Stacy McKee,
MFA '99

Staff writer and co-executive producer, ABC-TV

Stacy McKee

Q.  What are you currently working on?

I am currently a writer and co-executive producer for the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve been staffed on the show as a writer for the past seven years.

Q.  Could you describe one person, experience, or series of events at Emerson that shifted the course of your career and that illustrates one of Emerson’s core attributes of creativity, collaboration, risk taking, and excellence?

Yes, yes, and yes.

Series of Events: When I was looking at graduate schools, I was looking for one thing. I wanted to find a writing program where I could take classes in all different genres. Playwriting? Sign me up. Children’s lit? Yes, please. Screenwriting? Done. I figured, I only really had two more years of the whole student experience left; I might as well soak up as much knowledge as possible while I still could. So, I was ecstatic when I found Emerson, where that kind of experience was not only available, but encouraged. I’d found my place. I always say, I entered Emerson as a poet and I left as a screenwriter.

Experience: I knew that Emerson offered semesters at its Los Angeles campus. I’d never even been to California before, but I decided to sign up. What was the worst that could happen? If I hated L.A., I could always leave. Big deal. So I came out to Los Angeles for my final semester...and I guess it paid off. I never left.

Person: Because I was finishing my thesis in L.A., not Boston, I was connected with a local alumnus who was willing to read my (very, very bad) thesis. To this day, I am thankful to him for two very big things. One: He was kind enough to approve my thesis, despite just how very, very embarrassingly bad it was. Two: He gave me a piece of advice that, at the time, I didn’t even understand. He suggested I go get myself “staffed on a TV show.” Now, in retrospect, it’s entirely possible he meant that as an insult—but in truth, it was some of the best advice I could have received. I did (eventually) get myself staffed, on a very successful TV show. And I LOVE writing for TV. Love, love, love, love it.

Q.  Is there an example of how a classmate aided you with your career?

Part of the Los Angeles program included an internship; mine was at a small production company. The company’s VP, as it turned out, was an Emerson alumna. When graduation was looming and it was time for me to start looking for a paying job, she was generous enough to make calls and send recommendations on my behalf. It made a world of difference. I never would have gotten calls back, let alone interviews for those jobs, without her help. So, I guess you could say Emerson is directly responsible for my very first paycheck in Hollywood.

Q.  Are you professionally connected to other Emersonians?

The answer is yes; I’m connected to Emersonians all over the place, probably more than I even realize!

Q.  What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d like to give to Emerson students?

Here’s what you do. Educate yourself on exactly what all Emerson has to offer. Because there’s a lot. There was a lot when I was a student, and I know there’s even more now—but you can’t take advantage of the Emersonian goodness if you don’t know it exists. Then, once you’ve read all about the amazing classes and far-away campuses and dream internships, get started on them. Right now. This instant. Seriously, stop reading this and go sign up for something outrageous and creative and AWESOME right now while you’re all excited about it. I mean it. You are lucky enough to have a resource like Emerson. Don’t be a loser and waste it! USE IT!

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MFA News Highlights

Cherly Buchanan Recent MFA alum Cheryl Buchanan ('15) compiled and edited the book Writers Without, a collection featuring the writing of clients at Boston's St. Francis House day shelter.

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Brionne Thompson Congratulations to our Graduate Award Winners: Brionne Thompson (Best Thesis), Stephen Shane (WLP Thesis Award), Mary Nolan (Outstanding Publishing Project and Bookbuilders), Mireidys Garcia (Bookbuilders) Madison Bakalar (Fiction), Caitlin McGill (Nonfiction and President's Award), and Cheryl Buchanan (Poetry).

Asako Serizawa Asako Serizawa (MFA '01) is the recipient of a fiction writing fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.

Senior Lecturer Mary Kovaleski Senior Lecturer Mary Kovaleski is the recipient of the inaugural Emerson College Alumni Award for Teaching Innovation, presented by the Alumni Association to a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in innovation by engaging students in active learning in and out of the classroom.

Christina Pugh Poet Christina Pugh (MFA '00) was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

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Fulbright ScholarshipSarah Chaves (BFA '11) was awarded a Fulbright 2015-2016 Grant. Chaves will spend one year, fully-funded, in Portugal working on her memoir.

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The Wilderness of RuinRoxane Gay visited campus on March 19 for a question-and-answer session with students followed by a reading of some of her essays. Both events are part of the Writing, Literature & Publishing Reading Series.

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The Wilderness of RuinMFA '98 Roseanne Montillo's article about 14-year old serial killer Jesse Pomeroy appeared on CBS News Crimsider. Montillo's latest book The Wilderness of Ruin explores the hunt for the child killer during Boston's Gilded Age and the Great Fire of 1872.

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All the Old KnivesMFA '99 Olen Steinhauer's new book, All the Old Knives was recently reviewed by The New York Times.

Lacy EyeProfessor Jessica Treadway is featured in the Boston Globe for her new novel “Lacy Eye.” In the Q&A with the Globe, Treadway discusses her writing habits, including writing drafts in longhand.

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Columbian ArtistsA group of nine young, emerging artists from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellín recently presented their artwork at Emerson College Los Angeles and are visiting Emerson College in Boston this month.

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Stephen ShaneCreative Writing MFA Stephen Shane (2015) and his colleague David Knight created a short documentary on Boston busing called Desegregated, Yet Unequal, and it was recently named an Editors' Pick by The Atlantic.

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Steve YarbroughProfessor Steve Yarbrough has been elected to the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and, in addition, will receive the 2015 Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction this spring from the same organization.

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Thomas McBeeWLP alum and writer Thomas Page McBee's memoir Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man was named on Publisher's Weekly's "Best Books of 2014."

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Ladette RandolphLadette Randolph's new memoir Leaving the Pink House was featured on as a suggested memoir. Randolph teaches in WLP and is Editor-in-Chief of Ploughshares literary magazine.

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Greg NicholsGreg Nichols (MFA '11) released his first book, Striking Gridiron, A Town's Pride and a Team's Shot at Glory During the Biggest Strike in American History. The book was named a Junior Library Guild Fall 2014 Selection.

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Marko TameraLecturer Tamera Marko's writing collective with Emerson maintenance workers from Latin America and undergraduates presented a bilingual presentation: "Proyecto Carrito II: When the Student Receives an 'A' and the Worker Gets Fired: Driving our Own Narrative" at the Conference on Rhetoric and Composition.

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Megan MarshallRecent MA in Publishing & Writing alumni collaborated to launch a new literary genre journal called Strangelet. Alumni include Executive Editor Casey Brown (MA ’13), Managing Editor Leah Thompson (MA ’12), Production Editor Franco Alvarado (MA ’13), and Creative Director Chandra Asar (MA ’12).

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Megan MarshallWLP Professor Megan Marshall and the emersonWRITES program participate in the launch and unveiling of Boston as the country's first Literary Cultural District.

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Michelle Bailat JonesMichelle Bailat-Jones (MFA '05) won the inaugral Christopher Doheny award for her novel Fog Island Mountains. The award recognizes a book-lenth work exploring the experience of serious illness and includes a $10,000 prize and publication and promotion of the book.

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