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.
Sunitha Bosecker is the owner of Sunitha Lea, LLC, where she helps small businesses and non-profit organizations elevate their marketing efforts. Sunitha is currently pursuing a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling at Stephens College and has a bachelor's degree in public relations and marketing from Missouri State University. Sunitha enjoys volunteering and has served on committees for Great Circle's Diamond Night and Relay for Life. She has also volunteered at local non-profits such as the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, Coyote Hill, Safe Passage, and Room at the Inn. When it's time to unwind, you will find Sunitha traveling the globe, reading nonfiction books, watching documentaries, or searching for the best nachos. Sunitha currently lives in Columbia, Missouri.
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.
Mikel Fields is the owner of Castello Branco Fields LLC, a brand strategy consulting company that manages strategy for personal brands and businesses. He grew up in Columbia, played basketball at Hickman High School, and received an athletic scholarship from Columbia College where he completed a triple major degree in Sports Management, Business Management, & Marketing. In his spare time he enjoys socializing with friends and meeting new people, riding his bike on the MKT/Katy trail, watching movies with his wife and daughter, and traveling. Two of his favorite books are The Soul of Leadership, by Deepak Chopra, and, 11 lessons on leadership, by Bill Russell.
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.
Amy Wilder holds a BFA in Visual Culture from the University of Central Missouri and a MA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, Santa Fe. After completing her MA in 2018, Amy spent seven months in Hanoi, Vietnam while remotely editing various books, and tutoring business professionals in advanced English grammar and pronunciation. She then returned to her home state and, in April, took the position of Director of Marketing and Communications at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, a mid-Missouri cultural institution for nearly 60 years. She previously spent three years writing arts and culture feature stories for the Columbia Daily Tribune, and wrote freelance art criticism for several publications in the Kansas City area prior to that. She has been accepted to the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts' prestigious Open Studio Residency program, was previously a finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition in New Orleans, and was an assistant teacher of painting and drawing at Interlochen Center for the Arts in 2002.
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.