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English department hosts annual celebration of graduating MFA Candidates

TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida’s Department of English hosted its annual celebration of the graduating Masters of Fine Arts candidates on Friday, April 7, 2017. The event was held in the seventh floor atrium of the Interdisciplinary Science building.

Curtain Call provides graduating MFAs with the opportunity to read portions of the creative work they’ve created during their time at USF. Candidates read completed and excerpted short stories, poems, comics and essays. Professor Ira Sukrungruang was the master of ceremonies. Their thesis directors introduced the candidates and the event was open to the public and attended by undergraduate and graduate USF students, family, friends, alumni and faculty.

This year’s graduating class included Aracelis González Asendorf (fiction), Chelsea Dingman (poetry), Carmella Guiol (fiction), Colleen Kolba (fiction), Annalise Mabe (nonfiction), Dennis Mont’Ros, TJ Murray, Jay Thompson (fiction) and Karissa Womack (nonfiction).

Chapbooks, designed and created by Alysia Sawchyn, Alexander Cendrowski, Sarah Basil and Allyson Hoffman, featuring work by the graduating candidates, were available for purchase at the event. All proceeds from their sales went to a charity of the graduating class’ choosing; this year, the Curtain Call committee was able to make a donation of $215 to the Florida chapter of the Sierra Club.

Dr. John Henry Fleming, the incoming program director of USF’s MFA, also honored current director, Professor Rita Ciresi, for her work for the program.

Following the reading, candidates, friends, family and faculty met for the Curtain Call after-party at Fodder and Shine in Seminole Heights.

For more information about this and other events hosted by USF’s English Department, please contact professor Ira Sukrungruang at To learn more about USF's creative writing program in the Department of English, contact program director Rita Ciresi at

Photo: 2017 Curtain Call readers from left to right: TJ Murray, Carmella Guiol, Chelsea Dingman, Jay Thompson, Annalise Mabe, Colleen Kolba, Aracelis González Asendorf, Karissa Womack

The University of South Florida’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a graduate-level program offering concentrations in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. The program emphasizes the craft of writing and concentrates on students’ original work. For more information, see .


Filed under:Arts and Sciences English