Student Spotlight of the Week: Dimitris Voulgaris

Penny for your thoughts? 

That’s what comes to mind when getting to know Dimitris Voulgaris, an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing.

 It’s not often you meet someone as forthright, open-minded and understanding as Voulgaris. 

English major and creative nonfiction writer Dimitris Voulgaris. STAR // Emily Kowalski

English major and creative nonfiction writer Dimitris Voulgaris. STAR // Emily Kowalski

He’s the kind of person you right away feel comfortable talking to about anything.

Voulgaris is proud to be a “born and bred” Sonoma State University student who came here straight from his hometown in Long Beach, California.

 Originally a Childhood Development major, Voulgaris shared how creative writing has become a lifelong passion and outlet for better understanding our world. 

 “I knew I wanted to be an English teacher, but in college, I found that I like writing more than I like teaching”, said Voulgaris.

 Aside from the incredibly supportive and encouraging staff at Sonoma State, his zeal for writing has a story of its own, one of riveting, relatable and motivational accounts of life’s hurdles. 

Long Beach was a great place to grow up in, beautiful and lively with lots to do and see. Voulgaris’ family has always been supportive and loving, and they still are, just a little more on the “old school side.” 

They put a lot of pressure on him to strive for stable, high wage careers or get into the most distinguished schools.

“They didn’t believe in mental illness,” he said, or would suggest that his pansexuality was just a phase and something he’d grow out of. 

“Family bogged me down,” said Voulgaris, which is one of the main reasons why he ventured to the North Bay for college. 

Most would be surprised to know that Voulgaris was a wrestler in high school.

“I was MVP all four years of wrestling in high school. I only lost two matches,” said Voulgaris, “people either look at me and laugh or [call me the] ‘gay kid in wrestling’, it’s an easy joke to make.” 

Though he visibly carries himself with kindness, Voulgaris shared that he used to be a bully in sixth through eighth grade. 

“Yeah, no I was a bad kid, I’m not going to lie, classic bully move making fun of the gay kids.” 

This is what makes him who he is today, someone fully comfortable with themselves and compassionate towards others. 

Voulgaris has used his past as a way to embrace his passion for creative writing. 

“He has a naturally philosophical mind that wants to go deep, to understand the root causes of things, the furthest possible implications,” said Noelle Oxenhandler, professor of Creative Writing at Sonoma State. “He is a very compassionate person, and he has a drive to understand the nature of human aggression: a theme that recurred in a number of his writings.”

 Voulgaris aspires to publish his short stories and poetry. Though he’s published three pieces in Long Beach 908 magazine, his dream would be to be able to write for Vice or The New Yorker, hoping to get into a “budding” new genre of creative nonfiction along with personal essays. 

 “Dimitris is smart but never glib, a reflective person who in his nonfiction writing adroitly uses memory to represent scenes from his past—not as ends in themselves, but to mediate upon what such events can teach him and his readers,” said professor of Literature and Creative Writing Anne Goldman. “This, to me, is memoir at its finest.”

Voulgaris’ latest piece “Razor Burn” can be found in Zaum 23, Sonoma State’s Literary Magazine. This will be his first published piece in the on-campus periodical.