Abby Minor / Founding Director
Born and raised in Centre County, Abby Minor is a poet and community writing teacher with many years of arts programming experience in central Pennsylvania. She has directed and taught outdoor creative writing programs, summer art camps, poetry writing workshops for adults, and interdisciplinary after-school art classes for kids and teens. In 2012 she founded Being Heard, an award-winning creative writing program honoring the voices and imaginations of Centre County’s older adults, which she directed for five years before joining forces with others to reimagine, expand, and reincarnate the work as Ridgelines. A graduate of Smith College and Penn State’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, Abby pursues an active writing life alongside her students. Her commitment to this work grows from her own need to hear the poems and stories that haven’t yet been written or read, and from her belief in the transformative power of language used with courage, curiosity, inventiveness, and care.
Jennifer Hwozdek / Outreach & Fundraising Coordinator
Jennifer Hwozdek, a State College native, has been immersed in the storytelling arts in multiple ways: as a filmmaker working in New York City and Los Angeles in the early 90's; as a vivacious raconteur who can be heard and seen locally in the "Out Loud Series" at the Bellefonte Art Museum and in the "State of the Story" series hosted by the State Theatre; as a dedicated community volunteer and fund-drive spokesperson for WPSU; and in her work as a homeopathic practitioner, in which for the past 25 years she has been deeply listening and gently coaxing her clients to uncover the intricate constellation of their unique health stories. She looks forward to connecting with Ridgelines' loyal supporters and helping to expand Ridgelines' reach and impact in the Centre Region.
Casey Wiley / Board Secretary
Casey Wiley teaches creative writing and rhetoric at Penn State University Park and holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from George Mason University. He writes and publishes fiction and essays on themes such as socioeconomic inequality, language as identity, and gender discovery. He believes everyone has stories to tell and that communities grow stronger and more empathetic by sharing and listening to these stories.
Leah Poole Osowski / Board Treasurer
Leah Poole Osowski is a poet from Massachusetts who moved to State College in 2015. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and works for the School of Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Penn State. Her first book, Hover Over Her, won the 2015 Wick Poetry Prize, and her poetry and lyric nonfiction appear in the Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, the Cincinnati Review and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Image Journal's Glen Workshop and the Vermont Studio Center. In the fall of 2018, she taught creative writing as the Emerging Writer in Residence at Penn State Altoona, and she currently reads poetry submissions for New England Review and Raleigh Review.
Katie O’Hara-Krebs / Board President
Katie O’Hara-Krebs is a long-time writer, storyteller, and collector of tales. She is the co-creator of Write to Shine, a creative writing business that works and collaborates with audiences in the Centre region. Write to Shine helps individuals find and use their authentic voices through writing, demystify the act through “recreational writing” as a means to uncover deeper meaning and connection with themselves and the world. Katie’s background is in marketing and corporate communications for companies including The Walt Disney Company and Nintendo of America. She has also spent time as a journalist and freelance writer. But her passion is not to share the words of large organizations, but instead to encourage people to find themselves through writing and relating to the world with words. Katie lives in State College with her husband and daughters, and enjoys writing, reading, hiking, drinking lots of coffee and having inspired conversations.
Mary Rohrer-Dann / Board Member
Mary Rohrer-Dann writes fiction and poetry, and is author of Taking the Long Way Home and La Scaffetta: Poems from the Foundling Drawer. A retired Penn State teaching professor of creative and academic writing, she loves having more time to paint, garden, travel, and hike. She is a long-time Big Sister, and also volunteers with Rising Hope Therapeutic Riding Center. Although a long-time resident of State College, she is still a Philly girl at heart. She believes that stories of all kinds are essential to being human, for discovering who we are and who we might be, and for forging connection with others.
Christine Tyler grew up in DuBois, a small town in northwest Pennsylvania. With a passion for social justice, especially centered on poverty and race, Christine has worked for thirty-plus years as a Human Services Professional and with non-profit organizations in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Washington, DC. While working full-time and raising two bi-racial children with her African-American husband, she earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration followed by completion of all coursework and exam for an Ed. D. at the University of North Florida. Since the untimely passing of her husband in 2013, Christine has shifted priorities in her life. In addition to her work as Executive Director of State College Area Meals on Wheels, Christine writes poetry on a regular basis and dabbles in creating mixed media art and painting. Her passions continue to center on family; social justice; spirituality and religion; the environment; and the arts.
Teresa is a storyteller from West Helena, Arkansas, who moved to State College in December 2009. She teaches writing courses in the English Department at Penn State University and serves as a writing coach and advisor for undergraduate and graduate students with the Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs. Teresa is co-founder of State of the Story, a moth-styled storytelling group who tell stories in the Attic at the State Theatre. She believes Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Danger of a Single Story" where humans are extremely complex and cannot be reduced to a single narrative. We need more stories to help make sense of the world.
In 2017 Sarajane Snyder took over Mondragon Bookstore in Lewisburg, home of 5000+ used books, a refuge for the tech-weary, and a delight for the curious. She believes that writing and storytelling are essential for any community to thrive. As people practice writing and storytelling, they find their voice. When people find their voice, they find their ability to speak up. When they can speak up and be heard, communities grow stronger. She envisions a rural renaissance in central PA filled with small farms, handy craftspeople, wise governance, radical librarians, happy babies, healthy parents, good art & song & dance & stories galore.