An Interview with Trailblazing Professional Writing Alumna, Tricia Lopez

Tricia Lopez was among the first cohort of students in Woodbury’s Professional Writing program within the College of Liberal Arts. In fact, she even had the opportunity to help shape the curriculum of the new program during her tenure—an aspect that further personalized her educational experience.

As part of her senior thesis project, Tricia published In Time I Will, a highly personal collection of her poetry. We asked the new alumna a few questions about her writing and her experience as a student in the Professional Writing program.

Can you talk a bit about how the poems from In Time I Will came about and why you decided to turn them into a book?

Tricia: Many people say that they find their writing, but in this case, the poems actually found me. I had taken the past year to come to terms with myself as a woman today and, in the process of doing this, I found all the right words to say and turn them into poems. At first, I wanted to do a mix of poetry and short non-fiction, but I found that the poems that I wrote helped me become more expressive with how I felt without needing to go into such detail like I would have to if I were writing non-fiction.

I experienced some life changing events this year, and it pushed me to speak my truth through these poems. In fact, the poems spoke their truth through me, in hopes that I would connect with people and create important dialogue about some of the issues that we’re facing today.

Tricia Lopez at her thesis defense
Tricia Lopez at her thesis defense

Many of your poems are deeply personal and explore family and elements of your identity. How did it feel putting these thoughts and ideas out into the world? What was the process like to get there?

Tricia: It’s scary to have a bunch of strangers read about your life, but it’s much scarier living your life without telling your truth. There are themes in the poems dealing with sexual assault and abusive relationships that weren’t easy for me to write, but I found the end product being a great success in my journey of self-discovery and growth. I’m not concerned about people having anything negative to say about my poems, I only hope people read them and learn something from them—whether it be to continue the dialogue about these topics, or just hug their loved ones a little tighter before they go to sleep.

You’re the first graduate of the Professional Writing program at Woodbury. Can you tell us what your experience has been like? How did it feel to be a pioneer?

Tricia: My journey here at Woodbury has been such an incredible experience. I was one of the first students to enroll in the Professional Writing program back in 2016. I have been part of changes in the program, as well as overall at the university. It feels amazing to know that I am the first person to graduate after having gone through the entire program from the beginning. I’m excited to see how the program will grow and the writers who will emerge from it in the years ahead.


You are a prolific and accomplished writer already. Now that you have graduated, what will you do for an encore? Will you continue to write?

Tricia: I don’t think I will ever stop writing. I say this all the time: writing is the one thing I know I can do. I have a script that I have been working on that I actually want to finish and try to pitch to networks by the end of next year. I now own a publishing press called Chaparrita Press. I want to continue to grow that and extend it to writers that want to get their start in the publishing world.


Learn more about the Professional Writing program

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