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Sam earned his BA from the University of Wisconsin in 2019. He majored in English and Creative Writing. His fiction earned him a number of awards at the university, including the Chancellor’s Excellence Award and the Fiction Thesis Award. In Fall 2019, he was awarded a fellowship to the second-oldest creative writing program in the United States – the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University – for his fiction. While earning his MFA, Sam taught undergraduate literature and creative writing courses. He studied under the guidance of many incredible writers during his time at the Writing Seminars, including MacArthur Fellowship winner Brad Leithauser, Poet Laureate for the United Kingdom Sir Andrew Motion, co-editor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry Mary Jo Salter, and many others. Sam also helped coordinate the department’s Reading Series, which brought dozens of critically-acclaimed and celebrated writers to campus, such as Tim O’Brien, Deborah Eisenberg, Jamel Brinkley, Jesmyn Ward, Marlon James, to name only a few. In Spring 2021, National Book Award winner Alice McDermott presented Sam with a Johns Hopkins Thesis Award.
I am beyond grateful to be a part of Write On, Door County. Creative writing is my greatest passion, and the opportunity to help the team establish a literary tradition in a place as close to my heart as Door County is a dream come true. I look forward to using what I learned at Johns Hopkins University to help the organization and the surrounding communities however I can for years to come.
Allison Vroman got her start in the county like many – slinging eggs and cheeseburgers during the summer to make money for college. Upon graduation from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in English, she landed a job as a writer and eventually editor with the Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living. After helping to share the stories of the peninsula for nearly a decade, her own story took a turn when she met her husband. They hopped around the Great Lakes for a few years as he finished his career in the U.S. Coast Guard. Now, she is delighted to be back “home” and once again involved in perpetuating the stories of Door County through Write On.
When she’s not pecking away at her keyboard for her 9-5 job as a copywriter, you can usually find her adventuring (or scheming up the next adventure) with her husband Jonathan, daughter Ivy, and two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Hazel and Bosun.
Kim became an intern for Write On, Door County in December of 2020. Originally from De Pere, Wisconsin, Kim relocated to Door County from South Florida to reconnect with family, friends, and nature. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from UW-Madison and spent most of her 20-plus-year career in advertising. In the last five years, she has been an editor in the travel industry and enjoys writing about the world from her location of choice. Now working part-time during the pandemic, Kim is happy to share her time and talents with Write On. When not working, reading, or cooking, she can often be found hiking the many trails of Door County with her favorite hiking companion, Mabel, an inquisitive beagle/hound mix.
Mauricio Kilwein Guevara was born in Boyacá, Colombia and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He has taught literature and writing at the college level since his early twenties at Bowling Green State University, Marquette University, Vermont College, Universidad de las Américas (México), La Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia), and Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia). He taught for a dozen years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and, since 2003, at UWM. He’s the author of four books (both verse and prose fiction) published in the United States, a collection of translations published in Madrid, Spain, and a comic play that received a staged reading Off-Broadway. His writing has appeared internationally in Argentina, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, México, and the UK. He was the first person of Latinx descent to be elected as President of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Board of Directors. He divides his time between the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee and Egg Harbor with his sweetheart, poet & teacher Janet Jennerjohn, and their rescue dog, Django Reinhund. Mauricio and Janet have two adult children, Andrés Esteban and Diego Eduardo. Mauricio enjoys sharing his love of language arts in schools, libraries, and other community settings.
Alessandra and her husband came to Washington Island to grow vegetables for Hotel Washington for the summer season in 2015. After their first two growing seasons on the Island, they decided to move to the Island full-time. They started Hoot Blossom Farm, which now grows veggies, herbs and flowers for Island residents and restaurants. Alessandra and her husband also helped found Gathering Ground, a nonprofit dedicated to cultivating community and learning in partnership with the generous earth through agriculture. She currently serves as its part-time executive director.
Alessandra holds a PhD in English from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and an MFA in poetry from Indiana University. She has poems published in anthologies and literary journals such as Rewilding: Poems for the Environment, Smartish Pace, Spillway and others. She writes a column for the Washington Island Observer called Everyday Nature that mixes two of her loves — poetry and nature.
Lauren began her career as a high school English teacher in 2006, and comes to Write On, Door County as a passionate educator, writer, and community member. After earning her MBA in 2019, Lauren was eager to make the move into an organization whose mission and vision was closely aligned with her own. Lauren is an avid poet and has been a contributing editor to Door County Living Magazine and the Peninsula Pulse since 2002, and brings with her a deep appreciation for the Door County community’s history and arts.
“I feel blessed to be joining such a visionary organization supported by strong community leaders. I have been watching Write On grow and touch the lives of so many people these last few years, and I am so encouraged by the future of where Write On will go in the coming years. There is much to look forward to as we fulfill the mission of helping people tell their story.”
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Sara Sohns moved to Door County in 1994 and married Steve eight years later — then came Gwendolyn. The three reside in Fish Creek farm country. Sara has a B.A. in Mass Communications and a minor in Business Administration. She works as a Personal Banker and has been with Baylake Bank, now Nicolet National Bank, for twelve years. Active in the community, Sara is a member of the Northern Door County Rotary Club and on the board of Money Management Counselors. Her interests include music, travel, reading, writing poetry and painting with Gwendolyn too!
I really enjoy collaborating with ideas and crafting with words. Sharing my love of words and helping others promote their creations are what I enjoy most with Write On Door County. I joined Write On Door County because I believe that writing is a great way to grow, share thoughts and learn from each other. Write On is all about this and I am so happy to be involved!
Dee Paulsen has lived in Sturgeon Bay since 1982, with her husband Eric. They have two grown married children, son Nels and daughter Annika, two grandchildren and one granddog. Dee has a B.S. in Elementary/Special Education from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and an M.S. in Education with an emphasis on children’s literature from Viterbo College. She has taught for 23 years in grades 2, 3 and 6, (her heart is still in 6th grade Language Arts) and has worked as an office manager for Crown Life Insurance and Door County Eye Associates. Her interests include travel, reading, writing poetry, visiting elementary classrooms to read and do writing projects, and organizing gatherings with friends.
“I love encouraging folks of all ages and abilities to ‘write it down.’ I love words! I believe writing can be interesting, humorous, serious, and healing. I think every person has something to learn about themselves through writing – just to keep to themselves or to share. Everyone indeed has a story to tell.”
Margaret LeBrun grew up in Southern Door County. As co-founder, former publisher and executive editor of Insight Publications, a business-to-business publishing and events company in Northeast Wisconsin, she produced the monthly Insight magazine, featuring the region’s top companies and their CEOs. She has worked as a reporter, editor and writing coach for newspapers in Wisconsin and New York, receiving numerous state and national awards for her writing.
Margaret has served on the boards of the Fox Cities YMCA and Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin, as well as the marketing committee for New North, Inc. She received the Athena Leadership Award in 2014 from the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and was named to the Southern Door High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015.
She received her degree in journalism from UW-Eau Claire. After living in Upstate New York for many years with her husband, Dave Allen, the couple moved to Appleton. In recent years they have spent time at their cottage in Sturgeon Bay, where they plan to eventually live when they’re not traveling. Their young adult sons live in Madison and Colorado Springs.
Growing up on the bay in Door County, I was fortunate to be introduced to the arts at an early age. Words are my passion, and helping other writers hone their craft feeds my soul. Upon selling my business magazine to my partner in 2018, I searched for my new “tribe” … and I think I found it with Write On, Door County!
Ann Heyse has a long career teaching writing. She has helped children, teens, and adults hone their writing skills and accomplish work of which they are proud. Her poems and articles have appeared in various journals and on-line sources and she is currently working on a collection of essays, a novel, and a book of poems. Ann blogs at Annotations2.wordpress.com
Most of us need help putting down words to tell our stories, speak our opinions, weave our poems, or imagine our characters. But when those words areput down for people to read, these are gifts that seem almost holy to me. I’m excited to be part of Write-on Door County’s efforts to be the place that encourages and nurtures writers of all proficiency levels. Door County, with its beauty all around and on every side, has always inspired artists. Now, because of WODC, writers, too, can create art, adding the beauty and the value of words to this wonderful place.
I started writing for newspapers as a teenager. At large Chicago daily newspapers I was a reporter and a metro, financial and features editor. At a small Chicago newspaper I was a publisher/editor. In 1980 I joined the faculty of the journalism school at Northwestern and taught writing, reporting, economics, liberal arts, public relations, marketing, etc., until 2011. My education ended with MBA. In addition to all types of news journalism, I have written for magazines, newsletters, books and the web. I am a director of Paddock Publications in Illinois and have been on boards of not-for-profits and commercial publishing. I am a nonfiction person but read much fiction and poetry. The mechanics of poetry are a mystery to me. Judy and I have two children, three grandchildren and homes in Winnetka, Ill., and Ephraim.
Anne Emerson, Jerod Santek and Maggie Peterman were among the first to hook me on Write On. Then I witnessed what the organization does for the young. Write On is a catalyst and an essential part of Door County’s matrix of creativity: theater, painting, sculpture, photography, journalism, music and formal education. If you subscribe to the premise–as I do– that writing is thinking, then you have to believe in what Write On accomplishes.
Bill Guenzel grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, and currently resides in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He majored in art history and design at Williams College and studied photography and filmmaking at Columbia College. He worked in the Chicago area movie business before relocating to Door County in the mid 1970s to embark upon a career in carpentry. A founding member of Great Northern Construction, he took leave to collaborate with other independent builders while helping his wife, Josephine, establish and maintain the Community Clinic of Door County.
My interest in Write On, Door County began with a casual conversation with longtime friend Anne Emerson, who was working with a small group of people to develop a county-wide initiative to focus on writing. We could name numerous venues available for the performing and visual arts but few options for people interested in learning how to write or advance their writing skills. She soon had me convinced in the abundant potential for developing programs aimed at writers of any ability coming from near and far.
When we became aware of the possibility of bringing Jerod Santek from the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis to Door County to lead this initiative, we knew we had found someone with national credentials to build our program. When I learned that two beautiful pieces of property were for sale in Juddville, I felt the stars had aligned and I leapt at the chance to purchase the land and help create a writing center that would be both locally loved and nationally recognized.
Janis Falk considers herself a generalist in spite of, perhaps because of, her 25-year career in finance and commercial real estate in Chicago. She is equally comfortable in the boardroom or a construction site, analyzing financial statements, or selecting art work. A few career diversions add spice: marketing beer, tending plants in a greenhouse, and managing a lighthouse.
Janis loves old school photography but embraces digital, recently combining her love of nature in a photo shoot in Yosemite National Park. Worrying about the integrity of fresh water caused Janis to train as an Ambassador for the Great Lakes. Janis and her husband, Jim Bator, reside in a home they built from two 130-year-old log cabins in Fish Creek.
I attended several excellent classes at Write On and decided to get involved. My avatar is a wildly successful novelist who, through fiction, champions the environment and everyday working people. I’m hoping through Write On I will drag my avatar out of virtual and into actual reality.
Anne Haberland Emerson lives in Fish Creek with her husband, the architect and artist Minnow Emerson. She studied at Lawrence University and UW-Madison and worked as a writer at the University of Chicago Press before coming to Door County to open Edgewood Orchard Galleries in 1969.
It was through raising their children in Door County that she became involved with the local k-12 school and developed a deep commitment to the wider community. Anne was a founder of the effort to build the Door Community Auditorium at Gibraltar School in Fish Creek, and she has received statewide recognition for her advocacy of the arts, receiving the Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts in 1987 and the Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. She is also honored be among those who have received the Door County Community Foundation Philanthropist of the Year Award.
Anne is passionate about education and the interconnectedness of all the arts. She loves reading and writing, being in the great outdoors, and most of all being with her family, which now includes four young grandchildren growing up nearby.
What makes Door County such a wonderful place to live and visit? The natural beauty, the people, and the profusion of the arts truly nurture the human spirit. Write On will place the literary arts alongside the visual and performing arts to bring even more opportunity for human expression and connection.
Myles Dannhausen Jr. has loved the written word since his older sister gave him a copy of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders when he was 8 years old. An Egg Harbor native and Gibraltar High School graduate, he works as the Content Editor of the Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living magazine, where he has told the stories of Door County for 15 years. His writing has also appeared in Wisconsin People & Ideas, Edible, Chicago Athlete, GapersBlock, OnMilwaukee, Running Times, and several other regional publications. In 2013 he co-founded Peninsula Filmworks with Brett Kosmider and David Eliot to tell stories through video. Like everyone else, someday he’ll write a book.
Vinni Chomeau lives in Fish Creek with her husband and daughter. She holds degrees in Outdoor Education and Natural History from Northland College, Environmental Education from Hamline University and has completed graduate courses in Environmental Science from UW-Green Bay. She has worked as a teacher and wilderness guide for the Audubon Residential Environmental Learning Center in Minnesota and at the Team Leadership Center in Door County. She also worked as conservationist for the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department. She is currently the project coordinator for Friends of Gibraltar, which provides experiential learning opportunities for students PK-12 at Gibraltar Area Schools. She has written articles for both the Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living. She has served on the Peninsula State Park research grant committee, the Door County Land Trust membership committee and on the board of directors for the Door County Green Fund and Crossroads at Big Creek. Her interests include hiking, skiing, biking, paddle boarding, bird watching and painting.
Write On is important to me because it provides a beautiful and positive way to encourage and empower people to come together and share their stories. Visitors and residents of Door County have the opportunity with Write On to learn the art of communication and discover the benefits of writing as a healing tool and means of self-discovery and growth, share and record intergenerational stories with family and friends, and experience the power of voice.
Jerod was the founding director of Write On and serves as its Artistic Director, overseeing the residency program as well as conferences, festivals, classes, and presentations. He serves on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and on the boards of several local organizations. From 2009-2019, he served on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), representing Writers’ Conferences and Centers. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in a number of print and online literary journals and magazines, including Ploughshares, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Blithe House Quarterly.
I am proud to be part of the beginning of Write On, Door County. In the summer of 2013, I took what many might consider a huge leap of faith and left my job as Program Director at one of the oldest writing organizations in the country — the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis — to head this new center. It remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am grateful to all the board members who joined with me in taking this risk, and to all the wonderful people who have supported us as we moved from dream to reality.
Contact Jerod at email@example.com.