Joy Grace Chen

Class of 2016, BFA in Creative Writing, BA in Literature

Joy Grace Chen

What was your favorite part of studying Creative Writing at UE?

My favorite part of studying Creative Writing at UE was probably the department faculty. They made themselves very accessible, and I felt comfortable forming professional but also personal relationships with them. Their care, guidance, and mentorship greatly shaped my identity and trajectory as a writer.

What did you experience in UE’s CRW department that feels special/unique to our program?

UE's Creative Writing department is special in that it offers students a plethora of opportunities to gain varied experience. During my time in the program, I had a copyediting internship with the university’s Office of Publications, wrote for the university yearbook, worked in editorial positions on multiple literary journals, and completed an independent study of sorts that allowed me to get credit for a curriculum-writing project. I was given the chance to read my work before an audience, as well as to attend the AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) conference. All of these amazing experience-building and resume-boosting activities were made available to me through the department.

While at UE, I was nominated by a professor for the Norton Writer’s Prize, a national writing contest, and won it! Not only did I receive prize money, but my essay was published on Norton’s website, which was an amazing honor.

What was your favorite Creative Writing class and why?

My favorite class, hands down, was Dr. Lisa Nikolidakis’ creative nonfiction class. It was in this class that I fell head over heels for the genre, and now I'm reading and writing it full time, so I guess you could say the class was pretty formative.

What are you up to now?

After graduating from UE, I taught English in Krakow, Poland for one year. It was a wonderful cultural and relational experience that shaped not only me as a person but also as a teacher and a writer.

Now I’m in my first year as an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at The Ohio State University, and yes (admits abashedly), I am on fellowship. My cohort is brilliant, and I love the program so far. As of now, I'm writing a great deal, but I'm not working on any significant projects yet, nor have I published anything, but that will hopefully change in the next few years.

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