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2016 CWAC Judges

The below-listed individuals donated their time and expertise to evaluating this year's contest entries. 


Mike Bierschenk (Poetry)
Mike Bierschenk is a graduate of Ohio State's Creative Writing MFA program (Poetry, 2009). He now works as an administrator and educational technologist in the Department. of English, but you'll also find him on stage with the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus and on the web at his recipe blog, Optional Kitchen.

Stuart Brand (Music)
Mild mannered Lab Supervisor by day, wild Irish fiddler by night, Stuart Brand mixes a background in classical music with the traditional dance music of Ireland, playing in two central Ohio bands, the Celtic rock oriented 9 Castle Close, and the traditional Irish of Fir Shan. He most recently studied violin with Charles Wetherbee, the former concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony. As for the Irish fiddle, he plays in a style heavily influenced by the regional sounds of the music of County Sligo, Ireland.

Shelly Casto  (Art)
Shelly Casto is Director of Education at the Wexner Center for the Arts and has been on staff there since 2002.  She holds a BA in Art History from Oberlin College and an MA in Art Education from the Ohio State University. 

She has a particular interest in interdisciplinary education and ecology-focused contemporary art.

Deborah Barrett Price (Music)
Deborah Barrett Price is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Connection, Inc. (CMC). She also serves on the faculty of Denison University teaching viola, violin and chamber music and is a Yamaha Certified String Educator Clinician.  In recognition of her work as the Founder and Artistic Director of CMC, Debbie received the 2013 Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Alumni Achievement Award and was named the 2004 Columbus Symphony Orchestra Community Educator of the Year receiving commendations from the Ohio State Senate and House of Representatives.

During the summer seasons, Debbie serves on the faculties of the Columbus Suzuki Institute, ASTA/OSU Midwest String Teachers Conference, Midwest Young Artists Chamber Music Workshop (IL).  In past summers, she directed a performance tour in Austria and the Czech Republic, and in 2010 directed CMC Italia, an extension program of CMC, Inc., performing and conducting the CMC Italia Chamber Orchestra in Bonefro and Rome, Italy including a performance at Italy's esteemed Santa Cecilia Conservatory.  She has prepared and mentored numerous string quartets and chamber ensembles performing on NPR's From the Top and medaling in national competitions including St. Paul String Quartet Competition, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Discover National Chamber Music Competition (IL), and the Coltman Chamber Music Competition (TX). Debbie also serves as principal viola of Opera Project Columbus and the McConnell Arts Chamber Orchestra.

MaryKatherine Ramsey (Fiction)
MaryKatherine Ramsey is an MFA graduate from The Ohio State University originally from Iowa City, Iowa. She earned her Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati.

Her writing can be found in The Furnace Review, Short North, Limestone, and River Teeth.

Stephanie Rond (Art)
Stephanie Rond is a Columbus, Ohio based street artist whose colorful and feminist work can be seen on walls around the city, both inside and out.

Stephanie attended Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University. The Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Alive newspapers tapped her 97 piece solo show, titled Dangerous Impermanence, on their coveted list of Best Art Exhibits of 2014. She is co-founder of Creative Arts of Women (CAW), founder of the website Women Street Artists and owns several galleries.

Find out more about Stephanie here.

Jay Ross (Art)
An Admissions Counselor at Columbus College of Art and Design, Jay Ross is also a freelance designer and holds a BFA in Illustration with an emphasis in Photography and a minor in Graphic Design from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI.

Erin Upchurch (Poetry)
Erin Upchurch, LISW-S is a community advocate and educator who believes in the power of conversation and relationship building as the foundations for real change. She is an experienced facilitator of conversations and trainings on diversity and inclusion; and is passionate about visibility and representation for marginalized and minority communities.

Learn more about Erin here.

Emily Kitturah Westenhouser (Art)
Emily Kitturah Westenhouser holds a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design with a focus in Three-Dimensional Illustration and Sculpture.

She has taught for many notable organizations including Columbus Academy, the Wexner Center, the McConnell Arts Center, the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Children of the Future Program, and the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. Her mixed media artwork features a love of drawing, found objects, sculpture, and sewn collage.