• Testimonials

    It is perennially inspiring to belong to an association where levity and brilliant work go hand in hand.
    Cheryll Glotfelty
    Associate Professor, English Department, University of Nevada Reno

Meet Former WAL Fellows

Josh Anderson
Angela Ashurst-McGee
Alan Barlow
Matt Burkhart
Diane Bush
Vanessa Hall
Matthew Lavin
Jaquelin Pelzer
Pamela Pierce
Jacoba Mendelkow Poppleton
Sarah Rudd
Brett Sigurdson
Sarah Stoeckl
Sarah Vause
Angela Waldie


Angela Ashurst-McGee, 1997/98. Angela began work at the journal as the first-ever Thomas J. Lyon Fellow three months before her second son, Logan, was born.Since Angela’s fellowship was set up only for one year, she then taught composition at USU. She became the Assistant Director of Writing for English 1010 and helped plan the following year’s composition curriculum and train new instructors.

She has worked as a freelance editor and then as the associate editor of the Joseph Smith Papers Series. [You see, those editorial skills do come in handy after all sometimes!] She is now a certified professional resumé writer und the founder and president of Red Rocket Resumé.

A few words from Angela: “My experience at Utah State University was almost uniformly positive. I got a good education taking good classes from good teachers. Faculty members were uncommonly friendly and willing to give advice and act as mentors. The English department treats its master’s students like colleagues and professionals rather than peons; comp teachers and editorial fellows work alongside faculty and participate in department decision-making.”

Angela with sons Logan and Roscoe and husband, Mark. We understand there are 6 children now.

Vanessa Hall, 1998-2000.Vanessa graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English from Washington and Lee University in 1998. She then served as the first two-year fellow at Western American Literature.

Purdue University awarded her an Andrews Fellowship to pursue a PhD. Her major field is contemporary American literature and her minor fields are labor history and women’s studies. Her research and teaching interests also include gender and class in literature and culture, Native American literature, and western American literature. Her dissertation is a cultural biography of Raymond Carver.

In the fall of 2007, Vanessa was the first one of our editorial fellows to finish her PhD and become a professor of English. She took a position at the New York City College of Technology in downtown Brooklyn. After the birth of her third child, she decided to retreat to the Poconos, where baby #4 was born.

Vanessa, 2000
Vanessa, 2003
Vanessa and daughter Sophia, 2006

Sarah Rudd, 1999-2001. Sarah grew up in Salt Lake City and Mexico. She moved back to the Salt Lake City area, where she now works as a realtor. Sarah still thinks folklore rules and she contributed to a book on the history of folklore in Utah. The title of her contribution is “Utah Latino Folklore Studies.”

Sarah with her husband, Aaron,
and their daughter, Kelsey, in 2002.
Kelsey, Sarah, Aaron, and Caleb in 2006.

Matt Burkhart, 2000-2002. Matt grew up somewhere around Chicago, came to us from Missoula, and has now acquired a PhD from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He presently teaches at Colby College.  His research focuses on western American studies, especially Native American and environmental literature. He won the J. Golden Taylor Award for best paper submitted to the WLA Conference in 2003. From 2003-2005 he served as the graduate student representative on the WLA Executive Council.

Matt and Denali before their departure from Logan, 2002.
Matt at the 2007 WLA Conference
in Tacoma, Washington

Alan Barlow, 2001-2003. Alan grew up in southern Utah and has a BA from Utah State University. His computer skills were indispensable in our office. After getting his master’s degree in English, he earned a master’s degree in Management and Human Resources at Utah State University and then served as Director of Human Resources at Wilderness Quest in Monticello, Utah. He was the Chief Compliance Officer and Human Resources Director for the Tule River Indian Health Center in Porterville, California, before moving to Fort Yates, North Dakota.

Alan with his first son’s
cradleboard, spring 2002.
The Barlow Family in 2008:
Alan with Jake, Emily with Katie,
and Ben all by himself.

Angela Waldie, 2002-2004. During her tenure as Graduate Student Representative to the WLA Executive Council, Angela started a professionalization panel for graduate students who attend the WLA Conference. In 2006, she was the recipient of the J. Golden Taylor Award for best graduate student paper submitted to the WLA Conference. In 2012, Angela received her PhD from the University of Calgary. When not reading, researching, or teaching, Angela can be found exploring the hiking trails and hot springs of the Canadian Rockies, writing poetry, weaving, practicing yoga, or salsa dancing.

Angela in Logan, 2004
Melody Graulich presenting
Angela with the J. Golden
Taylor Award in Boise, 2006
Angela in 2008

Sarah Vause, 2003-2005. Sarah has a BA from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where she grew up. She is now teaching classes at Utah State University and Weber State University. She is still running and hiking in the beautiful mountains of Utah.

Sarah in WAL office, 2004

Matthew Lavin, 2004-2006. Matt came to us from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, where he also worked for a newspaper before going back to graduate school at USU.  In 2008, Matt was the recipient of the J. Golden Taylor Award for best graduate student paper presented at the WLA Conference. For 2011 and 2012, Matt served as a graduate student representative on the Executive Board for the Western Literature Association. In 2012, he received his PhD from the University of Iowa. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, he is now the associate program coordinator of “Crossing Boundaries: Re-envisioning the Humanities for the 21st Century” at St. Lawrence University. Crossing Boundaries is a Mellon initiative dedicated to crossing the divide between private and public knowledge, the classroom and the wider community, real and virtual media for communication and communing with others by using digital technologies both in and outside the classrooms.

Matt in WAL office, 2005
Matt at the WLA Conference
in Boulder, 2008

Sarah Stoeckl, 2005-2007. Sarah grew up in Salt Lake City. She was awarded the WAG Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award for writing the best MA thesis across all departments at Utah State University. In 2012, she received her PhD from the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Sarah in WAL office, 2005
Sarah at the end of her
fellowship in 2007

Jacoba Mendelkow Poppleton, 2006-2008. Jacoba now works as a marketing representative at New Dawn Technologies, where she is responsible for web content, blogging, social media, event planning, and campaign management. She also diligently (maybe?) works on her own writing, and she certainly will never be able to resist a beautiful pair of shoes.

Jacoba as a first-year editorial fellow, 2006

Diane Bush, 2007-2009. Diane has taken an editorial position with another academic journal, the Western Historical Quarterly. Her obsession with the Donner Party continues. Or does it? We hope to see her in Reno in 2015 to find out.

Diane Bush

Pamela Pierce, 2008-2010. Pamela went on to study library science at Indiana University Bloomington, where she also worked at a journal titled Language@Internet. Pamela now works as a Retention Specialist at a Washington, D.C. area non-profit that helps former foster youths graduate college. She also volunteers at 826DC, an organization focused on teaching creative writing to elementary, middle, and high school students. She spends her weekends visiting independent bookstores, museums, and the historic sites of the East Coast.

Pam and Rocky in 2014

Pam and Rocky in 2014

 

Brett Sigurdson, 2010-2011. Brett loves to teach and write. He has moved back to the East Coast, where he is the editor of THE CHARLOTTE NEWS in Vermont. He and his wife, Kate, live on Lake Champlain. Apparently, the hiking and biking opportunities are fantastic.

Brett with his dog, Miles Davis, 2010.

Jaquelin Pelzer, 2010-2012. Jaquelin is pursuing a PhD at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and she is one of the graduate student reps on the Executive Council for the Western Literature Association for 2013-2015.

Jaquelin with her dog Macy in 2010.

 

Josh Anderson, 2011-2013. Josh is currently working on his PhD at Ohio State University, focusing on US ethnic and postcolonial literature with an emphasis on American Indian and working-class literature of the US West. In Columbus, Josh also continues to work in academic publishing, serving as an editorial assistant at Studies in American Indian Literatures (SAIL).

Josh, at home in North Dakota for a wedding in 2013, posing with WLA Grain.

Josh, at home in North Dakota for a wedding in 2013, posed in front of WLA Grain storage.

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  • Western Literature Association (WLA)

    Founded in 1965, the Western Literature Association (WLA) is a non-profit, scholarly association that promotes the study of the diverse literature and cultures of the North American West, past and present.

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  • Western American Literature (WAL)

    (The Journal)

    Published by the Western Literature Association, Western American Literature is the leading journal in western American literary studies.

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