S142. MFA vs POC: A Discussion on Surviving and Thriving in Predominantly White Institutes

Florida Salon 5, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
10:30 am to 11:45 am


A diverse panel of current MFA students will focus on the experience of entering a creative writing program at a predominantly white institute (PWI) as a person of color (POC). Panelists will discuss both the challenges and the opportunities they have faced in their programs including confronting stereotypes in workshop, finding and working with mentors, and maintaining their cultural identity. This is an opportunity for students and faculty to get honest feedback and discuss solutions.


Elizabeth Upshur is a Black Southern poet, translator, and memoirist. She is the former submissions manager for Steel Toe Books. She was awarded a Katherine Bakeless Nelson scholarship for the 2017 Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference. She is a first-year MFA graduate student and teacher at WKU.

Anuradha Bhowmik is a Bangladeshi American poet and writer. She is an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech and a Pushcart nominee. Her work appears in Nashville Review, Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Ninth Letter Online, Bayou, The Normal School, Crab Orchard Review, Slice magazine, Zone 3, and elsewhere.

Cameron Moreno is a first-year MFA candidate and teacher at Western Kentucky University. Before pursuing fiction and scriptwriting, Cameron studied biology and was training to become an EMT. He edited and wrote for Panorama magazine, the University of Texas–Pan Americans’ award-winning magazine.

Willy Palomo is the son of two undocumented immigrants from El Salvador. He is currently pursuing a MA in Latin American and Caribbean studies and an MFA in poetry at Indiana University. He writes book reviews for Muzzle and runs the Bloomington Poetry Slam.

Gionni Ponce is a Latinx MFA candidate at Indiana University where her primary form is fiction. She is an associate genre editor in fiction and nonfiction at Indiana Review. Her work is published in CRED Philly, Tony Ward Studio, The MFA Years, TakePart, and La Vida magazine.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside