MFA Students

  • Liz Bolton lives in Southeast Alaska where she writes, raises children, and wrangles chickens. Originally from Brooklyn, Liz graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University. Before turning to creative nonfiction she spent nearly two decades in Los Angeles and Amsterdam, where she taught and performed sketch comedy and improv, and made a living as a voiceover and on-camera actress. Liz has been published widely in the parenting space, has written several highly regarded television pilots, and currently works as a commercial scriptwriter and producer.
  • Audrey Coble was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. They earned their B.A. in English (Honors) and Biopsychology, Cognition, & Neuroscience from the University of Michigan, where they also won the Feinberg Prize for Excellence in First Year Writing and the Hopwood Award for creative nonfiction. After moving to Alaska for what they thought would be just one summer, they earned a remote M.A. in Disability Studies from CUNY while living in the Brooks Range. Now they work and write in Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • Matt Dominick is a fiction writer from Boise, Idaho. He received a BFA in Creative Writing from Boise State University. Before a recent shift to fiction and prose, Matt primarily wrote full-feature screenplays, teleplays, short films, and stand-up comedy. As a junior, Matt co-wrote a TV show produced by Boise State called Lucky Us, which is currently making the rounds in the festival circuit. In his free time, Matt loves playing tabletop games, especially Magic: The Gathering.
  • Lia Ferguson is from Anacortes, WA, a town on an island in the Puget Sound. She received her B.S. in Earth Systems with a focus in Oceans and a minor in Creative Writing from Stanford University. A lover of the sea, she’s been a deckhand on a number of vessels, bringing her across the South Pacific, down the coast of Mexico, whale watching on the Salish Sea, and puttering around lakes in Seattle. In between, she’s spent her time in Seattle bartending and writing. Studying in Fairbanks, she’s sad to be landlocked but is looking forward to experiencing a new vast landscape.
  • K Janeschek grew up in western Michigan. In 2022, they won an AWP Intro Journals Project award in poetry. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Foglifter, HAD, Split Rock Review, Hoxie Gorge Review and elsewhere. They received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and creative writing from the University of Michigan, where they also won Hopwood awards in poetry and nonfiction. They have worked at numerous libraries including a law library, a map library, and an anarchist library.
  • Dr. Kathy Kitts is a retired planetary geologist who has served as a science team member on the NASA Discovery Mission Genesis among others. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing. Her latest speculative fiction has appeared in Compelling SF, James Gunn’s Ad Astra, and Amazing. Born and raised in the desert Southwest, she moved to Fairbanks to see whether she can survive the other temperature extreme.
  • Jacob Lee Knuth is a poet who was born and raised along Wisconsin’s western shore of Lake Michigan on the ancestral lands of the Menominee. Once a college dropout with a 0.0 GPA, he clawed his way toward a Bachelor of Arts in English at UW-Eau Claire (’21). Inspired by Eminem, he’s been writing bars since the age of 10 and has well over 10,000 of them. He’s into sonnets, sestinas, spoken word, the work of Kao Kalia Yang, and cups of tea in the company of his Akita, Kitsune.
  • Manny Melendez sits at a typewriter with his back partly turned. He wears a red bandana of The Resistance.Manuel A. Melendez is a poet born and partially raised in Camagüey, Cuba, part of the Taíno peoples’ indigenous lands. He graduated from Otterbein University (née College) with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He remains very proud of his bachelor’s thesis: the first completed screenplay adaptation of André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name, and a one-act play titled “A Light Rain” (Chapbook Winner for the Spring 2010 issue of Otterbein’s literary magazine, Quiz & Quill). He dreams to one day live in a world where poetry and other forms of writing can take permanent physical shape in the world, but settles for a fierce latte, vibrant verses, and trouble in the water.
  • Tim Ott grew up in rural Iowa, studied at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and received an MA in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Washington. He taught English in China and the Russian Federation, was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda, and instructed for several years with the Northwest Outward Bound School in Oregon. He is focusing on fiction, and has a goal of creating “laughter through the tears.”
  • Aaron Salzman is a fiction writer from Rochester, New York. He earned a BA in English from the College of Wooster. His senior year, he turned in an undefeated springboard diving season on his way to the NCAA Nationals. He did not win. He has won two Donaldson Prizes, one for independent study and another for short fiction. He completed service with Teach For America at the Hmong American Peace Academy, where he taught reading and writing to first generation English speakers.
  • Diana Saverin studied English and Creative Writing at Yale. She first came to Alaska to work in public radio for a summer in Southeast, and has lived in the state year-round since 2015. She’s worked as a freelance journalist, a commercial fishing deckhand, a ski coach, a yoga teacher, and a NOLS instructor. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, The Guardian, Orion, Alaska Public Radio, PBS, and others.
  • Courtney Skaggs is a writer from Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2014. Courtney is the Editor-in-Chief for Permafrost Magazine, an intern with University of Alaska Press, and a radio DJ at KSUA. Courtney’s writing can be found in Gothic Nature, Strange Horizons, Ghost City Review, Longleaf Review, Rejection Letters, and Lammergeier Magazine.
  • Susan Sugai began taking creative writing classes at UAF in 2015 after retiring from UAF, where she was an oceanographer, instructor, and research administrator for 30 years. Having spent her entire career living off soft money (extramural grant funding), she needs deadlines to be “creative,” isn’t discouraged by rejection, and knows she’s in her final race against obsolescence.
  • Cade Yongue grew up in California, just north of San Francisco. He got his undergraduate degree in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing from Boise State University. He works mainly with fiction, but dreams of one day writing plays. His literary influences are Joan Didion, William Faulkner and Suzan-Lori Parks. He also loves the movie Rango.


Congratulations to our 2022 graduates!

  • Born and raised in Southern California, Heather Ezell earned her BA in English literature and creative writing from Colorado College. She works as an editor, book coach, tutor, copywriter, and admissions reader and is pursuing an MFA in fiction. Heather writes both contemporary and speculative young adult novels about unlikable and sometimes creepy girls who make questionable decisions. In March 2018, her debut novel, Nothing Left to Burn, was published with an imprint at Penguin Random House. Her writing has also appeared in The Rumpus and The Leviathan.
  • Michael Kay grew up in southern California and received an honors degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. He has previously worked at various non-profits as a community organizer, an editor and a lobbyist. His work has appeared in Blacklist Journal and Writer’s Room and is forthcoming in Story.
  • Alison Miller is a born-and-raised Texas girl who comes to Fairbanks by way of Seattle. She earned her BA in Biology/Plan II Honors from the University of Texas at Austin and has since led an eclectic professional life including stints in marketing, waitressing, yoga teaching, nonprofit cancer research administration, and more waitressing. She’s not really sure of much except that she loves words more than anything else. She spends her free time cooking, reading, going for walks with her pitbull Zeus, and contemplating the inevitable heat death of the universe.
  • Keely O’Connell grew up on the coast of Maine and took off to have adventures as soon as she could convince the adults in her life to allow it. In her years as a classroom teacher–first in Arkansas, then in rural Alaska–she became highly adept at imparting the basics of algebra to kids who’d rather have been duck hunting. She makes a mean pizza, has an excellent sense of direction, and recently won a wood-chopping contest. Writing nonfiction gives her a dubious excuse to spend her time doing outdoor things that might someday be worth writing about.