Alumni | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Creative Writing Alumni

Look at what our alums are doing...

Michael Waguespack, Class of 2007
• Co-Author of "My First Deer Hunt"
• Co-authored and photographed the self-published picture book My First Deer Hunt:
• Received the 2006 Reitema Award for Short Fiction.
• Coordinates a media literacy research project at UPMC geared toward tobacco prevention.

Jodi Vollero
• Author of "Hidden Friendship"
When twelve-year-old Lanie Ashton's older brother, Sam, tells her the local legend of Mia, a missing girl the neighborhood kids claim is living in the woods near her home, she knows she has to find her. Somewhere inside, Lanie realizes that by setting Mia free from her trapped existence in the wilderness, she will set herself free to live her new life in her new town.

Lisa Balkovec Giguere, Class of 2005
• Author of "Setting It Straight"
Educator and a writer, she aims to address the social issues teens face in the hallways and classrooms of schools across America. Told from dueling first-person points of view, Setting It Straight is a young adult novel that tackles the issue of teenage homosexuality from both a gay and straight perspective. Its content opens up numerous topics for discussion that can be held in the classroom or at the dinner table.

This book is currently being used in local high school classrooms,
Gay-Straight Alliance clubs, organizations such as PFLAG (Parents,
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and has recently been added to
a Gender Issues in Literature class at the University of Pittsburgh.

Ba Rea, Class of 2001
• Freelance writer
• naturalist
• publisher

Erika Pierce, Class of 2003
• Montessori teacher, music teacher

Christine Cooper, Class of 2004
• Asistant Editor, The Local History Company
• "Signs of Spring," Story Friends March 2002
• book forthcoming, "Mountain Bird" The Local History Company

Maureen Lee, Class of 2004
• Science teacher
• nonfiction book forthcoming "Lighthouse Stories", The Local History Company

Jaramy Connors, Class of 2004
• Teaching English grades 3-6, freshman composition at community college;
• article forthcoming, Listen Magazine, September 2006 "No Steel Required: A Teenager's Guide to Strength Training"

Nicole Freeman, Class of 2004
• Loan officer
• several manuscripts under serious consideration

Amy Manikowski, Class of 2004
• Bookstore Manager

Laurie Mansell Reich, Class of 2004
Currently working as an independent contractor, through her own company, "Laurie Mansell Reich Writing & Editing Services," with Neighborhood Legal Services Association, a free civil legal aid nonprofit in downtown Pittsburgh. She coordinates the NLSA development effort, including writing, editing and proofreading publications/materials, conducting the annual fundraising campaign, interacting with potential donors and writing grant applications. She also coordinates the NLSA Older & Wiser program, a collaboration among NLSA, area legislators and volunteer attorneys to present free seminars on legal topics of interest to the elderly, their families and caregivers.

Lisa Balkovec, Class of 2005
• High School English teacher;
• Novel forthcoming "Setting It Straight" McKenna Press

Clint Benjamin, Class of 2005
• Teaching creative writing at CCAC
• Fiction publication here:

Mary Gauntner, Class of 2005
• has published locally in newspapers

Mary McCague, Class of 2005
• Art teacher

Neesha Navare, Class of 2005
• Enrolled at Missouri working on a PhD in Creative Writing.

Hilary Pavlik, Class of 2005
• Picture book forthcoming "Spit" Quixote Press

Sadie Trapani, Class of 2005
• Early childhood teacher

Johanna Wagner, Class of 2005
• enrolled at Rutgers working on a PhD in English

Erin O'Donnell, Class of 2006
• works in the communications/development department at Sewickley Academy, a private school serving all grades.

Amanda Raczkowski, Class of 2006
• Co-founding editor of Caketrain Journal and Press
• Work published in Controlled Burn, Loop, Poetry Motel, and The Fourth River
• Work nominated for the AWP Intro to Journals Award in 2006
• Guest lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

Kate Reilly, Class of 2006
is the Project Coordinator at the Center for Creative Play in Pittsburgh. The Center is one-of-a-kind in its utilization of universal design and inclusive play environments for children at all stages of development. Because of its uniqueness, it was recently awarded a grant to study children's museums around the country and evaluate the effectiveness of their exhibitions and programming.

Amanda J. Bejot
• Teaches creative writing and English at a Phoenix area high school.
At Home in the Swamp

Kathryn Hawkins, Class of 2006
Kathryn Hawkins, Class of 2006, is writer/editor for a website and daily e-newsletter, Gimundo (, which features positive and unique news stories, videos, advice, and more.

With her husband, Jeff, she is also the founding partner of Hawkins Multimedia, LLC, which specializes in web design and development for individuals and businesses. More information is available at their website, http://www.hawkinsmultimedia.com

Edward Wesolowski (Class of 2007)
is employed at Robert Morris as a faculty member. He teaches Reading and Writing Strategies in the Communications Skills program.

Ryan Kelly, Class of 2007
Instructor of English , Bucks County Community College

Amy Sargent's (2007)
Starting September 2008, will be teaching English at Umpqua Community College in Oregon

Amy Sargent's (2007) poem "Shotgun" (originally appearing in the online journal Wheelhouse) has been selected to appear in the "Best of the Web 2008" poetry anthology by Dzanc Books.

Kitty Lagorio (2006) is on the faculty of the Appalachan Writer's Workshop for 2008."

Jennifer Taylor (2006) won the Chatham Graduate Cornerstone Award, and she is an editor and writer at a national aviation magazine in Atlanta.

Nimi Finigan, Class of 2007
Journal of Caribbean Literature accepted:
Pittsburgh Dust
The Mother-Island's Choice
A Cotton Field in Crosbyton Texas