Meet the AWP Staff

Cynthia Sherman

Cynthia Sherman

Executive Director

Cynthia Sherman joined AWP in 2012 as the Associate Director of Conferences & Bookfair Manager. In 2019, as the Director of Conferences, she presided over the Portland AWP Conference, the most successful in the organization’s history. Cynthia has over twenty-five years of experience in meetings and exhibits management. She was awarded the Certified Meeting Professional designation from the Events Industry Council, which recognizes expertise in the meetings industry. She continues to bring her ability to listen, analyze, and lead—thoughtfully and enthusiastically—to her leadership of the organization. Cynthia looks forward to building a more welcoming and inclusive community.

Senior Staff

Supriya Bhatnagar

Supriya Bhatnagar

Director of Publications

Supriya Bhatnagar has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India, and a BA in nonfiction writing and editing and an MFA in creative nonfiction from George Mason University. Her short stories have appeared in Femina and 4Indianwoman.com. Her memoir, and then there were three..., was published in 2010 by Serving House Books. Essays from this book have appeared in Perigee and Artful Dodge. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Annette Bousquet

Annette Bousquet

Director of Finance & Operations

Annette Bousquet is a strategic and tactical financial leader with over twenty-five years of financial, accounting, and operational experience. She has driven the success of large and small enterprises, including for-profits, nonprofits, start-ups, and multimillion-dollar businesses. After a twelve-year career with Bank of America in San Francisco and London, she moved to India to build the microenterprise and microfinance capacity of a local poverty program. Upon her return to California, she became the financial leader for two international nonprofits and multiple social enterprise start-ups. Annette has a BS in international trade and an international MBA. She has a passion for traveling internationally, exploring trails near and far, sea kayaking, and being carried away by works of fiction and poetry.

Colleen Cable

Colleen Cable

Director of Conferences

Colleen Cable earned her MFA in creative writing at the University of Maryland, where she worked as an events planner for the admissions office. She also worked as a program coordinator for Gettysburg College’s Center for Public Service and as a volunteer for the Maryland Writer’s Association. She writes fiction.

Miranda Gonzalez

Miranda González

Director of Membership Services

Miranda González holds an MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso and has taught English in various capacities throughout the course of her career. She joined AWP in 2020 and now serves as the director of membership services, where she strives to connect both institutional and individual members with the resources they need to thrive. She enjoys meandering in the company of a good audio book and writes fiction in her free time.

Juanita Lester

Juanita Lester

Director of Communications & Technology

Juanita Lester earned an MA in publications design from the University of Baltimore and a nonprofit marketing and strategic communications certificate from Arizona State University. She joined AWP as their first director of social media and has over ten years in leadership experience. Juanita is now the director of the AWP communications department, managing a team that oversees all digital and social media communications, graphic design and branding, and year-round Virtual AWP programming. Juanita hopes to complete her own novel one day. She loves music, dancing, traveling, and spending time with her family. 

Chris Grace

Chris Grace

Associate Director of Conferences

Chris Grace received a bachelor of science degree in travel and tourism management from Clemson University. He has been a convention and event planner for over twenty years. He ran his own business while living in Chicago, where most of his projects were medical education conferences. He also enjoyed donating his event planning expertise to events for the Chicago Deaf and LGBT organizations he belonged to. He has been a hobby-level writer for most of his life but just began a master's program in creative writing and fiction. He looks forward to combining his love for both convention planning and writing with AWP!

Jason Gray

Jason Gray

Associate Editor

Jason Gray has worked in publishing for fifteen years, managing journals publishing programs for university presses and editing for an environmental organization, literary magazines, and, from 2015–2018, AWP. He is the author of two full-length books of poetry, Radiation King and Photographing Eden, and holds creative writing graduate degrees from Ohio State and Johns Hopkins. In his off-hours, he is an avid photographer of wildlife and natural environments.

Pamela Mills

Pamela Mills

Development & Grants Administrator

Pamela is a senior development and management professional with over thirty years experience in higher education, nonprofit organizations, and public broadcasting. She holds a BA and MEd degree in psychology and education from American University. Previously Pamela was AWP’s director of development from 2013–2018. She was associate director for Foundation and Corporate Relations at George Mason University and held several positions as a director, senior manager and producer with PBS and KQED San Francisco. Pamela is passionate about books, travel, theater, and museums. She is thrilled to rejoin AWP and contribute to AWP’s growth and success.

Staff

Rachel Balzano

Rachel Balzano

Communications Coordinator

Rachel Balzano is a Brooklyn-based writer who earned her BA in English and a minor in writing from Ithaca College. She has a background in copyediting and a lifelong love of reading. She’s passionate about connecting with people through literature, oat milk lattes, and the fact that Paddington 2 should’ve won an Oscar.

Claire Chambers

Claire Chambers

Marketing Project Coordinator

Claire Chambers earned her BS in English Composition from Towson University in 2019. She has a background in customer service, hospitality, and e-commerce industries. In her free time, Claire enjoys singing, making playlists, hiking, and attending vintage clothing expos.


Sara Elbayya

Sara Elbayya

Graphic Production Designer

Sara Elbayya graduated from Marymount University with a bachelor's degree in graphic design. While studying at Marymount, she was fortunate to be given the opportunity to design large school publications such as the literary arts magazine and the school newspaper. Before coming to AWP, Sara interned as a graphic designer at the National Air and Space Museum and worked with a Palestinian jewelry boutique called Canava as their graphic designer and social media manager. When she is not designing, she can be found binge-watching Netflix dramas or traveling with her family.

Kevin Hon

Kevin Hon

Web Project Coordinator

Kevin Hon completed his MSE in computer science at John Hopkins University. He has many years of experience as a software engineer focused primarily in the education industry. In his free time, he enjoys reading, jogging, and playing tennis.

Autumn Hutson

Autumn Hutson

Membership Assistant

Autumn Hutson earned her BA in English with a creative writing concentration from George Mason University in 2020. She had a fiction piece published for the first time in 805 Lit + Art the following year and hopes to have more work out in the world soon. Autumn's interests include reading fiction, visiting art museums, and discovering new music.

Claire Johnson

Claire Johnson

Bookfair Manager

Claire Johnson is an Oregon-based literature enthusiast who earned her BA in English and a minor in business administration from the University of Oregon. During her studies, she was a member of the sports marketing club and managed her first spa. Her dedication to hospitality and helping others relocated her to Florida and then to Texas to work for the largest global hotel chain. Growing her expertise by working in multiple hotel departments (sales & events, accounting, front office, and spa), she developed her extensive knowledge of customer service. With her experience as a general manager and Leadership Engagement Award winner, Claire prides herself on supporting others and creating meaningful experiences for those around her.

Aubrey Kamppila

Aubrey Kamppila

Conference Events Manager

Aubrey Kamppila earned her BA in English with a writing concentration and a studio art minor from Gettysburg College in 2018. Before joining AWP, she worked as an editorial intern for the Friedrich Agency, the Gettysburg Review, and the Studio Potter journal. In her free time, she paints, hikes, and writes poetry and creative nonfiction.

Abhishek Khadka

Abhishek Khadka

Senior Web Developer

Abhishek Khadka completed his bachelor’s degree with a major in computer science and a minor in mathematics from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Before joining AWP, he worked as a web developer for Wells Fargo and UBS. He is planning to get a master’s degree in data science and cybersecurity. In his free time, he loves to cook, travel, play guitar and drums, ski, hang out with friends, and play soccer.

Micaela Tore

Micaela Tore

Membership Coordinator

Micaela Tore completed her MA in Literary & Textual Studies in 2019 at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where she currently lives with her pet bunny, Neville. She has a focus in poetry, but loves reading fiction and nonfiction as well. She is passionate about connecting with others through literature. In her free time, Micaela loves to cook, bake, knit, and visit local coffee shops.