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 Resident Poet of Colorado Public Radio and Poet Laureate of Colorado's Western Slope. He has served as Executive Director, President, and a Board Member of the Robinson Jeffers Association, and and recently completed a four-year term as the representative of the southwest states on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). He won a Pushcart Prize in 2018. 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

Michelle Wilk
Michelle Wilk is the Office Support Coordinator for Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing, and the Associate Conference Copordinator for Writing the Rockies. She is also currently a student in Western's Master's in Envrionmental Management (MEM) program, in the Sustainable &Resilient Communities track. She earned a BA in Government from University of the Incarnate Word, where she was President of the Student Government Association and Garden Manager at the Carroll Early Childhood Education Center. Among other work, she has drafted proposals and legislation for the Edwards Aquifer Alliance. Her initial project goal in the MEM is to research restoration ecology on fracking sites. 





Our wonderful interns do everything from driving vans, to handling registration, working at the bookfair, making signs and troubleshooting every aspect of the conference. They work hard and we are proud of them. You can count on them to do their utmost to answer any questions you may have, and you will also see them at many of our events, as part of their own education. When you do work with any of them -- as you inevitably will -- please thank them for their hard work. After all, they are our future.

Lead Intern

Jay Ytell

Jay Ytell is a graduate of Western Colorado University's undergraduate creative writing program. Jay spends her free time reading, writing, and climbing Colorado's mountains. During her time at Western, Jay held numerous leadership positions within the Western community. including 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 fourth year on staff at Writing the Rockies.




Graeme Duke headshot
Graeme Duke was born and raised in San Diego, California. He is currently a senior in the Communication Arts department with a Theatre Emphasis. At the age of 20, he moved to Colorado and began his college career in Glenwood Springs, earning an associate’s degree in Theatre Arts from Colorado Mountain College. He then moved to Gunnison to pursue his passion of theatre though a bachelor’s degree.





Shaye Gerrity is from Gunnison, Colorado, and is a senior at Western Colorado University majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor inBusiness. For her hobbies, Shaye enjoys road biking, horseback riding, skiing and, of course, reading and writing. This is Shaye's second year on staff at Writing the Rockies.


Douglas Hankins headshot
Douglas Hankins is from Gunnison, Colorado, and is a junior at Western Colorado University majoring in Communication Arts. He’s a fulltime employee of Western Colorado University’s Facilities Department, but he enjoys playing music, immersing into the world of pop culture. He’s an avid video game and board gamer, and as of late, chasing paranormal entities in the dark with Dr. Mark Todd. This is Douglas’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.





Henderson headshot
Zoe Henderson graduated from Western Colorado University in May with a BA degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in environment and sustainability. Her creative work has appeared in Pathfinder magazine. For the last two years of her undergrad, she was the editor and chief of Western’s student newspaper, Top o’ the World. She plans on taking a year off and then applying to graduate schools for fall of 2019. This is Zoe’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.




Marlida Mear

Marlida Mear is a recent graduate of Western Colorado University, where she majored in English and minored in History. She was most recently co-managing editor of the university's Pathfinder magazine, as well as an intern for the Contemporary Writer Series. This is Marlida's third year on staff at Writing the Rockies.






Josiah Miranda-Troup is from Denver, Colorado.  He graduated from Western Colorado University in May with a BA degree 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 third year on staff at Writing the Rockies.



Michael Schmidt is a junior at Western Colorado University, majoring in English and minoring in Anthropology. He is the President of the West Elk Wranglers and wishes for everyone to keep an eye out for upcoming events or to inform him about community services and fund raisers the club could help with. He works as a ranch hand when he isn't deep in his studies. This is Michael’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.


Kennedy Sievers is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She graduated from Western Colorado University in May with a BA degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing, as well as a minor in Psychology. She has been published multiple times in the school newspaper, Top O’ The World, where she was also a continuing staff writer. She has also had several of her articles republished in the university magazine, Pathfinder.Kennedy was Associate Managing Editor for Pathfinderthis past year. This is Kennedy’s third year on staff at Writing the Rockies.


Cody Stevens is a senior pursuing a degree in Environment and Sustainability with a minor in Biology. This is his first time participating in Writing the Rockies and is excited for the opportunity. He loves playing hockey and his favorite book is The Last Wishby Andrzej Sapkowski. This is Cody’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.


Bronwyn Taylor headshot
Bronwyn Taylor is from San Cristobal, New Mexico. She transferred to Western Colorado University in the fall of 2017. She is majoring in English with a minor in biology, with the eventual goal of becoming an elementary teacher. This is Bronwyn’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.




Jessica Weinmeister headshot
Jessica Weinmeister is from Bayfield, Colorado. She is a sophomore majoring in Anthropology and English with an emphasis in creative writing. Jessica enjoys reading, writing, playing piano, and spending time with her two guinea pigs. Her latest project is a submission for the Writers of the Future competition. This is Jessica’s first year on staff at Writing the Rockies.