bothell has helped me find the "why". I write for my mother, for those who can't. For history that I encounter within me, for underrepresented brown bodies, for bodies that have been erased. I wrap my self in language and interrogate it. 

UW Bothell’s MFA program has offered me the time and space to meet the vast world of writing in more than one way. The program is expansive with its classes that introduce students to various ways in which they can produce poetry. Students can experiment with relational art, research-based approaches along with visual media and audio manipulation. This allows students the freedom to access a writing voice they might not have come across before the program. The classes within the MFA push students to face various perspectives through critiques of readings. This has urged me to remind myself to not only experience what I read, but to also challenge and relate in order to anticipate what I'd like to produce in my own writing. The MFA has also given me the opportunity to meet amazing writers of color such as Don Mee Choi and Cecilia Vicuna. I hope to serve incoming students as a resource, a mystical guide or even just as a friendly face and in an effort to urge my brain to continue to confront diverse perspectives, I'd love to serve as a conversationalist for future discussions.

Contact me at iasgrad@uw.edu.


Nicholas Sweeney, 2018 cohort

Nicholas SweeneyThe longer I’ve been in education, the more skeptical I’ve become of it. A first generational college student (let alone graduate student) from a low SES background, I’m constantly reminded that education was not intended for people like me who come from at or below the poverty line. It comes in the assumptions of those around me: how many parents I have, what my family has majored in, how much my family is paying for college, how much organic groceries cost on the east side. And beyond my own experience as a white, male-passing human, the education system actively works to keep out people of color. It might seem contradictory, then, that I decided to attend an MFA program, a creature that often lives within its own bubble of the elite, devoted to writing works that are often intended only for those with similar prestigious educations. My reasoning is wrapped up in why I write. I write prose to reach back, to create connections and spaces that extend beyond the “educated elite,” and I chose to pursue an MFA to gain the tools I needed to give back to those who otherwise might not get the education I have.

UW Bothell’s MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics has helped me move toward those goals in ways I would never have thought of before coming here. Prior to this last year, I approached writing from a traditional fiction perspective. Now, films, hand-made tarot cards, community art projects, memoir, chapbooks, and interactive stories make up some of the ways I approach my topics of queerness, gender, fairy tales, magical realism, psychology, and loss. In this program, I was able to look at the way my passion for outreach and accessibility interacted with my desire to create works I find exciting and interesting. My fellow cohort has supported me in my exploration, and many of the staff have been the ones to push me into the wilderness. My hope is that through these journeys into the creative wilderness, I can create works that can provide a shelter for some and start fires for others.

Contact me at iasgrad@uw.edu.