Welcome to Port Townsend!
Poets, artists, sailors, bakers, landscape architects, organic farmers, and techies: Meet the staff of the low-residency program in Port Townsend.
by Darrah Cloud, MFAW Faculty, originally published in Clockworks Spring / Summer 2013 issue.
Erin Fristad, Director of Academic and Public Partnerships
Erin was working on a fishing boat in Alaska when she was reached by land: Goddard College was calling; they wanted her to set up a campus in Port Townsend and run it. Her response? “Well, you’ll have to wait until salmon season is over!”
And that is how Goddard’s occupation of Fort Worden essentially began.
Erin graduated from the Vermont campus in 2003 with her MFA in poetry. Back home, she attended a meeting of alums in Seattle, at which then-president Mark Schulman expressed interest in bringing Goddard to the Northwest. Goddard accepted many students from the area but they rarely enrolled because of the distance from Vermont. If the students couldn’t get to Goddard, Goddard would come to the students.
The community of Port Townsend has embraced Goddard, due mainly to Erin’s efforts: “We don’t serve education to people: we ask them what they want and need then we create it with them.”
In the midst of all this, Erin has managed to keep publishing her poetry in numerous anthologies, and recently a chapbook entitled The Glass Jar.
Joyce Gustafson, Operations Manager
Before coming to Goddard, Joyce worked as Special Assistant to the Director of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program, which included oversight for the international exchange program on ten UC campuses in 40 countries. She also served as Director of Development of Direct Relief International, a disaster relief organization based in Santa Barbara, California that provides medical assistance to people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest around the world.
She served on the Board of Directors of the non-profit, Friends of Tibetan Women’s Association, an organization she helped found 25 years ago. She has also worked with tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka and Thailand, and with underserved street kids in Brazil.
An avid sailor, Joyce has spent years at sea including several extended ocean passages with her husband. Joyce has held a 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard Master’s license for three decades. Whenever she hears the foghorn at Fort Worden, she sighs with relief that she’s sailing The Help Desk instead of a boat.
Gloria Lamson, Student Life Coordinator
Glo is an artist when she’s not helping students locked out of their rooms while standing in their towels. She creates temporary site-specific installations in nature and architectural environments, which she documents with photographs. She holds an MFA in Arts and Consciousness.
What motivates her in her artwork? “I am moved to use art-making to weave together what is within me, with what is around me. Interested in ‘bringing art to life,’ I look to the process of art to shape, hold and/or carry that which is begging my attention. For me, it is a most profound and intimate way to dialogue with my life and the world.”
Carmie grew up in Portland, Oregon. She earned her BA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. After college, Carmie worked on the Kerry campaign in Oregon for six months. Burned out and disappointed, she moved to Mississippi, where, for two years, she tried to start a Planned Parenthood BC clinic.
Since earning her MFA from Hunter College in 2010, where she studied with Colum McCann, Nathan Englander, and Peter Carey, she’s been working at Goddard and writing at artist-colonies across the country.
Her secret? She makes a killer molasses cookie.
Chris grew up in the Seattle area, playing video games, skateboarding, and reading sci-fi novels. He earned degrees in English and Philosophy at UW, fell in love with poetry on a study abroad program in Rome, then taught ESL, both in Seattle and in Seoul, South Korea, and performed in a hip-hop group. He holds an MA in creative writing from Boston University and MFA in poetry from Hunter College. There, he met famed memoirist and Goddard alumna Mary Karr (MFAW ’79), and became her assistant.
Chris’ writing has appeared in The Missouri Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Last year he was a finalist for the Yale Younger Poets Prize. His secret wish is to have Ezra Pound’s hair.
Julie Miles, Academic Services
A landscape architect in Seattle for the past 15 years, Julie hails from Maryland just outside of D.C., and spent her childhood and early adult years exploring the Mid Atlantic and Northeastern states. She has a BA from Dickinson College and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia.
She has three kids and loves hiking and kayaking in Port Townsend with her family. She is currently reading Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, by Emma Marris.
Agnes Figueroa-Martinez, IT Specialist
Agnes’ passion for all things techie started as early as 8 or 9 years old. To her mother’s chagrin, she dismantled practically every electrical device in the house to see how it was built and how it worked. A self-taught geek with over 15 years of experience, she managed IT operations at Bellevue College in Washington, and currently teaches online in addition to her work at Goddard. Agnes lives with one foot in her native Puerto Rico, taking care of her parents, and another in her beloved Seattle.
Says Agnes, in between panicky students who’ve lost work in the catacombs of the internet: “Instructional Technology, which goes beyond the ‘how-to’ tech training and moves into the applied use of technology in pedagogy...is what I’m very passionate about. I like the challenge of finding the best tool or way to adapt a tool to a particular curricular need. I very much enjoy the rewards of that ‘aha’ moment.”
Marc Gordon, Integrated Enrollment Specialist
Marc first moved to the area right after 9/11. He and his wife have two “wild yet gentle” boys and a small organic blueberry farm & artisan cidery (www.finnriver.com) where they own and operate a guest cottage/vacation rental called the Huckleberry House.
Marc travels the Northwest meeting alumni, faculty and transfer counselors at regional community colleges, and most importantly shares with prospective students the incredible opportunity that Goddard’s Port Townsend site offers. The reason he walks so slowly? “I’m steeped in the gravity of life...”
Joe and Evie Walden
At the time of press for this article, Joe and Evie were soaring over the Pacific on wings they built themselves as Skysailors extraordinaire. More on them then they land in a future issue!
Lori Margaret, former Student Life Coordinator
Lori began working at the Port Townsend residency site in 2007 when Goddard first launched the MFAIA program. Prior, she had worked in El Salvador for over three years. Lori’s role evolved in conjunction with program growth and she contributed greatly to the development of a student services department.
Lori was part of the Goddard team in Seattle and supported the launch of the BA & MA in Education Program there. She was key, through her tireless efforts at community building and well-honed skills as a logistics wizard, to the development of the Community Campus in the Columbia City neighborhood. Her contribution enabled Goddard to successfully deliver a revised and rejuvenated low-residency model set in an urban location.
Lori gracefully supported hundreds of students in their transformation at Goddard. For every community member, she has been available with a generous ear and thoughtful questions. She also knows how to organize one righteous ping-pong tournament!