ENTERPRISE, OREGON – Exciting news for the MFA program: graduate students now have the chance to apply for a third year as a graduate research assistant at Fishtrap, a non-profit literary arts organization in Eastern Oregon. This is a competitive position which will allow one student to work for a year in arts administration as they continue writing their thesis.
This expansion of the MFA program has been generously funded by Kathy Brisker (MFA in Creative Nonfiction, ’10) and Tim Steele. Kathy has loved her experiences at Fishtrap gatherings in the past.
The selected graduate student will work closely with Ann Powers, Fishtrap’s Executive Director, and will gain invaluable experience in arts administration: the Fishtrap GRA will assist with program coordination, fundraising, research, and recommendation reports, as well as other tasks.
All of these projects add to MFAs’ opportunities after graduating. As MFA professor and third-year coordinator Marjorie Sandor points out, “A third year gives students time to write, but also to work and make connections. Really, the more practical training, the better.”
Such a professionally-focused third-year program is rare, says Marjorie. This opportunity to gain some literary administration experience is not only an unusual and excellent opportunity for graduate students, she emphasizes, but also creates a position that is valuable for Oregon, for the university, and for the MFA program.
Jon Ross (MFA in Fiction) has been selected as the Fishtrap candidate for 2013-14, and will head to Enterprise to start work in September. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to learn the art of arts administration at Fishtrap,” says Jon, “and I look forward to getting to know Enterprise.” He also appreciates the program’s support for another year of writing. “I hope to have a lot to give back when I’m done,” he says.
Fishtrap organizes a variety of programs, including a Community Read program, a local lecture series, writers-in-the-schools, and youth writing conferences. Their premier program is Summer Fishtrap: A Gathering of Writers, which brings writers together near Wallowa Lake for a week of workshops, panel discussions, and evening readings.
Current funding will support candidates in the Fishtrap program for two and a half years.