Graduates of NMU’s MA and MFA programs have gone on to pursue a wide variety of professional and academic opportunities.
Students have been accepted into MFA and PhD programs at many esteemed universities, including : Arizona State University (PhD, Literature), Bowling Green State University (PhD, Rhetoric and Writing), Eastern Washington University (MFA), Georgia State University (PhD Creative Writing), New Mexico State (PhD, Literature), Ohio University (PhD, Rhetoric and Composition),Texas State University – San Marcos (PhD, Developmental Education), University of Idaho (MFA), University of Nebraska – Lincoln (PhD, Creative Writing), University of Massachusetts – Amherst (MFA), University of New Mexico (PhD, Rhetoric and Composition), University of North Dakota (PhD, Rhetoric and Composition), University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (PhD, English), Washington State University (PhD, English), and Wayne State University (PhD, Literature).
Alumni have embarked on publishing careers with both small and national publishers and some of the most distinguished and innovative literary journals in the country. Recent alums have earned both NEA and Stegner fellowships and pursued teaching positions at two- and four-year universities, including but not limited to: Bay College, Central Michigan University, Concordia University, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Lansing Community College, Mississippi State University, Southwest Oklahoma State University, University of Alaska – Ketchikan, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Oregon, University of Rochester, University of Wisconsin – Rock County, Waubonsee Community College, Western Nebraska Community College.
Below, you’ll find bios on some of our alumni with notes on current projects and employment.
Erin Celello was born and raised in Michigan’s gorgeous Upper Peninsula where she spearheaded a neighborhood effort to sell Trilliums in beer bottles (because lemonade stand revenues just weren’t cutting it), taught herself to do a “Three Amigos” mount onto her saint–like horse’s back, ski raced, spent a lot of time trying to get out of track workouts, and made many dubious fashion and hair choices (which makes her thankful on a daily basis that Facebook showed up after she left high school), and one dubious choice in general that resulted in her having to paint the rival school’s football stadium.
She received an English degree from St. Norbert College. Not knowing what else one does with a degree in English, Erin set out for law school but never quite got there. Instead, she headed back up (farther) north to Marquette, Michigan where she received an MFA in fiction from Northern Michigan University along with a PhD in snow shoveling.
Eventually, Erin landed in Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives today with her two young sons, two unruly Vizslas, and her husband Aaron. After spending nearly a decade in political communications – serving as a speechwriter for former Governor Jim Doyle, the spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Communications Director for a state Supreme Court political campaign, a trade association, and a local school district – Erin transitioned to academia and is now an assistant professor of writing at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is the author of two novels published by Penguin/NAL: Miracle Beach (2011) and Learning to Stay (2013).
Elizabeth Crachiolo received her M.A. in English (literature track) from NMU in 2009. There, her interests were nurtured by many great professors dedicated to teaching and mentorship. Since then, she has continued to work and study within academia, first as an adjunct instructor at several different institutions in west Michigan, where she taught basic classes in English, writing, and liberal studies, and currently as a PhD student at the University of California – Davis. She studies English literature from roughly 1500-1700, with particular interests in the history of science and medicine, environmental theory, and gender, and has won several awards and honors, including a fellowship and a graduate essay prize. She misses the snowy winters of the upper peninsula.
While at Northern Erkki earned an MFA in Fiction, and remains incredibly grateful for the help of the wonderful professors there, especially John Smolens, Laura Soldner, Mark Smith, Gabriel Brahm, and Ray Ventre, as well as his hard-working and dedicated peers. He is currently teaching writing and literature courses at Vermont Academy, a small boarding school in southeastern Vermont, and finding some time to write here and there. Recently one of his stories, entitled ”On this Day In this River” and appearing in Kudzu Review, was nominated for the StorySouth “Million Writers Award.” You can read it here: http://www.kudzureview.com/2.2.pdf
Abi (Keller) Maxwell was born and raised in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, where she currently lives. She earned an MA in English at NMU, and an MFA in fiction at University of Montana. Abi’s first novel, Lake People, was published by Random house, and her short story, “Giant of the Sea” appeared in McSweeney’s #39. She is currently at work on her second novel.
Darrin Moir graduated with a Master’s degree in English in 2012, after completing a dual track program of writing and literature. Currently, he works full-time as an adjunct instructor at Washington. Most quarters consist of teaching Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, and College Composition. Darrin continues to write short stories and was last published in The Portland Review in January, 2013.
Casey Thayer earned an MFA at Northern Michigan University with a focus on poetry in 2009. A revised version of his master’s thesis will comprise his debut poetry collection, forthcoming in 2015 from the University of New Mexico Press. After leaving NMU, Casey taught as an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Rock County for three years before relocating with his family to Chicago. This fall, he will hold a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. You can find his work in the following places:
The Poetry Foundation