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Dakota Haley Valdez

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Poetry/Creative Nonfiction

Hometown

Pleasant Hill, California

Kassandra Lee Tate

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Fiction

Hometown

Santa Fe

My Greatest Supporters

My family has given me endless love and support. Even though we were separated and I lived far away while I pursued my education, their belief in me gave me strength. My professors and friends at SMC helped me find my path in life. I am who I am today thanks to everyone in my life.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

I have many wonderful memories about my time at SMC, but I'm going to miss living on campus. I made so many friends and I learned so much about the world and about myself as a result.

My Next Chapter

I don't know what the future will bring me, but I'm going to grab every opportunity that comes my way. I hope to use what I learned to help others. I can't wait for the adventures that await for me in the next chapter of my life.

Favorite Quote

"I love you and don't let anyone or anything bring you down!" My mother would say this to me a lot growing up. During quarantine, I was reminding myself that I have people who love even though they lived far away. When life throws a curveball at you, you shouldn't let it bring you down. Use it an opportunity to improve yourself and learn something new.
— My Mother

Kiran Bains Sahota

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Fiction

Hometown

Yuba City, CA

My Greatest Supporters

My greater supporters come from the huge family that supports me through every reading, publication, and success. But most of all, my great-grandmother and mother who raised me are my greatest inspirations.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

I loved being in person and attending readings, grabbing tea from the café, and having workshop with my amazing peers. Even digitally, every moment with them are times I laugh, think, and savor. I will always be grateful to the MFA in Creative Writing program for giving me some astounding and supportive friends, and giving me the best two years of my life thus far.

Favorite Quote

“We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins, carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains. 93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames, we are all just stars that have people names.”
— Nikita Gill
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Ryan Sinclair Shepherd

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Fiction

Jacqueline Hughes Simon

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Poetry

Hometown

Berkeley
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Angelina J. Strosahl

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Fiction

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Connor Robert McCaslin

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Fiction

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Courtney Metz

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Fiction

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Joseph Patterson

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction

Lizette Aurelia Roman-Johnston

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction

Hometown

Wilton, Connecticut

My Greatest Supporters

I'd like to thank the Saint Mary's MFA community. All my classmates, professors, and other faculty members have given me guidance, friendship, and support on my way to receiving my MFA. Thanks to my family at home in Connecticut: Momes, Diddy, Nickle, Ken, and Winnie. And thanks to my California family: Robert, Stompy, Nick, Julia, and everyone else who has made the Bay Area feel like home!

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

My favorite Saint Mary's memory was getting to meet up with my classmates at the Canyon Club after evening classes. On one evening, I got to be part of a reading and read a piece about Trader Joe's cauliflower crust pizza!

My Next Chapter

My next chapter is... my next chapter. I am ready to keep writing my memoir!

Clubs and Activities

MARY: A Journal of New Writing
Writing Circle Professor
Graduate Student Reading Committee
Graduate Assistant of SMC Softball Team

Favorite Quote

"Remember, licking doorknobs is illegal on other planets."
— Spongebob Squarepants