Spring 2019 Contributor Bios

559 JOU-RNAL is a zine produced by the staff of SJR Online. It is small, radical, rare, and in-print only — and we love it. Here are our contributors:

Averie Basch is a 20-year old junior from California State University, Fresno. Averie is a Smittcamp Family Honors College Scholar with a major in English and a minor in Creative Writing. She has always enjoyed reading and writing, so she hopes to build a career as a professor of literature, eventually publishing both academic works and novels. Averie loves being able to experience different lives and emotions through writing, whether it be poetry or fiction, but she also loves broadening her mind with essays.

Cedar Dobson is a visual artist, photographer, videographer, musician, and composer. Cedar specializes in traditional Irish and Scottish music (plays the Irish Tin Whistle and flute), composes virtual orchestral film scores, and creates art inspired by nature.

Ronald Dzerigian is the author of Rough Fire (2018). His poems have appeared in the Australian Book Review, Comstock Review, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, Salamander, and others. He received his MFA from California State University, Fresno, and maintains residence in the San Joaquin Valley with his wife and two daughters.

Roman Elrich is an undergraduate English major and creative writing minor at Fresno State. When he’s not writing short stories or creative essays about everything from gender to dragons you might find them sewing, going on long walks by themself, showing friends internet videos, or reading until his eyes hurt.

Ashley Ferdinandsen is a student at Fresno State University majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Creative Writing. She has tutored English at Clovis High School, taught summer reading and writing classes, and is constantly working on solving the mystery of her missing car keys. When Ashley is not writing, studying, or creating messy crafts with her awesome students in Clovis Unified’s after-school program, she can either be found gardening or lost in a good Jane Austen novel. She lives in Fresno with her husband and two mischievous kittens.

Esmeralda Gamez is a poet in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Fresno State. She is an editorial assistant for The Normal School and heavily involved with CWAA. When she is not in class, in a meeting or at one of her jobs, you can find her writing poetry or binge watching bad horror movies.

Nohemi Samudio Gamis is currently an English major in her junior year at Fresno State. She is a twenty-one-year-old proud Mexican woman with a love for all things Marvel, science fiction, calligraphy, and classical music. In recent years, Nohemi has ventured into creative writing and hopes to continuously write throughout the remainder of her time at Fresno State and in the years after.

Angel Gonzales is a Trans writer from California. She received her undergraduate degree from UC Irvine and is currently attending Fresno State's MFA Program for Fiction.

Ahlam Khadra is a current graduate student in the MA English Literature program.  She lived in Palestine for six years where she had received her B.A degree in English Literature.  She is currently working as an English tutor in Huntington Learning Center. She enjoys working with organizations that benefit students’ learning skills in all subjects.  She has a passion for writing free-style poems, short stories and essays relevant to love, abuse and war topics. She believes that one day, she will be able to make a difference in the world.  She is a motivated person and is always prepared to help others.

Erica Ramirez-Ledesma is a student majoring in English Education with an emphasis in Linguistics. Her passion for reading and writing began when she checked a book out for the first time from her local public library. She spent her days as a child reading books and now works as a student assistant at the Arne Nixon Center located in the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State. As she embarks on the journey to becoming an English teacher, she hopes to inspire her future students to pick up a book and express themselves through writing.

Jacqueline Runyon is a student at Fresno State University. This semester she graduates with a Bachelors Degree in Studio Art with a primary focus in Figurative Art. She plans on furthering her studies by working on an Masters Degree in Figurative Art at an art school in California. She will be showing in galleries locally.

Manivone Sayasone is a second-year fiction candidate in Fresno State’s M.F.A program in creative writing. She is a writing consultant and an editorial intern for The Normal School. Her fiction has been published in the Merced River Literary Review and her artwork has been featured in Zhinegeist. For leisure, she draws, plays videogames, and goes out for walks all while imagining a life without having to worry about imminent deadlines.

Abigail Wise is an author, poet, and blogger. She grew up in the Sanger and Fresno area and is obtaining a degree in English Education with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Abigail is primarily a fiction writer and is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Chelsey See Xiong identifies as Hmong American. She has published about Asian Americans in ethnic publications, including A-List Magazine, The Hmong Tribune, The kNOw Youth Media, Txhawb Magazine, She is a member of the Hmong American Writers' Circle, and she started the online platforms and led the digital editorial work for Asian Pacific Review at her alma mater, California State University, Fresno. She worked on the Hmongstory 40 project, where she supported programs, communications, organized volunteers, researched, and wrote for the exhibition. She received the Critical Refugee Collective grant given by the University of California Critical Refugee Collective in 2017, for which she funded the printing of the zine series MAI. In 2018, she helped organize the Legacies of War LaoNow2018 Creative Feast in NYC. She also co-founded and is currently the co-editor of maivmai, a digital Hmong American Literary Press. You can find her poetry in Files, Cockroaches and Poetry (2017), published by the Chicanx Writers and Artists Association at Fresno State.

Jer Xiong is a Hmong American from Chico, CA. She received her BA in English at CSU, Chico and is currently an MFA student at CSU, Fresno, focusing on creative nonfiction, but also likes to write poetry and fiction. She writes on her Hmong heritage and culture and thinks about what it means to be an American. Jer has been a student editor for Watershed Review and an intern for The Normal School. She has been a writing tutor, a youth mentor, and a first-year writing instructor.