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Students

Jeff Albers

Jeff Albers

Jeff Albers (PhD, Fiction) grew up in Southern California and earned a BA. and MA in English Literature from California State University, Fullerton. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University, where he also served as prose ed- itor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. He has written humor pieces for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Open Bar at Tin House, The American Bystander, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

Rachel Ballenger

Rachel Ballenger

Rachel Ballenger (MFA, Fiction) is a writer and translator. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books,Your Im- possible Voice, and elsewhere. She is Fiction Editor at Gulf Coast.

Laura Biagi

Laura Biagi

Laura Biagi (MFA, Fiction) grew up in small-town Kentucky and earned her BA in Creative Writing and Anthropology fromNorth- western University. After college she spent eight years working in New York at a literary agency, where she represented literary fiction, nonfiction, YA, and children’s books. She likes hot weather and the stars.

Theodora Bishop

Theodora Bishop

Theodora Bishop’s work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, and Short Fiction (England), among many other journals, magazines, and anthologies. She is the author of a chapbook of short stories ( Mother Tongues, selected by Matt Bell for The Cupboard’s 2015 contest) and a chapbook of poems ( A Place Made Red, Finishing Line Press). She received her MFA from The University of Alabama. Her novella, On the Rocks, is forthcoming from Texas Review Press.

Despy Boutris

Despy Boutris

Despy Boutris (MFA, Poetry) grew up in Berkeley, California and earned her BA from California Polytechnic State University, SLO, with a major in English literature and a minor in Spanish literature. In her free time, she enjoys being with friends, petting dogs, and exploring the outdoors. She is currently working on her first collection of poems.

Erika Jo Brown

Erika Jo Brown

Erika Jo Brown (PhD, Poetry) is from New York. Her debut po- etry collection, I’m Your Huckleberry, was published Brooklyn Arts Press in November 2014. Her chapbook, What a Lark!, was published by Further Adventures Press in 2011. She was educated at Cornell University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She loves feminism, botany, wordplay, and her shih tzu, Franklin.

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Michelle Dominique Burk

Michelle Dominique Burk (PhD, Poetry) is a poet and a native Northern Virginian. She received her MFA in Poetry from Colum- bia University, and her work has appeared most recently in Con- trary Magazine and Cooper Street.

Will Burns

Will Burns

Will Burns (PhD, Fiction) received his BA from the University of Arkansas and his MFA from The New School in NYC. He is a part- time chess instructor and used to be a cashier. His car broke down while moving to Houston. It was too bad. He likes cats.

LeeAnne Carlson

LeeAnne Carlson

LeeAnne Carlson (MFA, Fiction) began her studies at the Univer- sity of Houston, back in the day when the school still housed a live cougar mascot. She left early to pursue midwifery and spent twenty years delivering babies before retiring to start a goat farm. She and her family now make goat cheese for the masses, and manage two Houston-area farmers markets. She returned to UH to wrap up the BA, serving first as fiction editor, then editor, of the UH undergrad- uate literary magazine, Glass Mountain. She is thrilled to be able to pursue her MFA in Houston, where she began back in 1984.

Rohan Chhertri

Rohan Chhetri

Rohan Chhetri (PhD, Poetry) is a Nepali-Indian poet. He received his MFA from Syracuse University. His book, Slow Startle (Emerg- ing Poets Prize 2015) was published by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. His chapbook, Jurassic Desire (Per Diem Poetry Prize 2017) is slated to be published later this year. His poems have appeared in Prelude, Wildness, Rattle, Vinyl, EVENT and Literary Hub. A former editor at Hachette Book Publishing in New Delhi, he was a 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow and won the Joyce Carol Oates Award and The Leonard Brown Prize in Poetry.

Brittny R. Crowell

Brittny Ray Crowell

Brittny Ray Crowell (PhD, Poetry) a native of Texarkana, TX, received her BA in English from Spelman College followed by an MA in English from Texas A&M-Texarkana. Her work focuses on the hidden mythologies, dreams, traumas, and sensualities of the black contemporary south. In addition to poetry and creative writ- ing, her interests also include studying the intersections between religion and hip hop.

Chelsea B. DesAutels

Chelsea B. DesAutels

Chelsea B. DesAutels’s (MFA, Poetry) work appears or is forth- coming in Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, Pleiades, TriQuarterly, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Inprint Verlaine Prize in Poetry, and has received grants from the Vermont Studio Center and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Chelsea holds degrees from Wellesley College and the University of Minne- sota Law School. She serves as Poetry Editor of Gulf Coast.

Barbara Drumheller

Barbara Drumheller

Barbara Drumheller (PhD, Fiction) graduated with a BA in Litera- ture and a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas. She went from there to Texas Tech University in Lubbock where she earned a J.D. She spent quite a few years writing other people’s stories in the form of criminal appellate briefs, first as a prosecutor and later as a defense attorney. Recently, she decided to switch gears and begin writing her own stories. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Blaine Ely

Blaine Ely

Blaine Ely (PhD, Fiction) received a BA from Western Kentucky University, an MA from Auburn University, and an MFA from the University of Oregon. He has worked in both retail and agriculture, as well as in the oil and gas industry, and his fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter and Shenandoah. He is from Kentucky.

Devereux Fortuna

Devereux Fortuna

Devereux Fortuna (PhD, Poetry) is from Arizona. She received an MFA in Poetry from New York University, and is a candidate for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Houston.

Joshua Foster

Joshua Foster

Joshua Dewain Foster (PhD, Poetry) is ABD, in his fourth and final year of PhD work at the University of Houston, where he is the Online Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature & Fine Arts. Recently, the opening chapters of his novel Jokers Wild were awarded the Inprint Donald Barthelme Memorial Prize in Fiction. His short story “The Dogman Cometh” is forthcoming in DIAGRAM.

Hunter Gilson

Hunter Gilson

Hunter Gilson (MFA, Fiction) was born and raised in the Kansas City suburbs. He received a BA and MA in English from Kansas State University. After graduating from his master’s program, he worked as an instructor at K-State and spent the intermediate three summers working as a farm hand, then a marketing intern, and finally a city pool worker.”

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Joshua Gottlieb-Miller

Joshua Gottlieb-Miller (PhD, Poetry) holds an MFA from the University of Houston. He has poems forthcoming from the anthol- ogy, They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collab- orative Writing with poet Maureen Alsop, as well as in Horsethief, Seneca Review, Grist, and elsewhere. A non-fiction/poetry hybrid can be found at Pacifica Lit Review. This fall he will serve as Gulf Coast’s Digital Nonfiction Editor. He has been a MacDowell Fel- low, a Gulf Coast Poetry Editor, a recipient of the Inprint Barthelme Prize in Poetry, as well as the Inprint Robert J. Sussman Prize.

Emelie Griffin

Emelie Griffin

Emelie Griffin (PhD, Poetry) was born in the Florida panhandle. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University, where she served as Art Editor and Poetry Editor for Salt Hill.

Sonia Hamer

Sonia Hamer

Sonia Hamer (MFA, Fiction) earned her BA in English from Rice University. When she is not reading or sitting in traffic, she is traveling, tutoring, composting, running marathons, and doing pretty much anything else she thinks would be interesting to write about. She has been the recipient of the Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing at Rice University, the Larry McMurty Prize in Fiction, and the George Williams Prize in Non-Fiction. Her work has appeared in The Passed Note, plain china, and R2.

Niki Herd

Niki Herd

Niki Herd (PhD, Poetry) earned degrees in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and Antioch University. Nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, she received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has ap- peared in Feminist Formations, North American Review, The Fem- inist Wire, Split This Rock, and Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky. Her debut collection of poems, The Language of Shedding Skin, was published as part of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Series.

Rob howell

Rob Howell

Rob Howell earned his MFA from Louisiana State University. His fiction has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He’s the Digital Editor for Gulf Coast.

Onyinye Ihezukwu

Onyinye Ihezukwu

Onyinye Ihezukwu (PhD, Fiction) was born in Nigeria where she has worked as a broadcaster. Her work largely explores changing socio-spiritual themes in the urban Nigerian setting. Her fiction has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The American Schol- ar, The St. Petersburg Review, among others. She’s working on a novel.

Justin Jannise

Justin Jannise

Justin Jannise studied poetry at Yale and the Iowa Writers’ Work- shop. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, North American Review, Zocalo Public Square, The Awl, New Haven Review and other journals. He won the 2009 Albert Stanburrough Cook Prize for Poetry from Yale University and received both a Teaching-Writ- ing Fellowship and the Provost’s Visiting Writer Fellowship from the University of Iowa. He grew up in southeast Texas.

Jenny Staff Johnson

Jenny Staff Johnson

Jenny Staff Johnson (MFA, Fiction) is a third-year MFA candidate in fiction. Her fiction has been published in Tin House online and New Dead Families, and her journalism and features have been published in The Houston Chronicle, The Houston Press, and Houstonia Magazine, among others. She is a native Texan and an assistant fiction editor of Gulf Coast.

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Matthew Krajniak

Matthew (PhD, Fiction) is a third-year PhD candidate in fiction.He earned an MFA from the University of Memphis and is currently at work on his first novel.

Ji Yoon Lee

Ji Yoon Lee

Ji Yoon Lee is a poet and translator. Her most recent publication is Poems of Kim Yideum, Kim Haengsook, and Kim Minjeong, the collection of contemporary Korean poetry (Vagabond Press, 2017). She translated poet Kim Yideum’s collection, Cheer Up, Femme Fatale, with Don mee Choi and Johannes Göransson. She is the author of Foreigner’s Folly, Funsize/Bitesize, and IMMA. She is the winner of the Joanna Cargill prize (2014). She was born in South Korea, and immigrated to East Texas alone as a teen. She received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame.

Cameron Lehman

Cameron Lehman

After studying civil engineering and history at Stanford, Cameron (MFA, Fiction) worked at Anheuser-Busch, where he managed the Budweiser brand and produced three years of Clydesdale Super Bowl commercials. He then opened a medical cannabis dispensary, Harbory, in southern Illinois, before returning to Stanford’s business school.

Carolann Madden

Carolann Madden

Carolann Caviglia Madden is a poet, translator, weaver, and Navy brat whose work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in World Lit- erature Today, Yalobusha Review, Witch Craft Magazine, Public Poetry, Nimrod International Journal, The Southwest Anthology: The Best from the Writing Programs (Texas Review Press), and elsewhere. She is also the online poetry editor for Gulf Coast, a founding editor of Locked Horn Press, and the recent recipient of a Fulbright to Galway, Ireland, where she will be researching connec- tions between Irish folklore and creative writing.

Madeleine Maillet

Madeleine Maillet

Madeleine Maillet (PhD Fiction) is a writer, translator and French Canadian. Her stories have been published in Prism International, THIS Magazine, No Tokens, Joyland, Matrix, and anthologized in The Journey Prize Stories 27 (M & S). She is the Fiction Editor of Cosmonauts Avenue. She holds a B.A. from the University of To- ronto in English Literature and an M.A. from Concordia University in Montréal in English Literature and Creative Writing. In Texas, she will miss the snow.

Rosario Margate

Rosario Margate

Rosario Margate (MFA, Fiction) was born in the Philippines, raised in the Northern Marianas, and is from Houston.

Alex McElroy

Alex McElroy

Alex McElroy’s (PhD, Fiction) work appears in Tin House, The Atlantic, Black Warrior Review, New England Review, Kenyon Re- view Online, and he is the author of the chapbook Daddy Issues. He received the 2018 Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize for Nonfiction and has been awarded fellowships from The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Elizabeth George Foundation, and The National Parks Service.

Kristjan Meikop

Kristjan Meikop

Kristjan L. Meikop (MFA, Poetry) grew up in Helsinki, Finland. After some years of traveling and working in South America he returned to Finland where he earned a BA in English and literature at Åbo Akademi. Though his mother tongue is Swedish, he reads and writes mostly in English and likes to practice his Spanish if the opportunity arises. Always in search of duende in music, art and literature, he is currently working on his first book of poems.

Saira Nadeen

Saira Nadeen

Saira Nadeem (MFA, Fiction) graduated from the University of Houston in 2013 with her BA in Creative Writing and a minor in sales from the Program for Excellence in Selling. Since then, she has worked with the Stephen Stagner Sales Excellence Institute at UH. Prior, Saira was involved with various nonprofit literary mar- keting projects with Writers in the Schools and also managed film promotions for a local theater. When she’s not helping her students find jobs, she can be found dragging her husband to her favorite Pakistani restaurants and trying to teach her chocolate lab to sit.

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Michele Nereim

A born and bred Floridian, yes, Michele Nereim (PhD, Fiction) has had to contend with the occasional alligator in her backyard. It’s sad knowing they’ll be euthanized, but there are the tiny dogs to think of. Michele earned her MFA at FSU. She taught English and Composition for six years, pole dance for one. She spent her last year in Florida selling wine and cigars in The Villages, the U.S.’s largest retirement city, which recently gained international notoriety for a public “sex on the square” incident.

David Nikityn

David Nikityn

Hailing from Blairstown, New Jersey, David Nikityn (MFA, Fic- tion) earned a BA in Communication from Monmouth University, concentrating in radio and television broadcasting. He has since studied an eclectic mixture of physics, philosophy, literature and creative writing at Columbia University.

Brenden Oliva

Brenden Oliva

Brenden Oliva (PhD, Fiction) was born and bred in Podunk, North- ern Utah. He’s completed degrees in Anthropology, Human Biolo- gy, and English from the University of Utah, and most recently an MFA in Fiction from the University of Montana. When not operat- ing in the literary world, Brenden builds and breaks antique Harley Davidsons, first-generation Camaros, and sometimes Jeeps.

Colby Ornell

Colby Ornell

Colby Ornell (PhD, Fiction) is originally from a small town in central Massachusetts. She has a BA in English Literature from Wheaton College (MA) and an MFA in Fiction from Butler Uni- versity. Her work has appeared in The Cobalt Review and Curbside Splendor.

Michelle Orsi

Michelle Orsi

Michelle Orsi (MFA, Poetry) is from Spokane, Washington, where she received her BA in English and Spanish from Gonzaga Uni- versity. She currently serves as Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts and teaches at the University of Houston.

Georgia Pearle

Georgia Pearle

Born and raised in the Gulf South, Georgia Pearle (PhD, Poetry) is an alumna of Smith College and holds an MFA in Poetry from Lesley University. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Kenyon Review Online, Ninth Letter, and terrain.org, among others. Formerly the Digital Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts and a coordinator of The VIDA Count, she received 2018 Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing and holds a CLASS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. She is at work on a collection of poems as well as a memoir.

Paige Quinones

Paige Quiñones

Paige Quiñones (PhD, Poetry) earned a BA from the University of Florida and an MFA in poetry from the Ohio State University, where she was a poetry editor for The Journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Birdfeast, Juked, McSweeney’s, Muzzle Magazine, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Her poem “Summer, or Daughters I Haven’t Met” was a finalist for Best of the Net 2015.

Nick Rattner

Nick Rattner

Nick Rattner (PhD, Poetry) has taught at Holyoke Community College and at Smith College. He has published translations from the Spanish of poets Yvan Yauri and Czar Gutierrez and is currently translating Spanish poet Juan Andres Garcia Roman. He served for many years as an editor at Ugly Duckling Presse and for two years as an assistant basketball coach.

Sarah Robinson

Sarah Robinson

Sarah Robinson (MFA, Fiction) has bounced back and forth be- tween Albuquerque and Houston since childhood, with a brief and ill-advised stint in the cold cold land of rural New York. She re- ceived a BA in English and Studio Arts from the University of New Mexico and has spent the last several years working in museum publishing.

Dallas Saylor

Dallas Saylor

Dallas Saylor (MFA, Poetry) earned his BA in English and Math- ematics at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, PA, and has now returned not only to the south, where he lived until high school, but also to his namesake state, where he attended kindergarten and first grade. In his free time, Dallas enjoys board games, cooking, and swing dancing.

Annie Shepherd

Annie Shepherd

Annie Shepherd (PhD, Fiction) taught ESL in China for two years before returning to her home state of Texas to obtain an MFA in creative writing from Texas State University. Prior to entering the PhD program in fiction at University of Houston, she taught writ- ing and literature at Texas State University and University of the Incarnate Word. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in North American Review, The Greensboro Review, and North Dakota Quarterly.

Brendan Stephens

Brendan Stephens

Brendan Stephens (PhD, Fiction) is a second-year PhD candidate. Originally from the mountains of Western Maryland, he received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Epoch, the Southeast Review, Notre Dame Review, Carolina Quarterly, Phoebe, and elsewhere. Before he focused on writing, he was the guitarist and vocalist for numerous bands that toured extensively and released records.

Luisa Muradyan-Tannahill

Luisa Muradyan-Tannahill

Luisa (PhD, Poetry) is originally from the Ukraine and received her BA in History from the University of Kansas and MFA in Poetry from Texas State University. Her poems can be found in Blackbird, Ninth Letter, West Branch, Mudlark, PANK, A-Minor, Neon, and Anderbo.

Kaj Tanaka

Kaj Tanaka

Kaj (pronounced ‘Ky’) Tanaka (PhD, Fiction) teaches writing classes at a medium security prison. His stories and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Electric Literature, The Master’s Review, New South, Big Lucks and Midwestern Gothic. He is the nonfiction editor at BULL Magazine.

Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson (MFA, Poetry) grew up in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. He has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill Uni- versity in Montreal. He won the 2016 Mary C. Mohr Poetry Award from the Southern Indiana Review, and his poems (some of which do not relate to farming accidents) have also appeared in Empirical Magazine, The Rectangle, and The Avenue.

Novuyo Tshuma

Novuyo Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (PhD, Fiction) from Zimbabwe, is the author of the collection Shadows, which was published by Kwela Books in South Africa in 2013. She earned her MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Visit her online at www.novuyotshuma.com.

Obi Calvin Umeozor

Obi Calvin Umeozor

Obi Calvin Umeozor (PhD, Fiction) received his B.A. in English from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria and taught English Literature before moving to the States in 2015, where he obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the New Orleans Review, Southeast Review, Shift and others. He was shortlisted for the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Stalina Emmanuelle Villareal

Stalina Emmanuelle Villareal

Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal (PhD, Poetry) lives as a rhyming-slogan creative activist. She is a Generation 1.5 poet (mexicana and Chicana), a translator, a sonic-improv collaborator, and an instructor of English. Her MFA is from CCA. She coauthored an article in ¡Chicana Movidas!: Mapping Technologies of Resistance in the Movimiento Era. Her poetry can be found in the Rio Grande Review and the Texas Review. She has published translations of poetry, including Enigmas, by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, but she mostly translates poet Minerva Reynosa.

Grace Wagner

Grace Wagner

Grace Wagner (MFA, Poetry) grew up in Southeast Arkansas and Northern Louisiana. She completed a BA in Creative Writing Poetry from the University of Colorado Denver. During her time at UCD, she worked as Assistant Poetry Editor for Copper Nickel for three years. She attended the New York Summer Writers Institute for two consecutive summers, studying with Carolyn Forché, Rob- ert Pinsky, Campbell McGrath, Henri Cole, and Rosanna Warren. Her work can be found in Salmagundi Magazine. She spends her free time fighting for social justice and petting cats.

Dylan Walsh

Dylan Walsh

Richard Thompson grew up in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. He has a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University in Montreal. He won the 2016 Mary C. Mohr Poetry Award from the Southern Indiana Review, and his poems (some of which do not relate to farming accidents) have also appeared in Empirical Magazine, The Rectangle, and The Avenue.

Liza Watkins

Liza Watkins

Liza Watkins (MFA, Poetry) is a Louisiana native who has lived in Brooklyn, NY for 15 years. Her career as a social worker has focused on housing and early intervention services for young adults.

Cait Weiss

Cait Weiss

Cait Weiss’ (PhD, Poetry) work has been published or is forthcom- ing in Boston Review, Chautauqua, FIELD, Tupelo Quarterly & more. Online Editor of The Journal, founder of the Writers Guild Community Creative Workshops in Columbus, Ohio, Cait now teaches at the UH Writing Lab, Duke Scholar Weekend, Inprint and WITS Digital, Creative and Performance workshops. She is the recipient of an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor/MD Anderson Foundation Fellowship. Cait’s manuscript VALLEYSPEAK recently won the Zone 3 Press First Book Award.

Charlotte Wyatt

Charlotte Wyatt

Charlotte Wyatt (MFA, Fiction) is the recipient of a 2018 Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize for fiction, and was the 2017-18 Inprint/ Creative Writing Program Fellow. She has served as a Fiction Ed- itor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts and has taught fiction in Houston with Inprint, the Boldface Conference, and WITS. Charlotte works for the Napa Valley Writers’ Confer- ence in St. Helena, CA, as Fiction Director and Director of Admissions.