Meet Former WAL Fellows

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    I could not have chosen a better conference or wished for a more welcoming, interested, and supportive group of scholars and colleagues to engage with.
    Johannes Fehrle, 2020
    Owens Award recipient 2011 and EC Member 2013-2016

Posts Tagged ‘WAL Editorial Fellows’

Meet Former WAL Fellows

Monday, July 19th, 2010

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 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 Case Western Reserve. 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. In 2016, he returned to the Executive Council for another 3-year term.

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. He is now CEO at Kewa Pueblo Health Corporation in New Mexico.

Alan with his first son’s
cradleboard, spring 2002.


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


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. She is co-director of the National Undergraduate Literature Conference at Weber State University.

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 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. After her graduation, Diane took an editorial position with another academic journal, the Western Historical Quarterly. Her obsession with the Donner Party continues. Or does it? She now enjoys living in a remote area in Colorado.

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. She then worked as a Retention Specialist at a Washington, D.C. area non-profit that helps former foster youths in graduate college. She then became the Digital Library Coordinator at the Theodore Roosevelt Center. She now holds a position with the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. The Portland life suits Pam!

Pam and Rocky in 2014

Pam and Rocky in 2014


Brett Sigurdson, 2010-2011. Brett loves to teach and write. He moved back to the East Coast, where he was editor of THE CHARLOTTE NEWS in Vermont. Most recently, he was working on his PhD at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

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 was 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 went on to get a PhD from Ohio State University, focusing on US ethnic and postcolonial literature with an emphasis on American Indian and working-class literature of the US West. He is now an assistant professor at the University of St. Joseph in Connecticut.

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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