MUM alumna, Anna-Maria Cornell ‘95
(photo by Cheryl Fusco Johnson)
During an Alumni Relations special event with speaker Jim Bagnola
With guests at the 2013 MUM Literature Reunion, co-hosted by Alumni Relations
Anna-Maria Cornell — Fiction Writer and English Teacher
Anna-Maria Cornell began writing stories as a child and won her first writing contest at 14. Since then, she has published three novels and five novellas.
Growing up in Croatia, Anna-Maria could never imagine studying in the United States. However, when she learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique at 17 and discovered the existence of MUM, she set her heart on coming here. With the help of a work-study program for undergraduate students she enrolled in 1989. Then she received the Super Radiance scholarship, which enabled her to study full-time and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in literature in 1995.
“Reading and writing all day was a dream come true,” said Anna-Maria. “The level of exploration and conversation in class about character and story and the deeper implications of the experience of consciousness was perfect.”
After graduating from MUM, Anna-Maria moved to Los Angeles and worked in the entertainment industry as a personal assistant. In her free time, she began writing romantic novels and found a publisher for her fiction. After publishing three books, Anna-Maria is now leaving the romance genre behind to experiment with other forms of fiction.
One day in 2011, she received an e-mail about the position of executive director of Alumni Relations at MUM. Both she and her husband were between jobs, so they moved to Fairfield. “When you think about working with alumni, it brings up all the memories of your education and how important those connections were to the experience,” said Anna-Maria.
After working for three years at MUM, Anna-Maria decided to return to school. She had always dreamed of being an English language teacher, so she began a master’s degree at the University of Iowa to study linguistics with an emphasis on teaching English as a second language. “Once upon a time I was a foreigner, so I know what these students are dealing with,” she said. “It seems like coming full circle.”