Student and Alumni Accomplishments
Old Dominion University's MFA program began with 12 students. Today, that number has almost tripled. ODU's MFA students come from all over the country. They vary in age, background, and interests. More than half of them attend the program full-time; many of these students also work on campus, funded either through teaching, research, or similar assistantships . Many of our current students are also employed full-time in the area - as writers, teachers, or editors.
Scott Anderson (F '05) won the 2006 Glimmer Train New Writers Short Story Contest; the award came with publication and $1200.
Natalie Diaz (P '06) was a 2005 Finalist and Honorable Mention for The North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Prize. She was Finalist for the 2006 Sow's Ear Poetry Prize, and the John Woods Scholarship. She was also accepted to the 2006 Prague Summer Program; and was the recipient of the David Scott Sutelan Memorial Scholarship ($2407), during her MFA stint at ODU. Natalie Diaz was one of the featured readers in the 2007 Tidewater Community College Literary Festival. Her work has been published in the North American Review (Honorable Mention--The James Hearst Poetry Prize), the Southeast Review (Finalist--Southeast Review Poetry Prize), Pearl Magazine, and Touchstone. She was Finalist in the New Letters Fiction Contest. Natalie's poems placed Finalist in the first ODU - Poetry Society of Virginia - Academy of American Poets-sponsored College Poetry Prize in 2007. In 2008, she published work in Crab Orchard Review and other national literary journals. In fall 2007, she won the prestigious Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize at Nimrod International Journal of Poetry and Prose, which came with publication, a $2000 prize and an all-expense paid reading. Her MFA thesis manuscript The Clouds are Buffalo Stampeding Toward Jesus has just been accepted for publication by Copper Canyon Press (forthcoming 2011).
Edmund Dowe (P '10) published two poems in Boiling River (spring 2009).
He teaches Honors English and Creative Writing at Granby High School.
Deborah Lynne Downs' (P '10) poems placed Finalist in the first ODU - Poetry Society of Virginia - Academy of American Poets-sponsored College Poetry Prize in 2007; she won the 2009-2010 College Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Zang Spur Review, Cortland Review, and other journals. She teaches English at Tidewater Community College.
Joanna Eleftheriou (NF '08) has essays published in The Crab Orchard Review and Chatauqua. She begins doctoral studies at the University of Missouri in fall 2010. Her essay "Moonlight, My Father" was one of six finalists in the Best of Creative Nonfiction MFA Program-Off (sponsored by Lee Gutkind's Creative Nonfiction and W.W.Norton) in 2008; subsequently the essay was accepted for publication in the 2010 issue of Chatauqua. Her essay "Reunion" was accepted for publication in a September 2009 issue of the Appalachee Review.
Travis Everett (P '12) has published a poem in Short, Fast, and Deadly, spring 2010.
Christian Anton Gerard (P, '09) gave readings at the 2007 Writing By Degrees National Graduate Writers Conference at SUNY-Binghamton in Binghamton, NY, and The Fair Trade Festival in Norfolk, 2007, while still a student in the MFA Creative Writing Program at ODU. During his stint in the program, he coordinated the Writers in Community program and led the Creative Writing Workshops at the Norfolk Collegiate School's Second Annual Student Journalism Conference. In the past two years Christian has had more than eleven poems accepted for publication in various refereed literary journals including but not limited to Harpur Palate, Whiskey Island, Triplopia, Bloodlotus, Bat Creek Journal and Orion Magazine. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee.
Farideh Goldin (NF, '00) published her nonfiction memoir Wedding Song (Brandeis University Press) in 2003; it was her MFA creative writing thesis. She now lectures on the faculty of the English Department at Old Dominion University and travels extensively to give creative writing workshops. www.faridehgoldin.com
Lenore Hart (F '00), has published poetry, short stories, nonfiction, reviews, and illustrations in The Apalachee Quarterly, Blackwater Review, Brutarian Magazine, Chesapeake Life, Delmarva Quarterly, The Flagler Review and others. Her work has been included in the anthologies In Good Company and Turnings: Writing on Women's Transformations, and her novel Waterwoman was a Barnes and Noble "Discover" title, and an alternate selection of the Literary Guild. Her other novels include Ordinary Springs and The Treasure of Savage Island, a novel for young adults. Visit her website at http://www.lenorehart.com/
Gail Benge Kent (NF) is President of The Buzz Factory, LLC, a boutique public relations firm providing marketing communications, branding, publicity and copywriting services to small to mid-sized businesses and non-profit organizations (specialty: healthcare and higher education) in the Hampton Roads area.
Ann Barry Burrows (F candidate) published "Long at Table" in the December 2010 issue of Alimentum Journal.
Jennifer Graham (P candidate) published "The Inter Workings of Our Blue-Green Marble Called Earth," and an interview in Red Ochre Lit journal (February 2011).
Erin Kiley's (P '10) poem "Call to Prayer" was selected for inclusion in the anthology Lyrical Iowa in 2009. http://www.odu.edu/ao/news/index.php?todo=details&id=17589
Mary Jean (Laneheart) Kledzik, formerly a student in the MFA poetry program and a transferee to Virginia Commonwealth University, has had poems published/accepted in national literary journals including The Paris Review and HerMark 2007 (WomanMade Gallery).
Manoli Kouremetis (F '06) has stories forthcoming in The Southeast Review and Panhandler Magazine. A poem has also been accepted at Boxcar Poetry Review.
Bob Kunzinger's (NF '04)) essay "Sliced Bread" was listed in Best American Essays 2008 as one of the notable essays of 2007.
Rebecca Lauren (P '06) is a new Affiliate Professor of English, Eastern University and concurrently Director of Recruitment,The Oregon Extension Women's Studies May Term at Eastern University. Her chapbook, The Schwenkfelders (first developed as part of her MFA creative thesis at ODU), was a co-winner of the Keystone Chapbook Prize; the chapbook was released in spring 2010. Her poems have been anthologized in Poetry Speaks Who I Am and are published or are forthcoming in numerous publications, including Mid-American Review, Southeast Review, and Prairie Schooner. In 2005, while she was still in the MFA Creative Writing Program at ODU, Rebecca's poem "Nicaraguan Morning Grounds" was selected as Semi-finalist in the B.F. Maiz Award for Outstanding Religious Poem; she was also accepted at the Kenyon Review Summer Writers' Workshop in Ohio.
James Lidington (NF) received second place in The Agnes L. Braganza Awards for Nonfiction in spring 2009 at Christopher Newport University's 28th Annual Writer's Conference.
Eugene McAvoy (F '99) is currently the Dean of Academic Services and First Year Programs at the Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport, PA).
Sarah McCoy's (F '08) debut novel, The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico was
released in paperback in the US and Canada in August, 2009
Paula McMahon (F '10) received Honorable Mention in AWP's 2009 Intro
Journals Fiction Competition for her story "The One That Got Away"
Paula also won First Place in the 2009 fiction competition for Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, published by Fairfield University.
Nicole Mazzarella (F '01) is the author of This Heavy Silence. The Chicago Sun-Times said of her first novel, "Simply put, This Heavy Silence is a great read�this is a complex and layered novel about the choices we make and the relationships we build. In [Mazzarella's] writing, she traverses universal ideas and builds characters that will be familiar to a broad cross-section of people, no matter who they are and what they believe." Her novel, which began as a short story written for Sheri Reynolds' workshop and became her thesis project directed by Janet Peery, has won a number of awards The Library Journal named it one of the Best Books of 2005 and described it as "An understated literary gem." Nicole has taught creative writing at Wheaton College for the past five years and lives in the Chicago-area with her husband and daughter. www.nicolemazzarella.com
Claudia Isler Mazur (F '11) had a story, "Hail Marys" , published by Scribblers on the Roof (a forum dedicated to writers of fiction and poetry, with Jewish themes).
Myrna Amelia Mesa (P '08) was selected to present in the College English Association, Caribbean Chapter's Writing Race Conference at the University of Puerto Rico in 2009. She competed for one of the 2008 Poetry Fellowships awarded by the CINTAS Foundation, for writers of Cuban descent. She was a Finalist and Semi Finalist for the 2008 Rita Dove Poetry Prize; Finalist in Cervena Barva Press's 2008 Chapbook contest; Finalist in the 2008 Nimrod/Hardman Poetry Awards Competition; and featured as the Virginia Poet Laureate's Spotlight Poet in February 2007 (Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Virginia Poet Laureate 2006-2008). Myrna is a practicing immigration lawyer and a judge advocate general in the army reserves. She is currently based in Florida.
Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers (P '06) was the Paul and Eileen Mariani Fellow in Poetry at Image Journal's Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico (summer 2006).
Andrea Nolan's (F '09) essay, "Edges," which was published in "The Potomac Review," was listed as one of the top 100 notable essays in Best American Essays 2009, edited by Mary Oliver. She received a fellowship to the 2009 Aspen Summer Words workshop in fiction. While in the MFA program, Andrea was nominated for Graduate Teaching Assistant of the year in 2008. In 2009, she published "How to Lead a Kayaking Trip During a Norte" in Alligator Juniper; and in October 2009, "Sister Hercules" was published in Dogwood and was a semi-finalist for their fiction contest.
Princess Perry (F) is a full-time Lecturer in the English Department, Old Dominion University. Her short story "A Penny, A Pound" was Finalist and Honorable Mention for The Common Review's first annual short story prize (spring 2010). Princess has been the recipient of a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship grant in fiction.
Eric Ramseier (F, '11) had a short story accepted in April 2009 at Stone's Throw Magazine. He teaches Composition in the English Department at Old Dominion University.
Melissa Range (P, '97) has published her poetry in The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, Western Humanities Review, and Poetry London; she has publications forthcoming from Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion. She is the Winner of the 2006 Rona Jaffe Award, the 2007 Discovery / The Nation award, and was a 2007-2008 Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
Warren Reed (F, '05) In 2006, Warren's short story "Precipitate" was published in an anthology marking the 10 years since the Rwandan Genocide, by the prestigious publishing house L'Harmatan in France. He has taught English and Art at a private school in Tanzania since 2007.
Noah Renn's (P, '11) poem "Did You Get Tickets to the Show? What Show? The Gun Show" appeared in The New Verse News in September 2009.
Seth Sawyers (NF, '05) in 2006 published the essay "Getting Started" in the winter/spring 2006 issue of Crab Orchard Review; he also published "Some Kind of Apology" in Fugue (winter 2006), and "A Cheat-Sheet Memoir" in Ninth Letter.
Seth has been awarded the Writers@Work fellowship in nonfiction.
Jesse Scaccia (NF '10) edits and publishes AltDaily, Hampton Roads' news, arts, and culture alternative online magazine, to a readership of over 40,000 per month http://www.AltDaily.com
Dana Staves (F '10) received a 2009 summer internship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachussetts. She is currently working for a law office in Virginia Beach.
Roopa Swaminathan (NF '07) is the author of Star Dust (Penguin Books, 2004); the book received the Swarna Kamal or National Award for the Best Book on Cinema in India, a prize which was awarded by the Indian President in 2005. In 2003, she also wrote and produced a film called "Five by Four" for the National Film Development Corporation (India's premiere state-run venture capital company for the film industry; the film has been screened at the Shanghai Film Festival, the Writers market at Santa Monica, and other venues.
Joseph K. Stertz (P), a former pastor with degrees in Theology, worked at the Chesapeake Bay Academy (2005-2007). His poem "Passage" appeared in the May 2005 issue of DMQ Review. He is currently lecturing at a University in North Carolina and seeking admission to a Ph.D. program.
Angela Trefethen (NF) teaches Honors English and Creative Writing at Maury High School.
Mary Westbrook (F, 10) received 2009 fellowships to the Bread Loaf writers conference, and to the Sarah Lawrence summer writing workshop in New York. During her stint in the program, Mary coordinated the Writers in Community program. She has been teaching workshops for The Muse in Norfolk since her graduation.
Heather Weddington (NF '11) received a work-study scholarship to the Juniper Writers Institute at University of Massachussetts in Amherst, summer 2010.
Brian C. Wilson (NF '10)'s story "Save the Bay, Eat a Ray" appeared in the summer 2009 issue of Edible Chesapeake magazine.
Thomas Andrew Yuill's book of poems, Medicine Show, was accepted by the University of Chicago Press.
Emily-Louise Zimbrick-Rogers (F, '10) organized a panel on spirituality in writing, featuring ODU MFA faculty and alumni, for the 2010 AWP Conference in Denver. The panel was featured by the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jed-bickman/sacred-art-exploring-the_b_531799.html