Forging Our Own Path: On Being First-Generation in Academia

Rooms 345-346, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Thursday, March 9, 2023
10:35 am to 11:50 am


Four creative writing instructors explore the challenges and rewards of being first-generation college graduates working in and navigating the academy. We’ll explore the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability among first-gen teachers and students; how to best reach and serve our fellow first-gen students while advocating for ourselves; invisible labor, especially among contingent faculty; institutional classism; imposter syndrome; and making space for our own creative work.



Melissa Faliveno is the author of the essay collection Tomboyland, named a best book of 2020 by NPR, New York Public Library, and Oprah magazine. She was the 2020–21 Kenan Visiting Writer at University of North Carolina and is currently a visiting assistant professor of English at Kenyon College.

Natalie Lima is a Cuban-Puerto Rican writer, with work published in Longreads, Guernica, Brevity, The Offing, Catapult, Sex & the Single Woman (Harper Perennial, 2022), Body Language (Catapult, 2022) and elsewhere. She recently joined the faculty at Butler MFA as assistant professor of English.

Danielle Geller's first book, Dog Flowers, was published in 2021. Her work has appeared in Guernica, The New Yorker, and Brevity. She teaches creative writing at the University of Victoria and is a faculty mentor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

María Isabel Álvarez is a first-generation Guatemalan American writer. She received her BA in English literature and her MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University. Her writing has appeared in Kenyon Review, Black Warrior Review, Sonora Review, and Gulf Coast, among other venues.

Dantiel W. Moniz is the recipient of a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Award and a Pushcart Prize. Her debut collection, Milk Blood Heat, is a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and she teaches fiction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center