Our alumni from all three of our tracks—literature (English MA, PhD), rhetoric and composition (English MA, PhD) and creative writing (MFA)—take many career paths when they leave our department. Some head to other graduate programs as others become tenure-track professors. Some leave academia and enter into corporate/business/NGO environments while others work in freelance positions as they continue to hone their art.

Congratulations to our 2021-2022 graduates!

Summer 2021

Carolyn Gubala, PhD English Rhetoric & Composition

Dissertation: “A Field-Wide Examination of Cross-Listed Courses in Technical Professional Communication”
Committee: Lisa Melonçon (Chair), Norbert Elliot, Kristen Gay, Glen McClish

Fall 2021

Kara Larson, PhD English Rhetoric & Composition

Dissertation: “Labor-Based Contract Grading in the Multilingual FYC Classroom: Unpacking the Variables”
Committee: Lisa Melonçon (Chair), Norbert Elliot, Carl Herndl, Jessica Nastal

Maggie Romigh, PhD English Literature

Dissertation: “Oppression, Resistance, and Empowerment: The Power Dynamics of Naming and Un-naming in African American Literature, 1794 to 2019”
Committee: Gary Lemons (Chair), Quynh Nhu Le, Cynthia Patterson, Cheryl Rodriguez

Spring 2022

Sariah Amin, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Readers Watch in Horror: Why Harriet Wilson Portrays Mrs. Bellmont Rejecting the Cult of True Womanhood” and “"Just Say It Now": How Julie Dash's Characters Use Voice to Overcome the Legacy of White Supremacy in Ibo Landing”
Committee: Kristin Allukian (Chair), Quynh Nhu Le

Krysta Banke, PhD English Rhetoric & Composition

Dissertation: “Honors Writing Supports: An Applied Program Evaluation Study”
Committee: Lisa Melonçon (Chair), Jennifer Bleck, S. Morgan Gresham, Holly Donahue Singh

Taylor Demichael, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Portianomics: Queen of the Caskets” and “The War of the Severed Head”
Committee: Emily Jones (Chair), John Lennon

Teddy Duncan, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Recognizing Exploitation and Rejecting Analogy: An Analysis of the Meat-Commodity” and “The Inexplicable Real and Silent (Female) Desire: A Lacanian Approach to the Unsaid in The Awakening
Committee: John Lennon (Chair), Phillip Sipiora

Madison Frazier, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: Body Unblessed
Committee: Heather Sellers (Chair), Julie Koets, Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Jesse Gilleland, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Seeing Kes: Unintelligibility and the Queer Narrative in Stacey Gregg’s Scorch” and “Maternal Transactions: Capitalism and 19th Century Motherhood in Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig”
Committee: Susan Mooney (Chair), Kristin Allukian

Gabrielle Grilli, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: Cardinals & Ghosts
Committee: Jay Hopler (Chair), Natalie Scenters-Zapico, William Logan

Sarah Harder, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: In Case the Body is Mine
Committee: Natalie Scenters-Zapico (Chair), Jay Hopler, Julia Koets

Shelby Hennessy, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “How She Heals: Looking at Rape and Motherhood Through Contemporary Literature and Film” and “Black Motherhood as an Intersection: Harriet Jacobs’ Slave Narrative under a Theoretical Lens”
Committee: Quynh Nhu Le (Chair), John Lennon

Adam Phillips, PhD English Rhetoric & Composition

Dissertation: “Curricular Assemblages: Understanding Student Writing Knowledge (Re)circulation Across Genres”
Committee: Lisa Melonçon (Chair), Norbert Elliot, Liane Robertson, Kristen Gay

Megan Stowe, PhD English Literature

Dissertation: “Anthropocene Fiction: Empathy, Kinship, and the Troubled Waters at the End of the World”
Committee: Ylce Irizarry (Co-Chair), Gurleen Grewal (Co-Chair), Quynh Nhu Le, Ulluminair Salim, John Lennon

Callie Treadway, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: Outside Cicadaville
Committee: Heather Sellers (Chair), Julia Koets, Karen Brown

Jade Weiss, MA English Rhetoric & Composition

Thesis: “PAD Beyond the Classroom: Integrating PAD in the Scrum Workplace”
Committee: Lisa Melonçon (Chair), Carl Herndl, Liane Robertson

Tyra White, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: The Grass is Greener Over Here
Committee: Natalie Scenters-Zapico (Chair), Julia Koets, Jay Hopler

Mckenzie Zalopany, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: Slutty Cool Mom
Committee: Jarod Roselló (Chair), John Fleming, Julia Koets

Congratulations to our 2020-2021 graduates!

Summer 2020 graduating students

Spencer Bennington, PhD English Rhetoric & Composition

Dissertation: "Rhetorical Roundhouse Kicks: Tae Kwon Do Pumsae Practice and Embodied Non-Western Topoi"
Committee: Carl Herndl (Chair), Lisa Melonçon, Steven Jones, Cathryn Molloy

Shauna Maragh, PhD English Literature

Dissertation: "Glamour in Contemporary American Cinema"
Committee: Phillip Sipiora (Chair), Victor Peppard, Hunt Hawkins, Quynh Nhu Le

Zita Rarastesa, PhD English

Dissertation: "Identity and Sexuality of Female Characters in Contemporary Indonesian Novels"
Committee: Hunt Hawkins (Co-Chair), Gurleen Grewal (Co-Chair), Ylce Irizarry, Phillip Sipiora

Fall 2020 graduating students

Cory Engle, MA English Literature

Portfolio: "Visuality and the Normalizing Gaze in Celine Sciamma’s Tomboy" and "Race and Education in Nineteenth-Century Literary Genres"
Committee: Susan Mooney (Chair), Cynthia Patterson

Stephanie Phillips, PhD English Rhetoric & Composition

Dissertation: “The Power of Noncompliant Logos: A New Materialist Approach to Comic Studies"
Committee: Meredith Johnson (Chair), Steven Jones, Nathan Johnson, Jarod Roselló

Kimber Wiggs, PhD English Literature 

Dissertation: “‘We developed Solidarity’: Family, Race, Identity and Space-Time in Contemporary American Fiction”
Committee: Ylce Irizarry (Chair), Gary Lemons, Quynh Nhu Le, Aisha Durham 

Spring 2021 graduating students

Nicholas Brown, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: "Cleaned"
Committee: John Fleming (Chair), Jarod Roselló, Jon Chopan

Lauren Cross, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: "How to Preserve a Body: Essays"
Committee: Julia Koets (Chair), Heather Sellers, Ira Sukrungruang

Alison Denny, MA English Literature

Portfolio: "Ariel, Caliban, and Cuba's Struggle for Sovereignty" and "'Can you help tear down the barn?: 'Patriarchy, Exploitation, and Environmental Harm in Helena Maria Viramontes’s Under the Feet of Jesus”
Committee: John Lennon (Chair), Emily Jones

Allison Duque, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Shifting Complicities in Eliza Potter’s A Hairdresser’s Experience in High Life” and “Fanfiction: Stories Untold in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice”
Committee: Kristin Allukian (Chair), Emily Jones

Benjamin Kinney, MFA Creative Writing

Thesis: "Trail Magic"
Committee: Rita Ciresi (Chair), John Fleming, Jarod Roselló

Lauren Leonard, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Lights, Camera, “Crazy Sunday:” Hollywood as Modernity and Continuity in the 1930s Literature of F. Scott Fitzgerald” and “Adapting the Attic and the Cherry Tree: Hollywood Treatments of Jane Eyre”
Committee: Phillip Sipiora (Chair), Marty Gould 

Katherine Lewis, MFA Creative Writing, Fiction

Thesis: Field of Mosquitoes
Committee: John Fleming (Chair), Rita Ciresi, Karen Brown

Mariel Marconi, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Performing Miss Havisham’s Age in Adaptations of Great Expectations” and “Destabilizing Narrative Authority in The Marrow Thieves”
Committee: Susan Mooney (Chair), Marty Gould

Migien Mocke, MFA Creative Writing, Poetry

Thesis: “Thoroughfare//From Room to Room”
Committee: Jay Hopler (Chair), Julia Koets, Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Haley Morton, MFA Creative Writing, Poetry

Thesis: "Floodplain"
Committee: Julia Koets (Chair), Jay Hopler, Heather Sellers

Nicole Musselman, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Masculine Mothers of New England: How Landscape Impacted Motherhood in New England Women Writings” and “Motherhood and the Grotesque in Louise Erdrich’s Tracks”
Committee: Cynthia Patterson (Chair), Quynh Nhu Le

Elizabeth Ricketts, PhD English Literature

Dissertation: “Land Goddesses, Divine Pigs, and Royal Tricksters: Subversive Mythologies and Imperialist Land Ownership Dispossession in Twentieth Century Irish and American Literature"
Committee: Susan Mooney (Chair), John Lennon, Quynh Nhu Le, Stanley Gontarski

Emory Russo, MFA Creative Writing, Fiction

Thesis: “Human Subjects and Other Stories”
Committee: Rita Ciresi (Chair), Jarod Roselló, Jay Hopler

Kaelah Scheff, MA English Rhetoric & Composition

Thesis: “Generic Expectations in First Year Writing: Teaching Metadiscourse Reflection and Revision Strategies for Increased Generic Uptake of Academic Writing”
Committee: Lisa Melonçon (Chair), Norbert Elliot, Carl Herndl

Shauna Slezak, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Shakespeare’s Portia: The Riddling Merchant” and “Female Imprisonment Within Victorian Literature and its Modern Adaptations: Nameless, Isolated, and Confined”
Committee: Emily Jones (Chair), Marty Gould

Austin Smith, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “Djuna Barnes and the Existential Epoche of Nightwood” and “The Merchant of Venice and the Comedy of Jewishness”
Committee: Phillip Sipiora (Chair), Emily Jones

Kelcee Sykes, MFA Creative Writing, Fiction

Thesis: “Jezebel”
Committee: Jarod Rosello (Chair), John Fleming, Rita Ciresi

Ashely Tisdale, PhD English Literature

Dissertation: “Reframing the Gothic: Race, Gender, and Disability in US Multiethnic Literature.”
Committee: Ylce Irizarry (Chair), Kristin Allukian, Quynh Nhu Le, Maria Cizmic

Rodger Tornai, MA English Literature

Portfolio: “The Road to Nowhere: The Absurdity of Existence within the Liminal Space of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.” And “Assurance of a Man: Masculinity, the Maternal Body, and the Tragic Self-Fashioning of a Prince in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.”
Committee: Susan Mooney (Chair), Emily Jones

Adrienne Vivian, PhD English

Dissertation: “Intersections of Race and Place in Short Fiction by New Orleans Gens de Couleur libres writers.”
Committee: Ylce Irizarry (Chair), Kristin Allukian, Gurleen Grewal, Kersuze Simeon-Jones

Katie Walkup, PhD English Rhetoric & Composition

Dissertation: “Mental Illness Diagnosis and the Construction of Stigma”
Committee: Meredith Johnson (Chair), Norbert Elliot, Nathan Johnson, Christa Teston

Jessica Watson, MFA Creative Writing, Poetry

Thesis: Bodywork: Essays
Committee: Julia Koets (Chair), Heather Sellers, Rita Ciresi


We are extremely proud of our graduates and want to keep in touch! If you were part of our graduate program, please contact our graduate program specialist to discover alumni events and to update your contact information.

Recent alumni interviews

Creative writing


Rhetoric & composition

Below you will find job placement information from our graduates in all three tracks over eight years (2013-2021) as well as spotlights on some of our recent graduates.

MFA 8-year career placement

Pie chart showing 7-year (2013-2020) career tracking of 60 MFA graduates: 52% other humanities careers, 10% FT Temp, 12% unknown/looking, 13% adjuncting, 8% FT permanent, 5% other degree programs
Current employment, MFA graduates 2013-2021
Tenure-track / full-time permanent positions
  • Assistant Director of CRW, University of Georgia
  • Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University
  • Assistant Professor, Warren Wilson College
  • Department Chair of CRW, Full Sail University
  • Assistant Professor, Lindenwood University - Belleville
Other humanities careers
  • Copyeditor, The Oxford Club
  • Career advisor, Eckerd College
  • Lead grant writer, Halospace Foundation
  • Page designer/copy editor, The Tampa Tribune
  • Associate director of corporate and foundation relations, Vanderbilt University
  • English teacher, Chungdahm Learning (South Korea)
  • Administrator of cognitive skills programs, American College of Surgeons
  • Staff auditor, Texac Tech University
  • Tutoring center, University of Central Florida
  • Proposal manager, WWC Global
  • Career coach, Ivy Tech Community College
  • Copy editor, CopyPress

MA 8-year career placement

Pie chart showing 7-year (2013-2020) career tracking of 64 MA graduates: 26% PhD programs, 48% other humanities careers, 8% unknown/looking, 11% FT permanent/tenure track, 5% adjuncting, 2% part-time/freelance
Current employment and degree programs, MA graduates 2013-2021
Degree programs (PhD programs in English, unless otherwise noted)
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of West Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • University of Florida
  • University of Houston
Other humanities careers
  • VE English teacher, Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • English teacher, Sunlake High School
  • Assistant librarian, University of South Florida
  • Reading coach, Winter Haven High School
  • English teacher, Palm Beach Central High School
  • Legislative aide, Florida House of Representatives
  • English teacher, Sarasota High School
  • Instructional design manager, Publix Super Markets
  • 12th grade honors and AP English teacher, Spruce Creek High School
  • Software test analyst, Jacobs Systems Lifecycle Group
  • Outreach coordinator, Fairfield University
  • Advisor, Florida Institute of Technology

PhD 8-year career placement

Pie chart showing 7-year career tracking (2013-2020) of 56 PhD graduates: 56% tenure track/FT permanent, 19% other humanities careers, 9% FT Temp, 7% adjuncting, 9% unknown/looking

Current employment, PhD graduates 2013-2021
Assistant professor positions, tenure-track / full-time permanent
  • University of South Florida
  • Sebelas Maret University (Indonesia)
  • Warner University
  • Bellevue College
  • Hillsborough Community College
  • Wabash College
  • St. Petersburg College
  • St. Leo University
  • Fairfield University
  • Southeastern University
  • Bethune-Cookman University
  • Sonoma State University
  • State College of Florida, Bradenton
  • Polk State College
  • Virginia Tech
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • University of Tampa
  • Washington State University, Vancouver
  • Seminole State College
  • Bryant University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • University of Kentucky
  • Pasco-Hernando State College
  • Appalachian State University
  • LaGuardia Community College
  • New England Institute of Technology
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of California, Davis
  • Louisiana State University, Shreveport
Visiting instructor / FT temporary / adjunct positions
  • University of South Florida
  • Eckerd College
  • University of Tampa
Other humanities careers
  • Full-time writer, DC Comics
  • English teacher, Shorecrest Preparatory School
  • Associate director, Office of Prestigious Fellowships, Fordham University
  • Content product manager, EverFi Education
  • Product content specialist, Qgiv
  • English teacher, Nature Coast Technical High School
  • Writer, Creative Pinellas
  • Freelance author
  • Faculty developer/instructional designer, Valencia College