Information about some of our current students.
Anna Keener received her bachelor's degree from the University of New Mexico in Environmental Science. While an undergraduate, she was given the opportunity to study biology on the Galapagos Islands. She has also traveled in Belize, studying small mammals, and has spent a summer counting prairie dogs and tagging birds in the New Mexican desert. Anna took to writing at an early age, a period of her work which featured time traveling dog narrators and 'it was all a dream' twist endings. She writes fiction and non-fiction. Anna's hometown is Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the base range of the Rocky Mountains.
James O'Brien has attended Iowa State University's MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment since Fall 2008. He writes fiction and teaches advanced composition. As an undergraduate, O'Brien attended St. Mary's College of Maryland, completed a senior thesis on the Rhetoric of Punk Rock, played rugby, and graduated in Spring 2007. The following year, O'Brien served with AmeriCorps VISTA in Southern Maryland as a mediator, facilitator, and public outreach coordinator. During his time with AmeriCorps he developed a writing as conflict resolution group, worked alongside local law enforcement, and provided alternative dispute resolution services to Maryland's court system. His literary interests include the Literature of the American South, Mythology, Medieval Literature, and Modern Rhetoric. Currently, he is at work on a collection of short stories centered on Washington D.C.'s straight-edge punk scene as well as several pieces of magic realism. His story, 'Night's Work,' is forthcoming from J Journal in Winter 2009.
Rachael Button is a second-year MFA student. She's from Michigan—a place she frequently writes and talks about. If you ask her she'll point out her hometown on her hand. As an undergraduate she studied English and ran cross country and track for Valparaiso University in Indiana. Since moving to Iowa she's run the Des Moines marathon, helped with a prairie burn, volunteered on an organic farm, and taken part in a community art project at Ada Hayden Park. This summer Rachael did her field work at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise, Michigan, where she taught people about sunken ships, lighthouses, and Lake Superior. She primarily writes nonfiction.
Born and raised in southeastern Pennsylvania, Fred MacVaugh now resides in Ames, Iowa, while he completes the MFA in creative writing and environment. Before coming to ISU, Fred earned an MA in English, with an emphasis in technical communication, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha; worked for seven years as an archivist for the National Park Service (NPS); completed an MA in history from the University of Texas at El Paso; and received a BA in history, with a minor in creative writing (poetry), at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Fred's NPS experience includes a season at Vicksburg National Military Park, two years at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and five years in the Midwest Regional Office, where he assisted staff in 57 parks in 13 states manage records, archives, museum, and library collections. Along the way, Fred's also taught college-level English and history; worked as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer, writing tutor, and grocery clerk; interned at the University of Nebraska Press; and published poems in, most recently, Plains Song Review. His goal is to combine writing about history and nature with teaching, conservation, and land preservation and management.
Kim Rogers is in her third year of the MFA program. She hails from a town (Elgin) that used to be the edge of the suburbs of Chicago, but is now the middle of the suburbs of Chicago. She is currently at work on a book-length memoir about her travels to and from Zimbabwe over the last decade. For her MFA fieldwork, she returned to Zimbabwe to visit old friends, collect data for her memoir, and teach poetry, nonfiction, and business writing at Kufunda Learning Village (www.kufunda.org). Her work has appeared in the Florida Review, Potomac Review, and the Briar Cliff Review. Her chapbook, After the Flood in Mozambique, based on her Fulbright year in Zimbabwe, was published as part of an Iowa State arts grant. She completed her MA in English at ISU in 2004 with a yet-to-be-published (damn you first book contests) poetry manuscript, Magic and Other Explanations. In between her MA and MFA she worked as the managing editor of the National Women's Studies Association Journal.