Program & Career Highlights

arneshia JonesI claimed my breath at Chicago State University. Going deeper, I realized how much of the world tricked me into believing that my voice, my narrative, was a casualty. But the CSU English/Creative Writing program gave me the absolute space to claim who I am and what I needed in my work going forward. If you choose to be an artist, the creative type, understand it is paramount to have the absolute spaces that will never question who you dream to be.  [Note:  Ms. Jones is one of only two Black women in the United States to lead a university press.]

Parneshia Jones 


Northwestern University Press 


MareshahMy experience as a new transfer student in the English Department at CSU was one of the most significant experiences of my life. I first entered college in 1993 in Detroit, but as is the case for many others, life’s circumstances prevented me from completing my studies back then. While I was able to find work in various schools supporting English and Language Arts students, I knew my credentials and skills needed updating in order for me to be effective. My decision to finally complete my bachelor’s degree was filled with anxiety and apprehension, but CSU made my transition back to college seamless.


The department’s credentialed and high-caliber professors were like hidden gems on the South Side of Chicago. I was both surprised and impressed by the level of scholarship that they freely shared. Each professor challenged those things I thought I already knew about the content area, while also introducing me to new ideas I had yet to encounter. With their support, not only did I gain confidence in my own intellectual capacity, but I also gained the necessary skills to be able to demonstrate it. I graduated with the sense that I owe something to the academic community. With their assistance, I feel better prepared to do my part."

Mareshah Muhammad

Literature Major

Class of 2022


Anthony BishopMy name is Anthony Bishop, and I am a double alum of Chicago State University (CSU) (B.A. in Professional and Technical Writing, '08, and M.A. in English and Literature, '12). To me, the English, writing, and MFA programs at CSU have both personally and professionally changed my life. The rich history of grooming young writers has been nothing less than impressive. Starting with the mother of the writing program at CSU, Gwendolyn Brooks onward to groundbreaking literary artists such as Haki Madhubuti and countess others including my mentor and "second Mom," Dr. Brenda Eatman Aghahowa, these writers and professors helped shape the culture of the MFA program. One of my fondest memories as a student at CSU was attending the annual Gwendolyn Brooks Black Writers' Conference. I had the unforgettable opportunity to meet literary legends such as Octavia Butler and Walter Mosley. Seeing "Black Excellence" consistently on display in the MFA Program motivated me to pursue my own personal and professional excellence. I have gone on to receive three graduate degrees and countless awards while currently in the dissertation phase of my doctorate. This pursuit of excellence I started by sitting at the table of the MFA Program at CSU. I know many peers who are MFA alums and each one of them is pushing the needle forward in their respective careers. This program is not just an academic program; it is truly a village of supporters.

Anthony Bishop

English BA and MA Graduate

                                                  University professor, educational instructional design expert, doctoral candidate



I cannot begin to express how my time spent in Chicago State University’s MFA Program nurtured my literary and academic journey. I am forever thankful for being exposed to and taught by a cadre of literary giants who help mold and shape what we call contemporary modern literature. The mentorship I received, along with a lasting connection to my cohort and several other cohorts, has been life changing. My MFA experience gave me an extended family of writers that I continue to rely on to this very day.

Randall Horton

MFA Graduate

Award-winning poet, author, university professor, criminal justice advocate, and prison literacy program administrator