MEET THE CLC STAFF
Tobi Jacobi is a composition and literacy specialist in the CSU English Department and the current director of the Community Literacy Center. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in public writing, composition and literacy theory, critical pedagogy, and prison writing.
Her passion for writing, teaching, and learning is driven by a deep respect for the role of community in our lives and a commitment to understanding and advancing the role of writing and literacy in the world. Her research explores the relationship between literacy, representation, and social change and has included projects ranging from interviews with incarcerated women writers to pop-up museums featuring archival materials from an early twentieth century training school for girls. Recent scholarship on prison literacy and community writing appears in journals such as Reflections, Community Literacy Journal, The Journal of Correctional Education, Feminist Formations, and Radical Teacher and in edited collections. Her co-edited book Women, Writing, and Prison came out in 2014, and she is currently working on a collaborative literacy remix project that blends contemporary pedagogy with archival prison texts.
For her, work with the Community Literacy Center interns and community writers represents literacy in action, a concrete way to enact a commitment to challenging the uneven power relations that attempt to “fix” the life experiences of some people through limited access to education. Like Bell Hooks, Adrienne Rich, and Gloria Anzaldua before her, she believes that language has the power to cause ruptures, pain, joy, and hope-and that our work at the Center can contribute to moving literacy beyond pages with red marks.
Mary Ellen Sanger is the Associate Director of the Community Literacy Center since 2015. She has been leading creative writing workshops since 2005 in New York City and Fort Collins, with a focus on under-represented communities. She lived in Mexico for 17 years, and has published short stories, creative nonfiction and poetry in Spanish and English in Mexico, the US and online. Mary Ellen has been a member of the fiction and poetry committees for the PEN Prison Writing Program, and was a post-production coordinator for the Emmy award-winning Mexican documentary “Presunto Culpable” (Presumed Guilty). Her book “Blackbirds in the Pomegranate Tree: Stories from Ixcotel State Prison” relates stories of the women she met when she was unjustly incarcerated in Mexico. That experience has led her to work closely with confined populations.
2023-2024 INTERN PHOTOS AND BIOS!
Braden Bomgaars is a third-year undergraduate at Colorado State University majoring in English Literature and Political Science: American Government, Law, and Policy. Academically, Braden's interests predominantly revolve around cosmopolitanism, postcolonialism, and queer theory. After graduation, he plans to attend graduate school for English Literature in hopes of eventually completing a Ph.D.
Whether through academia or while volunteering, Braden is committed to amplifying marginalized voices through programs such as SpeakOut! and is thrilled to be interning with the Community Literacy Center. As an avid writer, Braden looks forward to sharing the expressive medium with others to reinforce or remind individuals of their agency, power, and beauty.
Additionally, in his free time, Braden loves experiencing the outdoors with others by way of hiking, climbing, or canyoneering. Back home, he enjoys playing guitar, reading, and playing board games in the company of his cat Butler.
Mary Kusbel is in her fourth year at CSU. She is studying English Education and hopes to teach high school one day. Her hobbies include reading, writing, hiking, and intensive coloring books.
In joining the CLC, she hopes to gain insight on how to destigmatize the recovery community. She is also furthering her education on how to teach all writing workshops. By working with the CLC, she will learn more about finding creative avenues for all writers.
Hutchie is a third year student majoring in communications with a minor in philosophy. Hutchie deeply enjoys practicing yoga at YogaPod Fort Collins and utilizes it as both a physical and spiritual outlet. The spiritual and creative intersections between yoga and writing sparked Hutchie’s interest in SpeakOut! And community collaboration. Furthermore, Hutchie is happiest when she is surrounded by friends and family. Her sisters Olivia and Bentley (and puppies Theo and Bowie) are her best friends and constantly remind her of life’s greatest joys. She is elated to be part of the CLC and hopes to continue this kind of outreach for as long as possible.
Alexander is a second-year undergraduate student, where he is currently pursuing a dual major in Journalism, Media, Communications, and Political Science. In addition to his primary areas of study, Alexander has distinguished himself by undertaking dual minors in Film Studies and Legal Studies.
With a steadfast commitment to academic excellence and a vision for the future, Alexander aspires to continue his education by attending law school following the completion of their undergraduate degree. His long-term academic ambitions extend to the attainment of a Ph.D. in a field that aligns with his passion for law and politics.
Beyond the classroom, Alexander actively dedicates their time and energy to advocacy work aimed at promoting accessibility for fellow students. During his free moments, he finds joy in the company of friends, dissecting films, crafting thought-provoking poetry, and delving into philosophical discussions.