Farewells & Welcomes: Staff Changes at UTGT

Here at Under the Gum Tree, we're very lucky to be supported by a small staff of amazing editors, designers and interns--all who volunteer their time to make the magazine what it is. So I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge their hard work, and let you know about a few recent changes.

Editors & Designers

If you check out our masthead, you'll see that we have two assistant editors, Kathryn DeJarnette and Becca Litman, who joined us about six months ago and have been a HUGE help with our submissions queue. Bringing them on board also meant that Robin Martin, my good friend and colleague, took on the role of senior editor. 

This year also brought a bittersweet transition when I said goodbye to the lovely and talented Natana Prudhomme, who launched the magazine with me back in August 2011 and who designed our logo and page layout. I can't tell you how lucky I was to find Natana (and would you believe it was all thanks to a Craigslist ad?)--seriously, Under the Gum Tree would not be the gorgeous magazine that it is without Natana. When we started working together, all I had was the title and an idea and Natana executed that idea more beautifully than I could have imagined. As sad as I was to see Natana go, I was so honored to have worked with her for two years and am excited to see her pursuing her goals as an artist.

Taking Natana's place as designer is Aimee Steffen Taber. Aimee is an artist and freelance designer who holds a BFA in painting from Northern Illinois University. She has been with Under the Gum Tree for about six months now, and has been the lead designer on the January and April 2014 issues. Aimee is also expanding the role of designer with us by curating the art for each issue and taking over the management of art and photography submissions. (Aimee is also the talent behind our popular buttons that you've heard so much about since AWP!)

Editorial Interns

Elizabeth & KatieIn addition to the volunteer staff, I have had the privilege of mentoring a very talented young lady who has been an intern with Under the Gum Tree for the past two years, Elizabeth Kroll. You may recognize Elizabeth's name from our e-newsletter, which she has been managing as part of her role as editorial intern. With Elizabeth on board, we have done many things that we wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. Things like regular blog posts, Facebook and Twitter updates, Meet the Author interviews, and more.

Elizabeth's internship has been with us during her junior and senior years of high school. That means she's about to graduate and leave us for college life. In the fall she'll be headed off to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she plans to study fiction writing and psychology to explore the connection between storytelling and the subconscious.

Elizabeth says she has loved every second of her time with us. "I've had the great opportunity of seeing behind the scenes of publishing," she says, "meeting fantastic role models, and being mentored by the one and only Janna Marlies Maron." (Aw, shucks.)

Coming on board to replace Elizabeth is Katie Walker, an English major at CSU Sacramento. Here's a little intro note from Katie:

Hello and thank you! for reading this blurb. My name is Katie Walker and I’m abuzz with excitement at the opportunity of interning with Under the Gum Tree. Last fall the door to UTGT was opened to me by none other than Elizabeth Kroll. It was during a poetry writing course at Sac State that I had the pleasure of sitting one seat ahead of Elizabeth and consequently hearing of UTGT from her.

I myself am passionate about the writing and retelling of stories as a means of self-preservation and expression, and I aim to make a career out of fostering storytelling like all those hard at work for UTGT. I look forward to the coming months of helping connect you with news and updates for our amazing publication!

Well--you can tell we've had a lot of changes around here recently. But you know what comes with change: growth. We have seen some of our staff leave us and move on to bigger and better things as part of their individual growth; we have seen new people join our staff as part of our growth as a publication and as a community. As a reader, you are part of that community and a part of that growth. In a few short months we'll be celebrating Under the Gum Tree's three-year anniversary and I hope you're as excited as we are to see what changes come as a result of our continued growth in the years to come.