Words from our Graduates

Two students

Brenna Clarke Gray, PhD (2010)

Department of English, Douglas College

"I'm so grateful for my experience in the PhD English program at UNB for preparing me for a career in the academy.  My relationship with my doctoral supervisor was ideal; her mentorship and guidance made it possible to complete my PhD quickly while including a wide diversity of academic experiences.  That relationship has been a lasting one, with the support and guidance helping me through the process of pitching my dissertation to publishers and developing my first book.  Because the program is small and the professors deeply invested in student success, I was able to craft a program of study that prepared me for emerging trends in English scholarship while providing a solid and reliable grounding.  I was able to gain experience as a researcher, teacher, editor, and colleague, all of which meant that I had a well-rounded academic CV when it came time to enter the job market.  I love my job as a full-time college instructor at Douglas College in Vancouver, and all the opportunities it has afforded me — teaching abroad with our field school program, serving in positions of academic governance, curriculum redesign and development — I have been prepared for because of the richness of my doctoral experiences at UNB."

Iain McMaster, MA (Academic, 2013)  

“The English department at the University of New Brunswick offered everything that I was looking for in a graduate school: a challenging academic program, an exciting selection of course offerings, a small but closely knit cohort of students, and an exceptional faculty that is at once internationally recognized and at the same time invested in the academic interests and the success of its students. Each professor challenged me to develop new ways of thinking about literature and was easily accessible for feedback on my work. My MA thesis was a wonderful experience thanks to the thoughtful and considered discussions that I had with my supervisor. Her encouragement and excitement about the subject kept me motivated throughout my research and writing.  Additionally, the English faculty offers great support in developing scholarship applications including the SSHRC Master’s Scholarship, which I was awarded during my time at UNB. All my future academic experiences will be measured against the academically stimulating environment fostered by the faculty of the English department.”  

Matthew Mott, M.A. (Creative Writing, 2012)

College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University of Newfoundland

"The UNB English Department’s commitment to holistic education blew me away. Of course, the faculty were professional, knowledgeable, active in scholarship, and dedicated in the classroom. But moreover, they built with their students rich relationships characterized by genuine interest in and engagement with not only students’ work, but with their lives and with how the two interact. The profs taught course content but also the experience of scholarship—the day-to-day personal and professional concerns and challenges, especially those from out of the classroom, that academic and creative writers must negotiate. I learned the skills to work day-in and day-out, on my own time, in the real world."   

Sarah Bernstein, MA (Creative Writing, 2012)

"UNB’s English faculty is really without compare, and I feel lucky to have been part of a programme that allows space for creative development while emphasizing academic excellence. I also benefited from the small class sizes and diversity of courses. Because of the support and mentorship of both creative writing and academic professors, I was able to work on The Fiddlehead and Qwerty magazines, participate in the Frye Literary Festival, and present a paper at the Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities. Even after I graduated, the support from professors at UNB continued: I was able to serve as a poetry editor of The Fiddlehead, and with the help of various faculty members, I managed to obtain scholarships and gain entry into the University of Edinburgh’s PhD programme. I really cannot say enough good things about the programme and the people."   

Chantelle Rideout, MA (Creative Writing, 2012)

Author of  Sotto Voce (Frog Hollow, 2013)

"I really enjoyed the hybridity of the Master's program in English and Creative Writing at UNB. Engaging in creative and academic writing antiphonally allowed me to forge a better connection between the two in my own work. My favorite aspect of the program was having the chance to meet and work one-one-one on both lyrical and critical writing with writers I admire greatly--on the faculty, through the writer in residence program, and during Poetry Weekend. I learned so much from these relationships and feel so lucky to have formed them."    

Peter Forestell,  MA (Creative Writing, 2011)

PhD Student, University of Calgary

"For me, the MA in English Literature at UNB combined the best of both worlds: a rigorous and diverse academic program with an intimate and welcoming creative writing community.   The opportunities I was able to take advantage of while  a student were first rate. I was able to be a reader for The Fiddlehead, a nationally-recognized literary journal, as well as co-edit Qwerty, the department's student run literary journal. Furthermore, through the close mentorship of faculty at UNB, I was able to attend and present a paper at the Congress of the Humanities, as well as achieve a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master's Scholarship.   After I graduated, the continuing mentorship from the faculty at UNB helped me gain acceptance to the PhD program at the University of Calgary supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship. Without the kind advice of the faculty at UNB while I was a student and after, I don't know if I would have had as much success.  Some people say that an MA in English Literature is not practical because it does not translate easily into the working world. However, I can attest to the fact that the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills I developed at the UNB have since been welcomed at the Communications division of National Research Council and the Information Management division of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada."    

Rebecca Geleyn, MA (Creative Writing, 2011)

PhD student, University of Calgary

"The English MA program at UNB engaged me in an entirely different kind of academic experience from my undergraduate degree at a larger school. There was a quiet modesty to the happenings in the department at UNB – the thrum of stimulating conversation amongst students and faculty and a rare environment of non-competitiveness that allowed me to grow as a scholar and writer. I especially appreciated how the faculty members, some of the most brilliant intellectuals in their fields, also worked hard to be talented teachers. My relationships with them extend far beyond graduating and I’m happy to count them in my diaspora of friends from UNB. The program, I think, strikes up the best balance between rigorous scholarship and a creative, low-stress, down-to-earth milieu; the result is that students can undertake important work without necessarily seeing how impressive they are."    

Allison LaSorda, MA (Creative Writing, 2011)

"I cannot say enough good things about my time at UNB. I instantly felt welcomed into an intensive academic and creative community. The program allows for collaboration with professors and writers in residence, who offer unique experiences for readings, editorial work, and guidance beyond the workshops. Working on the graduate student journal Qwerty, and one of the finest literary journals in Canada,The Fiddlehead, are certainly some of the Creative Writing MA program's highlights. The relationships I developed with both fellow students and professors were inspiring, and I'm sure they will continue to have a meaningful impact on my writing career."    

Belinda's Rings cover

Corinna Chong, MA (Creative Writing, 2010)

Author of Belinda's Rings (NeWest Press, 2013), Instructor of English and Creative Writing at Okanagan College, Kelowna, BC

"I graduated in 2010 from UNB’s Creative Writing MA program, and I could not have asked for a better grad school experience. Small class sizes, fascinating academic seminars, attentive and supportive professors, and a vibrant and active literary events scene were just some of the highlights. The opportunity to do editorial work for Qwerty and The Fiddlehead was invaluable to improving my skills as a writer and editor, and the guidance I received on my thesis launched me into the publishing world with my first novel. Most valuable to me, my cohort of fellow grad students and profs became like a family. The two years I spent at UNB was a truly enriching experience, both personally and professionally."    

Emily Ruskovich, MA (Creative Writing, 2009)

MFA (Iowa) 2010, McCreight Fiction Fellow at University of Wisconsin-Madison (2011-12)

"As a graduate student in Creative Writing at UNB, I felt like a part of a very encouraging literary community. What impressed me most was the close attention my work received from my professors who consistently met with me one-on-one to give thorough and honest critiques of my writing, which is an experience I don't think I will have again to quite the same degree. The personal relationships I developed there were inspiring and meaningful; I feel confident that my professors at UNB will continue to be my mentors throughout my writing career."    

Stephanie Yorke, MA (Creative Writing, 2009) 

Commonwealth Scholar at Oxford University

"I chose UNB for my master's degree because the MA program offered a variegated academic backing, and the Creative Writing program provided a complement to, rather than a compromise of, the academic stream. The small size of the graduate classes meant that we were integrated as a group both intellectually and socially, and cliques weren't formed based on research area or level of graduate study. The professors in the English Department are great, and are very willing to help students with 'extras' like SSHRC applications and recommendation letters. I know that 'more than a number' is a bit of a cliché, but..."  

Group