Bragging Up My Former Students

One of the best things about being a writer who also teaches is getting to promote the accomplishments of former students (including  those accomplishments that might be outside the realms of literature).  So I contacted some former students (hopefully, I can safely call them friends) to see what they’re up to these days. Without further adieu…

Angela Abbott received her Master of Arts in Teaching in Wilmington North Carolina in 2011. She worked at the only alternative military school in the country (located in southern Indiana) as an English teacher and now is moving back to Wilmington to teach English at a Reform School. Last spring, she was selected as a World Book Night giver, meaning she could give roughly 25 books away to her students to promote literacy. She’s done readings at Jengo’s Playhouse in Wilmington, NC and Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, IN. She is currently working on a series of poems written from the perspective of her Southern alter ego, Ruby Ann.

Joe Betz is living with his wife in Bloomington while she finishes a graduate degree in public policy.  He is currently an adjunct at the Ivy Tech in Bloomington and in Indianapolis.  After leaving Ball State, he entered the MFA program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, home of the journal Natural Bridge (to which you should submit things).  He rushed through the MFA program in two years instead of three because he got married and moved to France for a year, in a city called Nancy, or as his step dad calls it, “Fancy Pants Nancy, France.”  He taught English.  He became a socialist and only writes poems condemning greed.  Not really.  He is back in the U.S., living in Bloomington, IN and teaching English courses (occasionally creative writing) at Ivy Tech- Bloomington and Ivy Tech- North Meridian while his wife, Megan, earns a graduate degree in public policy.  Concerning publications and awards, Joe won the Goldstein Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review in 2009, which was judged by Paul Muldoon; in 2010, he won his graduate program’s poetry prize, the James Russell Grant Poetry Prize; in 2011, he was a semi-finalist for the Indiana Review Poetry Prize; and most recently he has placed a few poems in Hayden’s Ferry Review, a St. Louis friend’s letterpress, and in his own words, has “been rejected by many others.”

Joe Cermak is a second year law student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (in Indianapolis) where he has earned the Resident Merit Award. Last summer, he studied abroad in China at Renmin University of China in Beijing.  Then for two weeks, he interned at a Chinese law firm called Deheng Law Firm, which is one of China’s largest firms “with offices all over the place.”  He’s currently following his interest in business law but still does creative writing when he can (including some edgy, well-received poetry at the law school’s talent show).

Elaine Douglas is about to start work as a news reporter/anchor for the Radio Group’s seven radio stations – WALLS 102 (WALS), WGLC, 100.9FM Rocks! (WBZG):, The Q (WSTQ/WIVQ), Classic Hits 106 (WYYS) and AM 1250 WSPL. She’ll be covering news events, writing news stories and delivering newscasts on air. She’ll also be posting news stories on stations’ websites and occasionally host on-air shows.

Shaun Gannon is in his final year of the poetry MFA program at the University of Maryland, College Park.  He is the co-creator of the online poetry community Let People Poems and has been published in print and online in places such as West Wind Review, Everyday Genius, and Red Lightbulbs. His most recent collection of stories, Brown Fuzzy Words, is available online for free through Love Symbol Press.

Eric Greenwell is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Idaho.  His work has appeared in Rattle, Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, and Barnwood International Poetry Mag.  He has worked for Fugue and also recently won U. of Idaho’s Academy of American Poets Prize.  For more info, check him out at

Alysha Hoffa has published poetry, nonfiction, and book reviews in Southern Indiana Review, Sliver of Stone, Fictionfix, Atticus Review, and Broken Plate (where she also served as Poetry Editor).  She currently speaks to disgruntled customers over the phone and gets through her days by petting her mentally retarded cat and drinking lots of coffee.

Laura Kuhlman is starting her second year of the Ph.D. program in English Lit. at the University of Iowa, where she’s excited to be designing and teaching her own courses.

Jessica Mayflower is now a paralegal at a small Family Law Firm.  There, she does a lot of editing, legal writing and research.  She’s also a professional blogger for B1057 for Emmis Communications. As a side project, she hand-crafts and sells art books.

Krishna Pattisapu earned her M.A. in Speech Communications from Southern Illinois University in 2010.  She’s currently working on her PhD in Culture and Communications at the University of Denver.

Marissa Coon Rose has had poems or stories published online in Word Riot, The Lyric and Camera Obscura. She’s currently working on a novel and revising a poetry chapbook while balancing her day job as supervisor of the Information & Education Department at Muncie Public Library.  She was also a finalist in Lyric’s college poetry contest, and won the October 2010 “Bridge the Gap” contest at Camera Obscura.


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