Alumnus Thinks Outside Degree

By Sara Strickroot

John Choquette ’11 is the author of the young adult series Burlwood Forest Trilogy. However, writing wasn’t always at the top of the list for this alumnus.

John Choquette photo

“Initially, I thought I would be entering the music business, working for a record label or studio,” says Choquette. Prior to attending ECU for his masters in sports management, Choquette received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in public relations/sports communication.

“Entering a sports-related graduate program seemed liked the next logical step so I could learn more about the field from a management perspective. The sports management program at ECU was a great way to do this, and I’m so thankful for the opportunities that this decision provided,” says Choquette.

He worked as a graduate assistant at ECU and held a wide range of responsibilities including coordinating promotions and supervising teams of student workers on game day.

“The Pirate community is such a tight knit group, that it’s impossible to not fall in love with the university and its people,” says Choquette.

After graduate school he decided that he wanted to venture from his chosen path and write a book. Choquette had always wanted to write. “Somehow, I knew it was what I wanted to do. Growing up, I loved to tell stories, and when I found out I could build my career on that, I was so excited,” he says.

He wasn’t just interested in a book, but in his own publishing company. “I decided to release Burlwood Forest through my own publishing company, Pumpernickel Art,” says Choquette. “By creating my own brand, I would have the opportunity to grow closer to the consumer and build a better relationship with them. It’s been so much fun to interact with the readers of Burlwood Forest.”

To Choquette, “the Burlwood Forest is relatable to so many people because it’s about a boy named Michael Pumpernickel who is trying to figure out life. Michael finds himself in the middle of an age-old prophecy about a magical forest and a power-hungry fox obsessed with revenge and he is forced to grow up quickly. His world may be populated with deranged, one-eyed vegetable farmers and delinquent bass players, but ultimately it’s full of surprises and hard decisions, just like ours.”

“I hope the readers of The Chantey consider checking out Burlwood Forest. Like choosing ECU, it’s a decision you won’t regret,” says Choquette.

For more information on John Choquette and his debut novel, visit him at, and on Twitter @burlwoodforest.

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