Humans of the English Department: Cynthia McComas

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Humans of the English Department: Cynthia McComasWednesday, 6 September 2017Cynthia plays many parts in our…

Posted by English Department at Marshall University on Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Cynthia plays many parts in our department. Alongside teaching, she’s a Writing Center and STEM-designated tutor, an intern for the A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series and last year’s nonfiction editor of Et Cetera: “I love how supportive my professors and classmates are. I’ve been provided with more opportunities than I could have ever imagined when I first applied to grad school, and I’ve met some of my best friends who I am sure I will keep for a lifetime.”

Just this summer Cynthia was accepted to the University of the South’s Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a 12-day workshop with very competitive admission.

Cynthia says enrolling in the English department’s MA program was a valuable decision, and the program offers many opportunities: “I joined the grad program because I wanted to gain further writing experience before applying to MFA programs. Marshall was an ideal opportunity for me because the program is small, so grad students have great relationships with their professors and peers.”

The small classes allow for further exploration into her personal interest, contemporary poetry, and she attributes the genre to the development of her writing. Cynthia says, “Writing and reading contemporary poetry has made me a much more proficient writer in other genres. It strengthens your critical thinking skills because you spend so much time interpreting the meanings and forms of poems. My ultimate goal is to teach a poetry workshop, including my favorite professors’ collections on a reading list one day.”

Her study of contemporary poetry, in conjunction with her work at Marshall, allowed her to gain admission to the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, in Sewanee, Tennessee, a two week event of workshops and craft lectures by esteemed poets, fiction writers and playwrights: “Hands down, the most valuable experience I have had. Eric Smith [our very own Tampa Review Poetry Prize winner, 2017] nominated me for a graduate student scholarship, which I was awarded, luckily. I was able to workshop with BH Fairchild and Mary Jo Salter, and make some really great friends who taught me a lot about the writing community.”

Cynthia’s applying to MFAs in Poetry for Fall 2018.

She’s interested in animals and travel: “I love taking care of animals. I have a dog named Willow and a kitten named Olive, who I spend most of my free time with. I try to foster animals whenever I can and would love to start my own rescue service one day. Travel is also very important to me; being a Huntington native, I try to see a little more as often as possible. This fall, I have trips planned for Fayetteville, Arkansas, Blacksburg, Virginia, and Nashville. My plan is to check out universities’ MFA programs.”