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FSF 2021 Committee Member Short Bios

Dr. Jackson R. Bryer (Past President) is Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of Maryland. He is co-founder and president of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society and author, editor, or co-editor of 17 books by or about F. Scott and/or Zelda Fitzgerald, among them “The Critical Reputation of F. Scott Fitzgerald,” “New Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Neglected Stories,” “F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Critical Reception,” “The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Approaches in Criticism,” “Dear Scott/Dear Max: The Fitzgerald-Perkins Correspondence,” and “Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.” He has been a member of the Committee since its inception in 1996.

 

Dr. Gary Berg-Cross (President) a cognitive psychologist (PhD, SUNY–Stony Brook, BS from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute) is now semi-retired from a professional life that included R&D in applied data & knowledge engineering, collaboration, and AI planning research. He has been a Board & Trustee Member of the Friends of the Library Montgomery County.

 

Joseph Monte (Vice President) was an Einstein High School College Counselor for fifty-one years, has served on the F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference Committee for 10 years, and has been President of six different educational boards. He is also a writer for “American Teacher.”

 

Patricia Chickering (Treasurer) is a historian with a business background who retired in 2003 from the position of office manager for a Rockville historic preservation organization. She served as the bookkeeper and fiscal manager for the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference and became its Treasurer in 2009.

 

Pamela J. Gates (Secretary) has served on the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival Committee for nearly six years.  She was a Docent at The Music Center at Strathmore; a tutor in the MCPS system, past president of the Bethesda Community Garden Club; and is a retired speechwriter and public affairs professional. A life-long resident of Maryland, she has lived in Rockville for over 45 years. She is an avid reader and enjoys theatre and film.

 

Eric Carzon (Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) representation) is manager of the Connie Morella Library in Bethesda, Maryland and represents MCPL, one of the event’s partners.  Eric has many years of experience in public programming and event management from his work in MCPL and the University of Maryland at College Park Master of Library and Information Services, and Master of Public Management from the University of Maryland at College Park.

 

Ari Brooks (Friends of the Library Liaison, Committee Member) is an experienced fundraiser and nonprofit manager. As Executive Director of Friends of the Library (FoL), Montgomery County, she handles fundraising, marketing, membership recruitment, board engagement, and financial oversight. She is a graduate of the 2004 class of Leadership Montgomery and was the first recipient of the County Executive's Emerging Leader award in 2009.

 

MCPS liaison has been Davina Thrower smith who retiring from teaching. The position is currently open and we are in discussion with MCPSs on a replacement.

 

Natalie Kermati (new Festival Coordinator and Committee Member) is a fellow in the Georgetown University Lannan Program, a Native Farsi speaker she is Secretary of the English Graduate Student Association she has interned at the U.S. Department of State working on numerous projects, including reports on members of Congress and has worked closely with the director of press.

 

Margaret Meleney (Committee Member, Writer’s Center Liaison) is senior executive of The Writer;s Center with extensive experience in strategic planning, operations, investment, budgeting, annual auditing, and financial analysis. She has managed six entities with operating budgets of over $15 million and previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of Club Managers Association of America, where she has implemented cost-savings and reallocation strategies to improve overall financial health of the organization. She has also volunteered on a number of nonprofit committees

 

Betty Wisda (Rockville City Liaison) has been the Arts Programs Supervisor for the City of Rockville, Maryland since 1979. She is responsible for the coordination, planning and development of citywide visual, performing and literary arts for all ages. She has received numerous awards from the National Recreation and Parks Association and Maryland Recreation and Parks Association for her innovation, creativity, and dedication to the arts.

 

Dr. Eleanor Heginbotham (Committee Member), Professor Emerita of English at Concordia University in St. Paul, co-chaired the first F. Scott Fitzgerald Society International Conference held in the author’s hometown of St. Paul. She has taught on five continents, most recently at the University of Maryland; has co-chaired four major conferences; and has published two books and numerous articles, mainly on Emily Dickinson.

 

Dino Caterini  (Committee Member) is a retired Foreign Service Officer who served for thirty-five years with the United States Information Agency, the organization that handled educational and cultural affairs overseas, including the Fulbright Scholarship program.  He helped foster American Studies and American Literature in universities in India, Ethiopia, Somalia, Pakistan, Burma, Germany and Italy. He organized exhibits on Fitzgerald and other American literary figures at American Centers overseas as well as at foreign universities.  His undergraduate BA degree is in International Relations from Miami University (Ohio), and his JD graduate degree is in law and political science from New York University. He studied overseas on a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Padua in Italy and has been associated with the Rockville Fitzgerald Festival/Conference since its beginning in1996. He is proud to have been to every annual conference since then and has been on the Fitzgerald Fest organizing committee for the past four years.

 

Frances Caterini (Committee Member) is a Fitzgerald scholar. She has taught literature at the University of Maryland.

 

Susan Hoffmann (Committee Member) is the former mayor of Rockville and currently serves as Communications and Public Outreach Manager, Montgomery County Recreation Department. She has had decades of experience in public service and business.

 

Eileen McGuckian (Committee Member) a member of the Committee since its inception in 1996 is the author of six books on Rockville history, including Rockville: Portrait of a City (2001) and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Rockville: A Guide to Rockville in the 1920s (1996). She served as executive director of Peerless Rockville for three decades and believes in preserving historic places for the benefit of future generations.

 

Nancy Pickard (Committee Member) is an historic preservation and community planning professional. In her current position as Executive Director at Peerless Rockville, Historic Preservation, Ltd., she works with concerned citizens, volunteers, property owners and local government agencies to identify, protect and safeguard the City’s heritage. Nancy holds Master’s Degrees in Community Planning and Historic Preservation from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State.

 

Mary Hopkins (Committee Member) Coordinator of Auxiliary Programs The Steward School Richmond, Virginia

Zach Powers (Committee Member) is The Writer’s Center’s Communications Manager is a seasoned media specialist with 15 years of experience, including many years working with nonprofits. He’s also an accomplished author of literary fiction, including an award-winning short story collection (Gravity Changes, BOA Editions, 2017) and a novel, First Cosmic Velocity,

 


Patricia Dubroof (new Committee Member) is the Director of Community Relations for Assisting Hands Home Care. As a lifelong artist, she has over 35 years of experience in creativity and coaching.  She developed arts and healing programs at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Iona Senior Service, Washington DC Veterans Medical Center, Interfaith Works Women's Center, Capital Workspaces among many others. She creates partnerships with communities and organizations to share educational and creative tools for the well-being of all. Patricia is an active member of the Rockville Chamber of Commerce, Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, GROWS, Rockville Art League, Peerless Rockville, Pump House Village, East Rockville Civic Association, Senior Services Alliance. Patricia serves on Rockville's Cultural Arts Commission. 

 

Carol Rubin (new Committee Member) is an Attorney and Special Project Manager with the Maryland-National Capital Planning Commission. 

 

Larry Matthews (new Committee Member) is a veteran of thirty-five years in broadcast journalism, working in radio and television in major markets and networks. He was a street reporter, investigative reporter, anchor, news director, editor and producer. He has worked at some of the nation's premier radio stations, including WMAL in Washington when it was the market leader and one of the most respected stations in the country. He also reported and anchored newscasts for ABC and National Public Radio. He taught broadcasting and writing for radio and television at The George Washington University, where he also conducted media workshops and training. He produced programs and reported for Maryland Public Television.

His awards include The George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting, The DuPont/Columbia Citation, The National Headliner Award, and other national and regional awards for journalism and excellence in broadcasting. He is the author of eleven published books, including the acclaimed "I Used to be in Radio, a Memoir".

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