Alumni Advisory Board

Zach Bloom

Zach Bloom, who received his degree in 2011, worked for two years as a research assistant/paralegal at the law office of Harvey Silverglate in Cambridge, MA.  He is now a Master of Urban Planning student at CUNY-Hunter College and is pursuing a career in transportation planning in the New York area.  At the University of Massachusetts, he was a member of the Commonwealth College and earned honors with Greatest Distinction.  He was also an active member of the department’s Student Advisory Board.

Laura Stock Craven

Laura Craven earned her BA in English in 1998.  An attorney in the Consumer Financial Services Litigation Practice for the firm Goodwin Proctor, she defends financial institutions in state and federal consumer lending litigation. Ms. Craven has also defended companies and individuals in securities class action lawsuits, shareholder derivative litigation and a variety of other complex business litigation matters. She has also worked on both internal and governmental investigations concerning federal securities laws, accounting issues, and health care fraud.  Ms. Craven was recognized as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer “Rising Star” by Law & Politics and Boston Magazine from 2007-2010.

Alan Hurvitz

Alan Hurvitz retired from his career as a corporate executive, most recently at IBM, in 2009. Since then, he has been a pro bono consultant and job coach working with the Executive Directors of over 25 non-profit organizations, primarily in Lowell. His projects include strategic planning, marketing and operations. In his spare time he mentors students at Lowell High School and is a chef at the local community dinner. Alan has a B.A. in English from UMass and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He recently joined the board of LifeLinks, an organization that provides services and support for people with developmental disabilities.

Matt McNulty

Matt is a Police Bureau Reporter for the New York Post.  After graduating UMass Amherst with his English degree in 2010, he moved to Manhattan and started an internship at the New York Daily News as a street reporter, running to crime scenes, political press conferences, and victim’s families’ houses.  A year later, he found himself working for the New York Post in their police bureau, where he work out of NYPD headquarters monitoring crime and writing articles for the web and print.

Sean Moore

Sean Moore received his B.A. with a double major in English and History in 1991.  He received his Ph.D. from Duke University in in 2003 and accepted a tenure-track job as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) that same year.  In 2010, Moore published his first book, Swift, the Book, and the Irish Financial Revolution: Satire and Sovereignty in Colonial Ireland, with Johns Hopkins University Press, and received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.  More recently, Dr. Moore has served as the Director of the UNH Honors Program and has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Newport Mansions.

Vinh Nguyen

Vinh, a recent grad, was a double major in English and Math.  He works currently as a statistical programmer and researcher at MDRC, a social policy research organization, evaluating programs aimed at helping low-income families and children. As an undergraduate, he served as a member of the Student Advisory Board for the English department and worked as a peer tutor at the Writing Center.  He has also done community outreach and was involved in various student organizations on campus while at UMass.

Bruce Penniman

Bruce M. Penniman (B.A. 1971, M.A. 1974, Ed.D. 1985) is the site director of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project.  Before this he taught English for 36 years at Amherst Regional High School, where he also held the positions of department chair and instructional director. In 1999, he was named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. Author of Building the English Classroom: Foundations, Support, Success (NCTE, 2009), Dr. Penniman is also past president of the New England Association of Teachers of English, and has also edited NEATE's journal, The Leaflet, and the NCTE Assembly on American Literature newsletter.

S.J. Port Laberge

S.J. Port Laberge is the Director of Communications and Development at Charles River Conservancy.  Before that she was Director of Policy & Communications Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Division of Local Services.  To quote from her Linkedin page: “Whether promoting the work done to regrow the tornado devastated forests west of Rt. 290; tweeting during one "Wicked High Tide" after another, or assuring local reporters that the paint used to redo Storrow Drive tunnel, again, will last at least 10 more years; it was all about building a neighborhood persona around MassDCR.

Margaret Powell

Margaret Powell, who earned her degree in 2000, is a cataloguer at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library (in Philadelphia).  She is also an independent decorative arts historian specializing in the areas of American textile and American costume.  Ms. Powell’s specialties include American Textile History, Archival Research, African American Fashion History.

Elizabeth Roman

Elizabeth covers general assignment news with a focus on racial and ethnic reporting for MassLive, the on-line arm of the Springfield newspaper The Republican.  As the only Spanish-speaking reporter at The Republican, Roman also works for the company's Spanish-language weekly newspaper, El Pueblo Latino. She has been employed with The Republican for more than 10 years and covers everything from human interest features to crime, politics, education, and writes a weekly ice cream column "Inside Scoop."  She is a native of Springfield and a graduate of HCC and UMass Amherst.

Kiersten Rooke

Kiersten Rooke completed her MA at American University's School of International Service in 2015. She has worked with the iF Foundation in Haiti and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York. In Haiti, she helped create a system to monitor progress and evaluate outcomes for an agricultural credit and extension program. In New York, she wrote case studies and provided program support for a network of religious peacebuilders working in conflict zones around the world. She received her BA from the UMass English Department in 2010. During her time at Umass, she also studied French, International Relations and Religious Studies and spend a semester abroad in Senegal.

Cathy Schlund-Vials

Cathy Schlund-Vials, who received her doctorate from UMass in 2006, is Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut.  She is also the director of the Asian American Studies Institute (UConn) and the faculty director for Humanities House, a campus living/learning community. She is the author of two monographs: Modeling Citizenship: Naturalization in Jewish and Asian American Writing (Temple University Press, 2011) and War, Genocide, and Justice:  Cambodian American Memory Work (University of Minnesota Press 2012).  Dr. Schlund-Vials was the 2011 recipient of the Association for American University Professors “Teaching Promise” Award and the 2013 “Early Career Award” from the Association for Asian American Studies.

Eden Univer

Eden graduated from UMass in 2010 and went directly to NYC and a (paid) job at Elle, working on their website. From there she became the beauty editor at and then went on to be the online beauty editor at Teen Vogue.  She is now the Digital Director at Dujour magazine.

Sian Wu

Sian is a Senior Account Executive at Colehour + Cohen, a public relations and social marketing firm in Seattle that focuses on environment, health and community issues.  She graduated from UMass in 2001 with a double major in English and Chinese. She has served as president of the board for the International Examiner, a nonprofit community newspaper in Seattle for the Asian American community, and as a freelance writer, editor and translator. She currently works with several clients on media, social media and community outreach strategies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, King County and Google.  You can see more information about her here: