Academics > Successful Graduates

Successful Graduates

Christine Kuster

Christine Kuster graduated from Coe in 2011 with a double major in Creative Writing and English, and a minor in Art. During and after her education at Coe, Christine was privileged to work with both Curtis Brown and Writers House Literary Agency, two of the most prestigious institutions in their field. She is currently pursuing a Fulbright Scholarship in Germany where she works as an English and Writing instructor for both new and established speakers by day, and works on her novel, The Dead Man's Daughter, by night. The following fall, she plans to attend The University of Edinburgh in Scotland to attain her M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

"Somewhere in a parallel universe there is another me who didn’t attend the Creative Writing program. I imagine that the 'other me' isn't a very good writer, still clinging to old tropes, passive verbs, and poor sentence structure. All jesting aside, Coe fostered my ambitions. From workshop classes and critical literary analysis, to an internship in New York City, Coe provided me with the necessary materials to succeed in my field. There is an ineffable sense of camaraderie between students and professors; your success is their success. I can’t imagine one could desire anything more in an education." - Christine Kuster '11

Brandon Palmer

Brandon Palmer graduated in 2011 with a double major in theatre and psychology and a minor in creative writing. Since graduation, he has put his theatre and creative writing education to good use, acting all around Colorado, from Denver and Golden, all the way out to the mountain towns of Evergreen and Breckenridge in shows such as "Pitmen Painters," "All My Sons," an original play about the 10th Mountain Division of World War II entitled "The 10th, The Cripple of Inishmaan," "A Doll's House," and many more. He wrote and co-directed a full production of an original script entitled "Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Murders" in the fall of 2013. He is currently the owner and artistic director of Ripple Effect Theatre Company, based in Denver. As those who may be pursuing a degree in the arts will know, a full-time day job is often necessary to supplement an artistic career, and Brandon has found an unexpected outlet for application of his psychology degree, working as a certified funeral director for All Veterans Burial & Cremation, bringing what solace and comfort he can to those grieving the loss of a loved one.

"When I was applying for colleges, I didn't have any grand plan for my life's path. If you had told me as a freshman at Coe that I would be doing all I am now in just three or four years, I'd have probably laughed aloud; but Coe did gave the freedom to explore my interests and find the path that I'm on, and for that I can't be more thankful." - Brandon Palmer '11

Joe Ponce

Joe Ponce graduated from Coe in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, double majoring in English and creative writing. He is currently pursuing a Fulbright Grant in Turkey, where he works as an English teacher. During the week, Joe teaches English speaking and listening courses in a continuing education classroom to students who wish to brush up on their English. As well, he teaches older people from the community who are learning to speak English for the first time. He is also pursuing his M.F.A. from Columbia University.

“I give a lot of credit to Coe for presenting me with opportunities (like this one) throughout my undergraduate career. Coe helped foster an insatiable desire to pursue every avenue of curiosity, no matter where it may lead.” - Joe Ponce '10

Kyle Mangan

Kyle Mangan graduated from Coe in 2008 with a double major in English and creative writing and a minor in Asian Studies. He is currently in a master’s program at the University of Chicago, studying humanities with an emphasis on creative writing. Kyle spent most of 2010 working as an English tutor at Moraine Valley Community College.

"There's something superficially dissatisfying about the claim ‘college has prepared me for more college,’ but, eloquence aside, were it not for Coe's mighty brood of implausibly gifted English professors, I may have been all too reasonably intimidated by graduate school; I'd also probably never have been published, lived in Asia, nor gained the confidence to so brazenly misuse semi-colons." - Kyle Mangan '08

Melissa Mickael graduated from Coe in 2008 with a double major in creative writing and art history. She worked for three years at Kuder, Inc. as an editor and writer for the research and marketing departments, and has provided services as a freelance editor to other organizations. Currently, Melissa is pursuing her M.F.A. in fiction at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She is a part-time instructor in academic writing and will be leading a creative writing workshop in the fall.

"The more I engage with the writing community, the more I appreciate the strong foundation I built at Coe. Working for the various publications on campus seemed like an enjoyable hobby at the time, but doing so has opened doors to so many opportunities for me since graduation. The workshops not only prepared me for the critical reading in M.F.A. programs, but gave me the tools I needed to discover my own stories, my own style. However, the heart of the creative writing department is most definitely the professors. For every question I had, they had a question to ask me, too. Under their guidance, my work grew far beyond the limited places I imagined it could go." - Melissa Mickael '08

Laura Farmer

Immediately after graduating from Coe with a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion and creative writing in 2002, Laura Farmer joined the Big Apple Circus and worked as the assistant house manager. This experience gave her plenty of fuel for writing, and she was awarded a University Fellowship at Syracuse University to pursue an MFA in fiction writing. She then taught English at Manlius Pebble Hill Preparatory School for two years before returning to Iowa to supervise the Writing Studio at Cornell College. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review,, and other journals, and she is currently working on her first novel.

“I learned the greatest lesson a writer can learn at Coe: revision. Every week I met individually with professors who never tired of reading drafts and telling me to go further. This gave me a strong backbone for MFA workshops and the discipline I needed to succeed as a writer and a teacher.” - Laura Farmer '02