Graduate Alumni Interview: Haley Morton
MFA Creative Writing
Haley Morton is the communication coordinator for Detail Planners in Tampa, Florida. Her background began in creative writing, having published her poetry and fiction in magazines like Hobart, Flypaper, Levee, and more. She then shifted to a focus on professional and technical writing, having served as an editor and administrator for Richter Publishing, LLC. She also taught university-level English courses for three years before joining the Detail Planners Team in 2021. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing, a graduate certificate in professional and technical communication, and a bachelor’s degree in behavioral healthcare all from the University of South Florida.
What is your position now?
Communication Coordinator for Detail Planners (a corporate event planning company in Tampa, FL)
Why did you come to the USF graduate program?
I wanted to get a MFA in Creative Writing to learn how to be more independent in my writing process and develop my CV and resume more to get a job in the field. I came to this specific program because I wanted to teach and this program has a ton of opportunities to build your teaching portfolio.
What was a unique opportunity you had at USF?
One unique opportunity was getting a concurrent graduate certificate in professional and technical communication. I also got to do several projects directly with faculty that were practical and tailored to my career goals. For example, I worked with Dr. Melonçon to document the roles of key members of one scholarly organization and to conduct a content audit and revamp the website of another. I also was assisted by Mike Shuman to find an internship in the Tampa community that fit my interests. That internship turned into a part-time position that helped me get my current job.
How did USF prepare you for your current position?
As stated above, USF allowed me the freedom to seek out the opportunities that would benefit me most in the career path I wanted. As soon as I knew what I wanted, I would go to a professor that I thought could help me get there and we would come up with a plan to get me there. I also gained a lot of ‘soft skills’ along the way that helped me get this position. One of the biggest things they wanted to hear in my interview was that I don’t need my hand held. They loved to hear me say that in my graduate program I could seek out resources without needing to be told that I should be doing it. I also learned how to take give and take constructive feedback in my creative writing workshops, which is an invaluable skill now in the workplace.
What advice would you give to new graduate students in the program?
Make the program what you need it to be. Not every opportunity has to apply to you. Making choices not to do some things is just as important as seeking out opportunities to do the things you want to do.