Cathy served from 1967-70 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand. She was a classroom history /geography teacher from 1970-1987. From June 1987-October 1988, she was on the staff of National Geographic Society's Geography Education Division and from 1986-93, she was on the faculty of the National Geographic Summer Geography Institutes. She was the Missouri State Geographic Bee Coordinator for the National Geographic Society for 13 years and continues to serves as a judge and reader at annual state-level Missouri Geographic Bee. In the fall of 2008, she published her first book, Notes From Breakfast Creek: A Look at the World. Her weekly column “Notes From Breakfast Creek” and “Notes from Boomerang Creek” have appeared in the Boone County Journal, Ashland, MO since 1994 and the Columbia Daily Tribune since 1997.
James W. Erwin, Treasurer.
Jim Erwin graduated from Missouri State University with a B.A. in mathematics. After service in the United States Army, he obtained an M.A. in history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia Law School. Mr. Erwin practiced law in St. Louis for 38 years. He is the author of four books from The History Press: Guerrillas in Civil War Missouri (2012), Guerrilla Hunters in Civil War Missouri (2013), The Homefront in Civil War Missouri (2014), and St. Charles, Missouri: A Brief History (2017). He and his wife Vicki, also an author, owned a bookstore in the Main Street Historic District in St. Charles for eight years. In addition to his involvement with Unbound, Mr. Erwin is vice chair of the Kirkwood (Missouri) Arts Commission, Treasurer of Educare Learning Center, Inc., a nonprofit that leases space to Head Start and provides assistance to low income children, and President of the St. Louis Civil War Roundtable.
Peggy O’Connor, Secretary
Peggy was raised in a large Irish family in Ossining, New York, home of Hudson River views and Sing Sing Prison. Her business career began just after high school as an insurance policy typist, progressed through years in corporate employee benefits and compensation, and finally to managing the worldwide licensed businesses and a department store for a major retailer. Along the way, she lived in New York City, in Boulder, Colorado—where the restaurant business funded a BA in Humanities—twice in Kentucky, and in the Ft. Worth/Dallas area in Texas, before she and her husband picked Columbia in 2000 as their final destination. Deciding that she wanted to work just as many hours for a third of the pay, she completed secondary English teacher certification and a master’s, only to self-study for the state test for special education, in order to actually get a job. She has spent the last nine years being really bad at retirement.
In 2018, Jenelle Beavers joined the UM System Office of the General Counsel after serving as the Associate Director of MU’s Honors College. Before moving back to Missouri, she spent eight years as a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice. In 2011, she earned a special commendation from the Assistant Attorney General for Outstanding Service for her work on behalf of U.S. taxpayers. From 2005-2008, she was a litigation associate in the Washington D.C. office of Latham & Watkins where she represented individuals, non-profit and for-profit entities, and other institutional clients in white collar and governmental investigations and civil litigation. Originally from Kansas City, MO, Ms. Beavers holds a B.A. in English from MU. She earned her J.D. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan where she was an editor of the Michigan Law Review. Ms. Beavers also currently serves on the Missouri Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness and the Kinder Institute Advisory Board.
In addition to Anne Deaton’s accomplished professional career (which includes positions as Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies at MU; Deputy Director of Missouri Division of Aging; and Director of the Missouri Division of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities), she has been deeply involved in a wide range of charities throughout the community, including: co-chair of the MU Family Friendly Task Force; founding member of Step-Up, an organization that helps Rwandan women impacted by genocide; advisory boards of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurological Disorders, the MU School of Social Work, and Parent Link; the executive boards of the Columbia United Way and the Central Missouri Food Bank, and numerous other boards and organizations. Anne conceived and co-founded the Boone County Children’s Grove Project; is a member of Putting Kids First Coalition; mentored and helped MU’s founder of Tiger Pantry develop the pantry; is a member of Griffith’s Leadership Society for Women; founded Mizzou Women Give (a philanthropy project for MU women and alums); is a Douglass High School Rotary Club mentor; and is the honorary chair of MU’s Pride of Place Committee. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, and along with her husband, MU Chancellor Emeritus Brady Deaton, is the co-founder of the Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development.
Yassine Dguidegue is a grateful member of Columbia and Mizzou community. Prior to his move to the US, Yassine dedicated his personal and professional interests to examine issues of community development, racism, ethnic conflicts, and extremism. Yassine’s interests in such issues are rooted in his social background: he grew up in Sidi Moussa, a neighborhood in Sale, where his interests in religious controversies sparked. Throughout his academic and personal journey, Yassine invested in learning and contributing to dialogues and events on religious and political tensions in Morocco, Tunisia, the Netherlands, Arkansas, California, and Missouri. His life’s motto: People live in different realities, and our first task is to bridge our divergent realities.
Sue Dunkin holds a B.A. in English from Webster University and a M.Ed. from the University of Missouri, with additional postgraduate courses in linguistics, reading, and children's literature. Within her 18-year span as an English and literature instructor, her classes included elementary, secondary and university students. As an avocation, she served as a docent at the Museum of Art and Archeology and was elected to the Museum Associates Board, a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, whose fundraising efforts support the museum's educational programs and acquisitions. Her interest in communications and curriculum development led to positions in writing patient-education brochures and in coordinating statewide physician continuing medical education programs for the University of Missouri School of Medicine. In 1990, she became the School's first full-time Director of Development and subsequently served as Executive Director of Advancement until retiring in 2013. Concurrently, she was Executive Director of the University of Missouri Medical School Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) corporation, whose mission is raising scholarship funds, faculty endowments, and research grants. These days you can find Susan back in the classroom: either as an MU student, taking an Italian literature class or as a tutor with Literacy Action Corps.
Anand Prahlad is a professor and Director of Creative Writing in the department of English at the University of Missouri, where he teaches courses in creative writing, folklore, disability studies, and film. His publications include several books of poetry, including As Good As Mango, several books on black folklore, including Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music, and a memoir, The Secret Life of a Black Aspie, which recently won the Permafrost Nonfiction Book Prize in 2017.
Stephanie Williams is the Director of Sales and Marketing at the University Press of Kentucky. Her previous work at the University of Missouri Press led to her devotion Unbound. She is actively involved with improving diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes as part of her involvement with the Association of University Presses. In an earlier version of her life, Williams was a poet, a violinist, and an actor who very briefly appears in the Steven Soderbergh film Schitzopolis.
Alex George, Executive Director
Alex George is the author of six novels, including A GOOD AMERICAN and SETTING FREE THE KITES, both of which were chosen as Indie Next picks by America’s independent booksellers. His next novel is due to be published by Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan, next summer. A native of England, Alex read law at Oxford University and worked for eight years as a corporate lawyer in London and Paris. He has lived in the Midwest for the last fifteen years. In addition to writing books and running the Unbound Book Festival, he also runs his own law firm and recently opened Skylark Bookshop, an independent bookstore in downtown Columbia, Missouri.