Alumni Testimonials

We’re currently working on expanding our alumni pages and database. We’re proud of all our graduates, not just those who publish books. Our alumni take their flexible skills to a variety of careers, from law to the business world. If you are an alumni and wish to offer a testimonial or be listed (or to improve your listing below), please let us know by writing to Brian Ascalon Roley at

Check out the recent Paris Review Interview of Pulitzer Prize winning poet and alumna Rita Dove in which she speaks about her time at Miami and its influence on her. The US Poet Laureate Emerita is set to return for a reading and conversation event at 4-5 in the Heritage Room, Shriver Center, April, 25th, 2024.

“My time at Miami was integral to the process of writing and selling my memoir. The creative writing faculty helped foster my voice and style and find the language I needed to talk about my project and my writing, which gave me an edge when pitching agents and publishers. My cohort provided astute and serious criticism of my writing as well as a community of writers with different writing styles and interests whom I still look to for advice and feedback.” —Matt Young, author, Eat the Apple (Bloomsbury, 2018)

“I am grateful to be a part of such a supportive and talented group of writers here at Miami University who continue to make me think critically of the work I am doing and also push me to be better. I wouldn’t be the writer, academic, or literary citizen I am today without the faculty’s support of my work these past two years and also my peers in the MFA program and the community we have built.” —Sofia Voet, MFA 2022. (Now in the doctoral program at Albany.)

“Miami has a very cool creative writing program, which is very experimental and pushes your boundaries. I’ve really appreciated the general mindset of “you know the rules; here’s how to break them!” —Delaney Heisterkamp, BA 2020. (Had a number of publishing internships while a student and after graduation and now works in Marketing for HarperCollins Publishers.)

“I met my best friends at Miami. I met mentors whom I still worship, cherish, and feel supported by. I learned how to write a short story at Miami. My work and my life were fully  and continually supported at Miami—academically, creatively, and economically. Miami was the first of my graduate degrees—it definitely got me where I wanted to go—but the years I spent there were some of the best and most exciting of my life.” —Rachel Levy ‘12, author of A Book So Red (Caketrain, 2015, winner of the 2014 Caketrain Competition judged by Peter Markus), University of Utah PhD candidate, and FC2 Fellow.

“Miami University’s MFA program provided me with a life changing experience- and this is not an exaggeration. The level of personal attention and exemplary teaching is something I doubt I would have experiences at many other programs. It was clear, always, that my professors cared deeply about their students, their writing, and their future plans. It was here that I also tried writing I never before thought I would, from experimental poetry to flash fiction- many forms of writing I’d later become published in.

The path after Miami University was tricky at times, but …the support from the MFA program encouraged me. After a few years of writing freelance articles and working in social media writing to supplement my adjunct income, I accepted a full time lecturer position at Ohio State University.

I went from being afraid to submit a single piece of writing to having 80+ works published in literary magazines, a full length poetry collection (Nifty Lit, Feb 2023) and a novella under contract (Running Wild Press). Miami University’s excellent support, pragmatic but creative professors, and a well rounded program gave me the confidence to write against obstacles, and the teaching experience I needed.” —Erin Jamieson, BA and MFA 2017 (poet and Senior Lecturer at Ohio State).

“At Miami, I learned writing as a craft, as work—something to love through study and practice. With the encouragement of my teachers, I read voraciously during my time in the program and took risks in my writing. I would not be the writer and editor that I am without the community at Miami.” —Emily Corwin ‘15,  author of Tenderling (Stalking Horse, 2018)

“Miami demystified the poetry scene for me: suddenly, I was able to work with people I’d only read–to collaborate with them and be taken seriously as an artist and poet. The professors’ enthusiasm and support is unmatched; they have so much to teach, no matter the stage in your career. Studying at Miami didn’t just improve my writing; it made me believe in myself as a writer.” —Jacqueline Kari ‘12, poet, translator, University of Georgia PhD candidate, and editor of A Bad Penny Review and Opo Books & Objects.

“My favorite part was always the workshops – the CW faculty were absolutely fantastic at providing a generative space and engaging discussions… I remember Tarashea Nesbit started class with a writing prompt; hers were always excellent. One thing that particularly sticks with me was when Prof. Roley had us bring in our three favorite opening lines and had us share them in fiction workshop – that completely changed the way I think about beginning stories.” —Patrick T Howard, BA ’20, grad student at Alabama.

“Honest, considerate, and thoughtful commentary and criticism of my work. Incomparable sprint courses, world-class faculty, a jovial cohort, and one-to-one (and even lifelong) networking with distinguished visiting writers.” —Anthony Ramstetter ‘15

“The English department at Miami helped guide me in my career of books. Understanding the structure of storytelling as a writer, the realities of the industry as an editor, yet still holding true to the magic of books as literature and exploring each title as an adventure to be a part of, a history to be understood… I can’t imagine a better program for writers, readers, and book lovers looking to craft a future in their fields.” Meg Gibbons ’10, CW major, Senior Editor, Sourcebooks

From Interviews

Alex Rice, BA. Now an agent at top literary agency, CAA, joined us for a publishing symposium in March 2023. She also did an interview with Creative Writing Director Brian Roley on her time at Miami and post-graduation path, which you can read here.

Alla Vilnyanskaya, MA. Read alum Alla Vilnyanskaya’s interviews with Tupelo Quarterly about her 2021 book, Void. Read about how her poetry was impacted by her experience growing up as an immigrant and the inspiration she gleaned from Miami University here:

I Will Tell You in Silence: A Conversation with Alla Vilnyanskaya about Void – curated by Tiffany Troy

Rajiv Joseph, BA Creative Writing, MA Theatre, speaks about developing an interest in writing as a creative writing major at Miami in this interview. Writer of numerous plays and awards, including Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist) and Describe the Night (Obie Award for Best New American Play).

Bethany Pierce, BA / MA. (Author and artist.):

(excerpted form this interview)

EJ: How did your time at Miami impact you as a writer?

BP: “Graduate school was my crash course in plot and voice. My professors were wonderful. Through their edits, their criticism, and the example of their own writing, they taught me in two years what it would have taken a decade to learn alone.

Those two years helped discipline my mind for long hours at my desk, snatched at odd hours. They thickened my skin to criticism. They also gave me a valuable feeling of camaraderie. I was fortunate to land in a group of talented fellow writers who became close friends I still talk with today.”

In practical terms, my time at Miami also helped me find a publisher. “

James Earl Cox III, BA class of 2014 (Founder and Creative Director, Seemingly Pointless. Games from his 100 games challenge have been exhibited at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Different Games Conference, Eurogamer Expo (EGX), Slamdance Film Festival and Tokyo Game Show. They have received awards from IndieCade, Serious Play, Meaningful Play and Games Learning Society (GLS), and have been displayed in the Smithsonian Pop-Up Arcade as well as in The National Art Center in Tokyo. In addition to games, his writing has been published in several journals and featured on Gamasutra and GameCareerGuide.)

(see more in this interview)

My Academic Career at Miami:

“I came to Miami as an English/Creative Writing major. I always loved crafting fiction and felt it would be a fine fit as I explored other areas of Miami.”

What Miami moment most influenced or continues to influence your life today and how/why?

“The openness and willingness of professors to help and encourage. I had access to a lot of opportunities that grew and directed my passions.”

You can find a listing of alumni publications and jobs here.