Student of Distinction: Carolina Vasquez Mata

Student of Distinction: Carolina Vasquez Mata

Carolina Vasquez Mata is a graduate student of distinction from the Department of English. Vasquez Mata graduates this Spring with a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

“She is bright, professional, focused, and dedicated. Her leadership combined with her work ethic and talents in editing have been instrumental in keeping The Normal School at the forefront of literary fiction,” said Steven Church, Coordinator, MFA Program Creative Writing, Professor of English. 

Born in Fresno and raised in the Coachella Valley, Vasquez Mata is a Mexican American writer, editor, and bruja who’s graduating from the MFA Fiction program focusing on editing and publishing. After completing her BA in English from Fresno State, she was accepted into two genre MFA programs, both creative fiction and nonfiction.

Vasquez Mata served as a Teacher’s Assistant during her time in the program, teaching composition writing to students in the first-year composition program from Fall 2019 to 2020. She also assisted Professor Venita Blackburn as a student worker in planning, promoting, and administering free Live, Write multigenre workshops on campus for authors of color in the community in 2020 and CSU Summer CalArts.

“Carolina entered with a unique vision for her manuscript and the themes in which she wanted to explore on the page,” said Venita Blackburn, assistant professor, English Department.

As a writer, Vasquez Mata’s work has been showcased in The San Joaquin Review (2019), The Wild Blue Zine (2021), and Psychopomp Magazine (2022), and she has attended conferences AWP (2021) and Desert Night’s Rising Stars (2020) as a visiting student.

“After graduating, I plan to teach at the college level and to continue work as an editor and start my own literary journal that focuses on experimental genre fiction from BIPOC, queer, fat and disabled communities,” said Vasquez Mata. 

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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