Alumna Felicia Zamora reads her work at a recent Creative Writing Reading Series event

Today we feature our “local” women – alumna, current students, faculty, and/or staff – and all the good things they do. Tomorrow will be a reading list of “local” authors.

This list is by no means complete, and even for those included we have not given a full account of their amazingness. This is merely a sampling of some of their most recent accomplishments.


Current Students and Alumna

Dana Chellman (Alumna, MA Creative Nonfiction) won the 2017 AWP Intro Journals Project for Fiction, Poetry and Nonfiction award for her nonfiction essay “How to Get to Heaven from Colorado.”

Joanna Doxey (Alumna, MFA Creative Writing: Poetry): Currently an Academic Support Coordinator for students majoring in Ethnic Studies, Philosophy, and English. She published her first collection of poetry, Plainspeak, WY, at the end of 2016 – “Residing in the brutally harsh winters of the Wyoming landscape, Plainspeak, WY is a rumination on self as wilderness. A book of juxtapositions, Doxey leans on the glacial with its inherited dirges and ostensible timelessness, contrasting stoic rock with lamenting body. Ultimately, it is a book of recollection, of broken hearts and slowly changing landscapes.” Most recently, a few of her poems were published in the latest issue of Ghost Proposal (, and she was invited by the Sigma Tau Delta chapter at Union College (NY), her undergraduate alma mater, to speak and read her poetry. 

Fort Collins Poet Laureates – Chloe’ Leisure, Felicia Zamora, and Aby Kaupang (all alumna of the MFA Creative Writing program).

Emily Harnden (Current student, MFA Creative Writing) was named a winner for the AWP Intro Journals Award in Creative Nonfiction for her essay, “9:47” and will be published by Puerto del Sol.

Susan Harness (Alumna, MA English: Creative Nonfiction) has had her memoir, Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption, accepted for publication by the University of Nebraska Press.  The book, to be released fall 2018, is a personal account of her experience as an American Indian transracial adoptee.

Mia Heavener (Alumna, MFA Creative Writing: Fiction) is Senior Civil Engineer at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, where she works to bring clean water systems to native Alaskan villages all over her state. Her first novel, Under Nushagak Bluff, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2019.

Paula Hicks-Hudson (Alumna, MA English: Communication Development): Served as the first Black female mayor of Toledo, Ohio from 2015-2018. Hicks-Hudson also worked as an attorney for the Toledo Legal Aid Society, an assistant prosecutor for Lucas County, and an assistant public defender.

Emily Ziffer (Current student, MFA Creative Writing) has been chosen by the Alfa Fellowship Program to spend a year in Russia, working with publishers and translators. What’s most impressive about this is the fellowship is designed for people in business, law, economics, journalism, and public policy. It has never before been awarded to a writer or artist.

Felicia Zamora (Alumna, MFA Creative Writing: Poetry) is the Education Programs Coordinator at Arizona State University’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Her third book of poetry, Instruments of Gap, just was published by Slope Editions.


Professor Ellen Brinks with Linda Farm Community children making ecobricks for the CSU compost project. Zambia, Summer 2015
Professor Ellen Brinks with Linda Farm Community children making ecobricks for the CSU compost project. Zambia, Summer 2015

Faculty and Staff

Leslee Becker (Professor of English) won 1st prize in the Broad River Review Fiction Contest for her story, “Such Friends.” She also was recently awarded a writing fellowship at Brush Creek Foundation in Wyoming.

Ellen Brinks (Professor of English) created the Zambia study abroad program. When in Zambia, she volunteers with the health projects in the morning. Ashley Davis says, “I believe her favorite afternoon project was for adult literacy. I was particularly impressed with how much time and care she spent looking for the right readings to work on with them each week. The group enjoyed discussing current politics, so Ellen found news reports with language to challenge them and empower them as they read the news.”  Brinks worked with CSU students and a local Rotary club to raise funds to build a primary school classroom in a remote village in Zambia that was built in summer 2017 and will open in 2018.

Ashley Davis (Instructor of English) is going to Zambia for the second time with CSU students and doing research on international comic books, especially those from Africa. She’s working on contacting African comic book publishers to get them to hopefully donate books for the reading clubs in Zambia.

Camille Dungy (Professor of English) is currently an award-winning poet, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, and was recently awarded a prestigious $25,000 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Stephanie G’Schwind (Director of the Center for Literary Publishing) recently edited a collection a nonfiction anthology of essays about the body called Beautiful Flesh, which was selected as a finalist for a Colorado Book Award. The Center for Literary Publishing was also just awarded a $15,000 grant from the NEA. The Center for Literary Publishing and center director Stephanie G’Schwind were recognized by the Office of the Vice President for Research as a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence in 2016.

Tobi Jacobi (Professor of English) is doing outstanding work with at-risk youth and incarcerated women in the community. A specialist in community literacy studies, Professor Jacobi teaches courses in argument, public writing, composition theory, feminist theory and methodology, critical pedagogy, and literacy theory. She is the director of the Center for Community Literacy, Research and Outreach in the Department of English at Colorado State University. Her recent research focuses on understanding the complexities of moving adult literacy beyond the GED, the ethics of community-university relationships, and incarcerated women writers as activists. In addition to coediting a special issue of Reflections: A Journal for Writing, Service Learning, and Community Literacy on prison literacy, she has published essays on prison writing, community service learning and activism in the writing classroom, and the ethics of university-community collaborations in journals such as English Journal, Community Literacy Journal, and The Journal of Correctional Education. She is the book editor for Reflections and is working on a book on the writing practices of incarcerated women writers.

Beth Lechleitner (Instructor of English) and Sue Doe (Associate Professor of English) are arranging the first-ever English department service project.

Cindy O’Donnell-Allen (Professor of English and Director of CSU Writing Project) led undergraduate preservice teachers in an independent study of methods of Youth Participatory Action Research and encouraged them to apply their knowledge directly by serving as mentors to high school students participating in the CSU Writing Project yMPCT program (Youth Making Positive Changes Together). Along with assistant professor Antero Garcia, she completed a two-year grant in 2015 from the National Science Foundation to work with the Fort Collins Discovery Museum on improving the science literacy of underserved elementary students in Fort Collins.

Lynn Shutters (Instructor of English) was selected as the Thomas Mark Scholar for 2018-19.  This new award supports scholarship on the life and works of literary figures, particularly those of the early modern period.  It honors Thomas Mark, a professor in the English department from 1957 to 1995.  The award will provide time and support while Lynn is on leave next year to finish her monograph, Chaucer’s Pagan Women.

Sarah Sloane (Professor of English) has taught for Semester at Sea not once, but twice. Read more about her first trip here.