Mariya Deykute received her training as a poet and composition and creative writing instructor at the University of Massachusetts: Boston. She graduated as a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry in 2018 and continued to pursue her pedagogical and creative goals in Boston and Gallup, New Mexico. Before coming to Nazarbayev University, she taught English Literature and AP English Literature on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico; she also worked as a composition and creative writing instructor at the University of Massachusetts. Mariya also received extensive training in theater as an actress, stage manager and playwright. Before coming to Nazarbayev, she has co-written and produced four plays, including a full-length musical (King Matiusz) and a bilingual solo show (Vasilisa!). Her poetry, essays and short fiction have been published and performed widely, appearing in critically acclaimed journals and anthologies, most recently in Salamander magazine; Dos Gatos Press Southwestern Poetry Anthology; Cholla Needles chapbook series; and Cold Creek Review. Mariya is currently working on a series of essays on pedagogy of creative writing as well as a finalizing a full-length poetry collection. Mariya hopes that her diverse expertise will prove beneficial to students and faculty at Nazarbayev University.