News Details

April 11, 2017

Rachel Receives Irene McKinney Postgraduate Teaching Fellowship

Virginia “Ginny” Rachel, a 2015 graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program, has been awarded the fifth annual Irene McKinney Postgraduate Teaching Fellowship.  Rachel, of Princeton, WV, received her bachelor’s degree from Concord College in 2001. For the past two and a half years, Rachel has been working as a traveling adjunct instructor.

Next year, Rachel will be teaching two Composition II courses as well as Introduction to Literature.  She will be working under the supervision of Jessie van Eerden, MFA director.  During her tenure as a student in the MFA program, Rachel worked with short stories until the shape of her writing became a novel in her thesis, How Small the World.  Her characters survive together in Piney Oak, a fictional West Virginia town where they explore a sense of place through various perspectives.

Returning for the MFA’s cross-genre option in the fall of 2016, Rachel developed a new interest in creative nonfiction.  She is excited for the opportunities this fellowship will bring.

“I am extremely thankful and thrilled to have received the Irene McKinney Fellowship so I might have the experience of working with students and faculty at Wesleyan,” she said.  “I am excited to have the opportunity of a year to focus on teaching and to learn as much as I can in the process.”

The Irene McKinney Postgraduate Teaching Fellowship is available to all graduates of the College’s MFA Program for up to three years after graduation.  The fellowship honors the founding director of the College’s MFA Program, Dr. Irene McKinney, Professor Emeritus and West Virginia Poet Laureate, who passed away in 2012.

For more information on the MFA program, please contact Director van Eerden at

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