Creative Writing MFA

Student Profiles

Learn more about MFA students and alumni!

Current Students


 Image shows Sarah Basil smiling at the camera outside in the snow


Sarah Basil

Sarah Basil grew up just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is living in the Sunshine State while she pursues an MFA in nonfiction. Her work appears in Water~Stone Review, where it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, as well as in Dirty Chai Magazine, Runestone Literary Journal, and others. Sarah is the 2017-18 Managing Editor of Saw Palm: Florida Literature & Art. She also serves as the Nonfiction Editor of Every Pigeon. She can be found on Twitter @FrowningLion.

 Black and white image shows Casey Clague smiling at the camera with a machine with multiple dials in the background


Casey Clague

Casey Clague writes poetry and creative nonfiction in the MFA program at the University of South Florida. They live in Tampa where they serve on the editorial board of Yellow Jacket Press and read poetry for Sweet: A Literary Confection. Recent work has appeared in Gravel, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and Slipstream.

 Image shows Courtney Clute smiling at the camera in front of a wall of bright pink and peach colored flowers


Courtney Clute

Courtney Clute is an MFA fiction candidate from Orlando. She is currently experimenting with flash fiction and prose poetry, and her work is often centered on feminine identity and social expectations of women. Following the completion of her degree, Courtney intends to pursue a career in publishing.

 Image shows Drew Miles smiling at the camera while sitting inside a plexi glass box at the top of a tall building with a grid of roads and buildings far below


Drew Miles

Drew Miles is a first-year student in the nonfiction track from Valparaiso, Indiana. In 2017, he received his Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University, where he studied Creative Writing and Telecommunications. During his time at Ball State, Drew was a Prose Editor for the university's literary magazine, the Broken Plate. Drew now serves as an Assistant Editor for the literary magazine Sweet: A Literary Confection and as a Mentor for the English Mentorship Program at USF. His weaknesses include chocolate chip cookies, sweet tea, and all dogs.

 Image shows Macey Sidlasky smiling into the camera as she sits on the ledge in front of palm trees the Dali Museum


Macey Sidlasky

Macey Sidlasky is currently a first year MFA student at USF. She recently graduated from Eckerd College with degrees in Creative Writing and Psychology. She typically writes creative nonfiction, but can, on occasion, be found dabbling in fiction, but only when she isn't watching otter videos on Youtube.

 Image shows Erika Staiger smiling into the camera with Florida trees in the background


Erika Staiger

Erika Staiger is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Fox Literary Magazine, COG Literary Magazine, Wordrunner eChapbooks, and others. She also serves as a fiction editor for Saw Palm and the managing editor of Millenia Literary Magazine.




Image shows Melissa Carroll with a book on her head, looking up and to the right


Melissa Carroll

Melissa Carroll is a writer, yoga instructor, and editor of the essay collection Going OM: Real-Life Stories on and off the Yoga Mat (Viva Editions, 2014), which was nominated for an IndieFab Book of the Year Award. Melissa is the author of two poetry chapbooks: The Pretty Machine (ELJ Editions, 2016) and The Karma Machine (YellowJacket Press, 2011), which received the Peter Meinke Award. Melissa's work has appeared in Brevity, New South Review, Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, Creative Loafing, on, and elsewhere. She  leads yoga and creative workshops and retreats in Tampa Bay and beyond.

 Image shows Jaquira Díaz smiling at the camera


Jaquira Díaz

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami Beach, Jaquira Díaz is a 2016-18 Kenyon Review Fellow and recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, two fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, the Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Best American Essays, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The FADER, the Kenyon Review, Brevity, Gulf Coast, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Tin House, among other publications. A finalist for The Essay Prize, she's been awarded fellowships or scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Summer Literary Seminars, the Tin House Summer Writers' Workshop, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. In 2017, she was listed among Remezcla's "15 Latinx Music Journalists You Should be Reading," included in NPR's Alt.Latino's "Favorites: The Songs of 2017," as one of "the cream of the crop of Latinx music writers," and named by the Los Angeles Times' critic Walton Muyumba as "part of a necessary cipher of extremely gifted freestylers" that includes writers Ta-Nehisi Coates, Claudia Rankine, and Junot Díaz, among others. This year, she'll be a Writer in Residence at the Summer Literary Seminars in Georgia and Kenya.

 Image shows Chelsea Dingman smiling at the camera


Chelsea Dingman

Chelsea Dingman is a Canadian citizen and Visiting Instructor at the University of South Florida. Her first book, Thaw, was chosen by Allison Joseph to win the National Poetry Series (University of Georgia Press, 2017). Her chapbook, What Bodies Have I Moved, is forthcoming from Madhouse Press (2018). In 2016-17, she also won The Southeast Review's Gearhart Poetry Prize, The Sycamore Review's Wabash Prize, and Water-stone Review's Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize. Her work can be found in Ninth Letter, The Colorado Review, Mid-American Review, Cincinnati Review, and Gulf Coast, among others. Visit her website:

 Image shows Christine M. Lasek smiling at the camera in front of wooden bookcases filled with books


Christine M. Lasek

Christine M. Lasek holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida, where she served as the Managing Editor of Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art. She currently teaches creative writing and serves as the Academic Professional for the Creative Writing Program at the University of Georgia. The first 30 years of Christine's life were spent in southeast Michigan. She grew up in Troy and graduated from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor in 2003. Prior to pursuing a degree in creative writing, she worked as a web editor and public relations official for companies in and around Detroit, including WXYZ-TV Channel 7 and Crain's Detroit Business. Christine's fiction and nonfiction have been published in literary magazines, including Eleven Eleven, The Sierra Nevada Review, and VIA: Voices in Italian Americana, among others. Her collection of short stories, Love Letters to Michigan, was published by ELJ Editions in 2016.

 Image shows Gloria Muñoz smiling at the camera


Gloria Muñoz

Gloria Muñoz's writing is forthcoming in LUMINA and has appeared in Yes, Poetry, The Rumpus, Best New Poets, Acentos Review, Forage Poetry, The Brooklyn Review, and Entropy, among others. Her writing has also been honored by the New York Summer Writer's Institute Fellowship, USF Humanities Institute, the Think Small to Think Big Artist Fellowship, and a Creative Pinellas Artist Grant. Gloria holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and the University of South Florida and she teaches creative writing at Eckerd College. Gloria is a also a proud co-founder of Pitch Her Productions, an organization dedicated to women in film.

 Image shows John A. Nieves smiling at the camera in front of a tree


John A. Nieves

John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: American Literary Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Alaska Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, and Puerto del Sol. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge's Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.