2019 Tahoe Slam winners Griffin Peralta, Pan Pantoja, SaMoura Horsley, and mistress of ceremonies Elisa Garcia
Griffin Peralta beat out nine other competitors for the title of Grand Champion at the Annual Tahoe Slam on April 26, the last Friday of National Poetry Month.

2019 Tahoe Slam @ SNC

SNC hosted the Annual Tahoe Slam on Friday, April 26 this year. Ten competitors vied for the title and for the prizes – first place gets a $300.00 gift certificate, second $200.00, third $100.00 – plus bragging rights. SNC students Deja Maestas and Nikki Sardelli competed, alongside other poets from the region and several UNR students. The Tahoe Slam Champion for 2019, Griffin Peralta, is a Reno-based poet and member of the Spoken Views Collective.

Griffin Peralta, winner of the the 2019 Tahoe Slam, held at Sierra Nevada College during National Poetry MonthSlam 2019 Grand Champion Griffin Peralta
The audience at the 2019 Tahoe Slam, held at Sierra Nevada College during National Poetry MonthThere’s always lots of audience participation!
Sierra Nevada College art and creative writing student Nikki Sardelli performing at the 2019 Tahoe Slam, held at Sierra Nevada College during National Poetry MonthSNC student Nikki Sardelli

The Annual Tahoe Slam is held every year on the last Friday in April, poetry month. Past MCs include Patricia Smith, Denise Jolly, Raina Leon, the UC Berkeley Slam Team, and other spoken word performers. The MC this year was Elisa Garcia, a Reno-based spoken word artist. Slams are performance infused deliveries of verse, with a three-minute limit. Judges are chosen randomly from the audience. This is a lively event with a lot of audience participation. There are no tame whispered verses here!

2019 Winners:

First place: Griffin Peralta
Second place: Pan Pantoja
Third place: SaMoura Horsley
Mistress of Ceremonies: Elisa Garcia

photo: (clockwise from top left) Griffin Peralta, Pan Pantoja, SaMoura Horsley, Elisa Garcia

The Annual Tahoe Slam is the last event in the season for the Writers in the Woods literary speaker series. The series brings well-known poets and writers from all over the country to the Sierra Nevada College campus. Audience members are welcome to meet and exchange ideas with the guest writers during intimate readings and workshops. All events are open to the public.

The 2019 – 2020 Writers in the Woods season is bringing Rebecca Makkai, author of the Pulitzer finalist in fiction The Great Believers; Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Reckonings; Michael Branch, local author of How to Cuss in Western; Gayle Brandeis, reading from her new book Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in a Chorus (A Testimony); June Sylvester Saraceno, reading from her new works Feral, North Carolina, 1965 (a novel), and The Girl from Yesterday (poetry); and Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf.

The 2019 – 2020 Writers in the Woods Schedule

Rebecca Makkai, whose most recent novel "The Great Believers" is a 2019 Pulitzer finalist, will open the 2019 - 2020 Writers in the Woods.

Pulitzer Finalist Opens Literary Series

Cover of "The Great Believers" by Sierra Nevada College MFA in Creative Writing faculty Rebecca MakkaiRebecca Makkai will be the first author in the 2019 – 2020 Writers in the Woods literary speaker series. Makkai’s most recent work, The Great Believers, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. The book was also a finalist for the National Book Award; winner of the ALA Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Book Prize, and the Stonewall Award; and one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of 2018.

Makkai is also the author of the novels The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower, and the short story collection Music for Wartime. She is on the MFA in Creative Writing faculty both here at Sierra Nevada College and at Northwestern University in Chicago, her home.

About The Great Believers
Publisher’s Description

A Novel of Friendship and Redemption in the Face of Tragedy

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for a Chicago art gallery, is about to pull off a coup, bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona’s intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of 80’s and the chaos of the modern world, as both struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Praise for The Great Believers

Writers in the Woods brings well-known poets and writers from all over the country to the campus for intimate readings and workshops. All events are open to the public, and audience members are welcome to meet and exchange ideas with the guest writers. The readings, on Friday evening from 7 to 9 pm, are free to everybody. Workshops are Saturday mornings from 10 am to noon, with a nominal fee of $50 for community members.

2019 – 2020 Season

Learn more about this season’s authors

Register for a Workshop

September 27 – 28
Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers

Writer and activist Lacy M Johnson, author of 'The Reckonings'October 18 – 19
Lacy M. Johnson
The Reckonings
Nevada author and desert rat Mike Branch, author of 'How to Cuss in Western'November 1 – 2
Michael Branch
How to Cuss in Western
Headshot of Author Gayle BrandeisFebruary 7 – 8
Gayle Brandeis
Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in a Chorus (A Testimony)
June Sylvester Saraceno
Feral, North Carolina, 1965 (a novel), and The Girl from Yesterday (poetry)
March – TBD

Kaveh Akbar, author of 'Calling a Wolf a Wolf'April 10 – 11
Kaveh Akbar
Calling a Wolf a Wolf
Jane Goodall speaking at Sierra Nevada College.
The famed researcher and environmental advocate presented to a packed house of students, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Jane Goodall at SNC

On the evening of March 29, the crowded room in SNC’s Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences building was buzzing with anticipation. A petite 85-year-old wearing a simple black turtleneck with a butterfly print shawl wrapped around her shoulders slipped in the door. The room fell silent as Dr. Jane Goodall took her spot behind the podium. Earlier in the day she had talked to high school students at Incline High. The following day she would do the same with elementary students at the Lake Tahoe School.

She began her lecture talking about her childhood fascination with animals. As a toddler, she brought a colony of earthworms into her bedroom. A few years later, she spent an afternoon hidden in a chicken coop waiting for a hen to come lay while her mother searched frantically for her missing daughter. Jane was curious because she couldn’t see a hole on a hen big enough for an egg to come out. Goodall credits much of her success to her supportive mother, who always encouraged her to explore despite her unorthodox activities. At 10 she found a copy of Tarzan of the Apes in a secondhand bookshop, and Africa became her goal.

As a young woman Goodall couldn’t afford university, so she took a secretarial course. When a school friend invited her to come to Africa, she saved for months for the trip. People told her she couldn’t just up and go to Africa – “Girls didn’t do that sort of adventurous thing,” she remembered. She went anyway.

One of the films from Jane Goodall speaking at Sierra Nevada College.In Africa, Goodall had her first disheartening experiences with overt race segregation, in Cape Town South Africa. In Kenya, Goodall was introduced to famed paleoanthropologist and archaeologist Dr. Louis Leakey, who was amazed by Goodall’s persistence – and in need of a secretary. In 1960 he was able to arrange for her to go study the chimpanzees, humans’ closest living cousins, at Gombe Stream National Park in what is now Tanzania.

In Gombe, Goodall immersed herself in the fieldwork. She paid careful attention to the animals’ different personalities and social behaviors, which mainstream scientists discounted as “anthropomorphizing”. She saw a chimp she called David Greybeard take a stick, strip off its leaves, and use it to fish termites out of a mound to eat. At that time, tool-making was considered to be an exclusively human ability. Critics didn’t believe Goodall’s observations as she “didn’t have a degree and I was just a girl,” but there was film footage. A year later Goodall was admitted to Cambridge University’s PhD program in ethology, the science of animal behavior. She received her degree in 1966 and returned to her research in Gombe.

Goodall’s life and career took another dramatic turn in 1986. At a scientific conference in Chicago on chimpanzee behavior, she was stunned as several speakers showed the extent of habitat destruction across Africa. As she described it, “I walked in a scientist and walked out an activist.” Not long after that she founded the Jane Goodall Institute UK, a “global organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things.” The institute supports conservation science, habitat preservation, primate protection, and sustainable livelihoods across Africa. Goodall emphasizes the importance of local communities taking charge of conservation, so that both people and ecosystems benefit.

These days, Goodall is focusing her scientific credentials, considerable energy, and irresistible charisma on Roots & Shoots, a global education program which encourages young people to “implement practical positive change.” Members of Roots & Shoots range in age from kindergarten to college. The program puts students in charge, empowering them to decide what issues they want to tackle in their communities. Students complete service projects in three areas: one for people, one for animals, and one for the environment.

Jane Goodall shares a stuffed chimpanzee with a very young admirer after speaking at Sierra Nevada College.Dr. Goodall is a witty, empathetic, and genuinely inspiring speaker. As was evident when the room was opened up to questions after the lecture, her impact – as a scientist, a conservationist, and a human being – has been immense. And she’s not done yet. At 85 years old, she is traveling 300 days a year to spread the word. She is clear-eyed about the challenges but focused on the future.

The impact of her visit will continue to resonate, as Incline High School and the Lake Tahoe School are pairing up to create their own Roots & Shoots chapter. Bob Graves, headmaster of Lake Tahoe School, is excited to bring the organization to the North Lake Tahoe area. “One of the toughest things educators face these days is the need to have their students focus on issues and solutions beyond themselves and their own personal needs,” Graves said. “The students and parents are pretty pumped right now after meeting Jane. The key will be to keep those positive vibes going and to channel the energy and enthusiasm into Roots & Shoots as soon as possible – exactly why we will be starting the new chapter this spring. There is plenty of room for additional conservation measures and community involvement in the Tahoe community,” he said. “Better yet, to create an informed and motivated group of students willing to get involved now, bodes well for our region and the world’s future.”

Sierra Nevada College is grateful to Lake Tahoe School for making the lecture with Dr. Jane Goodall possible.

Sustainability – environmental, social, and economic – is a core piece of SNC Tahoe’s academic mission. The college offers an interdisciplinary major in sustainability, which looks at the topic from multiple perspectives. SNC Tahoe also has an active environmental science program, with majors in ecology, earth science, and natural resource management. Our partnership with UC Davis through the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences gives students direct access to current research and conservation efforts in the Lake Tahoe region.

SNC Tahoe student Cole Lyon grabs his skis while in the air during the freeski competition at USCSA
The Eagles bring home the medals from the 41st Annual United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships.

USCSA Nationals 2019

Sierra Nevada College emerged victorious at the 2019 41st Annual United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships, March 10-16th at Snow King resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Together, SNC Tahoe students brought home four combined team national championships and four combined individual national championships.

Alpine Results

The Eagles won 1st in both the men’s and women’s alpine team competitions, as well as the combined team title for alpine ski racing.

For the women’s alpine ski team, freshman Misel Marovt took 1st place overall, bringing home the national title. Senior Saana Ahonen took home 2nd place, and senior Eva Jazbec took home 5th place.

On the first day of the alpine competition in the women’s giant slalom, Marovt took the win with a two-run time of 1:56.69 seconds. Ahonen finished in second place, just a mere 0.63 seconds back. In women’s slalom, Marovt took her second title of the championships, finishing in 1st place with a time of 1:40.49 seconds. Ahonen finished in second, 1.37 seconds behind. Jazbec made it a clean swipe for the Eagles, finishing in 3rd place, just 2.48 seconds back. The women’s alpine team made history by sweeping the podium.

The men’s alpine team finished first in combined results as well. Adrian Rhomberg placed 1st, with Vidar Widing in 3rd, Luka Gobec in 7th, and Anton Waller in 11th.

The men’s and women’s alpine snowboard team also impressed at nationals, with both teams taking 2nd place. For the men, Marc Speake took 7th place, while Cory Skaggs took 10th. Ty Casey took 15th, David Brown took 25th, and Alex School took 29th. For the women, Calista Carlson took 6th, with Carina Logan in 12th, Breck Beishline in 18th, and Maggie Galloway in 20th.

SNC Tahoe student Anton Waller sports a tutu as he competes in the giant slalom event at USCSA NationalsAnton Waller sports a tutu
SNC Tahoe's Womens Alpine ski team takes the national championship after sweeping the podiumThe women’s championship Alpine Team
SNC skiier Saana Ahonen takes a deep turn at the 2019 USCSA NationalsSaana Ahonen takes a deep turn
Freestyle Results

The Eagles also took home awards for 1st place in men’s and women’s free ski, and 2nd place in men’s and women’s freestyle snowboard.

The women’s freeski team claimed the national title, with Vilde Johansen taking home the 1st place trophy. Bridget O’Brien took home 3rd place, with Sarah Lingg in 5th, and Gabby Dodd in 7th. The men’s free ski team also claimed the national title, with Andrew “Shaggy” Eells taking 1st place. Cole Lyon took 3rd place, Milan Peyrin took 5th, with Quinn Davis in 16th, and Sean Conroy in 17th.

The women’s freestyle snowboard team’s combined results earned them the 2nd place title as a team, with individuals taking 4th, 8th, 11th, and 13th. Calista Carlson brought home 4th place, with Carina Logan taking 8th, Breck Beishline taking 11th, and Margaret “Maggie” Galloway taking 13th. The men’s freestyle team also brought home the combined team 2nd place. David Brown won 9th place, with Alex Schoff taking 13th, Hunter Lamoureux taking 15th, Ty Casey in 25th, and Ben Hojnoski in 29th.

SNC Tahoe student Alex Schoff his the rail during the USCSA national competitionAlex Schoff on the rail
SNCs Bridget OBrien is airborne at the 2019 USCSA NationalsBridget O’Brien is airborne
SNC Tahoe student Sarah Lingg makes herself comfortable in the terrain park during USCSA nationalsSarah Lingg in the park

header image: Freeskier Cole Lyon grabs his skis midair

A Winning History

SNC Tahoe is no stranger to national championship titles at USCSA. Over the years, our teams have managed to snag dozens of titles for both our teams and the individuals on them. With our local training mountain just 5 minutes from campus, students are able to get plenty of practice in. There are over a dozen other premier ski areas within easy driving distance. Those include Squaw Valley, Northstar, Heavenly Valley, and Kirkwood. Whatever your skill level and terrain preference, it’s not far from here.

Looking for a Career in the Snow?

In SNC Tahoe’s Ski Area Management bachelor’s degree program, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the ski resort business from the pros. Intern at Lake Tahoe’s world-class resorts. Network with our alumni, the founders and managers of ski resorts and the publishers of ski magazines. Our guest speaker forum brings Presidents, CEOs, and CFOs in the winter resort industry into your classroom. Graduate with a college degree and a resume that will take you anywhere you want to go.

Students working at computers
An E.L. Wiegand Foundation Educational Technology grant will fund substantial improvements to SNC's network and online infrastructure.

SNC Receives Technology Grant

An E.L. Wiegand Foundation Educational Technology grant will fund substantial improvements to SNC’s network and online infrastructure.

Excellence in 21st century education requires 21st century technology. The E. L. Wiegand Foundation recognizes this, and has awarded $222,500 for the SNC Network Technology Project. The project will maintain and expand SNC’s network infrastructure, to enable secure audio and video traffic for two-way teleconferencing. It will also enhance and secure student services in admissions, financial aid, student accounts, academic records and library services. The E. L. Wiegand Foundation’s commitment to excellence supports SNC’s commitment to improving, maintaining and expanding a flexible hybrid learning environment in an increasingly competitive educational landscape.

The project supports the need for modern classrooms to provide increased distance-ready instruction and security. Sierra Nevada College and E. L. Wiegand recognize these needs, as they collaborate on superior access pathways for education. Sierra Nevada College is continuing to expand access to higher education in the region and beyond. SNC Tahoe, Nevada’s only private non-profit four-year university, operates two extension centers, one at Lake Tahoe Community College and the second at Truckee Meadows Community College’s Dandini Campus. SNC is also building its online instructional capability with the Canvas Learning Management System. The SNC Technology Project provides crucial support for all of these initiatives.

“With the enhancements to the network infrastructure made possible through the SNC Technology Project, Sierra Nevada College will remain well equipped to provide a wide range of educational pathways, for traditional and non-traditional students alike. Using technology, we can meet students where they are at in life, and give them due credit.”

Dr. Alan Walker, President of Sierra Nevada College

The college now offers several new pathways for students, including Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) and a Bachelor of General Studies, and is exploring offering an online Master of Business Administration. The PLA course, and the General Studies and MBA degrees, all offer adult learners new opportunities to advance their careers.

Olympic athlete and SNC Tahoe student Maddie Bowman celebrates victory at Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
Maddie Bowman, USASA champion and Olympic freeski gold medalist, on why she chose SNC Tahoe for her bachelor's degree in biology.

Maddie Bowman Goes for Gold at SNC Tahoe

At SNC Tahoe, our students come first. That makes Sierra Nevada College a top choice for pro skiers. It’s not just that we are so close to over a dozen ski resorts. Sierra-at-Tahoe, home mountain for Maddie Bowman, is just a quick drive south from SNC Tahoe. We understand what it takes for elite athletes to take the mountain. Here, they can prepare for a future beyond competition without undermining their success on the slopes.

Maddie Bowman, USASA Nationals champion and 2014 Olympic freeski halfpipe gold medalist, is changing things up in 2019. This homegrown South Tahoe Series alum, who moved to Utah in 2015 to be closer to US Ski & Snowboard training center, has moved back to her beloved Tahoe and is settling into college life at Sierra Nevada College as a junior. In between juggling twelve college credits and preparing for another season dominating the professional freeskiing circuit, Maddie took a few moments of her time to talk to us about college life and her favorite things about being back in Tahoe.

You’re still an X Games and Olympic medal contender, why was it important for you to go to college while still competing?

I want to remind myself that skiing isn’t everything which is important to remember when injuries come along and it’s time to switch career paths.

How does competing AND going to school work?

The key to making it work is the professors. I have such a specific schedule where I have to travel to train and compete and the professors are willing to work with me so I can go to school and still travel.

Why did you chose Sierra Nevada College?

I chose SNC because I needed a school that would work with my schedule as a professional athlete and still allow me to finish my degree. I can play hard and work hard here. And the SNC community has been great! They have been so welcoming an the students are very active but open to new ideas and people.

Olympic athlete and SNC Tahoe student Maddie Bowman talks with young aspiring athletes at Copper Mountain.
Olympic athlete and SNC Tahoe student Maddie Bowman gets hands on during a science lab.
Olympic Athlete and SNC Tahoe student Maddie Bowman catches air in Pyeong Chang in 2018.

What the academic experience is like?

I am blown away by the academic experience at SNC. The professors are all about understanding concepts that you can apply instead of memorizing facts. We also are graded heavily on participation which takes the pressure off on tests. And being a science student I love the amount of labs we get to create ourselves.

How does it make you feel to be back in South Lake Tahoe – your home, opposed to being in Utah?

I love Tahoe. It was good to move away for a little while but my heart is here. I love that I can go get a bike ride or beach session in in-between classes and I am so close to such amazing skiing! Plus we have the best POW!

You’re planning on coming out to the 30th annual USASA National Championships this April, Do you remember your first USASA event or USASA nationals and what are some of your best USASA South Tahoe Series memories?

I loved competing in my south shore series! It was such a cool thing to do growing up and I made lifelong friends that way. It’s also really cool because it allowed me and my brother to ski together. Nationals were also such a big deal. I was so proud representing my home mountain Sierra at Tahoe

Maddie wraps up her finals and will head straight to Copper Mountain, CO for the US Grand Prix season opener and the Dew Tour. You’ll also be able to meet Maddie Bowman at Sierra Nevada College booth at this year’s 2019 USASA National Championships April 7-12th at Copper Mountain, CO.

Originally published by USASA.org

Your Future in Ski Business

Whether or not you’re an elite athlete, you can make a professional career on the slopes. In SNC Tahoe’s Ski Area Management bachelor’s degree program, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the ski resort business from the pros. Intern at Lake Tahoe’s world-class resorts. Network with our alumni, the founders and managers of ski resorts and the publishers of ski magazines. Our guest speaker forum brings Presidents, CEOs, and CFOs in the winter resort industry into your classroom. Graduate with a college degree and a resume that will take you anywhere you want to go.

Your Time on the Mountain

Diamond Peak, the championship SNC Tahoe Ski and Snowboard Team’s home resort, is just 5 minutes from campus by free shuttle. There are over a dozen premier ski areas within easy driving distance. Those include Squaw Valley, Northstar, Heavenly Valley, and Kirkwood. Whatever your skill level and terrain preference, it’s not far from here

Rebecca Makkai's novel "The Great Believers" was named to the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2018
Rebecca Makkai's new novel, The Great Believers, was just named to the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2018.

Writers in the Woods Authors Make News

Writers in the Woods brings exciting authors to campus from all over the country for intimate readings and workshops. The monthly events give both students and the general public opportunities to meet accomplished writers in a relaxed, personal environment.

Rebecca Makkai

Writers in the Woods, Fall 2016

Rebecca Makkai’s new novel, The Great Believers, was just named to the NY Times 10 Best Books of 2018.

“Set in the Chicago of the mid-80s and Paris at the time of the 2015 terrorist attacks, Makkai’s deeply affecting novel uses the AIDS epidemic and a mother’s search for her estranged daughter to explore the effects of senseless loss and our efforts to overcome it. Her portrait of a group of friends, most of them gay men, conveys the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years and follows its repercussions over decades. Empathetic without being sentimental, her novel amply earned its place among the contenders for the Booker Prize and the National Book Award.” —The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2018

Makkai is on the faculty of SNC’s MFA in Creative Writing program. She is the Chicago-based author of the novels The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower, as well as The Great Believers, and the short story collection Music for Wartime. Her short fiction won a 2017 Pushcart Prize, and was chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years (2008-2011).


Praise for The Great Believers
“Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers is a page turner… among the first novels to chronicle the AIDS epidemic from its initial outbreak to the present—among the first to convey the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years as well as its course and repercussions…An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis.” —Michael Cunningham in The New York Times Book Review

“Makkai knits themes of loss, betrayal, friendship and survival into a powerful story of people struggling to keep their humanity in dire circumstances.” —People Magazine

“Symphonic… The Great Believers soars… magnificent… Makkai has full command of her multi-generational perspective, and by its end, The Great Believers offers a grand fusion of the past and the present, the public and the personal. It’s remarkably alive despite all the loss it encompasses. And it’s right on target in addressing how the things that the world throws us feel gratuitously out of step with the lives we think we’re leading.” —The Chicago Tribune

“Busily Dickensian, her prose a relentless engine mowing back and forth across decades… missing no chance to remind us what’s at stake… Warmly dimensional… Compulsively readable.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

“To believe in something is to have faith, and Makkai dispenses it fiercely, in defiance of understandable nihilism and despair—faith in what’s right, in the good in others, in better outcomes, in time’s ability not to heal but to make something new.” —National Book Review

“A striking, emotional journey… Makkai creates a powerful, unforgettable meditation, not on death, but rather on the power and gift of life. This novel will undoubtedly touch the hearts and minds of readers.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Luis Alberto Urrea

Writers in the Woods, Fall 2015 and Fall 2016

Luis Alberto Urrea’s novel The House of Broken Angels was named one of the NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2018.

“In Urrea’s sprawling, tender, funny and bighearted family saga — a Mexican-American novel that is also an American novel — the de La Cruz clan gathers in San Diego to celebrate the 70th birthday of its patriarch, who is dying of cancer.” —The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018

Urrea is the author of 17 books. His novels include Into the Beautiful North, an immensely popular community read choice, and The Hummingbird’s Daughter, named a best book of the year by many publications. The Devil’s Highway, Urrea’s 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.


June Sylvester Saraceno

Writers in the Woods, Founder and Fairy Godmother

June Sylvester Saraceno’s poem “The Ordinary Day Begins” is included in the anthology All We Know of Pleasure, women’s writing about sex. Her literary company in the anthology includes Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, Dorianne Laux, Denise Levertov, Adrienne Rich, Lucille Clifton, Erica Jong, Audre Lorde, and Louise Glück.

All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women is a breathtaking, eros driven, somatic poetic love letter to women’s bodies. So many of the poets who changed my life and writing live inside this book, and isn’t that the truth of it, that poets give our desires and ecstasies back to us? I read it with my whole body, dripping with delight.” ―Lidia Yuknavitch, author of “The Book of Joan” and “The Chronology of Water”

June is the founder of Writers in the Woods, chair of the English department at SNC Tahoe, and the author of the books of poetry Of Dirt and Tar and Altars Of Ordinary Light. She will be reading at an event for the anthology at the spring 2019 Associated Writing Programs conference in Portland, OR.


photo of author Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins

Writers in the Woods, Fall 2018

Claire Vaye Watkins’ longform article on Dennis Hof was recently published by the New Yorker. Hof was the (in)famous owner of several Nevada brothels, including the location of HBO’s “Cathouse,” and a posthumous Nevada State Assembly candidate. (Two days after the article was published he won the seat, despite his death on October 16th.)

Watkins is the author of the novel Gold Fame Citrus and the award-winning short story collection Battleborn. She grew up in Pahrump, Hof’s stomping grounds, and drove by two of his brothels every day on the school bus.

“A beautiful debut novel. . .Watkins’ vision is profoundly terrifying. It’s a novel that’s effective precisely because it’s so realistic — while Watkins’ image of the future is undeniably dire, there’s nothing about it that sounds implausible. . .One might think there are only a few ways to portray a landscape that has become, essentially, nothing, but Watkins writes with a brutal kind of beauty, and even in the book’s darkest moments, it’s impossible to turn away.” —The Los Angeles Times on Gold Fame Citrus


Vote graffiti on the beach in San Francisco
SNC students are leading voter registration on campus. "Voting is the most powerful weapon we have to combat tough times." - Lizzie White

Get Ready to Vote!

SNC students Ikela Lewis and Lizzie White were inspired by the current political climate to organize voter registration right on campus. Young people vote at the lowest rate of any age group, so these students are working to help change that. Over the past four decades, voter turnout among 18 to 29-year-olds has ranged between about 40 and 50%, while turnout for those 45 and older has ranged from about 65 to 75%.

“Many people say that they don’t like politics or they can’t make an informed decision about the candidates,” said White “You don’t have to love politics or subscribe to the Washington Post to realize that our country is going through some tough times, but voting is the most powerful weapon we have to combat that.”

Lizzie White

Ikela realized the importance of voting during the 2016 election cycle. “What got me interested in voter registration is simply the current events that have been going on over the last few years. 2016 was the first year I was able to vote, so I was very invested in the last election cycle. I got many of my friends and family to go out and vote, some for the very first time. It felt like I was making a difference in my community, which I really enjoyed,” he said.

Lewis is partnering with NextGen America, a non-profit political action committee focused on getting millennials to vote. He came back to school this fall determined to get his peers to vote, but “I had literally no idea how to get people registered. It just so happened that I crossed paths with Toby from NextGen, who was on campus trying to get people registered. I mentioned to him that I had a similar desire, and it just sort of worked out. Life is just really cool like that sometimes,” said Lewis.

Lizzie White could have filed an absentee ballot in her home state of Indiana, but she registered to vote in Washoe County instead because Nevada is a swing state. “I knew that my vote will carry a lot more weight here in Nevada because it’s pretty much half and half. Since Nevada is a battleground state, as little as 100 votes could sway the election in Washoe County! If just half the students at SNC would go out and vote, then we could easily determine the fate of the midterms in Nevada,” said White, who now works for NextGen America. “In addition, it takes 5 minutes to Google the candidates running in Nevada. It’s quick and easy to look up if students want to be more informed.”

Register to Vote

Last day to register in Nevada: October 7th
Ikela Lewis will be registering students at the front desk in Patterson from 5:30 to 9pm on Tuesday Sept. 25, Friday Sept. 28, Tuesday Oct. 2, and Friday Oct. 5.
Students living on campus can use SNC Tahoe as their home address to register.
Students do not need a valid Nevada drivers license to vote in Washoe County.
The Washoe County Registrar of Voters website has links to complete information about registering and voting in Washoe County.
Contact Lizzie White if you have any questions.

To vote in your home state, file for an absentee ballot. Each state has different deadlines for sending the absentee ballot application and the ballot itself.

Who Do You Want to Vote For?

VOTE411.org is a non-partisan website run by the League of Women Voters. The website aggregates candidate statements and other published information for races across the country. Enter your address for information about the candidates in your district. This will not put you on any political mailing lists. The League was founded on the eve of women’s suffrage in 1920, and has been helping for citizens’ participate in democracy ever since!

Ballotpedia Nevada is another non-partisan site with good information about candidates, issues, ballot measures, and polls. The main Ballotpedia site has information for all states.

Vote Early

Avoid election day lines!

Nevada Early Voting Dates: October 20th – November 2nd.
In Incline Village, the early voting location is the Incline Village Library.
The early voting schedule at the library is 11am – 6pm on Saturday Oct.22; Tuesday – Thursday Oct. 25 – 27; Saturday Oct. 29; Tuesday – Friday Nov. 1 – 4
The Washoe County Registrar of Voters website has a schedule for all Washoe County locations.

California Early Voting Dates: October 8th – November 6th (El Dorado and Placer County)
For El Dorado county, the location for early voting is in Placerville. For Placer County, the location to vote early is in Auburn.
If you are voting in another California county, please check your local office for official dates and locations.

An absentee ballot is another way to vote early.

Election Day is Nov. 6!

NextGen America will be offering rides from the SNC Tahoe campus to polling places.

Washoe County voters with disabilities can request accommodations through the Washoe County Registrar of Voters Office. If you are voting in a different county, contact your local polling location or the county.

Sierra Nevada College Fine Arts traveling Airstream exhibition trailer for the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts residency at Sagehen Creek Field Station in Truckee CA
July 31 - August 8
Come explore the exciting work of our gifted faculty, students, and visiting artists at public readings, lectures, and performances.

Summer 2018 MFA Residency Events

The bi-annual residencies for Sierra Nevada College’s MFA programs in Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Arts include many public readings, lectures, and performances. Come explore the work of our gifted faculty, students, and visiting artists.

All Creative Writing events are held on campus in Prim Library. Interdisciplinary Arts events are held in the Holman Arts & Media Center on Tahoe Blvd. from July 31 through August 4. On August 5 the IA program moves to the Sagehen Creek Field Station, north of the town of Truckee at 11616 Sagehen Rd, Truckee CA 96160. IA events August 6, 7, and 8 are at Sagehen Creek.

All events listed are free and open to the public.

Creative Writing Faculty   Interdisciplinary Arts Faculty

Tuesday, July 31

Image of Matt Freedman, a sculptor, graphic artist, performer, writer, and curator with a background in cartooning and anthropology.IA
Matt Freedman — Visiting Faculty Lecture
7 - 8 pm | Holman Arts & Media CenterMatt Freedman is a sculptor, graphic artist, performer, writer, and curator, with a background in cartooning and anthropology. His current work explores what happens when DIY versions of modern spectacles revive half-remembered cultural myths. Locations for his solo shows, performances, and curated projects include PS1 MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, The Kitchen (NY), Pierogi Gallery (Brooklyn), Brooklyn Academy of Music at FiveMyles, Sculpture Center (NY), and the Long Island University Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition. He is the author of the graphic journal Relatively Indolent but Relentless.

Thursday, August 2

Curator and art programmer Ashley Stull Meyers in her black leather motorcycle jacket.Los Angeles conceptual artist Rob Reynolds sits on a huge concrete block from one of his monumental outdoor installations.

Ashley Stull Meyers & Rob Reynolds — Visiting Faculty Lectures
7 - 9 pm | Holman Arts & Media Center

Ashley Stull Meyers is a writer, editor, and curator. She has curated exhibitions and public programming for arts institutions up and down the west coast, including in San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, and Portland. She is currently the northwest editor for Art Practical, and has contributed writing to Bomb Magazine, Rhizome, Arts.Black and SFAQ/NYAQ. In 2017, Stull Meyers was named Director and Curator of The Art Gym and Belluschi Pavilion at Marylhurst University.

Rob Reynolds is a Los Angeles based conceptual artist. His practice includes painting, photography, sound recording and performance, functional sculpture serving archival interests, teaching, and the open exchange of ideas. Rob’s most recent installation projects have been concerned with land use, perception and historical memory. Just Add Water (2013-2015), commissioned by the Natural History Museum of LA County, explored repressed histories of water in L.A. It included ten monumental watercolors and 13 hand screened banners with the names of nearly eight thousand people who built, fought, or were displaced or destroyed by the construction of the L.A. Aqueduct.

Friday, August 3

red ink editingCW
Student Panels
4:15 - 4:45 pm | Prim Library
MFA-Creative Writing Faculty Sampler
6 - 8 pm | Prim Library
Cuban-American textile artist Llane Alexis wearing - and holding - two of his pieces built from discarded denim scraps.IA
Llane Alexis — Visiting Faculty Lectures
7 - 8 pm | Holman Arts & Media CenterLlane Alexis is a multidisciplinary textile artist originally from Cuba. He began painting to cope with personal and political strife in his Havana barrio. Ten years ago, inspired by the never-ending waste he witnessed in the fashion industry, he began using discarded fabrics and mundane objects to make one-of-a-kind art objects from unwanted materials. He braids, stitches, and wraps the fabrics in a process of free creation that breathes life and an element of humanity into everyday, inanimate objects.

Partial view of artist Karen Krolak's piece Dictionary of Negative Space: an interdisciplinary lament.IA
Karen Krolak — Illuminating the Dictionary of Negative Space
8 - 9pm | Holman Arts & Media Center, Garage Door GalleryJoin MFA Candidate Karen Krolak as she discusses, digresses, and likely dances about her "Dictionary of Negative Space: an interdisciplinary lament." Do not despair. This is not the dusty dictionary of your youth. Inspired by a car accident that killed her mother, father, and older brother in 2012, the Dictionary of Negative Space examines the lacy spaces within the English language: the vast chasms of unnamed ideas related to mourning, trauma, and repair.

Saturday, August 4

image for "Lingua Franca", exhibit of the 2018 summer MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts graduates at Sierra Nevada College. Artists: Karen Krolak, Sarah Lillegard, Chelsea Mandell, Sam ShearIA
Lingua Franca — MFA Thesis Exhibition Reception and Graduation
7 - 9 pm | Holman Arts & Media Center, Garage Door GalleryArtists: Karen Krolak, Sarah Lillegard, Chelsea Mandell, Sam Shear
Curator: Ashley Stull Meyers
The works in Lingua Franca consider alternatives to language where traditional conversation fails. The four artists situate this negotiation amidst human gestures, images and forms in search of animation, and criticism for the fraught nature of easy words. They grapple with the possibilities of the language of materials, attempting to form a vocabulary that is yet to exist and call out the shortcomings of existing terminologies. The end result is an incomplete archive of strategies for counting what is absent.

Sunday, August 5

Photo of Dine author Brendan BashamCW
Visiting Artists Reading
with Brendan Basham, Arianne Zwartjes, and Camille Dungy
7 - 8 pm | Prim LibraryBrendan Basham is Diné, born in Alaska and raised in northern Arizona. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Santa Fe Literary Review, Red Ink, Yellow Medicine Review, Juked, and Sheepshead Review. He is visiting from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and is currently finishing his first novel.

Arianne Zwartjes grew up in mid-coast Maine, and is an essayist, poet, and wilderness EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Her most recent book is Detailing Trauma: A Poetic Anatomy, which explores in vivid, sometimes graphic detail the many types of wounds from which the human body and spirit may suffer—and heal. She is also the author of (Stitched) A Surface Opens, disem body : a tracing, and Surfacing of Excess.

Camille T. Dungy is the author of the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History and of four collections of poetry; Trophic Cascade, Smith Blue, Suck on the Marrow, and the sonnet collection What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison. Responding to the lack of African American poets in anthologies of nature poetry, Dungy edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.

Monday, August 6

Two Pines Redux
Alumni Reading Series
6 - 7 pm | Prim Library
Artist, writer, and educator Julie Weitz, wearing a sweater as colorful as her art, in front of her color photographs.

Jared Stanley & Julie Weitz — Visiting Faculty Lectures
7 - 9 pm | Sagehen Creek Field Station*

Jared Stanley was born in Arizona, grew up in Northern California, and lives in Reno, Nevada. He is the author of three collections of poetry, EARS, The Weeds and Book Made of Forest. His collaborations with the public art group Unmanned Minerals and the Intermedia Artist Megan Berner include It Calls From the Creek and Surrender. Stanley has received Fellowships from the Center for Art + Environment and the Nevada Arts Council.

Julie Weitz is a visual artist, writer and educator based in Los Angeles. Her videos and photographs consider the psychological, physiological and social dimensions of virtual experience, and her installations examine our bodily relationship to the screen and moving image. Weitz’s work has been featured in Artforum, Art in America, The L.A. Times, The New York Times, L.A. Confidential, Photograph Magazine, Hyperallergic and on KCRW's Art Talk. She is a regular contributor at Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles.

Tuesday, August 7

Author Steven ChurchCW
Reading, Conversation & Book Signing
with Steven Church
4 - 5 pm | Prim LibrarySteven Church's latest book, I'm Just Getting to the Disturbing Part: On Work, Fear, and Fatherhood, was just released from Outpost19. He is also the author of The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record, Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents, The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst, Ultrasonic: Essays and One with the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters between Humans and Animals.

Two Pines Reading
Graduates Reading Series
7 - 8 pm | Prim Library
Photo of American interdisciplinary artist Macon ReedConceptual artist Macon Reed working on an installation for the Whitney Museum

Macon Reed & Roman De Salvo — Visiting Faculty Lectures
7 - 9 pm | Sagehen Creek Field Station*

Macon Reed works in sculpture, installation, video, radio documentary, painting, and participatory projects. Her work has shown at many venues including PULSE NYC, BRIC Media Arts, ABC No Rio, The Kitchen, Roots & Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, ICA Baltimore, and the Athens Museum of Queer Arts in Greece. Reed studied Radio Documentary at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and Physical Theater at the Dah International School in Belgrade.

Roman De Salvo is an American conceptual artist whose sculpture and installations utilize everyday objects and materials in inventive and unexpected ways. His work combines his interest in craft, technology, language, and materials with wit and play. De Salvo’s work has been featured in the 2000 Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Giverny Garden Projects at the Musée d’Art Américain, (France); the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CN); and American Idyll for the Public Art Fund in Brooklyn, NY.

Wednesday, August 8

Graduates from the 2014 low residency Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program held in IrelandCW
Graduation Ceremony
4 - 5 pm | Patterson Lawn
Sierra Nevada College Fine Arts traveling Airstream exhibition trailer for the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts residency at Sagehen Creek Field Station in Truckee CASound artist Gabie Strong sets up her equipment for a performance during Sierra Nevada College's MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts residency.

MFAIA Open House
5 - 9 pm | Sagehen Creek Field Station*

Meet our students and faculty, see their work on location, have a snack, and experience a sound performance by visiting faculty Gabie Strong.

Gabie Strong is a Southern California artist and musician who experiments with sound performance, radio broadcasting, environmental installation, and video. Her work is a feminist exploration of the effect of living in the spatial disorganization of urban, everyday life. She often collaborates with other artists, musicians, and poets to create work that embodies the particulars of a specific lived experience. Her work has been presented at many venues including The Hammer Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts, Knowledges at Mount Wilson Observatory, High Desert Test Sites, and LACMA.

Two Pines Reading
Graduates Reading Series
7 - 8 pm | Prim Library

* Sagehen Creek Field Station is located at 11616 Sagehen Rd, Truckee, California 96160

Sierra Nevada College's Master's of Fine Arts programs guide creative students through a uniquely practical process in crafting work which is both thrilling and marketable. Our low-residency schedules in Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Arts are designed for working adults. Students work closely with accomplished faculty mentors during distance-learning semesters. Then twice a year, students, faculty, and visiting artists all come together at the college for a week of creative synergy.

Learn More
Images of SNC Professor Rick Normington at his retirement party and in his youth
“Every student I can assist to have a more fulfilling life, well, that is something that will live on and have an impact after I can’t teach anymore.”

Rick Normington

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of beloved SNC Professor Rick Normington.

As a professor, Rick touched the lives of countless students. He informed, coached, inspired and pushed them to accomplish their biggest goals. Rick once said: “If I look at the accomplishments in my whole life, I’d have to say that the differences that I’ve made in the lives of students are the most rewarding.” The long list of teaching awards he earned here, including Distinguished Advising (2009), Distinguished Teaching (2010), and Student Government Association Faculty of the Year (2010), attest to his excellence in the classroom.

“He was, quite simply, the best. (I was) honored to have even known him.”

Scott Kiernan, Class of 2013

Rick was a full-time faculty member at Sierra Nevada College from 2006 to 2014, and continued teaching online courses after his retirement. He served as the Dean of Business, and as the Dean of Continuing and Online Education. As the Harold Walter Siebens Entrepreneurship Chair at SNC Tahoe, Rick revamped the entrepreneurship curriculum and quadrupled enrollment in the major. In 2012, the Sierra Nevada college Board of Trustees granted him an honorary doctorate. In 2014, his faculty colleagues demonstrated their deep respect for him by awarding him the rank of Associate Professor and Professor Emeritus.

“The world has another angel. Rick Normington was an incredible friend and mentor.”

Kendra Wong, SNC Business Department Chair, Associate Professor – Business

Rick was a passionate educator fully committed to hands-on learning. He established the Jale and Warren Trepp Business Plan Competition on the SNC campus, where he coached many SNC teams to success in the Nevada Governor’s Cup and Tri-State Business Plan competitions. His dedicated and effective coaching earned him the 2011 Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology Faculty Advisor Special Recognition Award.

“Rick was amazing, smart, sharp-witted and kind. Excellent teacher and colleague.”

Julie Foster, former SNC staff

Rick Normington came to Sierra Nevada College after over 30 years in the telecommunications industry, where he retired as the Vice President of the Public Sector and Education Markets with Pacific Bell and SBC (now AT&T). He was instrumental in bringing virtual private networking (VPN) to business communications, which greatly improved the ability of major companies to work and communicate remotely. He was also an early advocate for bringing technology into education. In the 1990s, Normington managed a statewide initiative that connected 7,000 California schools and libraries to the Internet.

Despite his business achievements, Professor Normington identified himself as a teacher first and foremost. He inspired his students and colleagues, not only with his successes, but with his strength and determination in the face of adversity. After he was diagnosed with ALS in 2007, he continued to teach, coach, and contribute despite physical hurdles. Continuing to use what Rick taught us to impact the world in a positive way, can become our ongoing tribute to a life lived selflessly in service of a greater good. In the face of this loss, we take comfort in Rick’s own words:

“Every student I can assist to have a more fulfilling life, well, that is something that will live on and have an impact after I can’t teach anymore.”

A Celebration of Life and Reception for Rick Normington will be held
Thursday, January 18th, 11am
St. Clement’s Episcopal Church
2376 Zinfandel Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

In lieu of flowers, it was Rick’s wish that donations be made in his name to:
– the ALS Association
– the COSMOS (California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science) program at the University of California, Davis
– or the charity of your choice