Hometown: Windsor, Conn.
Major/minors: English (creative writing)/ American studies
What drew her to Beloit: I struggled a lot in my public high school. Beloit seemed like a place that would give me a chance. It was nice to come somewhere that didn’t just care about your GPA.
How she knew it was right: I knew Beloit was right for me because it's the first place I've truly been able to take all my interests and mix them together. Nobody has ever questioned my desire to write poems about U.S. presidents or stopped me from writing critical essays in my own voice.
How her honors term has allowed her to stay at Beloit after graduating: My ultimate goal in life is to be a poet and a professor, and I wrote my honors term proposal with that goal in mind. During my honors term semester, I’m taking the 30 poems from my creative writing honors thesis and the 30 poems about presidents from my American studies capstone and turning them into one cohesive book-length manuscript. By May, I hope to have something I can send out for publication and/or graduate school. Also, the prospect of working closely with one of my favorite poets of all time, Kevin Young, who holds the 2013 Lois and Willard Mackey Chair in Creative Writing, made it a whole lot easier for me to choose to stick around.
What she does on campus: I’m the co-editor-in-chief of the Round Table now, but I was the opinions editor for a year and a half. I don’t really sleep on production nights, but it’s totally worth it. I can’t really imagine not being involved in the paper. I love nights when we’re all together writing, editing, helping each other, and watching silly YouTube videos. I also work at the Writing Center, which is oddly rewarding because I get to read other people’s essays and learn about things I wouldn’t have learned about otherwise.
How she took advantage of unique Beloit opportunities: I was really glad I chose Beloit when I received a Venture Grant to go across New England to the homes and graves of lesser-known 19th century presidents. That was my most amazing nerd moment at Beloit College.
On creating a writing event: I’ve organized Sh*t Lit twice now—it’s an event where creative writing majors read really bad stuff that they wrote in high school. Learning how to organize and promote an event was really valuable. Both times, C-Haus was packed, and I was sitting on the floor crying from laughing. It was really great because I put it together, I put a lot of effort into it, and it worked so well.
On the rewards of sending out her writing: Over the summer of 2011, I submitted to 20 literary journals. I got a couple of rejections, but I got a few acceptances as well. One of the journals, Mixed Fruit, published “Dear Brigadier,” a love poem I wrote to Ulysses S. Grant, and “Converting,” a poem I wrote about visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Virginia with my sister and her kids. Mixed Fruit decided that “Converting” was one of the best they published all year, so they nominated it for the Pushcart Prize (an American literary prize by Pushcart Press honoring the best poetry, short fiction, and essays). It feels like my work has paid off and makes me want to work harder.
How she made the most of her major: My honors thesis in creative writing was about 30 pages of poems about Civil War-era African-American history as well as my experiences growing up biracial. Writing so much is scary, especially because it all has to fit under some sort of main idea. I’m excited to have some sort of cohesive manuscript finished. It’s one step closer to being a poet.