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Notable Graduate: April Peletta

Graduating senior April Peletta won’t be finished with school when she is handed her B.A. in Creative Writing at Commencement: she is off to the University of California, San Diego in the Fall to continue studying poetry — fully funded.

April Peletta reads from her thesis. (Jen Mac Ramos)

University of California, San Diego only accepts five people a year to their MFA Creative Writing program, but Peletta was too impressive to pass up. In 2012, University of California, Berkeley awarded the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize to Peletta for her collection of poetry called Bone Cradle, which became the basis for her undergraduate thesis project. In addition, Peletta’s work has been accepted to the National Undergraduate Literature Conference in Utah and the University of Ottawa’s History, Memory and Performance Conference. She will be spending three years in the UC San Diego MFA program on the UC San Diego Diversity Fellowship, which entitles her to waived tuition, exemption from teaching during her time there, and a stipend of $18,000 a year.

Peletta did not let the dollar signs stop her; she used every resource at her disposal to collect money for the applications.

“I fundraised all summer through garage sales and PayPal accounts on my blog where people could make donations,” Peletta said. “It was really worth it, especially to get into a really good program where I could get the attention that I need to get published.”

She will be able to focus solely on her poetry while at UC San Diego and will have this summer to do the same.

“This summer, I’m traveling around, camping through Northern California for my collection of poetry that deals a lot with natural landscapes,” Peletta said. “Landscapes that have been shaped by recent development and geology — so, the tension between those two things.”

She transferred to Mills as a junior after graduating from Sacramento City College in the spring of 2011. She sees herself teaching at the collegiate level at some point, but hopes to focus on using creative writing as a tool to raise awareness around literacy.

“I do that currently, teaching kids who don’t have access to education that they have a voice, and that their voice has value for creative writing,” Peletta said. “Even if they don’t have the grammar, they have the ability to express themselves in writing.”

Aside from camping, Peletta plans to spend her time before UC San Diego teaching creative writing at Sacramento summer camps for kids, and doing wine tastings.