Alumni News (2016)
It is always great to hear from so many of you! These annual updates help the English Department get a better sense of the wide variety of jobs and hobbies that our graduates pursue. Note that we are still adding updates for 2007-2016 graduates. Check back soon! If you would like to offer an update for the current issue, please fill out the Alumni Update form and we will get your information posted as soon as possible. In January, we will be sending out invitations to join the “College of Charleston English Alumni and Students” group on LinkedIn–we hope you join us there. And be sure to check on the full issue of Folio if you haven’t already.
Helen Stine, BA 1977
Helen earned her Master’s in Counselor Education from East Carolina University. She currently work as author and independent film producer.
Katherine (Kim) McDermott, 1979
Kim is a retired high school English teacher with an M.Ed in Clinical Counseling. She works part-time as an adjunct professor at Trident Technical College and is an author of various children’s books, non-fiction books, and novels, including All Work, All Play and The South Carolina Lighthouses, Hiding and Abbey’s Tale.
Marcia Rhea, BA 1981
Marcia is a CPA and a screenwriter. Her English professor always encouraged her to write, and his encouraging words inspired me to meet and work with many interesting and creative people in the film business. Since working on studio films like “The Patriot,” she became interested in screenwriting and started crafting scripts which explored various themes of redemption and family. Along the way of learning her craft, she managed to win awards, hear actors read her work, and even option some scripts to Hollywood. While it is very tough to get a film made, she notes that her goal has always been to become a better writer and communicator, to find a compelling story and to tell it in the best voice she can. She writes that “having my business has afforded me the unique opportunity to interview and work with diverse people from all walks of life who have incredible stories to tell — incredible stories that reinforce our need for community and human connection.”
Melissa Johnson, BA 1989
Melissa is Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Focused Inquiry Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of South Carolina (1996) and her Ph.D. in twentieth-century British Literature and Women’s Studies from the University of South Carolina (2002). She served asAssistant Professor of English at Newberry College from 2003-2007, and was hired as Assistant Professor of Focused Inquiry at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond VA in 2007 where she was promoted to Associate Professor and Elected Chair in 2014. You can read more about Melissa and her work here.
Caroline Foster, BA 2993
Caroline has been Visiting Assistant Professor in the school of communication since 2013.
Scott Schlesser, BA 1994
It may be hard to understand how an English major from the College of Charleston who grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina ended up as a General Manager of a marina at Smith Mountain Lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. If you can figure it out, please let Scott know, because, according to him, the last 22 years are somewhat of a blur. “To say that my life now is exactly as I envisioned it as I walked down Vanderhorst, up St. Phillips, and then crossed Calhoun for my classes from 1990-1994 would be laughable,” he reports. “It is not to say that I am in any way unhappy; I have a great job, two wonderful kids, and a fantastic wife. However, as an English major at the College, I had envisioned graduate school, maybe a law degree, and I would certainly be published somewhere (Facebook doesn’t count). Life has a funny way sometimes of giving you a full slap in the face of reality.” Scott says that attending the College of Charleston prepared him for jobs and life experiences far beyond simply being an English major.
Frank Herrera, BA 1995
Frank owns the H New Media Law, lawfirm dedicated to trademark and FDA law. The firm services all industries but have a special emphasis in the cigar industry.
Kylon Middleton, BA 1995
After graduating from the College of Charleston, Kylon received the following graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity degree, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary – Columbia, South Carolina; Master of School Administration, Educational Specialist and Doctor of Education degrees, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and a Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, Duke University – Durham, North Carolina. He had an outstanding career in education in secondary and post-secondary institutions in South and North Carolinas. He began my professional career as an Admissions Counselor at the College of Charleston. He also served as the Director of the College of Charleston’s Upward Bound Program. While serving in these positions, he taught introductory level English courses as well as the College’s Freshman Seminar course.
After leaving the College of Charleston, he taught high school English at my alma mater, Burke High School, where he served as department chair. In Columbia, South Carolina, he was an adjunct instructor at Allen University, where he taught English, Communications, and Religious Studies courses. While in Durham, North Carolina, he taught in the Divinity School at Duke University as well as English courses to freshmen in the undergraduate degree program. Simultaneously, he taught English in the Durham Public Schools and later became an Assistant Principal and Principal in Durham Public Schools, Brunswick County Schools, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, and Harnett County Schools systems in North Carolina. He retired from the state of North Carolina in December 2014 (based on the number of years service, not age).
What is he up to now? “I am currently enjoying a successful pastoral career, having served the following Churches: Saint Paul AME Church, North Charleston (Supply); Pine Grove AME Church, Columbia, SC (Associate); Lever Chapel AME Church, Prosperity, SC; Saint Joseph’s AME Church, Durham, NC (Associate); Singleton AME Church, Georgetown, SC; Hopewell AME Church, Hemingway, SC, where God blessed us to construct a $3.5 million worship complex to His glory. At Hopewell, we also successfully hosted the 98th Session of the Palmetto South Carolina Annual Conference.” He is now the proud Pastor of Historic Mount Zion AME Church on Glebe Street in Charleston, SC in the heart of the campus. He remains extremely active in the work of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, acting as the the immediate past Christian Education Director for the Palmetto South Carolina Annual Conference. “A Life Member of the NAAC,” he reports, “since returning to Charleston, I have been a leader in the area of social justice, especially in the aftermath of tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church, where my dearest friend and brother, the Honorable Reverend Clementa Carlos Pinckney, Pastor and State Senator, was among the nine slain.” He, along with Senator Pinckney’s widow, Jennifer Benjamin Pinckney, and State Senator Gerald Malloy, have created a Foundation to continue the work and to champion the causes that were priority for the late Senator. He is a member of Mayor John J. Tecklenburg’s Clergy Council, board member for the Charleston Area Justice Ministries, board member for GunSense SC, board member for the Christian-Jewish Council of Greater Charleston SC, and a member of the Leadership Council as well as Racial Equity Committee for The Sophia Institute.
Tracy Scott, BA 1995
An Instructional Designer within the Utilities Industry, in 2013, Tracy started his own gourmet specialty foods company called Tracy’s Gourmet. Her natural and organic salad dressings and marinades are carried in 16 stores in North Carolina, including seven Whole Foods Market stores.
Jonathan Blackstock, BA 1995
Jonathan directs an award-winning theatre and literary team at Rabun County High School in the mountains of northeast Georgia. He also facilitates the Foxfire magazine class that is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 2016. Every year, they publish two issues of THE FOXFIRE MAGAZINE, a publication of student-written work, and they just published THE FOXFIRE BOOK OF SIMPLE LIVING. The program was recently highlighted on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and on WABE in Atlanta. Jonathan also work as a freelance tutor and write a monthly column for Southeastern Rider, a motorcycle magazine. He has four children, the last of who will graduate high school this year, and he enjoys touring with my wife Amy on our Road King.
Robin Thompson, BA 1995
Though she is a media specialist (high school librarian) by title, Robin has nothing to do with the physical books in our school’s media center. With the rapid growth of their school system, Robin was given the opportunity to turn a former media center space into a digital learning lab called the LiNK, where she “links” education with technology. She writes: “I was able to redesign the entire space with the assistance of our school’s Instructional Technology Specialist. ‘Learning commons’ is the new buzzword in school media center spaces, so I was able to design and create this space for our school.” Robin was able to use the LiNK creation experience to present at GAETC (Georgia Educational Technology Conference) in 2014 and then publish “Media Specialists are from Venus and IT Specialists are from Mars” in Library Media Connection, March-April 2015. Robin is currently working on adding a “maker space” area to the LiNK. A 3-D printer was donated to her school, so students are learning to create and print their own 3-D items. Though she misses being around the books in our actual media center, her position in the LiNK has afforded her new opportunities to expand in the field of education and technology.
Alice Hartzog, BA 1997
Alice earned her Master’s degree in educational technology from the University of South Carolina in 2009; prior to that, she worked in student services and admissions at USC, and as an editorial assistant at The State newspaper. After earning her Master’s degree, she worked as an instructional designer for the Coast Guard in Charleston, and then moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where she was an instructional designer and e-learning specialist for government contractors. She currently lives in Williamsburg, VA and is an instructional designer for a Coast Guard contractor in Yorktown.
Ray Tanner, BA 1997
Ray, a U.S. Army Career Counselor, recently moved to Fort Benning, GA and is enjoying the experience there, although he does miss Charleston!
Beth Wheeler, BA 1997
Beth is an experienced manager and sales professional with a demonstrated track record of success in training and promoting her employees through sales ability development and top ranking sales yield. Throughout her career, she has held positions of increasing responsibilities within Enterprise Holdings, in diverse markets across the United States, including South Carolina, Coastal Georgia, Oregon and Southwest Washington to her current role in St. Louis, MO at the company’s headquarters. Beth has held leadership positions in travel and alternative transportation organizations, including Director of Business Rental Sales for Enterprise Car Share, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Enterprise CarShare (formerly WeCar), Enterprise Rideshare, National Car Rental, and Commercial Truck by Enterprise and Electric Vehicle rentals. Currently, as Corporate Director of Business Development, she manages the sales team’s efforts for the Enterprise Car Sales division. Aside from her internal role at Enterprise Holdings, she has also held leadership positions in various organizations such as Chairperson/President of Oregon Business Travel Association, active member of Oregon Media Production Association, Metropolitan Business Association and Travel Portland. Through Enterprise’s backing, Beth has served as a presenter and media spokesperson on car sharing and Electric vehicle initiatives at nationwide and regional conferences and conventions.
Katie Kellett, BA 1998
Katie serves as Director of Imprints for Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, the largest publisher of local and regional history in the U.S. They are based in Mount Pleasant and have a catalog of more than 10,000 titles in print. In November 2016, she was featured in a Success magazine piece entitled “The Best Decision I Ever Made.” Beth will run the Kiawah half marathon for the first time in December. Her six-year-old daughter attends first grade at Laurel Hill Primary School.
Adam Brakenbury, BA 2000
After graduating from CofC, Adam continued his education at NC State, receiving a Master of Architecture degree in 2004. He has been practicing architecture as a designer, project architect and project manager in the Raleigh-Durham area since then. He has been a National Endowment for the Arts Recipient for work on the Seaboard Community Design Project, and he has written for the “Home of the Month” section of the Raleigh News and Observer. “In my professional career,” he reports, “I have been fortunate to work on cultural projects including the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC, the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA, and the Gregg Museum of Art and Design at NC State University.” He is currently an Associate Principal at Vines Architecture and works with clients including the NC School of the Arts and the Dance Department at UNC Greensboro. “What I have enjoyed most in my career,” he writes, “are the opportunities I have had to collaborate with many talented artists and performers, writers, historians and academics. For this reason (and many others) I believe my liberal arts background has been integral to my successful work as an Architect.” Adam is married to Olivia Minyard Brakenbury who is also a CofC graduate. Olivia is a garden and residential landscape designer, and also spends several days a week at home with our two children, June (age 5) and Ben (age 1).
Carlo Dawson, BA 2001
Carlo’s most recent endeavor is that of author of the life-changing Semblance of a Footprint, released November 2016. “In my book,” she writes, “I encourage grieving mothers and their families through beautifully written poetry, strategies, & scriptures for healing and comfort.” To learn more about her book, visit carlolchelledawson.com. Through the Arts, she has been captivating audiences and inspiring participants for over a decade. “I lead Creative Writing classes and workshops with groups of all ages,” she writes. “I am a master storyteller, dramatist, and poet who compels my audience through audience participation, enthusiasm, and engagement.” She has also written and directed various plays. Her most recent play is The Missing Voice–a one-woman show which she wrote, starred in, and directed to bring awareness to the educational and social needs of the youth. As a singer/songwriter, s released an LP “The Book of My Revelation” comprised of original songs. In 2011,The Herald featured an article about her musical journey as well as her ability to inspire. Carlo was proud that her alma mater commissioned me to write a song about her college experience & featured an article in The College of Charleston Magazine & her song “The Time is Now” on the College of Charleston’s “The Sampler.” She is currently a community activist who proudly serves as a member of the City of Rock Hill Community Relations Council and serves as the current president of Juneteenth Rock Hill, Inc.
Shanelle Fields, BA 2002
Shanelle is a high school counselor at James Island Charter. She Graduated with an M.Ed in School Counseling in 2005 from the Citadel; gave birth to her son, Isaiah Victor, in 2010; and completed a Ph.D in Counseling Studies from Capella University in 2014.
Thea Gaillard, BA 2004
Thea, who earned an M.B.A. with an emphasis in HRSM from Webster University, recently accepted a position as an Accounting Technician in Columbus, OH.
Kathryn Kastner, BA 2004
After graduating from CofC, Kathryn joined the Peace Corps as a Youth Development volunteer in Morocco. Upon her return, she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from The Citadel Graduate College. She taught English at West Ashley High School for two years before accepting a job as an English teacher in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She and her husband have two beautiful daughters, Layla (5) and Alya (6 months).
Katherine Crawford, MA 2004
As a newspaper columnist, each week Katherine’s parenting and outdoor life column appears in The Greenville News (Greenville, SC); it’s frequently picked up by newspapers nation-wide. She is a fiction and creative nonfiction reader for Appalachian Heritage Magazine, and she also reads and judges submissions to The Looking Glass Rock Writer’s Conference (Brevard College). She’s also a lecturer who speaks to book clubs, church groups, and writer’s and history groups; most recently, she presented a program on Cherokee Culture and History in the Colonial South at the Connestee Falls Lecture Series in Cedar Mountain, N.C., and read from her first novel, Keowee Valley, Bell Bridge Books (2012) at the Birchwood Book and Author Fair at Table Rock State Park, S.C. She is currently at work on her second historical novel, set in Charleston, S.C. and Mt. Holyoke, Mass. in the opening year of the Civil War. Katherine lives with her husband, daughters (ages 7 and 3), and new puppy (a charcoal Lab, Merlin) in the mountains of Western N.C., where the family can almost always be found outside.
Nicoleta Marinescu, BA 2004
Nicoleta is completing a Ph.D thesis on Southern American Gothic literature, which will contain two cases studies: Anne Rice and Andrei Codrescu. The thesis is to be defended in 2017. She has published an article on Andrei Codrescu’s volumes of poetry, and one on his prose, in Romania. Currently, she is in Moscow, Russia, on a research residency program.
Alexander Lumans, BA 2006
Alexander is at work on a novel set in the Arctic Circle about climate change extremes and is now represented by the Aragi, Inc. literary agency. He won the 2015 Wabash Fiction Prize from Sycamore Review. and received a 2016 Colorado Career Advancement Award and a Fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He has recently published fiction and nonfiction in The Walrus, Electric Literature, F(r)iction, American Short Fiction, Fiction Unbound, and The Collagist. He is currently English Instructor at the University of Colorado-Denver.
Updates still in progress for 2007-16 graduates–more soon!
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Martha Cotten, BA 1951
Martha received her MA from Salve Regina in Newport RI and is now retired and enjoying time to write. A self-described Navy wife now in living in her 22nd home in Virginia Beach,VA, Martha has two sons and six grands. Her field was addictive behavior but because of frequent moves, she has done every thing from real estate to teaching. Her third book will be published early in 2016. The title is Whispers of Charleston, which is, she writes, “about a life that is no more.” She enjoys duplicate bridge and is an avid reader.
Bud Hilton, BA 1951
Bud is a graduate of the class of 1951. He served 2 years in the army during the Korean Conflict and he is a retired Senior Vice President of the American Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Bud served 8 years on the foundation board, 2 years as Chair of the Finance committee. He served 2 years on the board of the Alumni Association as well. He is a past president of the Cougar Club. and received the Alumni Award of Honor in 2002. Bud recently published a book titled A Living Memoir of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church.
Linda Cope, BA 1964
Currently, Linda works as a Certified Yoga at Krishnamacharya Healing Yoga Foundation. She also works in the fine arts, having received her BFA from Moore College of Art in 2000 in Painting & Printmaking. She has also worked as a Reference Librarian, having earned her MA in Information Science in 1965 from the University of North Carolina. In addition to her work a Yoga Therapist at the Temenos Center in Moorestown, NJ, Linda works part time as Reference and Local History Librarian at Willingboro Public Library. Her art studio is at the Crane Arts Building, 1400 North American Street, Studio 204, Philadelphia, PA. After graduating from the College, Linda traveled across the Middle East and India in 1966-67 and married in 1968. She traveled to India to study at Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai 2004-2010. Linda has four children and 7 grandchildren, all of them, she writes, “finally all on the East Coast.”
Linda Gilbertson, BA 1975.
Linda is Development Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui. After many years working in public relations, journalism and grant writing/consulting in various cities and states, Linda settled in Maui three years ago in what was supposed to be semi-retirement. She worked for several grant-consulting firms and wrote a monthly blog on law enforcement grant topics for Police Grants Help before deciding to go back to full-time work at the best nonprofit around, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui. “This is by far the most rewarding work I have done,” she writes, “and I am so proud to be a part of such a great organization that helps Maui’s youth.”
Shelia Levine, BA 1975
After teaching high school English for 10 years, Shelia now works as a substitute for English and ESOL classes and volunteers as a tutor at her local library. After graduating from the College of Charleston, Shelia obtained an M.A. in English from the University of Iowa in 1978. She then began a career as a writer/editor for the government; her last job was with the Office of the Secretary, Department of Defense. While raising her daughter, Shelia worked part-time for a government contractor and wrote pamphlets for the National Cancer Institute. When her daughter went to College, she switched careers, earning her certification in high school English.
Mary Ann Byrnes, BA 1978
Mary Ann is currently the Assistant Dean for Administration in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina.
Kim McDermott, BA 1979
Kim is currently an adjunct English professor at Trident Technical College after retiring from the Charleston County School District. In August, she published her first suspense romance novel, which is available at The Wilde Rose Press. She has also published All Work, All Play with Marco Publishing—it is a book of activities for guidance counselors. She also co-authored The South Carolina Lighthouses, published by Arcadia Publishing and she has two children’s books available through amazon.com: The Underwear Tree and Les Petits Gardes, both of which are set in Charleston. Kim has two grown sons and two wonderful grandchildren.
David Newton, BA 1983
David earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Emory University and has worked since 1993 as Professor of English at the University of West Georgia, where he served as Department Chair from 1998-2003 and 2010-2014. His most recent book is an edited collection from the University of South Carolina Press called Pirates and Devils: William Gilmore Simms’s Unfinished Postbellum Novels. He will be teaching this summer in Spoleto, Italy.
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Francis Hurd, BA 1993
Francis is currently a Communications Chief in the U.S. Marine Corps and plans to resume his graduate studies when he returns from deployment. He has been serving in the Marine Corps for over 20 year and looks forward to sharing more about his accomplishments and adventures in future pages of Folio.
Daniel Ennis, BA 1992
Daniel is Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts and Vice President for Academic Outreach at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC.
Caroline Foster, BA 1992
Caroline is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Charleston in the Department of Communication. She worked as an editor for South Carolina Wildlife magazine from 1995-2009—and editor-in-chief for the last three of those years. Caroline earned her MA in journalism and mass communication from the University of South Carolina (2000), and her Ph.D. in mass communication with a focus on on health and science communication from USC in 2013.
Kenneth Inman, BA 1995
Kenneth owns Inman Law Firm, LLC and specializes in corporate law.
Frank Herrera, BA 1995
Frank is an attorney and owner of H New Media Law Trademark Firm in Miami, FL where he focuses on business law.
Jenn Muckelvaney, BA 1999
Jenn is Corporate Marketing Representative for Limestone College of the Lowcountry for our Charleston, SC Leeds Avenue campus. She builds partnerships with local companies in the area to allow their employees to start or finish their higher education degrees through the college’s Corporate Grant Partnership. Jenn is married to her partner, Angie and they reside in Charleston, SC. “We love to travel and play golf,” she writes. Before her employment with Limestone College, Jenn was the Social Media Director of Charleston’s first LGBT magazine, BEAU Magazine.
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Eliza Day, BA 2000
Eliza is Assistant Principal at North Augusta High School, Aiken County Public Schools. After graduating from the College, Eliza taught English, rhetoric, and journalism for 10 years, before moving into administration. She earned her MA in Secondary English education at Augusta State University and then followed with an Educational Specialist degree in administration. She has served as an administrator at North Augusta High School for the past five years where she worked as the Assistant Principal of Instruction and the Director of the Freshman Academy. She continues to publish freelance work in various regional magazines such as Carolina Gardner and Taste of Home. She also maintains a blog entitled Chipmunk Cheeks, which highlights Southern cooking and entertaining.
Verena Mullins, BA 2000
Verena teaches German, English, and drama in Cologne, Germany. After graduating in 2000, Verena finished her German program to become a teacher for Gymnasium, which is comparable to A-level in the UK, for kids ages 10-18. She has taught in Dusseldorf and Cologne, and, she writes, “I will never ever forget my classes with Dr. Nan Morrison. She made me love Shakespeare and I try to pass it on to my students.” However, she writes, “my greatest accomplishment us that I met my husband Matthew O’Hara Mullins, a business major, at CofC. We kept a long distance relationship between Germany/USA for 9 years after I returned and Matt and I got married here in Germany in 2011 (he came in 09 due to the financial crisis in the US).” Verena has a daughter, Josephine (named after the Southern author Josephine Humphreys) and recently welcomed her son Theodor into the world. Of her time in Charleston, she writes: “I fell in love with the city, the landscape the literature and the people, and I will be forever thankful for my 2-year experience at the College. We might return to Charleston–please, keep a position open for me at the German/English or International department!”
Mary Carr, BA 2003
Mary is Digital Marketing Manager at Amber Road Tours in Charleston, SC. She has been enjoying photography as a hobby for 15 years and now and has incorporated photography and writing into my career. Her first trip abroad was to Italy for a Maymester at CofC with Dr. Joe Harrison. Then in 2006, she spent three months traveling around Argentina and Chile and learned conversational Spanish. “Travel and seeking knowledge from other cultures,” she writes, “has remained a large part of my life, and now I feel very grateful to have it as part of my career as well. I just returned from two weeks in Tuscany and Umbria with the company I work for and will hopefully be working on new itinerary development in Europe next year.” Mary loved her time at the College and feels that her English degree, as she writes, “helped prepare me for effective communication and demanding work schedules.”
Katherine Crawford, MA 2004
Katherine is currently living in Brevard, North Carolina, with her husband and young daughters teaching as an adjunct English professor at Brevard College. In 2014, she became a columnist for The Greenville News in Greenville, S.C. Her parenting and outdoor life column appears in the “Life” section every Thursday, and has been picked up on occasion by The State newspaper (SC), Burlington Free Press (VT), and more. She also serves as a fiction and creative nonfiction reader for the literary journal Appalachian Heritage. In 2014 she completed her MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. “On the day I graduated,” she writes, “my now two year-old took her first steps.” Katherine’s craft essay entitled “The Sacred Stillness of Father Damien” appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Appalachian Heritage. In April 2015, she served as an Author Presenter at the 2015 Blue Ridge Bookfest in Flat Rock, N.C., alongside authors Joe Galloway, Karen White, Tommy Hays, and more. “Currently,” she writes, “I am at work on her second historical novel, set in Charleston and in Mt. Holyoke, Massachusetts, in the year leading to the opening of the Civil War… that is, when I’m not changing diapers, grading papers, or chasing my daughters through the national forest.”
Paula Passarella, BA 2004
Paula is a Senior Technical Writer at Blackbaud, and is also currently enrolled in the English MA program at the College.
Alexander Lumans, BA 2006
Alexander is an English Instructor at the University of Colorado-Denver. Alexander attended The 2015 Summer Solstice Arctic Circle Residency, during which he visited the Svalbard archipelago and worked on writing a novel set there.
Megan Koon, MA 2005
Megan teaches English at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, SC. She currently teach AP Literature, AP Language, American Literature, Creative Writing, and Film Analysis at St. Joseph’s. She also sponsors the National English Honor Society and Film Club. Megan began the Creative Writing program at St. Joseph’s and one of her first students, who recently graduated from college, will have her debut novel published this December. Megan also volunteers as a Sunday School teacher, committee member and on the council of her church, and she has two beautiful children who love to read. “In fact,” she writes, “my daughter’s first word was ‘book’”! In 2014 she chaperoned a literature-themed school trip to England focusing on learning about the lives of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Shakespeare. In her free time, Megan writes novels and she is currently circulating her manuscript.
Jon Sealy, BA 2005.
Jon is a freelance writer based out of Richmond, VA. His first novel, The Whiskey Baron, was published in 2014. He and his wife Emily (’05, also an English major) had a daughter this spring.
Krystle Singleton, BA 2007
Krystle is an English teacher and swim and water polo coach at Osceola High School.
Stokely Klasovsky, BA 2008
Stokely is currently working as a technical writer and editor for the U.S. Geological Survey in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Magdalen Mary Trela, BA 2008
Magdalen is an editor and copyright and permissions specialist for Northwest Evaluation Association. She has been working for this educational software company since graduating from CofC. She previously lived in Portland, OR for four years, and recently got married to what she calls “one heck of a husband” and relocated to St. Augustine FL.
Bridget Venetta, BA 2008
Bridget is an editor at Charleston Magazine.
Shannon Madden, BA 2005, MA 2009
After getting her MA from the College in 2009, she got her Ph.D. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy from the University of Oklahoma in 2015. Her published work has appeared in Kairos Praxis Wiki (2013) and Computers & Composition (2014). In January, she will join the faculty in Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Rhode Island.
Seth Woodley, BA 2009.
Seth is a high school and Humanities and Rhetoric teacher at Oak Ridge Christian Academy in the Houston, TX area.
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Leland Brown, BA 2010
Leland works at East Cooper Baptist Church and is attending Southern Seminary to earn a Master’s of Divinity. Leland recently had his first child, which he describes as a fantastic experience. Currently, he is working with middle school students in a local church in Mount Pleasant, and, he writes, he is “really excited to see what the Lord is doing in their lives.”
Alaina Crosby, BA 2010
Alaina has two little boys, Adam and Henry. She is working with her mother, author Tanya Anne Crosby, to release her previously released historical romances as a series that is more approachable for Young Adult readers, as well, she writes, as “those who simply wish not to read anything with sex or profanity.”
Diana Rowe, BA 2010
Diana is the Head of Writing Department and Account Liaison for Dentist Identity—a website development and marketing firm in Mount Pleasant, SC. From 2012-2013, she was a High School English teacher in Kosrae, Micronesia where she taught essay writing and mythology to juniors and seniors on the island, focusing on college-level essay writing skills.
Erin Stubbs, BA 2010
Erin is currently pursuing a MA in English from the College of Charleston.
Taylor U’Sellis, MA 2010
Taylor works at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, KY as the Director of New Student Orientation. Since leaving CofC, Taylor has also completed a M. Ed. in College Student Personnel, and is considering pursuing a PhD in that field.
Autumn Bennett, BA 2011
Autumn is currently attending Syracuse University as a graduate student and is a candidate for an MS in Library & Information Science. Autumn is currently focusing on information policy (e.g. Net Neutrality law). Her goal is to be able to analyze and educate individuals on what these policies are and how they may be affected. She is also interested in technological advancements (which may become susceptible to information policies) that heavily rely on information. “For example,” she writes, “the data mining that allowed Amazon to open a brick and mortar store in Seattle with titles catered to residents of that area based on what has been selling best in that area.”
Aurora Harris, BA 2011
Aurora is Senior Outreach and Navigation Specialist Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston, Inc.
Lauren Swing, BA 2011
Lauren works as Deputy Chief of Staff in the U.S. House of Representatives for Congressman Rick W. Allen.
Erin Talberg, BA 2011
Katherine works as a Grants Assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. After graduation in December 2011, she and her husband moved to her home town of Pittsburgh, PA. There, they bought a lovely house in early 2012 (so dubbed “Talberghart”) and have been enjoying their time in the northern climate. Of her current job, Katherine writes: “My degree work at CofC set me up to find my current, amazing job at Pitt. I work with the School of Education faculty in securing their research grant funding. I love working in academia!”
Justin Williams, BA 2011
Justin is an MFA candidate at the University of Reno, where he also works as a teaching assistant. Recently, Justin writes, “I finally, for the first time, submitted poems to possibly be published. I reached out to three literary magazines, and I’m gleefully awaiting rejections.”
Whitney Adams, MA 2012
Whitney is adjunct instructor in the English Department at the College of Charleston.
Brittney Geary, BA 2012
Brittney graduated from USC with a MA in Library and Information Science in May 2015 and is currently working as an Instructional Designer at the University of South Carolina, Thomas Cooper Library.
Susan Hallatt, MA 2012
Susan is Director of Graduate Admissions at the College. In addition to her work in Admissions here at the College, Susan has also been an active member of the theater community. In fact, in October she was awarded with the “Best Supporting Actor in a Musical” by Theater Charleston!
William Murray, MA 2012
William is a Ph.D. candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Alabama. After receiving his MA, he left Charleston to teach as an adjunct at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. From there, he accepted an assistantship in the Ph.D. program at the University of Alabama. He is currently in his third year at UA and his research focuses on texts from the US South.
Leslie Pearson, MA 2012
Leslie is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina and is an instructor with Social Advocacy and Ethical Living (SEAL).
Jessica Wooten, BA 2012
Jessica is a 7th grade ELA teacher at Berkeley Middle School. Jessica recently became a mom, earned her alternative teaching certification while substitute teaching, and was hired as a first-year teacher in 2015.
Blake Hoffmeyer, BA 2013
Blake is the Founder and CEO of my own corporate messaging and communications company serving the small business community and a partner in several other ventures as well.
After taking on a writing job at a small startup, he saw the need for decent writers in the small business community, but he also saw that smaller companies often under-value creative talent, especially in terms of writing. Thus, he stopped freelancing and started his own corporate messaging and communications company that could give clients results that they wanted while giving them confidence in the value of services his company provides.
He continues to draw on the talent he met at CofC: “I regularly go to some of my former peers from my Creative Writing program for contract work that I need done,” he writes. As for how he values his degree, he notes that “I use my degree on a daily basis, whether it’s making sure that writing is crisp and clearly communicates the intended message to the consumer or it’s thinking critically to find outside-the-box solutions to problems that I face. This has opened many doors in terms of entrepreneurship that have gone well beyond writing. I’ve become a partner in several other ventures that stem anywhere from film and TV production to men’s fashion.” Blake is currently based out of the city of Atlanta. His clients are all over the US and the world in countries such as Canada, Denmark, and Brazil.
Angela Feathers, BA 2014
Angela is a Charleston native, and she remained in Charleston after graduation. She is the Office Manager for Dance Carolina. In addition to book keeping and communications, she is also in charge of marketing and the social committee. “I’m also super excited about writing the production for the June show,” she writes. “The studio is putting on Cleopatra.”
Hannah Polakowski, BA 2014
Hannah lives in New Orleans, LA and is in her first year at Tulane University Law School.
Jacob Raymond, BA 2014
Jacob is Director of Education at College of Charleston Sailing. He has been working on a Adaptive Sailing Program, which allows people with various disabilities to gain access to the sport of sailing. This program had gained momentum after he applied for a grant from US Sailing last December and received funding to build accessible benches for the College’s fleet of J22s. “US Sailing was very impressed in our efforts,” he writes, “and flew me to their Adaptive Sailing Summit in Newport Rhode Island last October.” Jacob has also been working with a national program called Warrior Sailing Program and he coached a three-day camp in Galveston Texas last September. The district governing body of sailing, South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association (SAYRA), recently appointed Jacob as their lead officer for sailors with disabilities.
Margaret Vogel, BA 2014
Margaret is a Project Associate at AthenaHealth. Margaret has used her writing and creative thinking skills to assist the implementation and instruction of icloud medical technology in hospitals across America.
Kelly Doyle, MA 2015
Kelly is the Wikipedian-in-Residence for Gender Equality at West Virginia University Libraries. As the Wikipedian-in-Residence for Gender Equity, the first position of its kind, Kelly works to close the gender gap on Wikipedia by recruiting female writers to write content about women on the site. This project focuses on women from West Virginia and Appalachia. “This position,” she writes, “involves community outreach, academic writing, and is in large part a social justice position as well as an academic one.”v
Brook Fortune, BA 2015
Brook is pursuing her Ph.D. in Victorian Literature at the University of Florida. Brook currently lives in Gainesville and has enjoyed teaching undergraduate courses at UF.
Kathryn Vaughn, BA 2015
Kathryn is currently employed as a secondary English teacher by Duval County Schools in Jacksonville, Florida. She was recruited through the Teach for America program, and she teaches 11th grade ELA at Westside High School. After graduation, she spent the summer at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she worked to learn as much as she could about teaching in high poverty, low income schools. After her stay in Houston, she made her official move to Jacksonville and began teaching there. “I’ve learned that no matter how much I might know, personally, about the content I am teaching,” she writes, “what will really benefit both my kids and me is the establishment of personal relationships. The willingness to go the extra mile (literally – I’m also coaching a running club at the school as we train to run a half marathon next semester) is what will make or break your success as a teacher.” Reflecting on the sate of education in American, Kathryn writes: “help is scarce, and resources are, as well: so if you’re one of those people who feels called to help make a change in this country, start with the education system. Donate, support, whatever you have the capacity to do: do it.”