Meet Graduate Student Commencement Speaker Angel Hogan
By Gina Myers
June 4, 2021
The 2021 College of Arts and Sciences Virtual Commencement Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, June 8, at 10 a.m. ET. The ceremony will feature two student speakers: Angel Hogan will represent graduate students, and Tim Hanlon will represent undergraduate students.
Hogan is a member of Drexel’s first graduating Creative Writing MFA class. She is an activist, poet and filmmaker, who has performed as part of the Black Women’s Arts Festival, Literary Death Match, Moonstone, First Person Arts and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Hogan is interested in storytelling as a vehicle for visibility and community building. Her film By Law, By Love: A Documentary about Family, Race, and Identity was completed in 2019. Angel is a full-time employee at Drexel University. Learn more at www.angelhogan.com.
Hogan recently took time from her very busy schedule to tell us a little about herself, the MFA program and her artistic pursuits.
I understand you’re not only a student at Drexel, but you also work here. Can you tell me about your role at LeBow College of Business?
I’m a department manager in Finance. I’ve been at Drexel for about eight years, five of them with LeBow College of Business. I work with a great team of colleagues and like what I do. My job is chiefly focused on admin logistics and supporting the Department Head, faculty and students.
When did you become interested in writing?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in writing! I’ve always loved reading and began coming up with stories of my own at a young age. I was six when I found an odd little yellow book called Grooks, full of quirky, aphoristic poems. This set my imagination on fire. There was no turning back.
Can you tell me about the documentary you made?
In 2019 I made a short documentary with the incredible Shameka Sawyer from the 5 Shorts Program. The film is called By Law, By Love: A Documentary about Race, Family, and Identity. It follows the story of a Black / multiracial adoptee and the DNA test that changed his life–unlocking mysteries and connecting him to birth family. My film asks, what exactly is identity? Who gets to decide?
It seems like you already had an active literary and artistic practice before pursuing your MFA. What made you want to do your MFA at Drexel?
I’ve been interested in a low-residency MFA for many years, but circumstances never seemed to align. When I realized Drexel was developing my dream program right here at home, I was thrilled and could not wait to apply.
What has the experience of the MFA program been like for you? How has it impacted your writing?
After years of actively writing and performing, pursuing an MFA was a natural next step for me. This dynamic community of writers and mentors helped to push me to another level. I’m incredibly grateful for the experience of growing with my cohort, as well as the many connections to established writers. The support and mentorship from Program Director Nomi Eve will remain impactful well after graduation. Her dedication, passion and talent appear in every part of this degree.
Do you have a favorite memory or class from your time in the MFA program?
In winter term I took Black Women Writing: Short Stories, co-taught by current Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta Mayson, alongside former Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher. This was just an extraordinary class, taught by two brilliant luminaries. What a gift. I remain inspired. I would like to take it again, forever.
You’re a member of the first ever Creative Writing MFA class at Drexel. Does that add extra significance to your experience?
It absolutely does. It makes us trailblazers. It means we are shining a new light on the type of voices and visionaries coming from Drexel.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people who are considering pursuing their Creative Writing MFA at Drexel?
If you want to grow your practice with a village of writers on your team, don’t wait. Apply.
What does it mean to you to have the opportunity to address the College of Arts and Sciences Class of 2021 at commencement?
It’s an incredible honor. I plan to do my program and my family proud. My heart swells.
What will you be doing to celebrate commencement?
Get SOME SLEEP!