Alumni News

John Bateman’s, MA ‘16, southern gothic novel Who Killed Buster Sparkle? was released in June. Additional readings and information and reviews may be found at John lives in the Deep South, chasing words and finding stories. Influences include comedian and writer Bob Smith, photographer Duane Michals, his fairy godparents, and coffee. His work has appeared in OneNewEngland, The Huffington Post, Glitterwolf Magazine, Nately’s, the SFWP Quarterly, and lots of notebooks stacked in a bookcase somewhere. He has won a few awards for screenwriting and received a 2018 Emerging Filmmaker grant from the Mississippi Film Alliance. You can contact him at

Erotic Citizens book cover.

Elizabeth Dill, PhD ‘00, has a new book coming out from the University of Virginia Press in December 2019: Erotic Citizens: Sex and the Embodied Subject in the Antebellum Novel.


Kristin Dykstra, PhD ‘02, is co-editor of the anthology Materia Prima, featuring Amanda Berenguer of Uruguay, from Ugly Duckling Press (2019). She is principal translator of The Winter Garden Photograph, by Cuban writer Reina María Rodríguez, forthcoming from the same press. Her translation of Cubanology, a multilingual book of days by Omar Pérez, appeared in 2018 from Station Hill Press. She guest-edited “Out of Alamar,” a dossier about poet Juan Carlos Flores (1962-2016) for Chicago Review in 2018.

Frank Gullo, BA ‘93, was promoted to Chief Technology Officer at Aleron Inc., a global workforce and total talent solutions company headquartered in Buffalo, NY. He has been with the Buffalo-based staffing provider for more than 20 years. While at Aleron, he spent 10 years as an on-site project manager at Moog, a designer and manufacturer of motion and fluid control and control systems.

Betsy Huang, BA ‘89, was named associate provost and dean of the College at Clark University.

Dianne M. Hunter (formerly Weisgram), PhD ‘72, published “The Spanish Tragedy Redux”, in The University of Edinburgh journal Language and Psychoanalysis 6 (2018), “The King Announces Himself” in the literary magazine Door Is A Jar 10 (2019), “The Brass Cricket,” in Transference: The New Directions Journal  (Fall 10 2019 Footnotes 2016), “The Ides of March” in Transference: The New Directions Journal (Fall 2017); “Orpheus Says,” in Plath Profiles 10 (2019); review of E. Rashkin, “Family Secrets and the Psychoanalysis of Narrative in Language and Psychoanalysis 5 (2017), review of “The Place Beyond the Pines” in Language and Psychoanalysis 5 (2017).

Kurtz - DayForestWet.

Kevin Kurtz’s, BA ‘93, ninth nonfiction children’s book, A Day in a Forested Wetland was published in 2018. His prior book, Living Things and Nonliving Things, was named a National Science Teachers Association and Children’s

Kurtz - Living Things and Nonliving Things.

Book Council 2018 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 and is a finalist for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books for 2019 Children’s Science Picture Book Award. Learn more about Kevin and his books at

David W. Marion, BA ‘76, has lived a dual professional life -- as an actor and business writer. After graduating from SUNY Buffalo he studied acting at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. and at Michael Howard Studio in New York City. Between stints performing in modern and classic productions in regional theatres across the country, he landed positions on the staff of a few Fortune 500 corporations, such as Corning Incorporated, IBM, and Deloitte and Touche. His corporate work focused on executive communications and media relations (e.g., speeches, thought-leadership, reputational communications) -- what David terms the theatrical operation of the business world. For the past 12 years, he has led his own New York-based firm, which provides strategic communications consulting and editorial services to top US and international organizations. His clients comprise a virtual Who’s Who of world business leaders at Columbia Business School, Deloitte, IBM, Quest Diagnostics, the United Nations, and more.

Riden, Joseph - book Sea Goddess.

Joseph Riden, BA ‘74 moved to San Diego, CA, in 1977, where he resumed his mechanical design career. Eventually, he worked for Cray Research where he helped create five generations of mainframe supercomputers. He also acquired freelance computer-aided design (CAD) projects and formed a group of consulting engineers in 1996. His design teams completed many contracts, including shipboard electronics, industrial pumps, manufacturing tooling, and medical devices. Joseph lived aboard a 42 foot wooden trawler for five years. He moved Sequoia to the Pacific Northwest in September 2005. He once set an unbreakable Marlin record from an accidental strike (on 7/21/1991) — the First Marlin of the Season in the San Diego region. Joseph always had an itch to write. He continued reading literature after graduation. These days he self-publishes books and fiction stories, nonfiction, and how-to books. He completed the Institute for Writers course “Breaking into Print” on 4/24/2017. He published in Living Aboard Magazine — the cover story for the Jan./Feb 2008 issue. He published books between 2015 and 2019. Joseph’s publications and editing are all shown on his portfolio website: Recently, he published his first novel-in-stories, Sea Goddess. He continues to grow his body of works, full time. He plans to keep writing and self-publishing as long as possible. Joseph has been married but he has no children, by choice. The Olympic Peninsula is still Joseph’s home. You can reach him through his website:

Foust, Graham - cover of book Nightingalelessness.

Graham Foust, PhD ‘02 was recently promoted to the rank of full professor in the Department of English and Literary Arts at the University of Denver, where he has taught since 2012. His most recent book is Nightingalelessness from Flood Editions (2018).  

Lisa Gagnon, BA ‘17, spent nine months in Riga, Latvia on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) after graduating from UB. She worked with middle and high school students and assisted in several university classes including English Grammar, Psychology, Teaching Methods, and Academic Writing. She also started, planned for, and led a weekly creative writing workshop, and volunteered for community events such as a public speaking contest and spelling bee. Lisa currently works at Buffalo String Works, an after-school music program on the West Side, and StaffBuffalo, a women-owned staffing firm. She also volunteers as an ESL teacher with the Jericho Road Community Health Center. Lisa will be returning to UB in the Fall 2019 semester to pursue a Masters in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Gastle, Brian - The Routledge Research Companion to John Gower.

Brian Gastle, BA ‘89 is currently a Professor of English at Western Carolina University, where he was the recipient of the University Scholar award. He recently co-edited The Routledge Research Companion to John Gower (Routledge) and Later Middle English Literature, Materiality, and Culture (Univ. of Delaware Press), published an essay on mercantile rhetoric in the Confessio Amantis (by 14th-century poet and friend of Geoffrey Chaucer’s, John Gower) for Palgrave’s Money, Commerce, and Economics in Late Medieval Literature, and joined the editorial board of Boydell & Brewer’s John Gower series.

Gastle, Brian - Later Middle English Literature.

This past year he presented research on Chaucer as a veteran (for the New Chaucer Society conference in Toronto) and on a Caxton edition of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis  (for the Early Book Society/John Gower Society joint Congress in Durham, England). As part of this research he secured permission to digitize and post that Caxton edition on the John Gower Society web site (, for which he serves as webmaster. He is currently working on a complete translation into modern English of the 33,000-line Confessio Amantis.

Amy Hezel, BA ‘00, MLS ‘02 , was promoted to Associate Professor at Regis University in Denver, CO. Her research spans library history, the history of the book and printing, 18th and 19th century European cultural studies, and 19th and 20th century American literature. This past spring she presented “’Something enough to see it all’: Literary Scientists in Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome” at the 47th Louisville Conference in Literature and Culture Since 1900 and her article, “The Life of Language: Gesture, Speech, and Writing in the Works of Jacques Louis David and Jean Jacques Rousseau” was published in the journal Interdisciplinary Humanities.

Sherrell T. Lam, BA ‘04 was 2018 First Place Winner Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazines Sponsors Essay and Short Story Contest, Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

Licata - 100 things to do in Buffalo before you die.

Elizabeth Licata, BA ‘84, has begun writing for the travel book company, Reedy Press. Her first title: 100 Things To Do In Buffalo Before You Die.



Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, BA ‘71, has recently launched the trade paperback edition of her novel, Daughters of the Stone and has completed her second novel, A Woman of Endurance. The hardcover edition of Daughters of the Stone was first released in 2009 by St. Martin’s Press and listed as the 2010 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize Finalist. Ten years later, her book still lives in the hearts of readers. Her novel is taught in 16 colleges and universities across the United States and has been selected as part of the curriculum for African American Literacy program at Oakland Freedom Schools. Ms. Llanos-Figueroa is published in over 20 anthologies and literary journals across the United States, South Africa and Brazil. Ms. Llanos-Figueroa’s Literary Agent, Marie Dutton Brown, is currently seeking a publishing house for her second novel, A Woman of Endurance. To learn more about Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa and her upcoming speaking engagements, please visit

Kristina Marie Darling, PhD ‘15, had her first written piece published in The New York Times:

Natalie B. Cole, PhD ‘87 is currently a Professor in the Department of English at Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309.

Karen M. McMahon, BA ‘81, JD, ‘86, was elected to the New York State Assembly from the 146th Assembly District, which includes the Towns of Amherst and Pendleton.

Meehan book cover.

Sean Ross Meehan, MA ‘96, Professor and Chair of English at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, is the author of A Liberal Education in Late Emerson: Readings in the Rhetoric of Mind published in 2019 by Camden House.

Rachael Vella-Garrido, BA ‘97; MA English Education ‘04, teaches at Williamsville South High School.

Margaret Ann Zawadzki (Guerra), BA ‘00. You can contact her at her email: