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March 18, 2011

Pair of students to become first to obtain Creative Writing degrees from Cowley


With one student taking classes on Cowley College’s main campus in Arkansas City and another taking classes entirely online, Raphael Biltz and Alicia Jones are set to become the first students to earn Creative Writing degrees from the school.

Students majoring in Creative Writing take classes in the Associates of Arts curriculum as well as take courses in creative writing, poetry writing, fiction writing, and journal writing/story telling. Also, this fall, a script writing course will be implemented.

Marlys Cervantes, Humanities Department Chair, has been impressed by the work done by Biltz and Jones, who will graduate in May.

“I am very excited for Raef and Alicia,” Cervantes said. “They could not be better students to have as the first graduates of the program. They are both excellent writers and students, and are wonderful examples of what all we have to offer.”

Biltz took classes at Cowley’s Mulvane Center prior to attending classes at the main campus. He decided to take his creative writing courses at the main campus so that he could also be part of the Creative Claws writers club.

Biltz was taking general Liberal Arts courses when he heard of the Creative Writing degree from Cervantes.

 “They are really interesting and informative classes,” Biltz said. “I have come to enjoy manipulating the English language. All of the instructors have been great, especially Marlys. She really helped me with figuring out what I needed to do.”

Cervantes has enjoyed having Biltz as a student in the program.

“He's been active and wonderful as a student, and he's made many friends here,” Cervantes said.

Jones was the first student to declare Creative Writing as her major. As a senior at Cedar Vale High School she took an IDL creative writing class through Cowley College. It was then her passion for writing began to blossom. Once Cowley College’s Board of Trustees approved the Creative Writing degree, Jones enrolled in the program online.

Being married with two young children and working full time, online classes have been a wonderful fit for Jones.

“If it were not for the ability to take classes online I would not have been able to come back to school,” Jones said.

Once Jones began working towards her Creative Writing degree she knew she made the right decision.
“The flood gates opened, this was all I wanted to do,” Jones said. “Marlys has been very supportive and the best teacher I could ask for.”

Cervantes thinks highly of Jones and is glad to see her on the path to earning her degree.

“She's an excellent student and writer and being the first to declare Creative Writing as her major makes her special to me and the program,” Cervantes said.

Jones hopes to one day have her poetry published. While, Biltz plans to apply at Wichita State University to enter the school’s Master program in Creative Writing.

“To be the first to graduate in the program is kind of cool,” Biltz said. “I would like to pass on the craft to other students that enjoy writing.”