Current MFA Students

Jesse Bertron is a third-year MFA student in poetry. He has worked as a carpenter, an actor, and a middle-school teacher. He is co-director of Poetry at Round Top, an annual poetry festival in the Texas hill country.

Carla Diaz is a second-year MFA student in fiction who was born and raised in New York City. After graduating from Amherst College in 2013, she worked in foster care, interned in StoryCorps’s production department, and hiked 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail. She writes music as well as fiction. She is nonfiction editor for Nashville Review.


Cydnee Devereaux is a second-year MFA student in poetry at Vanderbilt. She studied English and anthropology at the University of Florida. She works for the Nashville Review as assistant poetry editor, assistant nonfiction editor, and music editor.

Alina Grabowski is a second-year MFA student in fiction. She grew up on the south shore of Massachusetts and moved to Philadelphia to study English at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s worked as a deli clerk in Grand Teton National Park and a camp counselor in upstate New York, and has held writing residencies in Grinnell, Iowa and Long Beach, Washington. Her stories have appeared in Fifth Wednesday Journal, The Adroit Journal, Cleaver Magazine and ICA Philadelphia’s blog. She is fiction editor for Nashville Review.

Mark Haslam is a third-year MFA student in fiction.  He was raised in Southern California and Seattle, and has taught middle and high school English in Oakland, California and New York City.


Samuel Rutter is a second-year MFA student in fiction who hails from Melbourne, Australia. He has received a PhD in Spanish at the University of Melbourne and has also lived in France, Spain, Chile, and Argentina.  In addition to writing fiction, Samuel has published several translations of contemporary Latin American authors; he was the recipient of a PEN Translates award in 2015 (from the English chaper of PEN). His work can be found in such journals as Meanjin, Overland and Kill Your Darlings. He is Editor in Chief of Nashville Review.