Workshop Staff

The following staff members will be present at the workshop:

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 been on the Board of Directors for SFWA and Parsec, Pittsburgh’s premier literary genre organization. She has taught college writing classes, organized science fiction conferences, started a small press, workshops, a critiquing group, and now a new YA lecture series. She teaches astronomy and physics  at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

David Barr Kirtley

David Barr Kirtley is the co-host of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast on 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, Nature Futures, and Daily Science Fiction. She is a Senior Fiction Editor at Strange Horizons. 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

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 website. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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, was published by Talos/Skyhorse 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.

 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 and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She likes strange magic, smart monsters, and social justice.

Ray Stevens

Ray Stevens is finishing a degree in fiction and public action at Bennington College in Vermont, the capstone project of which had her designing and teaching a ninth-grade class on the social constructions of fairy tales. She attended Alpha in 2010 and 2011, returning as staff in 2012, and was first runner-up for the 2012 Dell Award. She writes about trauma, family, and sarcastic monster-women.

Lara Donnelly

Lara Elena Donnelly (Publicity Coordinator) is a product of Alphas 2007 and 2008, and attended the Clarion workshop at UCSD in 2012. She has published fiction and poetry in Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, and Escape Pod, among other venues. Her story “In the Guts of the Night” won the Dell Magazine Award in 2013, and her debut novel Amberlough is due out from Tor Books in fall 2016.


Stephanie M. Grossman is a graduate of Marist College with a B.A. in English Literature and Writing, and a minor in Business Administration (just in case). While at college, she served as Vice President of Marist’s Literary Arts Society, and won first place in Marist’s 2011 school-wide short fiction contest. Her writing has previously appeared in The Putnam County News and Recorder and Fiction365. Stephanie currently works in audiobook marketing at Penguin Random House, and is also a freelance book marketer/publicist on the side.

Support Staff

These staff members do amazing work behind the scenes to keep Alpha running smoothly:

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.


Tiera Greene (Fundraising Administrator) is a M.S.Ed. student in Higher Education at Old Dominion University. She attended Alpha in 2012 and 2013. When not writing strange urban fantasy, she enjoys experimenting with vegan cooking and baking and serenading her beloved vehicle Louise while she drives.

Jameyanne Fuller

Jameyanne Fuller (Alphanthology Editor) writes fantasy and historical fiction and is usually buried under at least ten story ideas. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2014, and she is currently a Fulbright Scholar teaching English in Italy. She was the third runner-up for the 2014 Dell Award, and her story “The Collector” has appeared in the British young adult podcast Cast of Wonders. She is particularly interested in depictions of family relationships and memory in fiction, and when she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, hiking, and playing with her Seeing Eye dog, Mopsy.

Elena Gleason

Elena Gleason (Donor Relations Coordinator) is a public librarian living in the Pacific Northwest, where she hikes, plays board games, and laughs at her two hilarious cats. Her short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine. She attended Alpha in 2005 and 2006.