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 full-time freelance writer, editor, and educator dividing my time between the United States and Norway. My clients are primarily in STEM fields and higher education.
Why did you come to the USF graduate program?
I wanted the opportunity to pursue an MFA as well as further study rhetoric and composition. Both programs have outstanding faculty, and I was eager to learn from as many of them as I could. I also desired full funding to support my studies and writing.
Another important factor to me was the 3-year program so that I would have more time to write. My writing voice and style changed significantly during my years in the program. I’m grateful for the time and space I had to embrace those changes.
What was a unique opportunity you had at USF?
My favorite opportunity of the program was teaching seven different courses. It’s how I discovered my passion for teaching. I also found an appreciation for the space where creative writing and technical communication overlap, which I brought to my classrooms.
To support graduate student teachers, the department requires you to take teaching pratica. These courses are great for finding your footing as an instructor at the university and developing your teaching style.
How did USF prepare you for your position?
One of the greatest decisions I made was to earn both my MFA in fiction and a certificate in professional and technical communication. My experiences in the program allowed me to explore possible avenues for writing as a career and equipped me to effectively write for clients in STEM.
My combination of study and teaching experiences also helped me earn a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. In Norway, I developed partnerships with faculty at a university where I continue to guest teach.
What advice would you give to new graduate students in the program?
Know your personal and professional goals, but also know that your goals may change. The department is incredibly supportive in helping you gain the experiences you desire if you ask for assistance.
Get to know the faculty. They can guide you in seeking out opportunities to achieve your goals. So many professors helped me prepare my job applications and even held mock job interviews.
Don’t forget to make time for your own work. I personally found that scheduling daily or almost daily appointments with myself—time that nobody else was allowed to intrude on—helped keep me focused on and productive toward my writing goals.