Tag Archives: New Staff

New Staff Member! Michelle Panik, Lit Reader

A warm welcome to the newest member of our fiction/nonfiction team, Michelle Panik!

Michelle Panik 4Michelle Panik lives on the edge of California, in Carlsbad, with her husband and their kids. She’s previously worked as a publications coordinator, a freelance writer, an adult ESL teacher, and a middle- and high-school teacher. These days, she teaches her three-year-old twins to hunt for bugs and sing Indigo Girls songs. She has an MFA from the University of Maryland and a BA in Writing and Art History from UC San Diego. Her stories have been published in such journals as Alimentum, Concho River Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and SLAB.

We’re excited to have Michelle join our team as we work on our Writers Create: A Winter Makers’ Fair issue, out January 31st!


New Staff Member! Orooj-e-Zafar, Poetry Reader

A warm welcome to our former contributor and newest member of our poetry team, the lovely Orooj-e-Zafar!

Orooj-e-ZafarOrooj-e-Zafar is a Browncoat eighteen-years-young mosaic, in her first year of med school. She fancies herself a certified overthinker and spoken word poet, frequently performing in front of audiences in her city at venues such as Kuch Khaas, among many others. She has been published at The Missing Slate, cahoodaloodaling and recently released her first spoken word album, the articulation of my vertebrae: from being spineless to finally standing tall.

Orooj resides in Islamabad, the dharna capital of Pakistan and has been married to slam poetry since she heard the word, ‘onomatopoeia’. She would like nothing more than to wake up to a hot cup of chai and a good poem; engaging conversations are a close third. Her best friend is her copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. She’s been playing the guitar for eight and a half years (badly), sings decently enough and bakes till her problems go away. Some days she is Ron Swanson and others, Leslie Knope.

We’re excited to have Orooj on board as we work on our Travelogue and future Issues!


New Staff Member! Anastasia Olashaya-Grill, Lit Reader

A warm welcome to Anastasia Olashaya-Grill, the newest member of our lit team!

stasia-sept2014Transplanted from Hemet, California, to Des Moines, Iowa, at a young age (with a brief stop in Rapid City, South Dakota), Anastasia spent more of her childhood dreaming and playing music than she did writing. However, between her mother’s own love of the written word and a growing wonder and curiosity with video games, Anastasia delved into the world of words in a way she never had by writing her first novella at age twelve.

Anastasia graduated Drake University with a B.A. in Writing and a Minor in Film Studies. Recently, her time has been spent writing her first novel of a long-planned series titled Pinion as well as working on the webcomic she writes and co-created with artist Sarah J Obomsawin named Ever Night. She also writes for Kaboooom! magazine; founded and writes a geeky blog with her Australian fiancé called Geekery Beat; and has an as-yet-to-be-launched webcomic with aforementioned fiancé named Theta.

We’re excited to have Stasia on board as we finish editing for our  The Animal Becomes Us and for our upcoming issues!


New Staff Member! Shirley Xu, Visual Arts Assistant

A warm welcome to Shirley Xu, our new Visual Arts Assistant!


Chibi Shirley

Shirley is a teenage girl living in the United States. She was born in China to a completely Chinese family. Despite that, her Chinese skills are extremely limited.

When she isn’t loaded with schoolwork, she loves to draw and critique art. She also loves to learn languages, browse the web, and see what people around DeviantArt are drawing. She is easily distracted and will rant about small things.

She has been drawing since second grade, and has had a few private classes during middle school and various school art classes. She finds, however, that improvement came just as quickly without classes as it did with classes.

As for writing, well– Shirley prefers to write simple poetry with simple vocabulary, incorporating linguistic nuances. She finds that her poems usually tend to be very hard to translate for that reason. But Shirley isn’t here to be a writer; she is on the art side.

We’re excited to have Shirley on board for our  The Animal Becomes Us and future issues!