Oval Alum: Erin Schmiel

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Erin takes the train often between her two writing homes of Iowa and Montana while focusing on what travel and place can teach her.
Erin takes the train often between her two writing homes of Iowa and Montana while focusing on what travel and place can teach her.

I would never have heard about The Oval, nor the MFA program in which I am currently a candidate, if it weren’t for Robert Stubblefield’s 310 Fiction course the Fall of 2006. Not only was this my first of many workshops, it was where I met a writing community, classmates, and mentor who have continued to support my writing and creativity. I learned to have faith in stories, in expression and in community at the University of Montana. The Oval was a big part of that experience.

Not only was I on the staff of the Oval, I also worked as an event coordinator for the University Center and initiated the Prose and Poems reading series in the spring semester of 2009

After graduating from the University of Montana, I held various jobs in the Missoula community with alternative transportation agencies: the best was as a Bicycle Ambassador with the City of Missoula. I eventually returned to UM for post-baccalaureate work taking graduate level environmental/creative writing workshops with Phil Condon and, author, Rick Bass.

This continued work in non-fiction helped me get into Iowa State University’s Creative Writing and the Environment MFA program. I am currently studying Creative Non-Fiction with a teaching assistantship leading two levels of compositional courses. I am also the Blog and Social Media editor at Flyway: Journal of Writing and the Environment, posting new content weekly as well as coordinating conference panels and out reach into the Ames community for local events.

I continue to develop my skills in two very rich communities of natural inspiration, fecundity.

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