Welcome Spring 2015 Cohort: Student Bios

Home/Welcome Spring 2015 Cohort: Student Bios
Welcome Spring 2015 Cohort: Student Bios 2017-05-18T16:47:57-07:00

Travis Burkett: Photo and bio coming soon


Michelle Castillo: Traveling everywhere with

her musician mother, she became a child of the road playing in studios and sleeping in makeshift beds. Taking up piano, violin and voice at an early age Michelle fell in love with the world of creative expression. When it came down to choosing a profession she went into teaching to fulfill her passion for cultivating arts and diversity amongst the youth. While teaching, she did freelance writing for an alternative weekly her articles focused on the underground DIY arts and culture community blossoming in her hometown of Coachella Valley. She is now one of the facilitators for the progressive artist collective Desert Writers, Artists and Musicians, in which they have been throwing a monthly pop-up reading series at Koffi featuring poets and writers. Recently, Michelle collaborated with The Coachella Valley Art Scene to present CONNECTED. She is excited to be part of this program and hopes it will allow her to flourish as a writer. Her genre of choice is poetry, yet she is curious to tap into creative nonfiction. In her free time you may find her at a dinner party with friends, painting at a park, having lunch at Lola’s or advocating for social change.


Theresa Corigliano has spent most of her professional career as a television publicity executive and writer. At the request of the CBS Television Network, Corigliano relocated from New York to Los Angeles, where she served as vice president of communications, during which time she supervised publicity campaigns for all of the Network’s primetime series. After leaving CBS, Corigliano worked for six years as a publicity consultant, launching the Emmy-nominated CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and promoting other primetime and syndicated television shows, TV movies and indie films. She holds several honors for her campaigns by the Publicists Guild of America. Also a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, Corigliano is a produced television writer, who began her career in one-hour drama. She was a semifinalist for her episodic work at the Austin Film Festival, and she was also a quarterfinalist in the Writers Network screenwriting competition. As a sportswriter, she has covered the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings for the NHL’s GOAL Magazine and other national sports magazines, and also served for two years as the publicity manager of the Phil Esposito Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that administered career counseling and drug and alcohol rehabilitation for professional hockey players. Corigliano has been a guest instructor at UCLA School of Continuing Education in the area of television publicity, and a guest speaker at USC. Currently, she is a contributing editor at PETERGREENBERG.com and DISHMAGAZINE.com. Outside of television, she volunteers in Emergency Department of Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and in the Education Department of Aquarium of the Pacific. She lives in Los Angeles.


Catherine Darby’s work has been published in The Muse Strikes Back: A Poetic Response by Women to Men, The Temple, The Long Island Quarterly, 5 x7: A New York Anthology, and San Diego Writers Ink.  She was a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference participant, grant recipient of the Italian-American Foundation and an editor for Vox Populi Anthology of the Seattle Poetry Festival. In1995 she moved to Seattle and began hiking sections of the Pacific Crest Trail southbound, and with her artist husband, started CHAM (Capital Hill Art Militia).  Now, she and her family hike northbound from San Diego where they live; in about nine years, they will complete the trail, somewhere in the middle.


Corrie Dibble is coming to UCR from Oregon, graduating in 2012 from Portland State University. Inspired by authors like Poe and Patterson she has chosen to pursue a life in writing. Corrie is a dreamer, traveler, and will stop to listen to any stranger’s story, then write about it. Her theme song in life is “Nobody’s Gunna Break My Stride” or “Another One Bites The Dust” — depending if there is a break-up. Corrie loves to eat french fries and confesses that she will run an extra mile in order to justify an extra large order of them drizzled in truffle sauce. She is an avid animal lover, maybe more than humans, and her 9 year old mutt, Stoli, rules her world.


John Flynn-York writes fiction and criticism. He grew up in the San Francisco bay area and studied politics and philosophy at UC Santa Cruz. He’s worked as a script reader, a lifeguard, a teacher, and a butcher. When not writing, he enjoys taking rambling walks through Los Angeles and baking pies and bread.



My name is Kathy Hansler and I am looking forward to rediscovering my writer’s voice. I have spent the past thirteen years helping university students find their writer’s voice, as a professor at California State University San Bernardino, where I teach English composition, news writing, and publication layout and design. Prior to teaching, I worked as a staff reporter and columnist for twenty-three years, including four years at the Orange County Register and sixteen years at The (San Bernardino County) Sun. I earned my master of arts in English Composition at CSUSB and bachelor of arts at UC San Diego. I live in Redlands, Calif., with my husband and two dogs, and I have two grown children prospering in their own careers.



Jenny Hayes grew up in Berkeley, California, and graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley a rather long time ago. In 1996 she moved to Seattle, where she began dating the guy who worked at the record store down the street. They eventually got married, bought a house, had a daughter, and adopted a cat. Jenny makes her living writing technical content, and for many years she blogged about the bizarre world of yard sales, but fiction is her favorite thing to write. Her stories appear in various intriguing publications, including a chapbook with an illustrated story about junior high and David Bowie, and she’s read her work in locations ranging from dive bars in the mountains to mansions by the sea.



Lia Langworthy is a UC Berkeley graduate (1992), a published poet, a produced TV writer (credits include The Shield and Soul Food) and recipient of The Fox Diversity Writing Fellowship and ABC’s Daytime Writing fellowship. During her time at UCR Lia will write two TV pilots and a memoir. Lia lives with her daughter and two cats in Studio City, CA.



Nicky Loomis is a fiction writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2005 with a BA in English and Creative Writing. She additionally holds an MS from Columbia Journalism School in print journalism and an MA in specialized journalism from USC. She writes features relating to arts and culture for various publications including the Los Angeles Times. She additionally writes a longstanding human interest column for her hometown paper, the Pasadena Star News. She spent 2011-2012 in Budapest, Hungary as a Fulbright scholar in creative writing. She conducted research and interviews focusing on the political climate in Hungary from 1948 to the present in order to better understand how memory – both private and collective – is lost during times of pain, and how this loss has affected cultural identity in post-Communist Hungary and personal identity abroad. In this process, she completed a first draft of a novel. Her fiction has appeared in Driftwood Literary Journal, Inside Out Literary Magazine, and the Hawaii Review. She is a PEN Center member and has received fellowships to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Summer Literary Seminars, and a Long Scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.


Jeff Meyers is currently a New York-based filmmaker and screenwriter. He is also an award-winning film critic at Detroit’s Metro Times, and a contributing writer for Moviemaker Magazine. In the early aughts, Jeff was the Creative Director for StageDirect (Portland, OR) and the co-founder and former artistic director of Theatre Vertigo (Portland, OR). Before that he spent 10 years working as a microbiologist. In 2000, he was a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards for poetry.



Pam Munter is a professional has-been, having been an actor, singer, producer, musician, bandleader, professor, political activist and shrink.  All these pursuits (and a few more) involved writing in some form.  She has had two books published and contributed to several others along with two dozen lengthy articles on (usually) dead movie stars.  Being accepted into the MFA program is likely to provide a stimulating Act Three in an already eventful life.



David Nestor

David Nestor is a 2014 Cal State Long Beach graduate where he obtained his BA in English. He not only shares his birthday with Edgar Allen Poe, but also an affinity for horror and all things disturbed. During the final semester of his undergraduate program David interned for Nortia Press, a local publisher, as an editor. He hopes to complete and publish his first novel during his time at the UCR low residency MFA.




Clarinda Ross made her film debut in Blue Sky (last film directed by Sir Tony Richardson) with Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones.  Her television credits include: The United States of Tara, Medium, The District, The Drew Carey Show, Judging Amy, E.R., The Client, NewsRadio, Days of Our Lives, In The Heat of The Night, I’ll Fly Away and several television movies most notably the Emmy Award winning Stolen Babies with Mary Tyler Moore. Ms. Ross has authored two plays, From My Grandmother’s Grandmother Unto Me and Spit Like A Big Girl for which she was named a 2014 Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writer’s Conference. She is married to the actor Googy Gress.  They have three children Clara, Frank and Gus. She served for many years on the National Council of AEA and is currently a L.A. delegate to SAG.AFTRA. She is a proud member of The Dramatist’s Guild of America. www.clarindaross.com


Deedie Runkel

Donnan Beeson Runkel (Deedie) Writing has always had to fit between the cracks of a life made busy doing what was expected of me – work, family, friends, causes, and communities. My professional career’s included everything from advocating for older people to helping Congressional spouses prevent nuclear war to being a top official for the Peace Corps, both in headquarters and overseas to, most recently, being an innkeeper in Ashland, Oregon. Central to my success in all these endeavors was my ability to express myself and my mission in the written word. Without realizing it, I was proving Garrison Keillor right — there’s hardly anything we English majors can’t do when we put our minds to it. My 2010 memoir, BOXES Lifting the Lid on An American Life, laid the groundwork for what’s to come.



Eli Ryder is a fiction writer from Lancaster, CA, a windy desert town about an hour north of Los Angeles.  Eli earned a Master’s Degree in English from CSU Northridge in 2014, teaches composition at a small private university in the Antelope Valley, and occasionally endures the torture of High School Substitute Teaching.  When hunched over his laptop, searching for a better turn-of-phrase, he is watching the Dodgers or the Packers and enjoying (or not, as the case may be) a craft beer at the local brewhouse.