Emilie Knudsen is a second-year candidate in Fiction Writing and holds a BA from the University of Richmond’s Theatre & Dance Department, where she worked as a scenic painter and studied stage management and scenic design. Currently, she is the assistant nonfiction editor at Phoebe and is teaching English 201 at Mason. Every year, she attempts to read 250 books.
With her fellowship, Knudsen plans to travel to the islands and upper Highlands of Scotland, including the Island of Skye and the Outer Hebrides. Knudsen’s thesis centers around a small island community that has been isolated from the rest of the world for a long time, and she aims to research individuals and societies isolated by geography during her travel through the Highlands.
Chelsea Lebron is a first-year MFA student in Fiction Writing and holds a B.A. from Rutgers University where she studied English, Cinema Studies, Visual Arts, and Creative Writing. Lebron will travel to South America to study the relationship between Latino culture and ghost stories. Through time spent in Argentina, Peru, and Chile interviewing locals about ghost stories passed down through generations and exploring locations haunted with speculative histories, such as Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, she hopes to explore what ghosts say about Latino communities, ideals, and identities.
Ashlen Renner is a first-year MFA student studying Creative Nonfiction Writing. A former journalist and video producer from North Carolina, Ashlen was a finalist in the Hearst Journalism Awards for multimedia storytelling and the winner of the Robert Ruark Award in Creative Nonfiction at her alma mater, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Renner’s research and writing are focused on Hildegard of Bingen, a twelfth-century abbess and one of the few female authors of medieval Europe. With the Cheuse Center fellowship, Renner will travel to Germany to walk the 83-mile Hildegard Trail so that she can walk where Hildegard walked and better understand Hildegard’s legacy as an icon in Germany.