Conference Administration and Staff


Conference Director

David J. Rothman
David J. Rothman serves as the Director of Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. He is the editor of Western's national journal of poetry and criticism, THINK. His most recent volumes of poetry, both of which appeared in 2013, are The Book of Catapults (White Violet Press) and Part of the Darkness (Entasis Press). A book of creative nonfiction, Living the Life: Tales from America's Mountains & Ski Towns (Conundrum Press), also appeared in 2013. His poems, essays and scholarly work have appeared widely, in journals including Appalachia, Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Sewanee Review, Threepenny Review and scores of other newspapers, journals and periodicals. He co-founded and served as first Executive Director of the Crested Butte Music Festival, was the founding Publisher and Editor of Conundrum Press (now owned by the Samizdat Group of Denver), and currently serves as Poet-in-Residence of Colorado Public Radio. He has served as Executive Director, President, and a Board Member of the Robinson Jeffers Association, and currently represents the southwest states on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and serves on the advisory board of the West Chester University Poetry Center. He lives in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Conference Coordinator

Mark Todd
Dr. Mark Todd, founder of Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, has been a Professor of English at Western since 1988. He currently teaches in the undergraduate creative writing program, and serves as Editor-in-Chief for Western Press Books. He has 25 years of professional journalism experience, having published hundreds of news stories, features, columns, and editorials in local through international markets. He also served as editor and publisher of both a newspaper and a regional magazine and, at one point, digested online news for the Lycos daily news service. Mark has performed his poetry and given fiction readings across the country and in Europe. His books include two collections of poetry, Wire Song (Conundrum, 2001) and Tamped, But Loose Enough to Breathe (Ghost Road, 2008). He is author of the science fiction novel Strange Attractors (Write in the Thick, 2012) and co-author with wife Kym O’Connell-Todd of the paranormal comedy/fantasy trilogy The Silverville SagaThe Silverville Swindle (Ghost Road, 2006), which was reissued as Little Greed Men (Raspberry Creek, 2011); All Plucked Up (Raspberry Creek, 2012); and The Magicke Outhouse (Raspberry Creek, 2013). All were nominated for Colorado Book Awards and Little Greed Men was also nominated for the Colorado Blue Spruce Award. Their latest book is Wild West Ghosts (Raspberry Creek, 2015), a creative nonfiction book about hauntings in frontier mining towns of the Rocky Mountains.

Associate Conference Coordinator

Erica Boucher
Erica Boucher, Director of Extended Studies, is a Western alumna. She returned to Gunnison in 2008 after working as an English teacher and development officer at Carrabassett Valley Academy, a private ski/snowboard academy in northern Maine. Erica enjoys running during her free-time and is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Writing the Rockies conference.

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Lead Intern

Jay Ytell
Jay Ytell is a senior at Western State Colorado University, majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing and minoring in psychology. He spends his free time reading, writing, and rock climbing, as well as involving himself with the Western community. He is Vice President of WordHorde, Western’s spoken word and performance troupe; Treasurer of the local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society; and the Director of Western’s Council for Creative Expression. Jay is an avid writer and has been published in Pathfinder magazine. This is Jay’s third year on staff at Writing the Rockies and he serves as lead staffer.


Shaye Gerrity
Shaye Gerrity is from Gunnison, Colorado, and entering her senior year at WSCU. Majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing, she hopes one day to be a published author of children's verse novels. In the summer when she is not attending classes, Shaye spends her time working at Fantasy Ranch leading guests on horseback adventures through the mountains. This is Shaye’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.


Marlida Mear
Marlida Mear is from Gunnison, Colorado. She is a senior at Western State Colorado University, majoring in English and minoring history. She is an associate editor for the university magazine, Pathfinder, and an intern for Western’s Contemporary Writer Series. This is Marlida’s second year on staff at Writing the Rockies.



Josiah Miranda-Troup is from Denver, Colorado, and will be a senior at Western come Fall of 2017. He is majoring in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and a minor in Communication Arts. He is on the board for Peak Productions, and will start next semester as the Student Director of Theatre. He is also an Associate Editor on Pathfinder, the student run literary magazine on campus. This is Josiah’s second year on staff at Writing the Rockies.


Nathaniel Pagel
Nathaniel Pagel is a senior at Western State Colorado University, majoring in psychology and minoring in English. He is the Vice President of WSCU’s International Honor Society in Psychology and enjoys spending his time reading, running, and hiking. This is Nathaniel’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.



Belle Perugini
Belle Perugini is an English major with an emphasis on creative writing. She is currently a freshman in the Honors Program and has recently had a poem published in the university magazine, Pathfinder. This is Belle’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.



Kennedy Sievers
Kennedy Sievers is looking forward to her senior year at Western, and is an English with an emphasis in creative writing, and a minor in Psychology. She has been published multiple times in the school newspaper, Top O’ The World, and is a continuing staff writer there. She has also had several of her articles republished in the university magazine, Pathfinder. Kennedy is currently an Associate Editor for Pathfinder. She is excited to continue editing Pathfinder as well as working on the campus Top o’ the World newspaper next year. This is Kennedy’s second year on staff at Writing the Rockies.

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