Student Profiles

Mi-Kyung "Mika" Shin – Seoul, Korea

“I have been drawn to writing for a long time and I wanted to formally study the craft beyond my undergraduate degree in English literature and creative writing. I had been working as a translator/editor at a cultural agency in Seoul for a couple of years and then I came across the MALS program at Dartmouth.

I chose this program because it was both interdisciplinary and had a creative writing concentration. Within this unique structure, I have been able to explore my interests while focusing on learning the craft of writing. I have been very fortunate to have the professors that I have had here. They have a great appreciation for literature and the creative writing process, and have given me free reign to write what I felt compelled to write – not all professors at other programs are like that. Working with my advisors, I have been able to better understand my personal affinities and learn to transmute them skillfully into the form of literary art. 

Amanda Spoto – Prince’s Bay, New York

“I graduated from Dartmouth recently so I had heard about the MALS program as an undergrad. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next and Dr. Pease, who is the chair of the MALS program and an incredible professor, suggested I go right into the master’s program to help me focus on my future goals while also giving me an expanded, and advanced, academic experience.

I’ve been gravitating towards law, literature, cultural studies, and public policy so my interests are diverse, and the MALS program is helping me define my direction. Besides the robust structure of the program itself, the professors work really closely with students to hone their passions and bring them to reality. And because we have such a wide range of students in each class – often from different disciplines and from around the world – I have been able to use these experiences and relationships to refine my perspective even further; the collaborative and supportive environment here forces new ways of thinking and I have made new creative and innovate connections to my interests, which I would not have been able to glean elsewhere.”

Arsalan Ul Haq – Karachi, Pakistan

“I started my career as an architect but always wanted to pursue writing. I didn’t have the academic background in English or Creative Writing as an undergraduate, so after receiving the Fulbright scholarship I decided to enter the MALS program at Dartmouth College. Here I have been able to successfully fuse my prior experience in design with my interest in writing and its pedagogy.

Kelley Rossier, Brooklyn, NY

“With a background in music and theatre, as well as creative writing, I’ve been an advocate for breaking down cultural barriers through the arts. The full-length plays I’ve written for children, as well as the musical theatre revues I’ve directed for adults, have had this goal in mind. While pursuing an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I traveled to Slovenia and was inspired by the rich literary landscape, which included the crossing of the written word and the performing arts. This led me to apply for a Fulbright grant when I entered the MALS program at Dartmouth.

I chose to embark on a second graduate degree for myself and fell in love with what the MALS program and Dartmouth have to offer. I wanted to continue to go deeper into the craft of writing and expand my perspective in an exceptional academic environment. Working on a daily basis, one on one, and in a group setting with the highly committed and accomplished faculty has helped me define myself with more precision as a writer. The dynamic and diverse community of students creates a complex and rich dialogue with the written text.

Kris Shultz – College Place, Washington

“I live in the Upper Valley and my passion is working with homeless families and youth. I obtained my current position as a family case manager at the Upper Valley Haven, in part, because I am a MALS student. The shelter’s leadership was looking for someone who already had a master’s degree and although I am still currently a student, they hired me partly because of the exceptional reputation of the program knowing that I had a few classes left to earn the actual degree.

The amazing thing about Dartmouth’s MALS program is that I was able to connect my degree and my career in intimate ways. My MALS thesis focused on LGBT youth who are struggling both with being homeless and with the added awakening they are experiencing as young adults in society. I have the unique opportunity to apply my thesis research to my daily work at the Haven and vice versa.

Carmen Brady – Las Vegas, Nevada

“I didn’t plan to return to Dartmouth after being here as an undergraduate. I had earned my degree in biochemistry/molecular biology and, although I soon discovered that the lab wasn’t for me, I was advancing my career in fulfilling ways. I worked in the Department of Family Services in Clark County and then went on to work on Capitol Hill as constituent liaison for one of the Senators from Nevada. But, I also had been writing poetry for years and had kept it in the background. And then it struck me that maybe I should consider pursuing writing more seriously. That’s what led me back to Dartmouth and to MALS.

I will say that I was a little unsure at first about entering a graduate program in creative writing and I recall thinking, “dare I do this?” And my answer was a resounding “yes!” In this program if you see something in any department that’s going to benefit what you are trying to do the answer is always “go ahead; pursue this; be creative.” That’s unusual and for me this kind of flexibility and exposure to different disciplines has helped me blossom as a writer.

Daniel Jantos – Woodstock, Vermont

“I’m currently the minister at the Unitarian Church in Woodstock. I came to Dartmouth feeling compelled to refresh my thinking and get back into study and expand my awareness. Coming to MALS was synaptic; it brought about a myriad of connections and opportunities together for me both personally and professionally.

I came into the program wanting to understand the shifting landscape of religion as well as my own experiences of migration against the literature of border studies and contemporary migration patterns.  I have been able to deeply explore this with professors at Dartmouth and the resources they directed me towards.  This process has facilitated an unexpected change in my professional direction and purpose.  I’ve decided that I will return to Australia to explore work that involves community building where spiritual principles inform methods without religion necessarily being the primary focus.  In essence, to work towards creating connections across difference and build vibrant local culture towards an un-appropriated future.

Winston Bodrick – Atlanta, Georgia

“I’ve been mentoring inner city youth in Atlanta since graduating from college; this work made me realize that my passion is being able to identify and structure new ways to help educate kids and to do this on a significant scale. What I also realized was that I didn’t have the background and credentials just yet to pursue this at the level I desire – specifically I would like to, someday, be the president of a college or university. A lofty goal, I know, but this is what led me to enter the MALS program here at Dartmouth and with a concentration in Cultural Studies.

Because this program is interdisciplinary and I am able to take courses across the College, I have been able to tailor and focus my learning on exploring the intersection of race, gender, and class in inner city environments. Working with the professors here who truly understand their students, and combined with the diversity of the students themselves, I have a vastly expanded perspective and newfound historical context about “why” things are happening with these inner city kids under the current educational systems in the United States.