School/Division Division of Communication & Creative Media 
Class 2021
Pronouns She/Her/Hers
Hometown Merrick, NY


Creative Writing

Grad School

The New School with a Dual-Concentration MFA in Poetry and Writing for Children & Young Adults

What do you like about your program?

I love everything about the Professional Writing program! The classes are incredibly fun and can be super specific to a genre such as Reading & Writing in Genre: Graphic Literature or as general as Publishing in the 21st Century-but all are helpful to help you discover your passions and learn about all the possibilities a career in writing can offer. The projects we do in Creative Writing classes lead to publishable portfolio pieces, and it’s much more than just an English degree. I’m learning skills like pitching to agents, copyediting, and even the specifics of my craft such as building character and plot arcs

What's your favorite Core experience?

My favorite Core experience was by far my Heroes & Heroines: Harry Potter travel course! I was lucky enough to have been chosen for Kerry Noonan’s class in my sophomore year. Eleven of my classmates and I analyzed the first Harry Potter book through a number of lenses and from many different perspectives in class. Over spring break, we spent ten days traveling through the UK and exploring cultural sites such as Edinburgh Castle as well as themed destinations like Warner Brothers Studios. I made friends for life and got to experience a curated trip that taught me more about a topic I love than I thought possible. Edinburgh is my favorite place in the world thanks to this trip, and I can’t wait to return in the near future!

How has your Champlain experience prepared you for your future career, both in and out of the classroom?

Thanks to my experiences at Champlain, I feel more than prepared to graduate. Over the past four years, Champlain has allowed me to explore all the career possibilities, then really understand what I want to do with my life. When I went into my writing classes as a first year, I knew I wanted to do something in the industry for a living, but I wasn’t entirely sure what. When I found myself in Tanya Stone’s Publishing in the 21st Century and Reading & Writing in Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade Literature classes, the guest speakers and projects helped me figure out that I wanted to pursue a career related to writing for children and young adults.Outside of the classroom, Champlain has given me a strong writing community. My friends and I take the skills we learned in critique in class and use them to help each other with outside projects. I’m graduating with a writing support system, and I know that we’ll help each other for years to come.

I've always known that I wanted to write. Ever since I was little, I've been writing and telling stories. Developing my craft as a writer in a classroom full of others like me was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Alexa O'Kane
Alexa O'Kane, Class of 2021

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