Graduate Students

Graduate Students

Current Graduate Students

Nicholas Domich

Nicholas Domich (Playwriting): The man strode across the stage to the podium and spoke into the mic, “Seen my lady home las’ night,/Jump back, honey, jump back./Hel’ huh han’ an’ sque’z it tight,/Jump back, honey, jump back.” The boy in the audience was ten years old. He knew he wanted to be a writer. His seventeenth summer was spent with Shakespeare not far from where Marlowe met his fate like Caesar but at the hands of a single brute. As he came upon his twentieth year he was thrust into the midst of a bunch of degenerate Beat writers. They kissed and cried and sat in uncomfortable positions longer than he cared for but there was enough poetry and music to cleanse them all. Then he put the pen down for a long spell. It has picked itself off the floor and its ink has yet to run dry. A return to school found him sailing and surfing in the frigid Santa Cruz waters while his play What in the World? had its debut on the university stage. Riverside is now where he resides but the theatre is his home.

Ava Fojtik

Ava Fojtik (Playwriting) is a writer and visual artist from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She graduated from Augsburg University in Minneapolis with a degree in World Religions. During her undergraduate career, she interned with the only Jewish community in Namibia, and had her photography published in Murphy Square and Plain China magazines. Her play “Two Men and a Woman in a House” was produced by Augsburg University in 2021. Her favorite writer is Kurt Vonnegut and her favorite food is raspberries.

Esther Gatica

Esther Gatica (Playwriting) was born and raised in San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Her formal theatre studies began at CC-Artes (Honduras). Her career path continued with Teatro Prometeo’s Acting Conservatory in Theatre Arts at  Miami Dade College (Miami, Florida). With Prometeo she has performed in: “Electra” a Rasa boxes adaptation by Fernando Calzadilla, “The Conduct of Life” written by Maria Irene Fornes and Directed by Joann Yarrow for the International Hispanic Theatre Festival in Miami, as well as several staged readings done as part of the Miami Book Fair International under the direction of Beatriz Rizk. Esther has written and directed two of her own one-act plays "On Behalf of them, Thank you" and “Lolo”, presented as part of the Arts and Philosophy Department of Miami Dade College. Esther is a recent Bachelor's in Fine Arts recipient from Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, Oklahoma). There she also performed in several productions: "Rosencrantz And Guildenstern are Dead" by Tom Stoppard, "Twelfth Night" by Shakeaspeare, and  "Lost in Yonkers" by Neil Simon, among others. Understanding the power of storytelling in all forms, she is eager to continue growing and is blessed by the opportunity to do so at UCR! Para Dios todo es posible. 

Paige Goodwin

Paige Goodwin (Playwriting) appeared in her high school's production of Hairspray before realizing that she was, perhaps, the world's least gifted actor. Instead, she earned her BA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Maryland in 2016, where she wrote plays for a campus troupe and discovered her true place in theater. Since graduating, she has been a theater educator with multiple non-profits in Washington DC, and a house manager for theaters in the district. She is currently a reader for both the Shakespeare Theatre Company (DC) and Arena Stage, as well as member of the 2019 Playwright's Arena Cohort. She enjoys hiking in National Parks and keeping a count of how many rollercoasters she's ridden. Because she grew up in Maryland, she likes to put the state flag on nearly everything she owns, and Old Bay on nearly everything she eats.

Lily Hart

Lily Hart (Playwriting) grew up in Kohler, Wisconsin before moving to Minneapolis to study history at the University of Minnesota. From there, she found her way into museums and archives as far away as London (and even further on her computer’s long reach). But the history she learned kept begging for a better editor. Embracing her long standing passion for theater and fiction she graduated Summa Cum Laude as a double major in history and English, with a minor in creative writing in spring 2019. She then explored artistic opportunities in the Twin Cities before setting out for the promise of more deadlines in sunny California.

Aaron Higareda

Aaron Higareda (Playwriting) is more than excited to return home! He graduated from UCR in 2017 with a B.A. in Theater, Film, and Digital Production with an emphasis in Writing for the Performing Arts. For the last three years he fell in love with the San Francisco Bay Area theater scene where he was the 2018-2019 Marketing Fellow for the American Conservatory Theater, a house manager for Berkeley Repertory Theater and Shotgun Players, and a box office manager for Playground-SF. He is currently the Data and Membership Specialist for Theater Bay Area. Aaron has had workshop productions with CASA 0101 and El Teatro Campesino and most recently self-produced a zoom staged reading of his first full length play “You don’t even speak Spanish!”. When he is not working, writing, or worrying about working and writing, he enjoys chilling with his partner and their two crazy-ass kids!

Paul Ingoldsby Paul Ingoldsby (Screenwriting) was born and raised in Wicklow, Ireland. He studied at University College Dublin and University of Toronto, earning a First Class BA in English and Film in 2018. He has worked in script development and as a talent agency reader. When not reading or writing, he enjoys hiking, playing football (“soccer,” if you must), and baking the perfect loaf of soda bread.
Gerald May
Gerald May (Screenwriting) was born and raised in Houston, TX. He holds a BA in English with a minor in Communications from Prairie View A&M University. He is drawn to stories that deal with themes of identity. Gerald hopes that his writing will show viewers that their personal struggles -- no matter how big or small -- are surmountable. When he is not reading or writing, he’s watching film and television, listening to a podcast, or jamming out to music.
D. M. Nickel D. M. Nickel (Playwriting) graduated from Utah Valley University with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Creative Writing. She has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in various literary journals, and was awarded Best Play by Utah New Works Theatre Project in 2018. When she’s not typing away on her computer or awaiting the end of intermission, she plays bridge and raises three unruly houseplants. She is smitten by clever commercials, and she hasn’t read much Shakespeare.

Anoop Singh Nijjar -he/him- (Screenwriting) is a South Asian filmmaker from Southern California with roots in Chicago, IL. His whole life has been a series of artistic endeavors: starting with painting and drawing, then evolving to spoken word and performing in bands, and last but not least persisting in writing and directing film. All of Anoop’s past experiences have ultimately culminated at the creative crossroads of filmmaking.

Anoop obtained his BA in Media & Culture studies from UC Riverside in 2018, spent the last several years avidly studying screenwriting, and now has achieved technical certificates in both cinematography and film production from Pasadena City College. In 2020, Anoop began volunteering on student films at the American Film Institute. He assisted in both the grip & electric departments, as well as the camera department. In 2021, Anoop’s outstanding contribution to the Cinema program at PCC resulted in receiving the Alta Dena Rotary Scholarship award.

Taking inspiration from cinema icons such as Mira Nair, Wong Kar-wai, Michelangelo Antonioni and many more, Anoop plans to create highly stylized films that discuss topics such as social identity and the human condition.

Jennifer Ozols

Jennifer Ozols (Screenwriting) was born and raised in Southern California. She earned her BA in English at the University of California Riverside, emphasizing on racial injustice and the marginalization of ethnic women. As an undergraduate, her knowledge of systemic racism was broadened by authors whose written work speak volumes about the inhuman treatment of people of color. Jennifer believes novelists, as well as screenwriters, have a critical responsibility in counterpoising racial equality by creating non-stereotypical ethnic characters. The scarcity of these compelling roles inspired Jennifer to forgo acting in favor of creating transcendent stories. 

In addition to writing screenplays which advocate for racial diversity, her novels depict the many essential facets of mortal existence within the genres of young adult contemporary and fantasy. When Jennifer is not working on her own screenplays and fictional novels, she is on a literary adventure exploring the characters and worlds created by her favorite authors.

Although reading and writing consumes a great deal of her time, she also enjoys horseback riding and going on road trips with her family. Traveling abroad is a goal of hers, as she longs to experience the culture of those living in other countries.

Carlina Perna -they/them- (Screenwriting) can usually be found questioning some element of social structure. Carlina writes about impact and refusal, using written and visual language to construct realities that critique and affirm. They hold a BA in Spanish Literary Studies and Religious Studies from Occidental College and an MS in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Brittany Turner Brittany Turner (Screenwriting) hails from Las Vegas, Nevada and is thrilled to be returning to her desert roots. She earned her B.A. in History and Literature with a citation in Japanese language from Harvard University in 2010, spent the last several years in Southern California working at various production companies as a marketer and development executive, and now writes scripts that poke at the anxieties underpinning the ever-expanding limits of Black identity. She consults as a freelance digital producer/strategist and enjoys playing guitar poorly, telling herself she'll work out...soon, re-watching Marvel movies, and catching up on all those novels she never read during her undergrad years.
Kali Veach (Screenwriter) is a writer and director interested in absurd connections, tragicomic consequences, queer perspectives, and the ways in which organizations and individuals interface with emerging technologies. After receiving her BA in Creative Writing from UCR, she taught English as a Second Language before transitioning to film production. Upon returning to UCR, she was selected as the writer-director for the fall 2021 Gluck Film Ensemble Fellowship. Her fiction, poetry, and scripts have been published in MosaicThe Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. As a child she moved cross-country several times, between St. Louis, Baltimore, and Huntington Beach, but now lives in Los Angeles with her wife. She is in various stages of development and production on several projects.
Reina Wilson Reina Wilson (Screenwriting) is a trans woman that doesn't quite know what she's doing. She holds a BA in English with a minor in Biology from Middle Tennessee State University. She primarily writes fantasy and scifi stories that try to make sense of the strange and absurd. She also likes to compose music (i. e. piddle on her guitar until she stumbles into a decent melody).