Student Star: Dana De Greff

Name: Dana De Greff
Major: English/Creative Writing

“I was able to talk to people who lived through [Argentina's Dirty] War (or, as they call it, El Proceso). Some had horror stories, others didn't, but everyone was affected.”

“Sitting in David Kirby’s Poetry Workshop, I thought, ‘This is what I’m meant to do,'” says Dana De Greff. “The stories, poems and plays we read for class were all amazing, making me want to write. It started out pretty casual, but it’s grown into a love, something I can’t live without.”

An Honors student since her arrival on campus, and appearing on the Dean’s List every semester, Dana’s epiphany led to her becoming an Honors in the Major candidate in English Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing.

Until 2006, Dana wrote for the Arts and Entertainment sections of the FSView and Florida Flambeau. She says of the experience, “It taught me how to find something I could relate to when writing about subjects I didn’t have a huge interest in, and it made me a more diligent writer, getting used to deadlines and word counts.”

Her favorite task, however, was writing movie reviews. She has parlayed this experience into the vice chair position for Café Cinema, the group that selects the foreign and independent films shown on campus and helps set up the Human Rights Film and Middle Eastern Film festivals.

Children are another enjoyment. “I love their easy acceptance of elders, the wild imaginations. It’s almost selfish of me, because they make me forget my worries and shave 15 years off my life.” To help at-risk children, she has traveled to New Orleans with the Alternative Break Corps, and has mentored for Jumpstart Tallahassee. At the end of her tenure, she was honored with Jumpstart’s Spark Award for her commitment to education. This year, she is a Big Sister to an at-risk pre-teen.

A creative writing grant helped pay for a summer research trip for her Honors in the Major thesis on Argentina’s Dirty War. “I was able to talk to people who lived through the War (or, as they call it, El Proceso). Some had horror stories, others didn’t, but everyone was affected. It was interesting to learn about past atrocities, yet see the country as it is today—still corrupted, but filled with beautiful people in a beautiful culture.”

This fall, Dana took over the position of head editor for the Kudzu Review, FSU’s undergraduate literary journal. “I am both humbled and inspired by the high quality of my peers’ work.” Dana not only recognizes but also produces quality fiction. In April, she was honored with the department’s Cody Allen Harris Award for her short story, “A Good Mother is Hard to Find.”

After graduation, Dana plans to travel to Peru or Argentina to write and teach English before attending graduate school in the U.S. “I’ve had such a good experience at FSU. I want to help students feel passionate about writing, learning, and being introspective.”