Staff Bios

Click on the photos for more information about our staff members!
 

Faculty Advisor

Sean Frederick Forbes, Faculty Advisor

Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie Koo, Editor-in-Chief

Editors

Jameson Croteau, Co-Managing Editor (Fundraising)

Autumn Magro, Co-Managing Editor (Production)

Emily Catenzaro, Online Editor

Breanna Patterson, Blog Editor

Sydney Lauro, PR, Publicity, & Social Media Coordinator

Nicholas DiBenedetto, Poetry Editor

Parker Gregory Shpak, Co-Fiction Editor

Rebecca Hill, Co-Fiction Editor

Sten Spinella, Creative Nonfiction Editor

Betty Anne Noe, Copyediting Coordinator & Translations Editor

Taylor Caron, Interviews Editor

Gabriela García Sánchez, Arts Liaison

Panelists

Amanda McCarthy, Poetry Panelist

Julia Alexander, Poetry Panelist

Ben Schultz, Poetry Panelist

Sabrina O’Brien, Poetry Panelist

Traci Parker, Fiction Panelist

Máiréad Loschi, Fiction Panelist

Brandon Marquis, Creative Nonfiction Panelist

Sierra Steele Mazur, Creative Nonfiction Panelist

 
Sean Frederick Forbes photo credit: Samuel Lahoz
Sten Spinella photo credit: Margaux Ancel
All other student photos credit: Sydney Lauro

 


Interviews


 

Stephanie Koo, Editor-in-Chief

Hometown: Avon, CT
Majors: English; Biological Sciences
Personal Blog: StephKoo.com
 
What are your favorite book(s)?
I don’t have favorite books because I’m too critical, but the books that changed my life are The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I originally joined because I wanted to find a community of like-minded people, people who wanted to talk about writing and the editing process. I’ve spent the past three years clawing my way up the LRR hierarchy.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
It depends on how confident I wake up feeling that day. Today I’m pretty confident so: ambitious, practical, nerd.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I want to feel like I’ve explored everything I could. That’s how I’ve approached college, by wearing a bunch of hats and trying to figure out what I want to do. Right now, I’m thinking of being a physician-writer who owns dogs. Dogs being the most important part.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
I don’t do favorite quotes. I know, I’m soulless!
 

 

Jameson Croteau, Co-Managing Editor (Fundraising)

Hometown: Bolton, MA
Major: English; Business Management
Concentration: Creative Writing; Entrepreneurship
Twitter: @_CroteauBaggins | WordPress: The Last Albatross
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
It’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. The way he writes is a nice, warm comforter. It reads like how getting tucked into bed feels. I like that style. I’d like to try to recreate it in my own writing.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
To be immersed in the storytelling culture and community is my main reason. I’ve always been around storytelling, so it feels like the natural progression.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Competitive comes to mind first — wow that’s got a negative connotation! I guess I’m compromising as well, which kind of neutralizes the competitive nature. Maybe also “closeted empath,” because I really do care about people if you can’t see it.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
For a career goal, I think it would be cool if I could travel to any bookstore in any airport and sign a copy of my own, published book. My life goal is melodramatic. At the end of my life, when I’m staring into the abyss, I want to think, “That was fun, let’s do that again sometime.” I want to be content with what I’ve done.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“If you don’t want to be forgotten as soon as you’re dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Ben Franklin
 

 

Autumn Magro, Co-Managing Editor (Production)

Hometown: Canton, CT
Majors: English; Communication
Concentration: Creative Writing
Twitter: @autumn_magro | Youtube: Fall Into Books
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
I’d have to say my favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because I think it’s the most perfectly constructed novel. I’ve read it like 100 times and I have five copies! And I’d also have to say The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf, which is actually a collection of poetry. It’s this guy’s imagined voices of 24 people and things on the Titanic as it’s sinking.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I really love publishing. It’s what I hope to do for a career. I’ve wanted to work in publishing for a few years now so I’ve worked for the Daily Campus, I’ve done some freelance editing for authors, and I’ve worked for a literary agent. Of course, I also just love writers and producing written work. Working for LRR kind of extends my passions and interests.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
The first word that comes to mind is “chronic oversharer.” I talk a lot! I’m also adaptable. That’s always been something I attribute to myself because I moved around a lot as a kid. But it’s a good thing that has helped me a lot in college because I’ve transferred a few times. And the last one would be “spirited.” I like that word a lot, and I find that when I come to new projects, I put in all my enthusiasm, as if it were the last thing I’d ever do. I don’t do anything half-assed!
 
What are your life goals?
I hope to eventually publish my own book of poetry, which extends my desire to work in publishing. I find poetry very poignant and a good way to communicate different things without forcing your opinions on people.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” — Neil Gaiman. This takes on two meanings for me because I read so much, but also because books were where I lived growing up as a kid. Books grounded me. Not to sound too corny, but books were always there for me!
 

 

Emily Catenzaro, Online Editor

Hometown: Cromwell, CT
Major: English
Minor: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Concentration: Creative Writing
Twitter: @emilycatenzaro

What’s your favorite book(s)?
My favorite book is always the last book I read that made me forget about the world around me. So it’s a little hard to pick favorites. The Harry Potter series, maybe, because I completely forget about the world every time I read one of those.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I was first introduced to the Long River Review by Ellen Litman when I was taking a class with her. I realized that if I were to pursue creative writing, I wanted to go behind the scenes and understand why people who run literary magazines choose to publish the pieces they do. That was my logical reason at the beginning. This year is my second year; I decided to come back because I made lifelong friends last year. I realized that I really loved contributing to something that was entirely student generated. You get out what you put into this. I just fell in love with the process and the people.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
I would say that I am dynamic, energetic, and passionate. I get really excited about things; I always jump into projects with both feet.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I really want to learn a lot of languages and as much about history and culture as I can and read as many books as I can get my hands on. I definitely want to live or work in Europe for awhile. And I want to pursue research in English literature or even work on translations. I also want to keep figure skating and give back to that community over time because it did so much for me as a kid.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“When you write, you can live your life over again. When you read, you can live an infinite number of lives.” I’m paraphrasing, and I don’t know who said it, but that’s one of my favorite quotes.
 

 

Breanna Patterson, Blog Editor

Hometown: Greenwich, CT
Major: English
Minor: Women’s Studies
Concentration: Creative Writing
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
My favorite book is probably Catcher in the Rye because it was the first book that was able to actually change the way in which I viewed the world. I think that book’s influence alone made me the reader that I am today. My second favorite book is probably Stephen King’s On Writing because that was the first book that made becoming a writer seem feasible, instead of some ideal. I also love Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and White Teeth by Zadie Smith.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I discovered creative writing literally a year ago… and now I can’t get enough of it. The opportunity to participate in a literary journal was too enticing to pass up! I also like arguing!
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Ten outta ten (I’m a dime piece).
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I have always wanted to get both my motorcycle and helicopter licenses, and I want a career that will allow me the financial stability to buy both (along with their insurance for when I inevitably break both of them). But honestly, I just want a job in an office that I can retreat to, a place where I can enjoy words and reading in whatever form that may take.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
 

 

Sydney Lauro, PR, Publicity, & Social Media Coordinator

Hometown: Ohio (originally), Upton, Massachusetts (currently)
Major: English
Minors: Business Fundamentals; Communication
Concentration: Creative Writing
 
What’s your favorite book(s):
I can’t pick just one! I love Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I love classics!
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I’m the public relations coordinator slash social media person, which relates to what I want to do after I graduate this May. But the Long River Review has always been something I wanted to do at UConn. It’s a great chance to work with fellow writers and lovers of literature on a project other than my thesis, which is a novel.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Passionate. Hard-working. Genuine. Creative’s a given, right?
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
Once I graduate I’m headed straight to Colorado! I’ve moved around all my life, and I’m ready for the next adventure. Writing novels is what I’ve always known I want to do, but I’ve found a passion for the creativity in communications and marketing jobs. I hope to be gainfully employed, as they say, soon after I graduate.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“Do I dare | Disturb the universe? | In a minute there is time | For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” — T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
 

 

Nicholas DiBenedetto, Poetry Editor

Hometown: Waterbury, CT
Majors: English; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Concentration: Creative Writing
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
I think currently my three favorites are Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, Ecodeviance by CAConrad, and Macular Hole by Catherine Wagner.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I think anyone can write. I enjoy getting to see the writing of people who haven’t been published anywhere else yet and getting to be the first to publish someone. I wanted to come back to the Long River Review because I love that incipient process of encouraging new writers to start or keep writing.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Really, really okay.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I want to get more work experience in a bunch of fields. I’ve been thinking about doing radio work, publishing, and editorial work. I want to take some time interning and getting experience in those fields before I decide what I want to really pursue. Maybe that’ll take me to grad school for English or science, or maybe I’ll get my MFA. I’m taking it as I go along.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“Maybe he | hates my | poems but | my poems are | fucking awesome…fuck anyone who | hates my poems.” –CAConrad
 

 

Parker Gregory Shpak, Co-Fiction Editor

Hometown: Salmon Brook, CT
Major(s): English; Philosophy
Minor: American Studies
Concentration: Creative Writing
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
My favorite book is probably Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. No other book has made me feel such a wide range of emotions.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
My number one reason is that it’s an extremely valuable experience. Getting more involved with the creative writing department at UConn and getting to know other writers on campus is important to me. This sort of experience isn’t usually available to undergrads at most schools.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
I’d rather not.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
To be content.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.” – Leonardo da Vinci
 

 

Rebecca Hill, Co-Fiction Editor

Hometown: Middlebury, CT
Major: English; Economics
Minor: Women’s Studies
Concentrations: Creative Writing
Current project: A novel for UConn’s University Scholars program, called The Western Madwoman: A Feminist History and Economic Study in Novel Form
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
I don’t have a favorite book because there’s just too many! The book I’ve really liked recently though was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I’m really into creative writing, and I wanted to learn more about how literary journals work.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Positive. Self-motivated. And the last one’s hard. I’d say, smart.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I’d like to be a novelist. I also want to work on women’s rights through writing because that’s what I’m good at. And we’ll see what happens from there!
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
The quote that’s currently on my refrigerator is: “Commit this year to loving yourself more.” – Unknown
 

 

Sten Spinella, Creative Nonfiction Editor

Hometown: Chester, CT
Major: English; Political Science
Concentration: Creative Writing
Twitter: @SSpinella927
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
When I was a young one, probably Inkheart (by Cornelia Funke). I was obsessed with Hemingway in high school, specifically The Sun Also Rises. And then I really like this book called Stoner by John Williams.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
Because the only thing I’m good at is writing, and I really like being with a bunch of other writers and helping other writers who aren’t in LRR get recognition. I’m into good writing and [LRR]’s really the only place that values it on campus, not to say other publications don’t. But it’s different, because it’s literary.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Loud, angry, and nice.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
Probably to be a journalist slash essayist slash novelist.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“And when we love our sin then we are damned indeed.” – Graham Greene
 

 

Betty Anne Noe, Copyediting Coordinator & Translations Editor

Hometown: Glastonbury, CT
Major: English; French
Minor: Translations
Concentration: Creative Writing
Twitter: @BabyTrollFace
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
My favorite book is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, which I heard about it from a TED Talk. It’s a brick of a book though, so it takes dedication.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
This is a great way to get some actual experience in editing and publishing because that’s where I want to take my career.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Short. Profane; I can swear and curse like no other. And sometimes loud.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
To travel! I already travelled some when I took a gap year after high school. I took a graduation trip with one of my best friends to England, and then I worked on a farm in Denmark. And during high school, I went to France for a French exchange program. I’ve always wanted to go back, so I’m going to Paris all of next year. But I’d like to keep traveling. I want to see some more.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
(i do not know what it is about you that closes / and opens;only something in me understands / the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) — E. E. Cummings, “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond”
 

 

Taylor Caron, Interviews Editor

Hometown: Trumbull, CT
Major: English; Journalism
Minor: Religious Studies
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges and then also Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I’m the interviews editor. I’m working on the Long River Review because I’ve wanted to be a part of it since I transferred [to UConn] as a sophomore. I’ve also always wanted to be involved in a literary magazine. I think that’s a really unusual goal or career to want. For me, literary magazines are at the intersection of art, politics, journalism, and poetry. It’s all the things that I like!
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Guy Fieri memes.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I want to publish journalism. I’d like to publish some fiction. And I want to do service work. I am applying to a program now that helps incoming refugees. It’d be really cool if I could spend a few years doing that kind of service work. I’d really enjoy that.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it. Blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
 

 

Gabriela García Sánchez, Arts Liaison

Hometown: Bloomfield, CT
Major: Biological Sciences
Concentration: Creative Writing
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
Everyday by David Levithan.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I’m the art liaison and a fiction panelist, so when I saw the opportunity to bring art and creative writing together, I couldn’t pass it up.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
I’m opportunistic, an adventurer, and I’m optimistic.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I have three goals: I want to travel everywhere, I want to become a dentist, and I want to retire by 60 at the latest.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“If you have one foot on yesterday and another foot on tomorrow, you’re pissing all over today.” – Michael J. Fox
 

 

Amanda McCarthy, Poetry Panelist

Hometown: Rockville, CT
Major: English
Minor: Political Science
Concentration: Creative Writing
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
Nabokov’s Pale Fire and Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I’ve always been interested in literary magazines and I just wanted to learn more about them.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
I would say I’m open-minded, an out-of-the-box thinker, and fun!
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I’m going to go to law school in Boston and then I’d like to eventually get my MFA in poetry. I’d like to be a lawyer for awhile and then become a professor in English later in life.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
 

 

Julia Alexander, Poetry Panelist

Hometown: Summers, CT
Major: English
Concentration: Creative Writing
Tumblr: Julia Alexander Poetry
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is my favorite novel. And my favorite book of poetry is, The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hill by Charles Bukowski.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I guess I just really wanted to find a community at UConn of like-minded students. I ran my own literary magazine a few years ago, and I really like the community aspect of literary magazines. I think the main reason I do stuff with writing is because I love it, and I love other people who like it. It’s really motivating for me.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
I would say: sarcastic, reserved, and nerdy. Definitely nerdy.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
I want to have a career that lets me do writing but still allows me to feed myself. I’m really considering becoming an English professor. But I also really want to go on to get an MFA in poetry. That’s my goal right now.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“Inside him, there are small bones | scattered in a field among burdocks and dead grass. | He will spend his life walking there, | gathering the bones together.” – Gregory Orr, from “Gathering the Bones Together”
 

 

Ben Schultz, Poetry Panelist

Hometown: Newtown, CT
Major: Digital Media and Design
Concentrations: 2D Animation; Creative Writing
WordPress: Ben Schultz Portfolio
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s a fantasy novel, but it kind of explores some of the fantasy tropes and puts an original twist on them. And the main character is in college, so I enjoyed some of his observations.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
To complete the concentration in creative writing is my practical reason, but also because I wanted to find out more about editing of a print publication, and working in a group with other people sounded fun. I’ve read some of the older issues and liked the content and quality of the publication.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Sketchy, scatterbrained, and superfluous.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
It would be cool to get into video production, mostly documentaries. I’m actually doing videography for the Long River Review. It would be really fun to get into comedy writing for TV.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway
 

 

Sabrina O’Brien, Poetry Panelist

Hometown: Higganum, CT
Major: English; Linguistics
Minor: French
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson and, of course, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I want the experience because I think it’s good, one, for my future career in publishing, and two, I think it’s good for learning how to work in a cooperative environment.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
A freakin’ nerd.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
My life goals are to meet George R.R. Martin and Trevor Noah. I’m going to get within breathing distance of Trevor Noah when he comes to UConn, but I need to be able to actually hug him to fulfill this life goal!
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“Only people with a sense of responsibility for the world and to the world are truly responsible to and for themselves.” – Václav Havel
 

 

Traci Parker, Fiction Panelist

Hometown: Windsor, CT
Major: English
Minors: Africana Studies
Concentration: Creative Writing
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
My favorite book of all time is Beloved by Toni Morrison.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I love creative writing, I love literature, I love imagination, and I like that being on the fiction panel will let me do all those things at once. I was also a contest winner last year; I got the Collins Literary Prize for prose. That’s when it occurred to me that I wanted to be a part of the staff.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Crazy. Quirky. Passionate.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
Currently, I want to teach English in South Korea. I’m doing EPIK, which is a specific program for teaching there. My life goal is to make some kind of change. I’m really into social justice. I want to use my writing to make social commentary and hopefully do something about the political climate, racial climate, and the gender gap.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” – Malcolm X
 

 

Máiréad Loschi, Fiction Panelist

Hometown: East Granby, CT
Major: Political Science; Communication
Concentration: Creative Writing
Current project: Podcast for WHUS
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
I have two. The first is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and the second is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I was published in last spring’s edition because I got second place for the Jennie Hackman Memorial Award for Short Fiction. I wanted to work on the magazine last year actually, but I couldn’t because I was studying abroad. So this is my chance! I want to know what actually goes into making a magazine, deciding what gets published, how many pages it will be, and choosing the artwork. I love creative writing and the people in that creative realm. I don’t get that interaction in most of my other classes.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Smart, creative, and observant, maybe?
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
Right now I’m applying to grad schools for political communication and to jobs. The ultimate goal is to become the press secretary for an elected official — preferably the president. And then for jobs, I’m applying to private PR companies. I’ve just recently decided to try applying to some NGOs having to do with women’s rights or food security. So we’ll see. There are so many options!
 

 

Brandon Marquis, Creative Nonfiction Panelist

Hometown: Plymouth, CT
Major: English
Minor: Psychology
Concentration: Creative Writing
Twitter: @Dreamless_C9
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
My favorite book is most definitely The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I read it in high school, but it spoke to me on a hundred different levels. It has such a powerful voice, which I have yet to find in any other book.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I wanted to join the LRR team because I really want to go into publishing, and I thought this would be a really good experience to meet other students interested in the same thing. Plus, I get the bonus of reading non-fiction work written by other students.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
I would definitely use the word extraverted. I believe strangers are friends I haven’t made yet. Stubborn, is another. I’m a middle child, so, you know how that is. And I like to think of myself as being generous.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
One of my major goals is to get a manuscript published. I’m working on a new adult, paranormal romance at the moment. I’d love to go to NYU or Cornell for their summer publishing courses. And I’d also really like to get hired after college and start paying off my loans!
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“Even if the morrow is barren of promises, nothing shall forestall my return” – Genesis from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
 

 

Sierra Steele Mazur, Creative Nonfiction Panelist

Hometown: Avon, CT
Major: English; American Studies
Minor: Art History
Concentration: Creative Writing
Instagram: @mooneyed_
 
What’s your favorite book(s)?
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson and The Secret History by Donna Tartt.
 
Why are you working for / on the Long River Review?
I’d like to gain knowledge and experience in editing and publishing. But mostly I am very interested in working in a collaborative class space like this. It’s very unique in college. You have group projects, but that’s not the same as a student-run class.
 
How would you describe yourself using only three words?
Downhill from here.
 
What are your (current) career and life goals?
To achieve success in the literary community (still working on how). And to make enough money to afford my addiction to artisan brand yogurts.
 
What’s (one of) your favorite quotes?
“The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” – Kurt Kobain