Erin Elizabeth Smith, Creative Director

Erin Elizabeth Smith serves as the Creative Director of the Sundress Academy for the Arts at Firefly Farms. She is also the founder and managing editor of Sundress Publications and the author of The Fear of Being Found (Three Candles Press, 2008), The Naming of Strays (Gold Wake Press, 2011), and Down: The Alice Poems, forthcoming from Agape Editions. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals including Ecotone, Mid-American, 32 Poems, New Delta Review, The Florida Review, Cimarron Review, Third Coast, and Crab Orchard. Smith earned her PhD in Creative Writing from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi and is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Tennessee where she teaches poetry writing and literature. She is also the Managing Editor for Sundress Publications and The Wardrobe.

Joseph Minarick, Chief of Operations at Firefly Farms

Raised in Oak Ridge, TN, Joseph Minarick received his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Excelsior College in Albany, New York. He enlisted in the Army in 1999 and commissioned as an Armor Officer in 2004. He is currently the Plans Officer for the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Knoxville. Minarick's interests in Appalachian history and sustainable development led him to co-found Firefly Farms with Dr. Erin Elizabeth Smith in 2012.

Tasha Fouts, Writer-in-Residence

Tasha Fouts received her MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University. Her work has appeared in Salt Hill, Bateau, Glass, Birds Piled Loosely, and Small Portions. She is a co-founder and an editor at Packingtown Review and co-hosts the podcast, Adventures in Television. Though she currently resides in Knoxville, she will always call Alaska home.

Katie Culligan, Staff Director

Katie Culligan is a nonfiction writer and poet from Buffalo, NY. Her work has appeared in Columbia Journal and American Chordata and was awarded the 2018 Margaret Woodruff Award for Creative Writing. She serves as copyeditor for The Daily Beacon, as well as the reviews editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection. She teaches ESL many places, including the University of Tennessee Writing Centers.

Brynn Martin, Literary Arts Director

Brynn Martin is a Kansas native living in Knoxville where she received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Tennessee and currently works as the Literary Arts Director for Sundress Academy for the Arts. Her poetry has appeared in Contrary Magazine, Yes Poetry, and Crab Orchard Review.

Katherine Bell, SAFTA Films Director

Katherine Bell is a fiction writer from Maryland who earned her MFA from Eastern Washington University, where she worked as a fiction editor for Willow Springs Literary Magazine. She currently serves as the Director of SAFTA Films with the Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her short fiction has appeared in Grub Street Literary Magazine, The Fem, and Connotation Press, among others.

Lauren Elaine Specht, Development Director

Lauren Elaine Specht is a PhD student of Rhetoric who likes to think, write, and procrastinate about macro- and microcosms and all kinds of relationships. Originally from a droughted dry-land farming community in the west, she lives in Knoxville where she loves to sit on the porch with cats and watch fireflies and rainfall.

Samantha Edmonds, Community Outreach Director

Samantha Edmonds is an MFA candidate at the University of Tennessee, where she serves as the Fiction Editor for Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts. Her fiction and nonfiction appear in Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Indiana Review, VICE, Plougshares, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, among others. She currently lives in Knoxville.

Chloe Hanson, Fundraising Director

Chloe Hanson is a PhD candidate at the University of Tennessee. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Contemporary Verse 2, Pretty Owl, Arsenic Lobster, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, and Calamus. When she has time, she also loves to write and perform music, drink beer, and play with her dogs.

Ellen Orner, Sundress Reading Series Coordinator

Ellen Orner is a staff member of the University of Tennessee School of Art. She writes creative nonfiction, mostly about her hometown of Gary, Indiana. She earned her BA from Valparaiso University and lived for a while in Missoula, Montana. Since moving to Knoxville, she has enjoyed hiking in the Smokies and swimming in the quarries. She served as the nonfiction editor for Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts and reads for Sundress Publication's Best of the Net Anthology. More than anything, she loves a cutthroat game of ping pong.

Nik Buhler, Editorial Intern

Nik Buhler is a queer poet from middle Tennessee who attends the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where they are a senior who studies English Literature and Philosophy. When they are not at home chainsmoking, drinking beer, and playing with their adorable cats, Buhler can be found in coffee shops and libraries craving fries, furiously typing out papers due the next day, and screaming about the existentialist movements influence on modern literature.

Hannah Kitterman, Editorial Intern

Hannah Kitterman is a native Tennessean currently living in Knoxville. She graduated from the University of Tennessee last May where she studied English Literature and French. During her time at UTK, Hannah was a member of the Pride of the Southland Marching Band where she played the trombone and gained experience with heartbreaking losses and feverous fandom. Hannah is currently serving as a member of AmeriCorps with I Bike KNX, a nonprofit that advocates for safe bicycling habits. You can find her at various intersections in Knoxville counting the number of pedestrians and people riding bicycles or reading with a cup of coffee while on the lookout for dogs to pet. She has never met a burrito or a dog that she did not love.

Gregory Warren, Facilities Engineer at Firefly Farms

Gregory Warren received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 2012, around the same time he began supporting improvement projects, maintenance, and daily operations at Firefly Farms. When he is not performing duties at the Oak Ridge National Lab, with the Army National Guard, or at Firefly Farms, he can be found riding motorcycles or tinkering in his home workshop.

| Sundress Academy for the Arts | 195 Tobby Hollow Ln | Knoxville, TN 37931 | (865) 560-6106 | |