Julie Boutwell-Peterson is a first-year PhD student on the creative track. She holds a B.A. in philosophy from Wake Forest University and a M.A. in English from Auburn University. Studying, teaching, and/or doing development work, Julie has lived and worked in England, France, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, and Senegal. Now a TA at USD, she has also taught composition and/or literature at Auburn University, the College of Coastal Georgia, and the University of Sioux Falls. Before and in between teaching jobs, Julie worked as a newspaper reporter in North Carolina and Alabama and as a freelance writer in Florida. Her current creative interests lie in middle-grade fiction and non-fiction essays. Her critical interests include immigrant and post-colonial literature, comparative literature, and magical realism.
Cathrine Brendstuen is a first-year M.A. student, specializing in English/TESOL. Cathrine has earned a B.A. 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 14 to 55. 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.
Chelsea Campbell is a second-year M.A. English candidate specializing in creative writing. She received her B.A. in English with a minor in education from the University of South Dakota in 2015. Last spring, she presented a critical essay titled “Ghosts and Body Displacement in ‘How to Write the Great American Indian Novel’” at the annual Sigma Tau Delta Conference. She also presented “Frankenstein and the Violence of Looking Away” at USD’s Frankenstein 200!symposium. This October, in addition to reading her own poetry, she will present a craft essay titled “Gapping Walls of Privilege” at the John R. Milton Writer’s Conference. Her poem, “nurse check my blood for a pulse,” will be published in the forthcoming fall issue of Persephone’s Daughters. When Chelsea isn’t reading and writing, she likes to cook, go on bike rides, and admire her plants.
Molly Cameron is a first year MA student on the critical track. She earned her BA in English Literature from Western Illinois University in 2018 as an Honors Scholar and the president of her Sigma Tau Delta chapter. She has presented both critical and creative work at multiple conferences and open mics, and won second place for best critical paper at the 2017 Sigma tau Delta Midwestern regional conference. She has experience working in a university library, and writing for Western Illinois University’s departmental magazine Mirror and the Lamp. Molly's academic interests focus on Marxism, Psychoanalysis, and theories of entertainment based on Richard Dyer's work. These theories are the basis for her paper "Addicted to Happiness: Dystopia as Utopia and the Consequences of Entertainment", which she presented at the Sigma Tau Delta international conference in March 2018. Although she strongly focuses on critical analysis in her academic life, Molly also enjoys writing and performing spoken word poetry, and hopes one day to write a graphic novel.
Simon Ferrell is a critical-track Ph.D. student specializing in 20th- and 21st-century British literature. He earned his B.A. from Augustana University and his M.A. from the University of South Dakota. A two-time Emily Haddad Graduate Teaching Award recipient, Simon has taught at the University of South Dakota, Augustana University and the University of Iowa. Recently, he has presented at the Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900 in Louisville, Kentucky; the Midwest Modern Language Association conference in Detroit, Michigan; and the American Conference for Irish Studies - Western Region in Rapid City, South Dakota. He has published in the International Journal of Zizek Studies. His dissertation focuses on structures of violence, futurity, the nation-state, and the demands of capitalist modernity within postmodern archipelagic British and Irish literature.
Jayna Gearhart Fitzsimmons is a critical-track Ph.D. student specializing in 20th and 21st-century drama. Her research interests include metatheatre, theatre for social change, resistance literature, and the relationship between text, performance, and audience. Jayna received her B.A. in theatre arts from Southwest Minnesota State University and her M.A. in theatre from the University of South Dakota. Since 2010, Jayna has been a full-time faculty member in the theatre department at Augustana University where she directs productions and teaches coursework in acting, theatre history and literature, new play development, improvisation, and theatre for social change. Jayna also teaches a global studies course that explores performance in Central and Eastern Europe, and she sits on the board of the Upper Midwest Association of Intercultural Education (UMAIE). Jayna’s directing work has received regional honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF); most recently, she earned recognition for her productions of King Lear and When the World Was Wild and Waste. As a director, Jayna frequently partners with the Dakota Academy of Performing Arts, and she is the producing artistic director of Bare Bodkins Theatre Company, a professional, original practice Shakespeare company based in Sioux Falls.
Kacie Fodness is a critical-track Ph.D. student specializing in 19th-century American literature. Her primary interest is in the American Renaissance tradition. Kacie’s theoretical interests are grounded in genre studies, considerations of history and form, and epistemologies of language/representation. 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. She has presented at several conferences in both Literature and Composition & Rhetoric. Most recently, Kacie delivered a paper entitled “Back—Toward Time—And forward—’: Conclusion, Possibility, and the Poetics of Contextlessness in Dickinson” as a part of the Emily Dickinson International Society’s panel at the 2018 American Literature Association (ALA) Conference in San Francisco, CA. She is also serving as Senior Advisor for the ALA “Year in Conferences” feature that will be published in Emerson Society Quarterly (ESQ) later this year.
Erin Frink has a B.A. and M.A. in English with a minor in Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa. Her thesis is titled “Romantic Melancholy: European Post-Enlightenment Protest in the Age of Reason.” She is currently a Ph.D. graduate student and instructor on the critical-track at the University of South Dakota. Her specialization includes British Victorian and Romantic literature as well as Spanish Romanticism. Her academic interests specifically concern 19th Century Sensation Novels as well as Pop Culture, Rhetoric, and Pedagogy. She has also instructed at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. In 2016, she presented a paper titled "Dangerous Women: Female Crime and Subversion in the Sensation Novel" at the Crime and Criminality conference for the Carolina Graduate Literature Society at the University of South Carolina. In 2018, she presented "Basic Braining': Rhetorical Ideology in the Video Game 'Possibility Space'” at the College English Association conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, and she presented at the Frankenstein 200! symposium at the University of South Dakota.
Virginia Gallner earned a B.A. in International Studies and Religious Studies with minors in English and History from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and is currently an M.A. student on the creative track. She has experience leading Conversation Hour for ESL students, copy editing for 13th Floor Literary Magazine, and teaching for Omaha Girls Rock. In 2017 she spoke and performed at TEDxUNO. Over her undergraduate years, she presented at conferences such as the European Studies Conference, American Academy of Religion, and the Truman State Undergraduate Philosophy and Religion Conference. She will be presenting an excerpt from her novel at the John R. Milton Writers' Conference in Fall 2018. Her academic interests include mythology, folklore, and medieval literature. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi (National Honors Society), Phi Alpha Theta (History Honors Society), and Sigma Iota Rho (International Studies Honors Society). Outside of academics, she is also a musician, and has been a participant in Richard Thompson's Frets & Refrains Songwriting Camp and the Silkroad Ensemble's Global Musician Workshop. She released her first album in June 2018.
Justin Gray fell in love with the study of literature at Brooklyn College and after receiving his bachelor’s degree, decided to continue his education as a graduate student on the creative track at the University of South Dakota. This past fall Justin presented a paper titled, “Finding Humanity Through Ridicule: Understanding Racism and Nationalism Through the Films of Mel Brooks” at the Midwest Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association conference in St. Louis, Missouri. He is currently working on a collection of short stories for his master’s thesis tentatively titled The Revolution on Magnolia Avenue. Justin lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and child. He doesn’t have time to talk right now.
Avery M. Guess (@averymguess) 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. Her chapbook, The Patient Admits, is out from dancing girl press, and her first full-length collection of poetry will be published in April 2019 by Black Lawrence Press. Avery’s website is averymguess.com.
Elin Hægeland is a M.A. student specializing in literature. She is from Norway, but she has lived in the U.S. for several years. She holds a B.A. in English and Classics from Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD. Elin is a member of USD’s Sigma Tau Delta Chapter, and she also teaches freshman English courses. Elin recently presented her paper “Skins and the Anti-American Metanarrative” at the Sigma Tau Delta conference in Cincinnati, and she participated in the Frankenstein 200! symposium at USD. Elin is particularly interested in postcolonial studies, and in her thesis, she is exploring the connection between the rhetoric of sensibility and pro-abolitionist texts.
Danielle Harms has been teaching English in Watertown, South Dakota for nine years. She gets to hang out with 15- and 16-year-old students all day long. In addition to teaching, she coaches high school debate and spends her weekends running debate tournaments throughout the state. She also is the co-president of the Speech Communication Association of South Dakota. Her main area of interest is war literature, particularly literature from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In her free time, she enjoys listening to audiobooks while bicycling.
Jenna Hayes is a MA student, specializing in literature. She earned her BA in English and anthropology from the University of South Dakota. Jenna is an alumna of the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship, and studied Russian language and culture while living in the Russian Federation during the summer of 2016. She is a member of USD’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and is an associate editor for prose at the South Dakota Review. She is interested in realism and naturalism, and especially adores the work of Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edith Wharton, and Henry James. Her academic and research interests include 19th- and 20th-century literature, feminism, cultural anthropology, Russian literature, Marxism, archaeology, and international relations. Jenna also worked on an archaeological excavation near Rawlins, WY, where she assisted with an ongoing excavation in the Teton National Park Reservoir. The project’s goal is to obtain a better sense of what life was like for the past inhabitants who lived in the region, as well as to skillfully articulate that information to the general public.
Morgan James earned a B.A. in English in 2015 from South Dakota State University and is currently an M.A./J.D. candidate at USD. Before starting law school, Morgan worked as a Technical Writer for Daktronics; she also began her M.A. in English Rhetoric at SDSU, gaining experience as a writing center tutor and graduate teaching assistant. This past summer, Morgan worked as a legal intern in the Governor's Office. She currently serves as a member on the USD Moot Court Board. Her research and literary interests are in gender studies and feminism and creative nonfiction.
Laurie Johns is a third-year M.A. English candidate with a specialization in TESOL. Laurie earned her B.A. in German from 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.
Chris Kaiser holds a B.A. in English from Northern State University and an M.A. in English from USD. He is currently in his first year of Ph.D. work at USD, specializing in creative writing with a particular focus on historical fiction and short stories. His interests include American naturalism, gothic, modern and postmodern literatures, including the works of Edgar Allen Poe, James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon. He edits fiction submissions for the South Dakota Review.
Meggin Killion is a first-year M.A. candidate specializing in creative writing. Meggin has earned a B.A. in English from the University of South Dakota and is a member of USD's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. She has four years of experience working in the USD Writing Center and acted as editor-in-chief for the Vermillion Literary Project in 2016. Meggin is interested in creative writing (with a focus on poetry), gender and women's studies, feminist theory, communications publishing and teaching English and creative writing for secondary education.
Teri Kramer received her M.F.A. at the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a poetry emphasis and is currently working on her Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of South Dakota. Her background as a writer includes previously holding a position as a publishing coordinator for Horse & Rider magazine and working for a decade as a high school English instructor. Currently, Kramer is a teaching assistant at the University of South Dakota while she works on her degree. She enjoys researching the benefits of writing witness poetry and how writing after trauma can heal both the writer and the collective. She uses her studies and background in this area to inform her poetry and creative nonfiction.
Philip MacKenzie is in the final stages of the Ph.D. program, having successfully passed his exams over this past summer. He is working closely with Professor Lee Roripaugh and Skip Willman, Ph.D., from the Department of English and Molly Rozum, Ph.D. from the Department of History, 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.
Sarah Meirose is a third-year M.A. English candidate with a specialization in creative writing. Sarah earned her B.A. in English from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and her main areas of interest include early 20th-century literature, narrative theory, and performance studies. Sarah's creative thesis-in-progress, tentatively titled Dearest: A Dictionary of Accepted Ideas, is a hypertext nonfiction lexicon in the styles of Roland Barthes and Gustave Flaubert. In addition to serving as the president of USD's Alpha Mu Phi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, Sarah is a recipient of the Emily Haddad Graduate Teaching Award and a two-time recipient of the Wayne S. & Esther M. Knutson Playwriting Award. Her one-act play A Woman’s Gesture was published this January in Literature Today, and her upcoming presentations include “Notes Toward the Black Body Onstage,” a playwriting craft talk to be given at the Symposium for Gender, Culture, and Social Justice at the University of Wyoming this fall.
Raul Benjamin Moreno is a doctoral student in the Department of English at USD, an English instructor at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and a student media advisor at Washington State University Vancouver. He is currently at work on his creative dissertation, a collection of linked prose titled The Land of Infinite Variety that narrates a series of attempts at homecoming in the West and beyond. Raul’s essays and stories have been published by outlets such as The Normal School, Hobart, Quarterly West, and Drunken Boat. His teaching interests include the short story, creative nonfiction, multimodal composition, journalism, and fieldwork. Past presentations have included panels at the Western Literature Association and the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association. In 2019, Raul will moderate a discussion among working writers at the AWP Conference and Bookfair in Portland, Oregon, titled “Selfish, Sleepless, Self-Deprecating: Parents on Children and the Writing Life.” Currently, Raul edits nonfiction for South Dakota Review.
Jacquelyn Morgan is a first year M.A. English candidate with a specialization in creative writing. Despite having what she insists is an “uninteresting life,” she enjoys writing memoir and is eager to bring to life in the imaginations of readers the characters that have shaped her so that others may perhaps reap the benefits of their wisdom and her mistakes. She holds a B.A. in English from College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska. She was the Editor-in-Chief of the inaugural edition of The Saint Mary’s Review in 2016-17 and returned to the staff in 2017-18 as Editor Emerita. Jacque spent three years volunteering as a mentor through the Teammates Mentoring Program and gained perspective into the labyrinthine minds of middle school girls. Her interests include (and are most definitely not limited to) Holocaust and genocide studies, writing fiction and creative nonfiction, trivia, making the perfect cup of tea, and avoiding housework.
Heather Phillips is a first-year Ph.D. candidate on the creative track. She holds a B.A. in English from Southern Connecticut State University and an M.S. in Professional Writing from Towson University. Having taught English in the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Thailand and the Czech Republic, she has a keen interest in women’s travel narratives, world Englishes, multiculturalism and narrative nonfiction. She has published essays as Heather Corrigan in North American Review, Ascent, Connecticut Review, Louisville Review, Oyez Review, Litro magazine and Lowestoft Chronicle, among others. Her essay “Widmarked” was a 2015 finalist in Southeast Review’s Narrative Nonfiction contest and her essay “Death and Fat Sandwiches” was a finalist in the 2010 William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing competition for essays.
Kevin Phillips is currently working on his Ph.D. in creative writing (fiction) at the University of South Dakota. He has an M.A. in ancient history from the University of Minnesota and an M.F.A. 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," 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. His short story “Animalia” is forthcoming in Masque & Spectacle.
Holly Jean Ríchard is a Ph.D. candidate in 20th century American literature. Ríchard’s dissertation in process, “The Mighty, the Muddy, and the Toxic: Water Ethics for the Environmental Crisis in Women’s Ecofeminist Bioregional Literature,” analyzes the roles women and women’s literature play in the environmental movement. With an environmental crisis now evidenced by our planet, our bodies and our minds, Ríchard focuses critically on what women are saying about water and how it informs our environmental consciousness, actions and public policies. She spent a decade instructing composition, literature, grammar, business writing, multicultural studies and women’s studies at the university level. She has been an assistant editor for the South Dakota Review and a reviewer for MultiCultural Review. Outside of the university, Ríchard has worked in communications, social services, public policy, as well as elementary and secondary education. An activist and artist in many mediums, she spends most of her time mothering two little feminists, sustainably growing food and tending animals on her homestead called TheTelescopeFarm, looking at the stars with her scientist-husband and writing creative nonfiction.
Grant Riedel is an artist who hails from the Midwest. He holds both a B.A. in art and a M.A. in creative writing from the University of Northern Iowa. His interests are teaching, general fiction, publishing and conceptual poetry. Currently, Grant is the assistant managing editor of Astrophil Press. His prose and poetry has appeared in journals such as The Black Fox Literary Magazine and The North American Review. Grant’s dissertation is titled EMIT, a fictive rendition of the misconception of time.
Joshua Rudnik grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the eastern plains of Colorado, locations from which he continually draws his inspiration. He holds a B.A. in English from Metropolitan University of Denver and an M.A. from the University of South Dakota and he is currently working on his Ph.D. in creative writing, focusing on poetry and creative nonfiction. While Joshua’s main writing endeavors focus on childhood nostalgia, his research interests include Native American studies, postcolonial/decolonization theory, and a growing interest in ecocriticism. His fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in Metrosphere. During the summer semester, Joshua teaches English courses at the Indian University of North America at Crazy Horse.
Taya Sazama holds a B.A. in English and Secondary Education from the University of Sioux Falls and an M.A. from the University of St. Thomas. After teaching high school English for four years, she is now entering into her first-year as a Ph.D. student on the critical-track at the University of South Dakota. Her academic interests include 18th and 19th century British Literature, feminism, and pop culture. She also has a growing interest in international literature, particularly that written by women such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She has published in the Minnesota English Journal Online and presented at several conferences, most recently the Texas State University Research Symposium in 2017 with her work “Bringing Theory and Practice Together: Heroism, Disability, and the Women of the Romance Novel Community.”
Jay Schroeder retuned to academia to pursue his PhD after eighteen years as a business leader and executive. He is currently a third-year critical track PhD student focusing on 18th and 19th century British Literature. His dissertation research focuses on the atmosphere of fear in Gothic literature through an examination of atavism, degeneration, monstrosity and the appropriation of the medieval. Jay received his Masters in Literary Studies from St. Cloud State University where his thesis was titled, “A Medievalist Point of View on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: Power and Women: An Examination of Daenerys Targaryen.” He has presented at several conferences in both literature and composition and rhetoric. Most recently he presented “The Monstrous Body, The Other, and Language in the Formation of Identity in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” as part of a panel on Social Contexts at the Frankenstein 200 conference at the University of South Dakota, February 2018. Jay also teaches at Western Iowa Tech and serves as an instructor with the Upward Bound summer academic program. He lives in Vermillion with his wife and four active children in a constant state of partial sanity.
Russell Shaffer’s interests include historical fiction, wartime fiction, 20th century American literature, American history, and children's literature. His publications include "Little Brown Coat," Vermillion Literary Project, 2017; "Pit Bull in Pink Chiffon," Vermillion Literary Project, 2016; "Patchwork Stars," Furrow, 2014; and "Those Who Will not Hear," Furrow, 2013. Recent presentations include "Grounding Historical Fiction: Redlands, CA," IdeaFest 2017, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD; "Treehouse Soldiers," IdeaFest 2016, USD; 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, settler colonialism, frontier mythologies, and environmental extraction. 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 “‘I Think a Look at the West Will Do You Good’: Queer Visibility and Mythological Refuge in The Price of Salt” is slated for publication in the autumn 2018 issue of Western American Literature, and her paper “Mobile Stickers and the Specter of Snugness: Place-Making in Pa Ingalls’s Dakota Territory,” will appear in the upcoming collection Reconsidering Laura Ingalls Wilder. Lindsay presented an early version of this latter 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, Lindsay has also written the historical Black Hills guidebook The Adventure Climbs of Herb and Jan Conn, published in 2008.
Wes Yeary’s interests lie in contemporary and 20th-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,” appears in the collection Worlds Gone Awry: Essays on Dystopian Fiction (McFarland 2018).