Cathrine Brendstuen is a first-year MA student, specializing in English/TESOL. Cathrine has earned a BA in Secondary Education and English from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and is a member of USD's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. This is her third year of teaching. She has experience teaching in the Middle- and Secondary School setting, as well as teaching English to refugees at ages ranging from fourteen to fifty-five. Cathrine is interested in World Englishes, Modern English Language, Teaching English and Literature, Multiculturalism and Human Relations, as well as Cultural Studies and Adult Education.

Leslie J. Claussen holds a BA in English from USD and is currently working on a MA in English. She is Vice President of USD’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and edits fiction entries for the South Dakota Review. She has recently presented papers at the USD John R. Milton Conference in 2016 and the Sigma Tau Delta Regional Conference in 2015. She will present at the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Conference at USD in 2017. Her academic and creative interests include Posthuman theory, Gender studies and Feminism, Madness, and both short fiction and creative non-fiction. Her MA thesis is titled Delicate Chemicals.

Hanna Conrad is a second-year MA student, specializing in literature. She is interested in post-colonialism and trauma theory, and her favorite authors include Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, and James Baldwin. Hanna is a member of GSAC and is the treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta. She has presented at two Writing Center Workshops: Media Analysis and Avoiding Plagiarism and Integrating Sources. Currently, she is working on her thesis in which she hopes to incorporate her favorite authors.

Laura Cruse is a Ph.D. student in the Critical Studies track. Laura comes to USD after several years of teaching English and History in community college settings. In past faculty positions she has advised Sigma Kappa Delta chapters (the 2-year organization associated with Sigma Tau Delta). She has also participated heavily in campus service learning initiatives in prior faculty positions. Past literary conference presentations focused on literature by immigrants or people with divided loyalties. She has also delivered presentations about pedagogy in face-to-face and online classes. Her current research interests focus on slave narratives, African American literature, and writing by contemporary Africans in diaspora. In her spare time she enjoys being a Mom, volunteering for Boy Scouts, and volunteering as a FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team coach.

Kacie Fodness is a critical-track PhD student specializing in 19th-century American literature. Her primary interest is in the American Renaissance tradition—in particular, the work of Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson—as well as those authors writing in the literary moment that would immediately follow (Rebecca Harding Davis). Kacie’s theoretical interests are grounded in genre studies, historical considerations, and the philosophy of language/representation. Currently, her scholarship is informed by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rita Felski, Samuel Otter, Homi Bhabha, Martha Nussbaum, Helen Vendler, Dana Seitler, and K.L. Evans, among others. Kacie received her MA from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her thesis, entitled “‘Ashes Denote that Fire Was’: The Poetics of Space in Melville and Dickinson,” was the 2011 winner of the Alvan S. Ryan Award for Best Literature Paper in the MA English Department. Since joining the USD program, she presented a paper entitled “‘The classifications of a chaos, nothing less is here essayed’: Unfinishing Melville’s Moby-Dick” at the John R. Milton Writers’ Conference and, most recently, was invited to participate in The Melville Society’s panel at the American Literature Association (ALA) Conference in Boston this spring (May 2017).

Avery Moselle Guess is a recipient of 2015 NEA Fellowship for Poetry, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and residencies from the Albee Foundation and the Ragdale Foundation. She is a PhD student in creative writing, poetry, at University of South Dakota and assistant editor for poetry at South Dakota Review. Recent and forthcoming publications include poems in Crab Orchard Review, Moon City Review, Thrush, Rogue Agent, Tinderbox, Glass, Rust + Moth, and Deaf Poets Society and creative non-fiction in Entropy and The Manifest-Station. The Patient Admits, a poetry chapbook, was released by dancing girl press in September 2017. Her first full-length collection of poetry, The Truth Is, will be published in April 2019 by Black Lawrence Press.

Laurie Johns is a second-year MA English candidate with a specialization in TESOL. Laurie earned her BA in German form the University of South Dakota in 1986. She also attended Frederich Alexandar Universität in Erlangen, Germany. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and southeast Asia. Her interests are diverse. She has been committed to the study of yoga since 2004. She also paints and writes poetry and her work has appeared in The Briar Cliff Review.

Philip MacKenzie is in the final stages of the PhD program, having successfully passed his exams over this past summer. He is working closely with Dr. Roripaugh and Dr. Willman from the English Department, and Dr. Rozum from the History Department, on his dissertation project tentatively titled The Dead Don’t Mind: A Speculative-Fiction Novel. Since 2014, he has been an instructor and the SSS Writing Lab Director at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. He teaches composition courses and also works on multiple service projects, especially with developmental education and non-traditional students, and these experiences have helped shape his professional research interests.

Cheyenne Marco grew up on a Minnesota poultry farm and finds inspiration for her writing, research, and teaching in her rural background. Her main areas of interest are creative writing (with an emphasis on prose) and agrarian literature. In addition to teaching, she serves as circulations manager for South Dakota Review, does outreach for Friends of the Big Sioux River, contributes to the family farm, and fantasizes about sleep. Her works have appeared in Rathalla Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Turk’s Head Review, and Prairie Winds, among others.

Sarah Meirose is a second-year MA English candidate with a specialization in Creative Writing. Sarah earned her BA in English from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she also participated in community poetry readings and had multiple poetic works published by JMU’s foremost literary magazine, Gardy Loo!. Her main areas of interest include early 20th-century literature, narrative theory, and performance studies. Sarah is the president of USD's Alpha Mu Phi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, and her one-act play Sunspots is a recent recipient of the Wayne S. & Esther M. Knutson Playwriting Award. Sarah's creative thesis-in-progress, tentatively titled Dearest: A Dictionary of Accepted Ideas, seeks to engage with the flexibility of memory via word-association and the hypertextuality of writing one's own life.

Kevin Phillips is currently working on his PhD in Creative Writing (Fiction) at the University of South Dakota. He has an MA in Ancient History from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Fiction from Louisiana State University. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Bryant Literary Review, CC&D Magazine,Hippocampus, Dangling Modifier, and (forthcoming) The North American Review, for which his essay, "Eight Hours, with Cow," just won the 2017 Torch Prize for Creative Nonfiction. His current novel project, The Mother of Dust, earned a finalist slot for best novel-in-progress at the Words and Music Literary Festival in New Orleans.

Russell Shaffer’s interests include Historical fiction, wartime fiction, historiographic metafiction, 20th century American literature, American history, and children's literature. His publications include "Pit Bull in Pink Chiffon," Vermillion Literary Project, 2016; "Patchwork Stars," Furrow, 2014; and "Those Who Will not Hear," Furrow, 2013. Recent presentations include "Treehouse Soldeirs," IdeaFest 2016, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD; and "Rooting for the Wrong," Red River Graduate Student Conference 2016, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND. Russell’s dissertation is titled Treehouse Soldiers.

Lindsay Stephens studies 20th and 21st century American literature, with an emphasis on the American West, frontier mythologies, environmental extraction, and ecocatastrophe. She is particularly interested in the works of Wallace Stegner, Mari Sandoz, James Welch, and William Kittredge (among many others), and she approaches these texts through a range of lenses, particularly ecocriticism, settler colonial studies, and place studies. Her essay “Mobile Stickers and the Specter of Snugness: Place-Making in Pa Ingalls’s Dakota Territory,” will soon be published in the collection Laura Ingalls Wilder: Critical Perspectives, edited by Anne Phillips and Miranda Green-Barteet. Stephens presented an early version of this paper at the John R. Milton Writers’ Conference at USD in October 2016, and she presented her essay “‘In Scented Petroleum Dimness’: Petromodernity in Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland” at the Western Literature Association conference in Big Sky, Montana in September 2016. A skier, hiker, and rock climbing guide, Stephens has also written the historical Black Hills guidebook The Adventure Climbs of Herb and Jan Conn, published in 2008.

Kerstin Tuttle has interests in Kurt Vonnegut, Postmodern American literature, Marxist criticism, gender studies, contemporary drama, and performance studies. She recently presented a creative non-fiction piece titled "Difficult to Swallow" at the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta Conference, which won 1st place for best creative non-fiction. Upcoming presentations include "Marxism in Wall-E" at the 2017 Sigma Tau Delta Conference.

Wes Yeary’s interests lie in contemporary and twentieth century American literature, such as Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner. He has historically been interested in object oriented ontology and posthumanism, but has a budding interest in familial and theological elements in literature. His first publication, “‘What if I said that he’s a god?’: Messianism in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road,” will appear in the collection, Essays on Dystopian Fiction as a Critique of Culture, slated for publication sometime in 2017.