Loyola University Maryland

Writing Department

Alumni Updates

Our Alumni Update page features information from our writing students who have graduated from Loyola. If you majored in writing, or were a writing minor or interdisciplinary major, and would like to add your information to this page, please email Dr. Craig Medvecky (crmedvecky@loyola.edu).

Class of '16

Miriam 'Ife' OkpaliMiriam (Ife) Okpali, '16, was an English-Writing & Philosophy major, and while at Loyola worked in the Writing Center. She received a scholarship to the The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University where she will pursue a concentration in global energy & environment policy. Ife is specifically interested in the "Global Energy & Environmental Policy" concentration. As an undergrad, she didn't always know that she wanted to go into International Affairs. In fact, she was set on Law School. However, as she took language courses in French and Arabic she started to shift her focus. An English course titled "Postcolonial Literature: Homelands" heightened her interest in diverse narratives, courses in Writing (Travel Writing, Writing Fiction, Writing Poetry) alerted her to the fact that she most enjoys writing about subjects involving cross cultural experiences. She took a number of political philosophy courses (Justice in Global Perspective, Critique of Political Economy, Contemporary Political Philosophy) that sparked and fostered her interest in international issues. Ife writes, " I am really thankful that I was able to receive a liberal arts education that insisted upon a required core. The core allowed me to recognize and develop interests I didn't know I had."

Class of '15

Alexa DiCunzolo Class of '15Alexa DiCunzolo, '15, Political Science major and Writing minor. Alexa is currently a student at George Washington Law School and is a Law Clerk at Slover & Loftus LLP, a boutique transportation and energy litigation firm. She has also accepted a position as a 2017 Summer Associate at Polsinelli PC in their Washington, DC office. While at Loyola, Alexa took Art of the Argument, Writing about Film, Writing about the Environment, The Creative Eye, Introduction to Rhetoric, Writing Center Practice and Theory, Empirical Rhetoric and Senior Seminar. She was also a Writing Center tutor. "More students should be encouraged to take advantage of writing classes at Loyola even if they don’t intend to be a 'writer.' This is such a common misconception among students and writing is simply not something you will get help with later on. My experience in the Writing Department has helped tremendously in law school exams and has been eagerly brought up in every law firm interview I have had."

Katie Krzaczek, '15, was recently accepted to Columbia University's School of Journalism. At Loyola, she was a communication major with a writing minor. While at Loyola she took Writing Poetry, Writing Fiction, Screenwriting, Writing about Music and Culture, Writing About Film, and Senior Seminar.

Class of '14

Kate Tafelski, '14, writing interdisciplinary major, is an Assistant Editor with Lexington Books, an imprint of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group in Lanham, MD. She accepted a full time position after interning with Lexington in the spring of her senior year. Lexington publishes academic monographs and edited collections across the social science and humanities. Kate manages the African studies list and also acquires titles for the political science and international relations discipline.

Katie Lemons, '14, writing minor, is a full-time blogger on her site twistoflemons.com. After Loyola, Katie began working at a nearby hospital and noticed the intrinsic link between diet and chronic disease. She then decided to pursue a Master's in Nutrition and needed a space to post her research and relevant findings.  Her website and its associated social media fingerlings are now a pun-packed passion and career. She also represents burgeoning health companies, showcasing products and ideas that align with her personal wellness mission.

Sarah Nielsen, '14, writing minor, recently accepted a position at Amplify Education in the Government Relations sector in Washington, DC. For Amplify, she works primarily with lobbyist contracts, as well as other administrative duties. She also is able to attend education policy events to conduct research for the company. In her spare time, she is a contributing editor at Southern Pulse, a networked intelligence firm, where she collects data from Latin American countries. She uses this data to create intel feeds for private companies and individuals to help them obtain information about Latin America.

Class of '13

Ryan Garvin '13Ryan Garvin, '13, graduated from Loyola with an interdisciplinary BA in Writing and Philosophy. After graduation, he became a Marketing Specialist at ABET, a global nonprofit that accredits university programs in the STEM majors. There he writes content and executes strategic marketing campaigns for every dimension of the company's operations in 30 countries across the globe. He also played a major role in developing a world-class brand for ABET in 2015, specifically leading the project to create a new website, writing a rebranded tone of voice into all materials, and guiding other departments to align with the brand.

Nora Kearney, '13, writing minor, joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps following graduation and spent her year of service in Cleveland, OH. Nora was placed at Saint Martin de Porres High School, a member of the Cristo Rey Network, as an Assistant College Counselor. Her work focused on planning campus visits for students, assisting seniors through their application process, and working on résumé building and essay writing with the junior class. Nora is now at Boston College working towards her M.A. in Higher Education with a split concentration in Student Affairs and Catholic University Leadership. She works for the Lynch School of Education Undergraduate Student Services Office, primarily with a first-year seminar program and academic advising.

Kelsey McGlynn, '13, I have been so fortunate throughout my job search because of my BA in English and Writing. My degree has provided me with both excellent written and verbal communication skills. These skills have helped me to gain a position working for Insight Global, an IT staffing agency in the Inner Harbor area in Baltimore, MD. I am currently living in Charles Village with another Loyola alum and really looking forward to attending Loyola's upcoming Career Fair in October, where I will be representing Insight Global.

Valentina Guzzo, '13, began work as a Corporate Paralegal at the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP, a top ten international law firm with offices worldwide. Valentina works under the Corporate sector and has worked on Merger and Acquisition deals, as well as Capital Markets and Leverage Finance. She has also done some pro-bono work by assisting individuals in asylum in filing for refugee status and looks forward to working in the inner-city high school legal-outreach mentoring program that the firm sponsors. In her current position, Valentina explained that a variety of skills are essential for success, such as being organized, multitasking, attending to detail, working well with others, expressing a desire to learn, meeting deadlines, being flexible, and communicating clearly both in person and on paper. (Updated January 2014.)

Class of '12

Lauren Keller, '12, is a Sales and Marketing Assistant at Optimal Networks, Inc. in Rockville Maryland. Lauren reported in December of 2013: “Professionally, my job rocks . . . . my bosses and coworkers are fabulous, and I'm doing more and more writing as time goes on. I'm also learning a heck of a lot about IT! I'm writing our proposals (which aren't nearly as dry and technical as you might think), our marketing literature, and our COO's blog: http://www.optimalnetworks.com/category/the_common_man/. The blog is a fairly new development for me--I've been putting one out each week for the past, oh, two months? As a rule of thumb, if there are three questions at the end of the post, I didn't write it”  (Updated January 2014.)

Maria Dontas, '12, is an Account Manager at 24/7 Media, a company whose aim is to provide multi-platform internet marketing strategies. She is also recording a solo EP.

Kelly Hatter, '12, is currently working on her Accelerated Teaching Certificate in Elementary/ Special Education and her Masters of Arts in Teaching at Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDM). She is also working at the Harbour School in Owings Mills, which serves students with learning disabilities and autism. She expects to graduate from NDM in 2015.

Caitlin Aymong, '12, is attending Teacher's College at Columbia University for an Ed.M. in School Psychology.

Juliana Horbachevsky, '12, is a Publicity Assistant for the Pocket/Gallery Books imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Thomas Johnson, '12, received a full tuition waiver with a teaching assistantship to Catholic University's English PhD program. This summer he published a book review in The Weekly Standard.

Class of '11

Jennifer Nordmark, '11, is working in production at Blue Sky Studios, located in Greenwich, CT, which made all the Ice Age movies, Robots, Horton Hears a Who, and Rio. Jen reported in December, 2013 that “things are going very well!” and she will have her third feature film credit when Rio 2 comes out. She has “moved a bit further along on the production management track” and now coordinates “the department responsible for all grass, leaves, fur, and hair” in the Blue Sky movies. She explained, “It's amazing how much time is spent on the details animated moviegoers hardly ever think about! Thirteen people just create cgi fur all day.”  Jen also has been co-hosting a weekly film review podcast with another Loyola grad, Tim Dillon. Check it out at http://www.breakthruradio.com/#/viewdj/?blog=114.

Pat Taylor, '11, is currently a News Reporter for the East County Times in Essex responsible for field reporting, editing and page layout.

John Cappiello, '11, teaches at Northeast High School in Kansas City, MO.

Kathryn Tracey, '11, Phi Beta Kappa; Editor for Olida Publishing, Aberdeen, Scotland. She was recently hired as a Faculty Research Assistant for the Director of the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics at University of Maryland, College Park after a stint editing technology curriculum in Annapolis. Ryn reports, “Everyone said that majoring in writing really prepares you for anything - and they were right! I certainly never imagined myself immersed in a workplace filled with talk of optics and wavelengths and applied physics . . . . My job involves a lot of drafting and editing communications from the director's office, serving on campus communications committees, and preparing journal articles for publication.”

Class of '10

Natasha Hochlowski, '10, Natasha's dual degree in chemistry and writing has led her to several jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. After a year of chemistry graduate work at Princeton University, she worked for a year as a technical writer/editor at XenoBiotic Laboratories, followed by six months as a quality assurance specialist at Covance, Inc. Currently, she is working in Horsham, PA as a Labeling Specialist with Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest producer of generic pharmaceuticals worldwide. At Teva, she is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all drug labels and package inserts through proofreading, ensuring quality control, and reviewing/approving labeling.

Greg Howard, '10, finished the New York University Masters of Arts program in magazine writing in January 2012. After a six-month fellowship at the Dallas Observer, where he blogged and published four cover stories, he became a staff writer for the Village Voice, blogging and writing cover stories. Visit his blog at http://blogs.villagevoice.com/author.php?author_id=3341. 

Class of '08

Ross Losapio, '08, entered his final year in the MFA program (poetry) at Virginia Commonwealth University where he is Lead Associate Editor for Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts. This fall, he will serve as Associate Editor Emeritus and will teach an honors section of “Reading & Writing of Fiction & Poetry” at Virginia Commonwealth University  His poems have appeared recently in Copper Nickel, the minnesota review, and The Emerson Review.

Raina Fields, '08, just accepted a position as Chancellor's Minority Professional Teaching Fellow at Virginia Community College System. Raina graduated from the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing (Poetry) and English Literature at Virginia Tech in May 2012. While there, she served as an instructor of English composition/creative writing and an editor of the minnesota review. She wrote a collection of poems, Last Rites for Uptown, and published poems in journals such as Callaloo, Sweet, Diverse Voices Quarterly, PANK, 580Split, and others. Currently, she works as a Communications Manager for Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare in Richmond, VA. She is at work on a second collection of poetry and hopes to get her first collection published within the next couple of years.

Alison Gillis, '08, is the Program Manager of the Master of Public Health Program in Urban Health at Northeastern University, where she also earned her MPH. Public health is an interdisciplinary field, and it is imperative that public health professionals possess the communication skills to work effectively with diverse stakeholders from all sorts of backgrounds and disciplines. As the program manager, Alison works daily with faculty, students (current and prospective), and staff from across the university and with our community partners; she relies heavily on the writing skills she learned while at Loyola. She believes that those skills have given her a competitive edge, especially when she shifted her career path from editorial work to public health/project management and administration.

Class of '07

Laryssa Wirstiuk, '07, received her MFA from the University of Maryland in 2009. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Too Shy to Stop, an online arts and culture magazine, and she blogs about new media at Comma ‘n Sentence. She recently funded the printing of her first book, a collection of short stories titled The Prescribed Burn, using Kickstarter. The book will be published by my small press, Painted Egg Press, this September and will be available in paperback and e-book editions at theprescribedburn.com. Wirstiuk is also an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, where she teaches creative writing and blogging. In addition, she tutor privately and blog about writing at craftyourdrafts.com.

Class of '06

Natalie Joseph Zeigler, '06, is a Technical Writer/Editor for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), part of the National Institutes of Health. As a Technical Writer/Editor for NINR, Natalie writes, designs and produces content for scientific, professional, and consumer audiences. This content includes press releases, health/science publications or submissions, electronic newsletters, user guides/manuals, white papers on a variety of science and business topics, posters, flyers, communication and project plans and NINR correspondence. In addition to her writing and editing responsibilities, Natalie is the developer and system administrator for NINR’s online community, Innovative Questions, and manages web content for the institute’s enterprise website. Natalie previously served as a Health Communications Specialist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and as a Health and Corporate Communications Intern at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. Natalie earned a B.A. in Communications from Loyola University Maryland and a M.S. degree in Health Promotion Management with a Health Communications specialization from American University. She lives with her husband, Kelvin, and her 7-month-old son, Brandon, in Fulton, Md.

Class of '05

Amanda Licastro, '05, graduated with her PhD in English from the Graduate Center, CUNY in April 2016. Amanda's dissertation Excavating ePortfolios: Digging into a Decade of Student-Driven Data won the Calder Dissertation Prize in Digital Humanities in May 2016. Amanda is now the Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric at Stevenson University in Maryland and her innovative use of technology in the classroom has been featured in the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Magazine.

Amanda Licastro Professional Teaching Collage

Chelsea Haddaway Williams, '05, worked with a political consulting firm in Baltimore on Martin O'Malley’s first run for governor. She received her M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College in 2009. For the last two and a half years, she’s worked as a Communications Manager at UMBC.

Nicole Sieben, '05, is currently a leadership trainer and curriculum developer for two education-based, non-profit organizations in the New York area called For Athletes Helping Athletes. Nicole works with high school student-athletes to develop their public speaking and communication skills and trains them to be effective mentors to middle school and elementary school students. For the Get.A.Voice Foundation, Nicole serves as Board President and works with other educators to create and implement language-based anti-bullying initiatives in K-12 schools. Additionally, Nicole is a college instructor at Adelphi University in the School of Education and General Studies where she teaches writing, leadership, and education courses for undergraduate and graduate students. Upon graduation from Loyola, Nicole first worked as a Communications Specialist for the non-profit Sports Leadership Institute. After receiving her Master’s degree in Adolescent English Education, Nicole taught high school English and writing.  In 2013, she received her Doctorate of Education in Learning and Teaching with a specialization in English Education and an emphasis on human development and educational psychology from Hofstra University. Nicole frequently presents locally and nationally and has published in various textbooks and academic journals. Her article, “’Watch What You Teach’: A First Year Teacher Refuses to Play It Safe,” in the March 2009 English Journal was awarded the Edwin M. Hopkins Award by the National Council of Teachers of English. Nicole’s development as a writer, an educator, a leadership trainer, and an advocate and activist for social justice in education began at Loyola in her writing, communications, and gender studies classes.

Kristen Kearby '05, MBA '11, is a management/organizational consultant to a gold mine in Tanzania. The job involves analyzing the organizational structure, the management practices and policies, and the work processes to optimize the production of gold, while balancing the safety, health, security, environmental, and community requirements.  She is keeping a blog at http://tanzaniaatfirstlight.blogspot.com/  Previously, she worked as a technical writer and proposal manager for KCI Technologies, a full-service engineering firm.

Class of '04

Laurence Ross, '04Laurance Ross, '04 graduated from Loyola with a degree in Writing/English. After graduating from Loyola, Laurence worked his way up the ranks at The Vanguard Group to the position of Assistant Project Manager for Business Technology. He then enrolled in an MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama, where he earned numerous university-wide awards for his teaching and was ultimately hired as a full-time Instructor of English. In 2010, Laurence moved to New Orleans to expand his writing and teaching opportunities. Since then, he has served as an Adjunct Professor for Dillard University, a Visiting Professor of the Humanities for Bard Early College New Orleans, and an Instructor of Creative Nonfiction for Johns Hopkins Center For Talented Youth. In 2014, Laurence was asked to direct P.3Writes, an educational initiative for high school students formed in conjunction with U.S. Triennial Prospect New Orleans. For the past five years, he has also built a dynamic freelance career developing SEO strategies and content marketing campaigns in fields such as real estate, elective healthcare, and lifestyle brands. In addition to his teaching and marketing endeavors, Laurence currently plays an active role in the New Orleans art community as a Feature Writer for Pelican Bomb magazine and continues to publish his other writings in venues such as the Huffington Post and the Georgia Review.

Brian Oliu, '04, is an Instructor of Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing at the University of Alabama. His collection of Tuscaloosa Craigslist Missed Connections, 'So You Know It's Me,' was released by Tiny Hardcore Press in 2011. A series of lyric essays based off of videogame boss battles, 'Level End', was released in 2012 by Origami Zoo Press. Work has been anthologized in 'Best Creative Nonfiction Vol. 2,' (Norton, 2008), 'Metawritings: Toward a Theory of Nonfiction,' (U. of Iowa Press, 2012), & 'Borderlands: Explorations to the Fringe of Nonfiction,' (U. of Nebraska, 2012).

Dana Moss, 04, is an MA/PhD student at the University of California, Irvine, with an emphasis on social movements, state repression, the Middle East, and qualitative methods. She received an interdisciplinary MA from Villanova University in 2009 in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Middle Eastern and North African Studies.  Moss  co-founded and co-directs The Yemen Peace Project, a small non-profit dedicated to educating Americans about Yemen and supporting Yemenis in their fight for democracy and justice. She cannot emphasize how valuable her training in creative writing has been for life in academia -- everyone, ESPECIALLY in the social sciences (contrary to popular belief), has to write constantly, and she feel blessed that she have had training and guidance in this area.

Stephanie Chizik, '04, earned a Masters in Fine Arts for creative nonfiction writing from Chatham College. Currently, Stephanie is an associate editor for Four Point Publishing LLC in San Diego, California. She is also the primary editor of a bi-monthly trade magazine and contributing writer for another magazine that LLC publishes. Her freelance work includes publications in 101 Things to Do in San Diego, www.52perfectdays.com, and Conte Online. Stephanie notes: "I studied under Jane Satterfield, Barbara Mallonee, Ron Tanner, Judith Dobler, Jennifer Follett, and Daniel McGuiness. I can say, without a doubt, that I left Loyola with a solid foundation and understanding of the modern writing process, gleaned through valuable lessons from each of my Loyola writing professors. I also left Loyola with a core group of writing peers to whom I still rely on for feedback on my work."

Maggie Dougherty's, '04, first job after graduating from Loyola with a writing degree was planting trees in West Africa. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she spent two years in The Gambia, where, in addition to planting trees, she wrote lots of letters and journals, read extensively, met amazing people, and worked with schools, women's groups, and individuals on small-scale agroforestry and gardening projects. Currently, Maggie is a first year student in Georgetown's Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) Program, concentrating in International Development/Humanitarian Assistance, as well as working as a trade/agricultural policy intern with Women Thrive Worldwide. Maggie noted: "As a student in Loyola's writing program, I worked with Jane Satterfield, Ron Tanner, Lia Purpura, Ned Balbo, Dan McGuiness, and Karen Fish. I enjoyed the diversity of classes and professors within the program, each offering students technical knowledge and new, more nuanced ways to perceive the world around them. The skills and perspective I gained at Loyola have helped in every position I've had since graduation. I still enjoy writing creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, and look forward to focusing more on writing following graduate school."

Class of '98

Erin Karper, '98, is an associate professor in the English department at Niagara University where she teaches first-year composition, professional writing, visual rhetoric, and writing for the Web, as well as directing the writing studies minor and serving as the acting director of the first-year composition program. Erin's time at Loyola prepared her for a rigorous graduate program in rhetoric and composition at Purdue University (MA, 2000; PhD, 2004) where she was in charge of Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) and the technology coordinator for Purdue's Professional Writing Program.

Class of '92

Pam Garvey '92Pamela Garvey, '92, is the author of a forthcoming collection of poems, Seven Miles Deep (Five Oaks Press) as well as two poetry chapbooks, Things Impossible to Swallow (2River Press, 2013), and Fear (Finishing Line Press, 2008), a finalist for the New Women’s Voices Competition. Her poems, short stories and book reviews have appeared in Esquire, Missouri Review, Margie, Spoon River Poetry Review, The North American Review and many other journals. Honors include being a semi-finalist for the “Discovery”/The Nation prize. Garvey credits Loyola for a rigorous and well-rounded education in the humanities and particularly thanks Karen Fish for introducing her to contemporary poetry. Garvey’s career has built upon Loyola’s foundation in the humanities and service. In the 1990s she spent time in Mexico and Central America (inspired by her participation in Project Mexico as an undergraduate), and many of the poems in her forthcoming collection reflect those experiences. She also earned both an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing (Virginia Commonwealth University) in the 1990s. After relocating to St. Louis in 1999, she co-founded Words on Purpose, a committee of socially concerned writers who organize a benefit literary reading series that raises awareness and funds for grassroots non-profits. Since 2001, she has taught at St. Louis Community College-Meramec and in 2011 won the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Community College Teaching. She is currently working on a memoir, The Disease that Begins with I, about her experience with incurable interstitial cystitis.

Class of '91

Julianna Baggott, '91, is the author of nineteen books under her own name and two pen names, most notably PURE, the first in a trilogy, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (2012) and an ALA Alex Award-winner, now in development with Fox 2000. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, on NPR's Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered.