This YSU social work prof is a writer at heart


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By Amanda Tonoli

atonoli@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A Youngstown State University professor, whose writing passion is clearly alive and well, was recently published in her second fiction anthology.

Mari Alschuler, YSU social work associate professor, authored “Revealed” in “Lock n Load: Armed Fiction,” published by University of New Mexico Press.

She tells a story of a dystopian world in which guns must be carried by all in New York City.

Alschuler, a New York native, wrote the story in the 1980s, during a time when the environment could best be described as “total blight,” she said.

She sets the scene for the futuristic story as a dark time resembling the ’80s.

The moral, even though “Revealed” was written more than 30 years ago, still rings true today, Alschuler explains.

“If we’re not careful about gun control and gun violence, terrible things could happen,” she said.

“Dispatches from Lesbian America” is the other anthology Alschuler is featured in.

Some may wonder what a social worker’s tie is to literature, and Alschuler said she identifies with both fields equally.

Before getting into social work, Alschuler worked in publishing.

“I actually have a master’s [of arts degree] in poetry,” she said. “I worked in publishing until one day I knew I didn’t want to stay in publishing – I couldn’t afford to.”

Alschuler returned to school to be a clinical social worker.

Her journey didn’t end there.

“I always said if I have a burning desire when I’m 50 [years old to go back to school], I would go back to school and get my doctorate,” Alschuler said. “And I finished at 54 with my doctorate.”

Alschuler’s degree is in leadership and education with emphasis on higher education.

She’s not done climbing, either. Alschuler seeks to become a dean of her department.

Education has become her life.

“I enjoy teaching students and mentoring them and being able to be a part of their process,” she said.

But, at the end of the day, Alschuler is still a writer at heart.

“I started writing when I was 8 years old. I wrote seriously in high school, and I haven’t published nearly as much as I would’ve liked to,” she said. “But I’ve only submitted two published fiction writings, and both got published, so my next step is to get this novel I’m working on published.”

Alschuler will have some of her work on display today at the Words Made Visible monthlong exhibit at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.

Students in YSU art classes chose poems and stories and responded to them through visual art.

The opening for the monthlong exhibit will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Writers will read their work in the show at 3 p.m.

Alschuler also will be doing a reading of “Revealed” from 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 13 at the YSU campus Barnes & Noble Bookstore on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.

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