From Our Alumni

Here are some alumni we heard from in Spring 2017:


Adiga copy

Ranjan Adiga

2013 PhD Graduate

I’m currently an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah. I like my relationship with my students and that this job gives me the time and resources to work on my writing.

The transferrable skills that I gained from UH-M’s English program were critical thinking and writing. At the heart of human growth lies the ability to self-reflect and question assumptions, and the intellectually rigorous, dialogue-based learning at Manoa’s English program instilled those values in me, and in my writing, giving me the confidence and the tools to face the larger world.



‘Iolani Antonio

2016 MA Graduate

I currently teach English courses at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. I love that my position as a lecturer allows me to inspire intellectual, social, and political growth in my students by encouraging them to awaken to their responsibilities as active participants in the cultural, national, and global communities they inhabit. I also appreciate the opportunity to guide my students in their growth as writers, scholars, and academics and to help prepare them for future academic and professional endeavors.

The opportunities afforded to me through the English graduate program at UH Mānoa have prepared me immensely for my current position. In my work as a graduate student, a Writing Center consultant, and an English 100 mentor, I deepened and honed my critical thinking, reading, and writing skills and was able to gain hands-on experience with students in the classroom. My time in the program allowed me to work closely with professors who modeled how to cultivate positive instructor-student relationships, how to structure syllabi and classes, and how to craft stimulating and challenging activities, discussions, and assignments.


Marie Alohalani Brown Author PhotoMarie Alohalani Brown

2014 PhD Graduate

I am an assistant professor in the department of religion at UH Mānoa, a specialist in Hawaiian and other Polynesian religions, and I teach our undergraduate course on theories and methods or the study of religion. I am also the undergraduate advisor. My graduate studies with the English Department introduced me to a wide range of theories for the study of literature and culture, which in turn, inform my own approach to teaching religion.



Drake Image UH

Phil Drake

2013 PhD Graduate

I am currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Kansas. I most appreciate the daily interaction with fascinating colleagues and brilliant students. Both inspire and challenge me to deepen my inquiries into the texts and the social and environmental issues that shape our world.

The English Department at UH nurtured my curiosity through its interdisciplinary course offerings, stimulating culture, and diverse faculty. Most significantly, the Department fostered in me sensitivities towards difference in its various forms, which still proves valuable in both my teaching and research.


Jolivette.photoJolivette Mecenas

2009 PhD Graduate

My title is Associate Professor of Writing and Chair of the Writing Program at the University of La Verne.

My position always challenges me to think about what makes the best writing program for our students and our university – not just what it means to be academically literate, but what it means to be ethical and hopefully empathic people in the world today, and how language is vital to all of that.  It’s pretty cool that my day-to-day job duties include talking about writing, writers, and current events with bright, thoughtful students from all over the world.

I learned how to teach from all of my UH professors, and this semester I am introducing my first-year students to intersectional and decolonizing theories and texts, of course!


Nolte-Odhiambo PictureCarmen Nolte-Odhiambo

2013 PhD Graduate

I am an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i—West O‘ahu, where I teach courses on children’s and adolescent literature, fairy tales, British literature, and feminist and queer theory. There are many things I really like about this position; first and foremost among them are the interactions I have with students, whose insights and contributions I learn from each semester. I am also very happy that my position at UH West O‘ahu affords me the opportunity to continue working on my scholarship and to integrate my research into the classroom.

The breadth of graduate course content at UH Mānoa has prepared me very well for teaching my own courses on a variety of topics within literary and cultural studies. Furthermore, the guidance I received on designing and implementing syllabi has been invaluable for participating in curriculum development at UH West O‘ahu, where I have created several new English courses by drawing on the knowledge and experience I gained as a graduate student.


unnamedJennifer Orme

2010 PhD Graduate

My current job title is Fabulist. I work for The Mysterious Package Company where I do many secret and mysterious things, but mostly narrative design, writing, and editing. MPC is a mail-order entertainment company which produces multi-sensory narratives that employ various artifacts and media to tell strange tales. The position allows me to devise narratives that play within the genres I have always most enjoyed and studied: speculative fictions.

This position is a creative one that uses many of the skills I developed in Literary Studies at UHM. Research skills have been invaluable since my first day and I use them constantly when developing stories or adding layers to bring the weight of history to our very fictional tales. The expertise I developed in narrative theory is also integral to narrative design. I use my theoretical background in discussions with my colleagues about story development, but it also informs my creative process.


PangChristie Pang

MA Graduate, 2015

I’m currently a second year PhD student in English at the University of Oregon. As my concentration is in film studies, one of the more obvious things I enjoy as a graduate student is that my research aligns with my leisure interests. In other words, watching anime and music videos on YouTube is an acceptable and guilt-free life choice.

Aside from the professionalization skills I learned during my MA, the most important thing I learned was how to nurture myself and those around me. My relationships with my professors taught me how to develop the foundation I need as an aspiring academic and how to share the passion I have for my work with my students.


chadChad Pickering

2013 MA Graduate

I am the director of the Writing Room and the Gen Ed Tutoring Center at Colorado State University-Pueblo. I absolutely love running my own writing center and thoroughly enjoy educating, training, and working with a team of writing tutors who are tasked with supporting fellow student writers, regardless of level, discipline, or genre. It is an honor and a joy to see my staff carry out, through their tutoring practices, what I have been able to teach them.

My time in the English graduate program at UH-Manoa—especially my coursework in my formal concentration and my time in the Writing Center—quite sufficiently prepared me to assume the post I now hold at CSU-Pueblo. On a regular basis, I am able to teach my staff about composition pedagogy; rhetorical theory; grammatical analysis; and even postmodern conceptions of language, power, ideology, and the constitution of knowledge. These are the matters I studied in graduate school, and I now apply them daily—in addition to all the administrative work involved.


puleloaMichael Puleloa

2011 PhD Graduate

As a faculty member at Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama, I teach world literature, design curriculum for honors, dual credit, and fiction writing classes, advise editors of a nationally-recognized literary journal, and write for local, national, and international publication. I’m able to do all these things because of the many great mentors, peers, and classroom experiences I had as a student in the graduate English program at UH Mānoa.


NicoleSawaNicole Sawa

2010 MA Graduate

I am currently a sales representative at W. W. Norton & Company, and one of the best parts of my job occurs when teachers are excited to use Norton books with their students—books that I myself studied as a student.

I worked in the editorial department at Norton for four years, which may seem like a more natural progression from a master’s degree in English! However, in my current position I still rely on certain skills I learned in the graduate program: understanding higher-level texts, learning to articulate my positions, and having discussions and finding common ground with people of different backgrounds. I know many prospective or current graduate students are planning to become educators, but book publishing is absolutely a viable, wonderful career alternative.


Wiggins School PortraitChase Wiggins

2016 MA Graduate

I currently teach 7th grade English at the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School campus. One thing I really enjoy about the position is the opportunity to work as part of an interdisciplinary instructional team to deliver English content in ways that more holistically connect to the various kinds of learning students are engaged in throughout every discipline.

My work in comp/rhet and cultural studies has equipped me with the aforementioned ability to speak confidently about interdisciplinary and cross-cultural connections beyond what many still consider to be the traditional canon of English content. Although we are seeing more K-12 teachers pursue content-based graduate study, the majority of current teachers still hold advanced degrees related to education and teaching. The MA program in English has provided me with an invaluable depth of content knowledge for my colleagues to draw from, just as I can rely on many of them for things like instructional and classroom management strategies.