I am a senior at Westfield State University studying English with a concentration in writing. My dream for after graduation in May is to work in publishing by day and work on my novels by night. I did not realize my love for writing until I was in fourth grade when my teacher told me I had a talent for writing after grading one of my writing assignments. He let me write a story on the computers for forty minutes out of class time and let me read the story to the whole class. That experience changed my life because it had me realize that I was good at something, and I actually loved what I was doing. A year prior I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and put on an IEP plan. I did not know I had talent in anything. Without that teacher encouraging me and believing in me rather than pushing me aside and assuming I was a good-for-nothing ten-year-old, I would have never fully embraced my potential and had confidence that I could put myself out there.
Years later, I wrote a novel with a local published author as a mentor for my senior project in high school. I loved the process of writing a novel so much that I continued to pursue my writing in college. I have taken multiple writing classes at Westfield State. Some of the classes I have taken are Fiction Writing, Creative Non-Fiction, and Advanced Prose in which I wrote a prologue to my novel that I wrote in high school. I also took classes that explored designing a literary journal, and how to copyedit.
I am a 22-year-old woman from a small town, Mansfield, in south eastern Massachusetts. I have an older sister, Jenna, who is going for her Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of California Berkeley. My mom, Devon, is a nutritionist specialized in diabetes. My dad, Rick, is a licensed mental health counselor working in the Emergency Room at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also owns his own private practice in Watertown, Massachusetts. I have two pets: a five-year-old black lab named Sammie, and a three-year-old fat cat named B.K (Big Kitty).
I love writing fiction. The stories that I write for school are usually realistic fiction. However, I always wanted to write fantasy fiction. One of my all time favorite authors is Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series. Her characters are so complex and different that each book I read the characters grow in a way that was different from the last book. I know when writing is well done when the readers are feeling all kinds of emotions for the characters in the story as they read it. I would stay up until late hours of the night reading Clare’s books and crying my eyes out when a character felt great loss or distress. I also remember crying over the villain in the story because his story was so complex and such a gray area that I empathized with him in a way. That is how I want my characters to be, complex and dynamic. Fun fact: I got to meet Cassandra Clare at a book signing in Wellesley, Massachusetts back when I was a senior in high school. She signed some of my books and we had a conversation about favorite authors. It was surreal.
I joined the staff of Westfield State’s literary magazine Persona when I was a freshman and have been on the staff my entire college career. I was elected Fiction Editor my junior year and elected Layout Editor my senior year. I have gotten to vote on which submissions are going to be in the journal and help design the layout of the journal using InDesign. I love being a part of the staff of Persona because I feel as though the staff is one big family. Fun fact: One of our staff members has her dog, Shelby, on campus and she became our magazine’s mascot.
I have interned at Beetle Press in Easthampton, Massachusetts with Janice Beetle. I got to learn the ins and outs of a publishing press. I have also interned remotely and on site of a non-profit organization Green Education Foundation alongside CEO Victoria Waters in Walpole, Massachusetts. There I learned business and technical writing. I have had two short stories published in Persona and have a magical realism story published on DearHope.
For my internship, I am working with one of the founders, Ellen Meeropol, and Administrative Director, Laura Stone, of Straw Dog Writer’s Guild in Northampton, Massachusetts. I am excited to have my internship be at Straw Dog because I feel as though I can gain a lot of knowledge on all the different kinds of writing involved in this internship. I am going to learn promotional writing via their blog, newsletter, and different platforms of social media. I am excited to be involved in the event promotion for the poetry anthology being published out of Straw Dog. I love that Straw Dog brings a kind and humble atmosphere to the writing community, and actually brings the scattered community together. I am very proud to intern with Straw Dog and help give the support my fellow writers need.