Graduate Alumni Interview: Allyson Hoffman
MFA Creative Writing
Allyson Hoffman is a Michigan native, and she earned her MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida. She was a recipient of the 2018 AWP Intro Journals Award in fiction and a 2018-2019 alternate candidate for a Fulbright English teaching assistantship in Norway. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.
What is your position now?
I'm a career advisor in the Career Services Office at Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, FL).
Why did you come to the USF graduate program?
I chose the MFA program at USF because I knew the faculty were outstanding and I admired their work. I wanted to be in a three year program to give myself enough time to write a full manuscript. It was also important to me that I receive funding for my studies and the opportunity to teach a variety of courses.
What was a unique opportunity you had at USF?
I feel like I had several outstanding opportunities. A big one was teaching seven different course preps over three years—many of my colleagues at other institutions don't get the chance to teach such a variety. Another one was serving as the creative writing program assistant, which allowed me to learn more about the administrative side of academia. I also got to coordinate and organize several creative writing events, both on campus and off, which meant I met and dined with visiting writers and scholars.
How did USF prepare you for your position?
I credit two big factors in preparing me for my position. One is my teaching opportunities—especially professional and technical communication and creative writing courses—because preparing lessons and conferencing with students individually equipped me with the skills to advise students.
The other is the department faculty. When I was preparing for the job market and when I was in cyclone of applications, I sought advice from many trusted faculty members. They were patient with my questions and requests to review application materials, and they were encouraging of my pursuits. I also did many practice interviews, which I feel made a large difference in my performance in real interviews.
What advice would you give to new graduate students in the program?
My primary advice is to make time for the work you want to be doing the most. Regardless of what track you're in, make sure you dedicate time to your academic and/or creative goal. I personally found that scheduling daily or almost daily appointments with myself—time that nobody else was allowed to intrude on—helped keep focused on and productive toward my writing goals.