Alumni

Alumni

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Mark Takano
Representative Mark Takano

2010 | Nonfiction

"I am a proud alumnus of the University of California, Riverside where I earned an MFA in creative writing. I loved the literature classes, the workshopping, and most of all, I loved learning to write children's stories from a future national poet laureate. UCR is an incredibly diverse institution in and of itself and programs like this one make higher education attainable and enjoyable for people looking to pursue a graduate degree. Not only am I proud to call myself a Highlander, it’s also an honor to be able to represent this world-class university in Congress." Read more about Congressman Takano. 
Carol Park
Carol Park

2011 | Nonfiction

"Getting accepted to and graduating from the UCR Palm Desert MFA program was the best thing to happen to me as an aspiring writer. The program's innovative, caring, kind, and supportive structure shaped me into a better writer and allowed me to grow professionally. Through the program I met other writers and formed lasting friendships. I also met agents, directors, and myriad other people involved in the writing industry. Without these connections, the education, and the excellent guidance from the professors and administration, I would not have achieved my writing goals. The UCR Palm Desert MFA program changed my life because it helped me make my writing dreams come true. No other program – I firmly believe – offers what UCR PDMFA does. The honesty, integrity, and helpfulness offered by the faculty and staff is amazing. The program is an asset to UCR and I will always love and support it!" Read more about Carol.
Liska Bettina Jacobs
Liska Jacobs

2015 | Fiction 

"Life's too short not to do what you love. Writing is hard work, but there's nothing else I'd rather be doing. If you're ready to commit, the Palm Desert MFA program is your next step. The UCR Palm Desert MFA program is thanked in every book I publish for good reason."  Read more about Liska.
Guy Nicolucci
Guy Nicolucci

2014 | Screenwriting

"I left with a sense of belonging to a community as well as an ability to see more opportunities as a writer. (And a better tan.)" Read more about Guy.
Jalysa Conway
Jalysa Conway

2014 | Fiction

"The Palm Desert MFA program made me believe that I could actually have a professional career as a writer; then, they taught me how to go about accomplishing that goal. I'm now an established television writer at the co-producer level. I've been staffed in both the Shonda Rhimes camp (“Grey's Anatomy”) and the Ryan Murphy camp (“911: Lone Star”). I owe my entire career to these guys. The tribe – both colleague and professor alike. They've gotten me through everything, at every step along the way. The people make this program exceptional. Do it. Get off that fence. Become a better writer, like you've been hungering for. You want to work on your craft? Find your voice? This program will guide you there." Read more about Jalysa. 
Pamela Peté
Pamela Peté

2020 | Poetry

"The best thing about the program is that you have time to discover yourself. You are prompted to go through doors you may have been hesitant to open. And once you do you are exposed to a whole new you. I have a whole new family and community that shares and cares. They celebrate my wins and encourage me in my struggles. The community of writers is awesome." Read more about Pamela.
Michelle Castillo
Michelle Castillo

2017 | Poetry 

"Writing has allowed me to share my unique lived experiences through poems, articles, essays, and storytelling. I am proud to share my stories and hope others can connect and be inspired to share their stories. The program gave me the time and space to focus on my writing more intentionally. As the program cultivates a hybrid model of working online and having in-person residencies, I enjoyed that flexibility in time, allowing me to be still engaged in my community, work, personal life, and connected to the UCR MFA community." Read more about Michelle.