Meet the Community Literacy Staff!

jacobi 2Tobi 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 recent research focuses on understanding the complexities of moving adult literacy beyond the GED, the ethics of community-university relationships, and incarcerated women writers as activists. In addition to co-editing a special issue of Reflections: A Journal for Writing, Service Learning, and Community Literacy on prison literacy, she has published essays on community service learning and activism in the writing classroom and on the ethics of university-community collaborations. She is currently co-editing a collection of essays entitled, Word by Word: Women, Writing, and Incarceration with DePaul University Professor, Ann Folwell Stanford and completing a series of articles on prison literacies.

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 for over a decade 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.


Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 Interns

Zoe Albrecht Emmy Earsom Laney Flanagan
Zoe emmy square Laney
Kelly Kuhn kelly m square
Bree Jones Kelly Kuhn Kelly Martin

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Shelby Spies

Zoe Albrecht

Zoe, recently a volunteer for the CLC, is looking forward to her new title as an intern. She is excited to continue encouraging self-expression in the community and exploring how words unite people. Zoe is an undergraduate Creative Writing major specializing in Fiction. Additionally, she has a Sociology minor. Outside of her time at school and with the CLC, Zoe frequents concerts, watches comedians, reads, and writes.

Emmy Earsom

Emmy Earsom is delighted to be back with the CLC this year, after volunteering with SpeakOut last semester.  Emmy is currently a psychology student at Colorado State University, hoping to enter the fields of clinical social work and psychotherapy following the completion of her degree.  She loves reading, creative writing, and journaling, and sees the power, impact, and healing expressing one’s self through words can have on one’s psyche.  In her spare time, Emmy loves to bake, travel, hike, and rock climb.  In her spare time, she loves to drink coffee and do crossword puzzles.

Laney Flanagan

Laney is a senior at Colorado State University studying English. She loves words and everything having to do with words. Stories have been in her life from the very beginning, considering she was raised by a writer herself. Creative writing and teaching others have always been a passion of hers and she hopes after she graduates to teach English to people in other countries, especially in South Korea.You can generally find Laney writing, reading, hiking, snowboarding, listening to all sorts of music (Korean pop music included!) learning Korean, and spending time with her fiance and family.

Bree Jones

I am currently a senior at CSU working toward a degree in social work and criminal justice. I have been volunteering with SpeakOut! for 3 semesters now but I wish I would’ve started earlier! I’m so thankful to have been able to come back as an intern this semester! My passion lies in working with underserved communities, especially with incarcerated or recently incarcerated populations and through SpeakOut! I have realized how much power and healing writing can provide to these individuals and communities. In the future I hope to be able to use this knowledge to continue to bring the tool of writing to people who may not yet see it as one. In my free time I enjoy hammocking, reading, watching movies, and making pottery.

Kelly Kuhn

Kelly is a senior at Colorado State studying Criminal Psychopathology. She uses writing as self-expression through narrative and fiction, and hopes to study how creative writing could be used as therapy in her own practice. Kelly is a Colorado native, and enjoys hiking and nature photography, as well as listening to local Denver bands, and cooking with her friends on the weekends.

Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin is a graduate student at Colorado State University working toward her MA in English with a specialization in Rhetoric and Composition. Her research interests include issues of agency, identity, marginalization, and textual silences. In recent years she has also discovered a passion for reading and writing creative nonfiction. When she’s not reading or writing, Kelly enjoys hiking and exploring Colorado with her family. She loves cooking and traveling, though her favorite pastime is watching her daughter discover new things.

Shelby Spies

Shelby is a senior at Colorado State University studying Human Development and Family Studies, with an English minor. She loves working with people and hopes to pursue her doctoral degree in Applied Human Development. Shelby would like to research and develop programs for the education community, by emphasizing creativity in the classroom and multiple teaching approaches. She hopes to travel the world and to help as many people as possible. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, being outside, and reading. She also, loves flowers, new girl, and coffee.