Board of Directors

Mike Lee

Mike is a retired business executive who helps people and organizations develop effectively. His professional background involved business corporate and operating roles including the HR/People and Organization Development functions. In addition to serving on volunteer boards Mike is an avid reader and a writer.

Mike is a graduate of Sir George Williams University (Concordia), Montreal, Canada. He is inspired by positive people who try to improve their lives and the lives of others.


Mary Sturgill
1st Vice President, Publicity & Social Media

Mary Sturgill is an award-winning journalist who is an anchor/reporter for News 19 WLTX in Columbia, SC. As a journalist she’s lived all over the country covering stories on every topic. Originally from North Carolina, she graduated from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a degree in English literature. She attended graduate school at Arizona State University to receive her masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communications at the Walter Cronkite School. Whether it’s with her blogs, her talks, or the stories she tells everyday, her motivation is; to shed light, to empower and to make a difference.


Amber Wheeler Bacon
Vice President, Communications & Publications

Amber Wheeler Bacon is a writer, teacher and literacy specialist. She works as an instructional coach at a public Montessori school in Pawleys Island and as an adjunct English instructor. In 2018, she earned an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Five PointsEpiphany,   RuminatePost RoadNew Ohio Review and Crazyhorse. Her writing can also be seen online at Ploughshares, CRAFTFiction Writers Review and New South. She is the recipient of the 2018 Breakout 8 Writers Prize sponsored by The Authors Guild and a 2020 Katherine Bakeless Nason Scholarship from the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers Conference. Her short story, appearing in the winter issue of Witness, was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She grew up in the Atlanta area, and now lives on the South Carolina coast.


Dr. Kasie Whitener
Vice President, Events & Education

Dr. Kasie Whitener is a member of the South Carolina Council on Humanities Speaker’s Bureau and a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina. Her most recent literary conference credentials include faculty posts at Winter Wheat Literary Festival at Bowling Green State University in 2017 and the Pat Conroy Literary Center’s 2018 Lowcountry Book Club Convention. She leads Write On SC, a radio program and podcast dedicated to showcasing South Carolina authors. Dr. Whitener has published short fiction in literary journals like The Petigru ReviewSpry, and Kairos, and won the Carrie McCray Award for Short Fiction in 2016 with “Cover Up.” As managing partner of Clemson Road Consulting, Dr. Whitener has directed projects in software implementation, change management, and process discovery and design. She leads 1 Million Cups Columbia, a Kaufman Foundation program promoting entrepreneurship, and co-founded the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina. Dr. Whitener is a passionate entrepreneur in which capacity she hosts Start Something, Columbia! a radio broadcast and podcast sponsored by the WBC of SC.


David Wilson

David J. Wilson, CPA resides in Murrells Inlet, has a BS/BA from Ohio State, a Masters (MACC) in Accounting from Auburn University and is a Certified Public Accountant. Prior to retiring in 2003 David ran his own Accounting practice, David J. Wilson & Associates LLC, with offices in Wooster, Medina and Millersburg, Ohio. While not currently a writer, David is an avid reader and enjoys contributing to non-profit boards to support business strategy and development and financial management practices. David has experience serving on the boards of YMCA, Goodwill and Hospice organizations.


Bettie Williams
Director, Membership

Bettie is a romance writer who’s been an active Aiken Chapter member and served as a past chapter president. She holds a master’s degree in public administration as well as undergraduate degrees in English and communications. She’s a former journalist and technical writer who has worked in higher education for the last ten years. Here, she honed her strengths in coordination, business writing, and project management. She is a Carrie McCray Award recipient, a Pushcart nominee, and saw her first novel published in 2015.


Roger Jones
Director, Board Planning

Roger Jones is founder and CEO of one of South Carolina’s largest independent real estate development and management firms. He and his wife founded a private family foundation that sponsors two education efforts directed toward underserved students called Raise Up and Music for Life. He also founded a Charleston literacy organization that eventually merged with a west coast literacy effort to form a national literacy association called Reading Partners. He has served on numerous non-profit boards including The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

He was recently published in Writers Digest and his first fiction novel is in final revisions. He has studied writing with authors and editors Anne Brewer, Nina Bruhns, CJ Lyons and Mary Alice Monroe.

Vivian I. Bikulege
Director, Publications

Vivian is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte with an MFA in creative nonfiction. Her 2018 essay, “Cuttings” won the Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Vivian writes ‘Whatever,’ a column for the Lowcountry Weekly published in Beaufort, South Carolina. She is included in the 2009 Press 53 anthology Milspeak, and was one of nine winners of the 2007 Piccolo Spoleto Fiction Open in Charleston, South Carolina. Her essays will be published in the forthcoming collection, All That We See or Seem.


Gail DePriest

Gail DePriest, MA, is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Executive Leadership and Corporate Relations in Clemson’s MBA program. In addition to being an Executive Coach, Gail has delivered programs at conferences and has numerous publications related to people development.


Nancy Maestro

Nancy Allen-Mastro, MS, Ed.D., is a recent transplant to South Carolina. After retiring from her thirty-five-year career in K-12 and post-secondary education, she and her husband relocated from her home state of Minnesota to Aiken, South Carolina, where they presently reside. She has extensive expertise in organizational development, strategic planning, professional development, training, and communications. 

In addition to enjoying writing in retirement, Nancy is a voracious reader, pretends to golf, and is an accomplished cook who likes to experiment with new dishes every chance she gets. She has a corresponding passion for wine, which pairs well with her culinary fantasies. 

Nancy is employed part-time as a professional learning consultant for a not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide. She is a novice fiction writer currently working on her first historical novel.


Martha Thwaite Weeks

Martha Thwaite Weeks grew up Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated from The University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree. For over thirty years, she sold residential real estate. At the same time she began her real estate career, she picked up the sport of rowing and has been active in the sport ever since. To date, she has published two novels in her Tidewater series, Tidewater Rip (2015) and Tidewater Hit (2017). She is currently at work on the third in that series, Tidewater Tempest (working title) and hopes to publish in 2020. Her short story, “Flight,” was chosen for The Petigru Review, Volume 9. She has published essays in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Lowcountry Weekly (Beaufort). She is a member of several writing groups in Beaufort and enjoys leading private writing workshops to small groups. She is currently the President of the Sage Society in Beaufort and serves on the board of the Beaufort Rowing Club.


Susan Zurenda

After teaching literature, composition, and creative writing to thousands of high school and college students for 33 years, Susan turned her attention to putting a novel in her heart on paper, the genesis of which started with a short story that won a fiction prize some years ago. She is delighted to present her debut novel, Bells for Eli, to readers on March 2, 2020. During her years of teaching at Spartanburg Community College and then as an AP English teacher at Spartanburg High School, Susan published short stories and won numerous regional awards such as the South Carolina Fiction Prize (twice), the Porter Fleming Competition, The Southern Writers Symposium Emerging Writers Fiction Contest, The Hub City Hardegree Contest in Fiction, Alabama Conclave First Novel Chapter Contest, and The Jubilee Writing Competition (twice).  Since 2018, she has published six stories in literary magazines. 

Rick Koethe III

Rick has a Ph.D., three MA’s and is currently working on an MFA in Writing. As the  Director of Training and Development he is writing a complete curriculum to assist Veterans who have experienced Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury with the Dave Roever Foundation. His background is a senior Military Intelligence Officer who served in multiple locations and deployments in support of military operations and with three of the national-level intelligence agencies. After military retirement he worked as a senior corporate executive in HR, Training and Organization Development. Rick has published numerous military articles and analysis’ and plans to be a full-time writer. He also has extensive board experience at the corporate and non-profit levels and is well-versed in Lean Manufacturing, Process Improvements as well as organizing and leading effectively. 

Carol-Ann Rudy
Past President, Ex-Officio

Originally from British Columbia, Canada, Carol-Ann served as president of SCWA from 2017-2018, bringing the experience of serving on three non-profit boards.. She was formerly the writer for The Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald Newspaper-In-Education chapter. Following that, she created a series of thirty-nine Character Education stories for middle-grade students with supporting materials featured in a number of newspapers across the country. She was also a Technical Writer for three national corporations as well as a columnist for two online newspapers. Currently, she is submitting a Middle-Grade and a New Adult novel to two agents upon request. Her work has been published in two issues of The Petigru Review. In addition, she is an artist focusing on illustrating one of her children’s manuscripts.


Barbara Evers
Advisor, Chapter Liaison

Barbara Evers is a former board President. She is also an award-winning author, a Pushcart Prize nominee, has several publications and is also a professional trainer, speaker and freelance writer and editor. Barbara also serves as the Chapter leader of Greenville 1.


Sue Cryer
Advisor, Editor, Catfish Stew

Sue Cryer is a former Newspaper Correspondent and contributor for the The State Newspaper (SC), The Newburyport Daily News (MA), The Chatham Courier (NY), and The Register Star (Hudson, NY). She currently resides in Chapin, South Carolina where she does Freelance Writing, runs her home business (Sue’s Home Solutions), serves as member and blog writer to the South Carolina Writers Association Board of Directors, and has raised her family. She also served on local PTO and HOA boards in addition to volunteering with the Chapin High School Band Boosters, and church based Grief Group Counseling, Domestic Abuse Assistance, and Bereavement events.


Jayne Bowers
Advisor, Editor, Catfish Stew

A semi-retired educator, Jayne’s work has appeared in The Petigru Review, the Main Street Rag, the Ensign, and Guideposts. She’s the author of Musings of a Missionary Mom, Eve’s Sisters, and Crossing the Bridge: Succeeding in a Community College and Beyond. First place winner in the 2016 Carrie McCray Nonfiction Award, Jayne is also an editor and designer of the Camden Chapter’s two anthologies, Serving Up Memory and What I Wish I Could Tell You.


Ferguson Williams
Advisor, Editor, The Petigru Review

Ferguson Williams is a fiction writer from Socastee, South Carolina. Her work has appeared in Azure: A Journal of Literary ThoughtLiterally StoriesThe Petigru Review and Five:2:One Magazine. She’s supposed to be working on her debut collection of short stories, but Twitter is just too addictive. Find her there at @Ferg_Williams. 


Sean Scapellato
Legal Advisor

Sean A. Scapellato is a writer of fiction and essays, a former creative writing teacher at Charleston County School of the Arts, and now a lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina. He assisted Pat Conroy during the writing of and book tour for South of Broad. Sean is also a contributing writer to Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.


Patrick McMillan, PhD
Development Advisor

Patrick is the Emmy Award-winning host, co-creator and writer of the popular ETV nature program Expeditions with Patrick McMillan. For over 20 years, Patrick has worked as a professional naturalist, biologist and educator. His range of experience has concentrated on botany, though he is also well-respected through his work in ichthyology, herpetology and mammalogy. Patrick is a professional naturalist, the Glenn and Heather Hilliard Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University, where he is also a faculty member in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, the director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Clemson Experimental Forest and an honorary member of the Clemson University Class of 1939.

Patrick received his BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and his PhD in Biological Sciences from Clemson University. His research has been featured in both National Wildlife and South Carolina Wildlife magazines, as well as in numerous articles in The State, the Greenville News and other local and regional newspapers. He is a contributor to the book Life at the Water’s Edge, which won the 2005 Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award and has been selected to receive one of 10 South Carolina Notable State Document Awards for 2005.

Patrick’s intense interest in natural history began at a very young age. He attributes his memorization of thousands of scientific names to his grandmother, who would read him Animal Kingdom and wildflower books as a young child, including the Latin names—quite a contrast to Dr. Seuss! He spent his early childhood in the Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress Swamp with his father and grandfather. From there, his research has taken him around the world in pursuit of new species of plants, and his areas of expertise are in sedge and Begonia taxonomy, natural community ecology and conservation biology.

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