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Current Graduate Students


Amanda Alfonso (Screenwriting) formed her filmic consciousness as a lonely teen, borrowing screwball comedy movies at the library and watching TCM marathons to keep the blues away. While she aims to experiment more with genre and style, she primarily writes dark comedies about people living on the periphery and their attempts to articulate their relationships, identities, and desires within that space.

When not creating characters, she’s probably listening to her favorite song on repeat (“Bad Decisions” by The Strokes) or watching something she will equally love and scoff at (French films).

She received her BFA in Motion Pictures and Television from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. 


Noah Amir Arjomand (Screenwriting) is an Iranian-American filmmaker and author. His first (co-directed, co-produced) feature-length documentary, Eat Your Catfish, is about his mother’s last years with the motor-neuron disease ALS. The film premiered in 2021 at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam and won Best Documentary at Istanbul Film Festival.

Cambridge University Press published Noah’s first book, Fixing Stories: Local Newsmaking and International Media in Turkey and Syria, in 2022. Fixing Stories explores the worlds of the “fixers” who act as brokers between foreign reporters and local sources from behind the scenes. He has also written about politics, culture, and media in Middle East and Central Asia for Dissent, Public Culture, Tehran Bureau, The Afghanistan Analysts Network, Profil, American Anthropologist, The New Arab, and others.

Noah earned a PhD in sociology from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University. Before coming to Riverside, Noah lived in Bloomington, Indiana, where he taught at Indiana University. He likes cats and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Aron Brown (Fiction) is a non-binary bisexual Angeleno who learned to read at a very early age by imitating their parents, holding the book upside down, and making up most of the words. This put them on the road to composing stories for the rest of their life. Many years later, they graduated from Wellesley College with a major in Cinema and Media Studies. They are obsessed with history, literature (especially Shakespeare), comics, and tabletop RPGs. Aron also spent many years writing fanfiction, but don’t look it up.

Aaron Chan (Creative Nonfiction) is a musician, filmmaker, and author born and raised on unceded Coast Salish territories (Vancouver, BC). He holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and his writing has been published in literary magazines and publications including Plenitude, filling Station, Polychrome Ink, and Xtra. His piece “A Case of Jeff” won subTerrain‘s Lush Triumphant Literary Award in Creative Non-Fiction, and he has published a poetry chapbook, Romantic Hopeless. He is the author of This City Is a Minefield (Signal 8 Press), a collection of memoir and personal essays about growing up queer and Asian in Canada. His second book, The Broken Heart (Rocky Pond Books), is a children's picture book forthcoming in spring 2024. Aaron also likes cats and vegan cheesecake.
Sielo Moe't Coleman -she/her/hers- (Creative Nonfiction) is a Kentucky-born Tennessean with a BA in psychology. Sielo's writing reflects all things closest to her heart: women's rights, sexual assault awareness, real stories, true love, and growth. She aspires to solidify herself as a cross-disciplinary writer with works in biographies, societal critiques, fantasies, and screenplays. Her spare time is dedicated to supporting Black women and culture, studying astrology, learning about different cultures, embracing nature, and enjoying all kinds of food.
Kelsey Ferrell - she/her - (Creative Nonfiction) earned her B.A. at UC Berkeley in 2020 with a major in Development Studies (which now is known as Global Studies) and minors in both Global Poverty & Practice and Journalism. While attending college she wrote and edited satire for The Free Peach, was an active member of Songwriting at Berkeley, wrote and released her first album Trauma Portfolio, studied abroad at the University of Sussex, and began performing stand up comedy. She has spent her post grad years building a moderate TikTok following while pursuing music and stand up in Los Angeles. Kelsey’s writing explores power, corruption, wealth hoarding, and the impact of such on individual and collective pain. She dreams of one day having some cats and a house with a library that has rolling ladders.
Image preview Ava Fojtik (Playwriting) is a writer and actress from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She is a co-founder of AKA Productions alongside Aaron Higareda and Karly Thomas. Ava's comedy plays have been produced at Augsburg University and the Minnesota Fringe Festival. In addition to teaching Acting at Camp Highlander, Ava has worked with Puppets a la Carte as well as the Gluck Foundation to give kids in the Inland Empire opportunities to learn puppetry. Ava's recent film and theater scripts follow girls and women who subvert societal expectations, whether that be through artistic, domestic, or violent means. Besides theater, Ava is passionate about thrifting, reading, and eating raspberries.

Kristen Herbert (Fiction) is native to the Chicago area, but spent the last several years in Budapest and rural Hungary. She translates contemporary Hungarian literature to English, namely young poets. Her fiction work explores dysfunctional relationships, addiction, and dissatisfaction with the self. She is a co-editor and founder of the bilingual Hungarian-English literary journal The Penny Truth and serves on the masthead of Hungarian Literature Online. Her studies were in English Literature and Creative Writing at Roosevelt University in Chicago and the Hungarian literary translation workshop at the Balassi Institute in Budapest. In her best life she travels often.