Staff

Diane Turnshek Diane Turnshek (Alpha Director and Founder) is an astronomer and a science fiction author whose short fiction has been published in Analog Magazine and elsewhere. She’s the Outreach Coordinator for the Physics Department at Carnegie Mellon University where she teaches astronomy. She also teaches at the University of Pittsburgh (“The Physics of Science Fiction” as well as astronomy). She’s a contributing author of Many Genres/One Craft, a 2011 award-winning book on writing. She has taught college writing classes, helped organize science fiction conferences, workshops and critiquing groups, and ran the 2007 SFWA Nebula Awards in NYC. Diane has four stellar sons and an out-of-this-world boyfriend.
John Schmid John Schmid is the Chief Administrator of the Alpha Workshop. In normal life John is a Systems Administrator for the University of Pittsburgh.
David Barr Kirtley David Barr Kirtley is the co-host of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast on Wired.com. His short fiction appears in magazines such as Realms of FantasyWeird TalesLightspeed, and Intergalactic Medicine Show, on podcasts such as Escape Pod and Pseudopod, and in books such as The Living DeadNew CthulhuThe Way of the Wizard, and The Dragon Done It. His story “Save Me Plz” was picked by editor Rich Horton for the 2008 edition of the anthology series Fantasy: The Best of the Year.
Catherine Krahe Catherine Krahe’s fiction has appeared in Realms of Fantasy and Nature Futures. She recently received a Master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Iowa and plans to save the world by telling stories and planting trees.
Thomas Seay’s fiction has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Boys’ Life, Fantastic Stories, and various other publications. He received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Kansas, where also he served as volunteer coordinator for the Center for the Study of Science Fiction and built the AboutSF.com website. He lives in Washington, D.C. and works as a press secretary for a Congressional committee.
Karina Sumner-Smith Karina Sumner-Smith is a fantasy author and freelance writer represented by Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency.  Her first novel, Radiant, will be published by Skyhorse’s new SF/F imprint in Fall 2014.  Prior to focusing on novel-length work, Karina published a range of fantasy, science fiction and horror short stories, including Nebula Award nominated story “An End to All Things,” and ultra-short story “When the Zombies Win,” which appeared in two Best of the Year anthologies.  She previously supported Alpha as a staff member from 2007-2010.
Seth Dickinson Seth Dickinson is a 2006/2007 Alpha alum, and since 2011, an Alpha instructor. His fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Analog, Strange Horizons, and Clarkesworld, and– in 2011–captured the top spot in the Dell Awards. He writes science fiction and fantasy, with a particular interest in gender and systems of oppression. His first novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, is forthcoming from Tor Books in fall 2015.
Sarah Brand Sarah Brand writes young adult science fiction and fantasy, and her first novel is currently being represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. By day, she does economic research at a health care consulting firm. She attended Alpha in 2006 and 2007.
Rachel Ross Rachel Ross writes science fiction and fantasy novels for kids and teens under her pen name, Rachel Grinti. Her first novel, Claws, (co-written with Mike Grinti) was published in 2012 by Chicken House/Scholastic. She has an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and works as a children’s librarian in Pittsburgh. She attended the very first Alpha in 2002.
 Allison Jamieson-Lucy Allison Jamieson-Lucy writes science fiction, fantasy and grant proposals.  Her non-writing life is spent chasing down a PhD in Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania.  She attended Alpha in 2009 and 2010 and her work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction.
 Rachel Halpern Rachel Halpern is a graduate of Alpha (’07/’08) and Grinnell College, and is currently finishing up an MFA in creative writing. She’s also the editor-in-chief of Inscription Magazine, where she publishes diverse sci-fi/fantasy stories for teens online. Her own work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, with another story forthcoming at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She likes strange magic, smart monsters, and social justice.