Advisory Board


Eric Rasmussen

Eric Rasmussen teaches English at Memorial High School in Eau Claire. In 2016 he joined forces with numerous members of the Chippewa Valley literati to produce the local literary journal Barstow & Grand. He is pursuing an MFA from Augsburg College, and his fiction has been featured in FugueSundog LitGulf StreamSouth Carolina Review, and Volume One Magazine, among others. Visit: for more.

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Jonathan Rylander

Jonathan Rylander is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Center for Writing Excellence at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Since joining UWEC in 2017, he has loved mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in the methods surrounding one-to-one and small group conferencing. His past attendance at the CVWG Retreat has inspired not only his own craft, but also his view of how writing in community and with the expert advice of authors near and far matters deeply. When not teaching or writing, you can find him seeking out new lakes in the area or playing in the Wisconsin snow with Beauregard—his giant Bernese Mountain Dog.



Cathy Sultan

Originally from Washington, D.C., Cathy Sultan moved to Beirut with her Lebanese husband and two children in 1969. Civil war began in 1975. After eight years under the bombs, they returned to the US in 1983. Her memoir, A Beirut Heart: One Woman’s War, was published in 2005 and  awarded Best Autobiography by The USA “Best Books of 2006.”  Next came two books of nonfiction on the Middle East.  In 2013 The SyrianSultan’s first work of fiction was published by Calumet Editions in Minneapolis. Damascus Street, the sequel to The Syrian is due to be published in April 2018.  


Julian Emerson

Julian Emerson is a longtime journalist at the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram newspaper who writes about a wide variety of news-related topics, including investigative work. He lives in Eau Claire with his wife Jodi and their two daughters, Hayley and Emily. In his spare time he enjoys writing, the outdoors and spending time with family.


Mike Paulus

Mike Paulus has worked in local publishing for almost two decades. He's been an editor with Volume One Magazine for over 10 years, where his "Rear End" column has appeared since 2004. He also hosts Volume One's "Let's Be Honest" grownup storytelling night. He's a frequent contributor to Wisconsin Public Radio's Wisconsin Life program, and he's hosted multiple cat shows. He grew up on the west side of Eau Claire, but he lives on the Eastside Hill with his wife and two kids.


Katie Venit

Katie Venit is an instructional designer with the UW MBA Consortium. She has also been a journalist, religious studies graduate student, event planner, communication and outreach coordinator, freelance writer and proofreader, and ESL teacher. Her writing has appeared on Wisconsin Life and Volume One, among others, but her current favorite is a regular science column for kids in Chippewa Valley Family magazine called "Why is That?" She diagrams sentences for fun. 


Alexander Zitzner

Alexander Zitzner is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he serves as the Editor-In-Chief to their award-winning biannual undergraduate fine arts, literature, and music publication, NOTA.  In addition,  he has served as an intern for the CVWG and is currently the intern for Barstow & Grand. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Zaum MagazineBarstow & GrandSky Island Journaltwig, among others.

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Kim Pickering Schmidt

Kim Pickering Schmidt is a local psychiatric nurse practitioner beginning to examine the unique mental health needs of creative artists. She deeply values the power of the written word and the healing significance of stories spoken and witnessed. Growing up only a few blocks from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Kim understands the explicit and implicit value of a writing culture on a community. She is hoping to use her extensive background in fundraising and external communications to help grow and promote the efforts of the CVWG.