Alumni voices

Rebecca Evans

"The low-residency program at UNR-Lake Tahoe created the perfect environment, fused with a sense of belonging and serious study, which freed me as an artist. Throughout both of my MFA degrees (in creative nonfiction and in poetry) from UNR-Lake Tahoe, I found myself challenged and supported. The faculty, my mentors, and my peers stretched me, helping me discover altering perspectives and fresh approaches to craft. Ultimately, helping me find my voice. Find myself. The low-residency model offered the opportunity to “practice” life as a writer in real time as I honed my skills. I learned to balance work and home obligations while developing daily habits that would linger and last long after graduation. Because of the faculty, the family-feel, and the mentor-model, I was able to publish two books within a year and half of graduation. The first book, an anthology, which I co-edited with MFA peers, and the second, a full-length poetry collection that doubles as a memoir in verse. I feel this program has taught me not just the craft of writing, but how to live fully and generously as a writer in the world today."

Books by Rebecca Evans

[Figure 1] Image of a book cover titled When There Are Nine, edited by Rebecca Evans.

[Figure 2] Image of a book cover titled Tangled by Blood, written by Rebecca Evans.

Jesse Falzoi

"My low residency MFA at Lake Tahoe was a life-changer. With my mentors I was able to take my writing to a level which I didn’t even know existed; they taught me the craft and, what’s even more important, to be bold and believe in myself. Their support and generosity turned me into the mentor I’d always wanted to be and I keep bringing that spirit to my students here in Germany. The time I spent at Lake Tahoe with those amazing poets and writers was pure bliss, but I also felt connected when I worked from home, thousands of miles away."

Books by Jesse Falzoi


[Figure 3] Image of a book cover titled A Place to Be, written by Jesse Falzoi.

[Figure 4] Image of a book cover titled Das Geheimnis, written by Jesse Falzoi.

[Figure 5] Image of a book cover titled Creative Writing, written by Jesse Falzoi.

Clare Frank

"I arrived at the campus in Incline Village an aspiring writer. I left with an MFA, honed craft skills, lifelong friends (both peers and faculty), and a better understanding of myself and what I could offer the world as a writer. Within a year, I landed an agent, and I’m currently preparing for my book launch and tour—which would not be part of my reality without the low residency UNR-Lake Tahoe MFA program. If you want a supportive, but still rigorous, MFA experience with a unique final semester working with an editor, look no further. Oh, and the whole majestic-forest-lake-setting thing makes you write better."

Books by Clare Frank

[Figure 6] Image of book cover titled Burnt: A Memoir of Fighting Fire, written by Clare Frank.

Shaneen Harris

"For a long time, something was missing from my writing. I thought what was missing was on the outside, something technical. In fact, it was internal. It was the courage to be honest with myself and in my work. When people think of the low-residency MFA at UNR, they think of Tahoe: mountains and the lake, believe that is what inspires—but what really inspires is the people who fostered a culture of honesty, introspection, vulnerability, and safety. It was the faculty mentors and my peers who gave me the freedom to write what I believed and thought. I learned how to tell my story without forfeiting the right of others to tell theirs. And that has been an invaluable gift."

Books by Shaneen Harris

Image of book cover with gold woman holding a sword and who is also blindfolded in the center of the cover.

[Figure 7] Image of a book cover titled When There Are Nine, edited by Shaneen Harris.

Vincent Lofton

Vincent Lofton headshot"When I decided to pursue my MFA, I knew I wanted to join a program where my voice was heard; where my opinions, and my stories, rich and robust with the culture of my ancestors would be fed, encouraged. The moment I walked onto University of Nevada, Reno’s beautiful Incline Village campus, I knew I made the right decision. For one, you can’t go wrong learning to enhance your craft with Lake Tahoe just a short walk away.

Being a working professional based in the Northeast, the low residency model of UNR-Lake Tahoe gave me the opportunity to study on the west coast without having to completely uproot my life and stall my career. I was truly grateful to have that option. There are five residencies over a two-year span, each residency lasting ten days. For that time, your life outside of the residency pauses, granting full focus on the work at hand.

During the four mentorship semesters, the work isn’t easy, and distance learning can be a solitary experience. My mentors in this program helped me shape my craft, sharpen my storytelling. I had the chance to meet with them virtually as often as was needed, from two to three hour stretches at a time, if necessary. If I needed more time, it was always made available to me. That is a gift! The fourth semester is each student’s editing semester, designed for the student writer to experience what it’s like to work with an editor during the publication process, a unique and useful experience.

This community will last for the rest of your life. You interact with writers from different genres, from all walks of life, from all over the country; people you’d never interact with otherwise.  Everyone encourages and challenges one another, making each other sharper, more intuitive, empathic. It’s also a testament to the kind of energy and talent this program attracts. The vibe here is chill and one where organic and holistic growth happens daily. I left the program not only a more effective and proficient writer, but an all-round better human being. Like I said, the growth is holistic."