Board Members

The board and its staff are responsible for the long-term development and direction of The James Gang. All Board members volunteer their time and work on developing new endeavors while maintaining and improving current ones.

LUKE BENSON :: After a prolonged nap, Luke Benson woke up with an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Iowa in 2006. He later earned a Masters in Teaching in 2011 and has spent the last 3-4 years doing historic& reconstruction, teaching Composition and International Reading/Writing classes at Kirkwood Community College, and working with Frederick Newell to develop the Dream Center. Luke currently works as a Grant Writer and has recently joined the James Gang along with his good buddies Eric Jones and Dustin Busch to develop The Iowa Music Project.

DANIEL BOSCALJON :: Daniel Boscaljon received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies (2009) with a focus on modern religious thought and postsecular theology, and his Ph.D. in English (2013) with a focus on nineteenth-century American literature. He has published widely on the subjects of agnosticism and secularism, and remains interested in uncovering how to allow mystery and uncertainty to interrupt—and therefore enrich—everyday existence.

JENNIFER COLVILLE :: Jennifer Colville is a writer, teacher and mother of two. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Utah, and an MFA in fiction from Syracuse University. She’s published in such national publications as The Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review and DIAGRAM, and has taught at San Francisco State, USF, the UofA, and the University of Iowa. A lover of visual and verbal combinations, she created PromptPress as a venue for cross disciplinary inspiration between visual artists and writers.

CASSANDRA ELTON :: Cassandra has a BA in English (2009), a graduate certificate in Book Studies/Book Arts and Technology (2012), and an MLS in Library and Information Science (2015). She became involved with the James Gang in 2012 when she presented them with the crazy idea to start an independent library in Iowa City. She currently serves as the Library Director of the Antelope Lending Library, an independent bookmobile serving the southeast side of Iowa City and beyond. A recently minted Rotarian, Cassandra loves being involved with her community and also serves on the advisory board for the Iowa Children's Museum's Play to Read initiative. She currently feeds her family by working as the Center Director for the Sylvan Learning Center in Coralville.

DEVON FRIESE :: Devon is co-executive producer for Floodwater Comedy Festival.  An Iowa City native, he studied and worked as a producer and first assistant director in the film Industry in Iowa and Los Angeles.  He returned to Iowa City to help manage local fine dining restaurant, Devotay, and produces a variety of events around town.  He is eager to expand Iowa City’s legacy as a hub for Arts and Entertainment.

KATIE ROSS:: Katie is an Iowa City transplant from the sunny shores of Long Beach California. She is currently a nontraditional undergraduate at the University of Iowa, majoring in English (Honors). Her scholarship has mostly focused on amateur published little magazines (colloquially referred to as 'zines') in early science fiction literary communities. She is passionate about community building through service-based advocacy-- in other words, volunteering rules. Katie is a Fulbright candidate that hopes to attend library school in the near future. 

HANS HOERSCHELMAN :: Hans is a Lead Application Developer for the University of Iowa and a 2004 Computer Science graduate of the same. Hans previously served on the board of Public Access Television in Iowa City and previously chaired the Iowa City Telecommunications Commission. Hans also volunteered for CoderDojoIC, an organization working to teach programming to middle school age children.  Besides working on IT related issues for the James Gang,  he also serves as the James Gang Treasurer and acts as a representative for DrupalCorn Camp.

CAROL MACVEY :: Carol teaches acting at the University of Iowa Theatre Department and has taught at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English for the last thirty summers. She has also taught at Rutgers, Princeton and Dartmouth. She is also a stage director, having led workshops in Japan, India and Russia where she toured a production based on Chekhov’s The Seagull.

MARK POLANZAK:: Mark Polanzak is an editor for draft: the journal of process. He grew up outside Boston and studied creative writing and psychology at Skidmore College. He earned an MFA in fiction from the University of Arizona in 2007. His stories have appeared in many magazines, including Third Coast, The Pinch, The Southern Review, and The American Scholar. His first book, POP!: a fabulist memoir, will be released by Stillhouse Press in March, 2016. He has worked as a cynical book reviewer, a slow bar tender, a friendly bouncer, and a meek ad salesman. He currently works as a happy teacher of writing and literature at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

LUKE PROTTSMAN :: Luke loves living in Iowa City with his wife and kids. He also enjoys roasting coffee, traveling, hole-in-the-wall diners, road trips with their vintage Boler, and about any time spent with good friends & family. As for the more formal part of any bio: Luke moved to Iowa City to attend the University of Iowa, graduating in 1999 with a BBA in Finance. After graduating and to present, he is a financial and investment advisor. Luke is a co-founder of Reclaiming Roots, a venture to restore and reclaim sacred spaces in the community (while bringing together people for the cause of others: Roots events are typically highlighted by great coffee and fresh pastries). Luke also volunteers to assist in planning the annual Community Foundation of Johnson County charity golf tourney... as well as serves on the board of directors for Successful Living, a Supported Community Living agency in Iowa City. He also does mentoring and coaching in a few capacities.

RACHEL YODER :: Rachel Yoder is a founding editor of draft: the journal of process and the creator and host of The Fail Safe podcast. As an undergraduate, she studied literature and art at Georgetown University, and also holds MFAs in creative writing from the University of Iowa and the University of Arizona. She is the former director of the Iowa Youth Writing Project, a literary outreach organization, and currently serves as a board member for the UNESCO City of Literature. She also contributes to the local community through her outreach work for the Mission Creek Festival and Witching Hour as well as teaching with the Iowa Young Writers' Studio and Midwest Writing Center. More at

The James Gang is eternally grateful to all of the past board members who have shaped the James Gang and its endeavors over the years:

Aaron Schaefer • Analia Alegre-Femenias • Eric Asboe • Ellie Azoff • Jared Bazzell • Elizabeth June Bergman • Mike Brooks • Heather Byers • Micheal Crisholhm Anne Craig • Denise Dooley •Carson Eggland  Josh Eklow • Jesse Elliot • Andrea Flemming Emily Ginsberg • Cassie Gonzalez • Spencer Griffin • Zach Hoyt • Daniel Kahlastchi Kim Kullmer • Margaret Larson • Tyler Lechtenberg • Leigh Lewis • Dora Malech Forrest Meggers • Joe Mrkonich • Rob Pilaszewski • Jacek Pruski • Sarah Rades • Katie Roche • Sheila Samuelson • Laura Savage • Michael Schmitz • Miguel Soria • Andy Stoll • David Strackany • Amanda Styron • Shannon Thomas • Arthur Stewart • Ryan West