Kira is a third-year Spanish and Recreation and Outdoor Education major from Littleton, Colorado. They’re also tall ship sailor, bass player, language geek, and huge coffee enthusiast.
She’s currently studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain, where she teaches upright bass and English and helps with winter maintenance on a replica of the one boat from Magellan’s expedition that actually circumnavigated the world (while trying and mostly failing to learn Basque).
Assistant Managing Editor
Matthew Eshed is a first-year Master of Environmental Management (MEM) student, hailing from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City. He brings ten years in the manufacturing and climate innovation sector to Western’s graduate school, and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland obtained in 2012.
He is interested in the intersection of human society, social systems, and the environment. Matthew looks forward to jamming on innovation and creativity in the Valley.
Ilsa Rain Graceland
Assistant Editor and Staff Writer
Ilsa is a junior at Western Colorado University with a major in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. She serves as the managing editor for Pathfinder magazine. Ilsa comes from a family with an extensive history of studying literature and language. She is especially interested in mythology, folklore, and nature writings. A tea enthusiast with a penchant for gardening, Ilsa spends a lot of time reading, illustrating, tending to her vast array of house plants, and petting her cats. Ilsa’s hobbies include hiking, bird watching, mushroom hunting, and a wide variety of creative pursuits.
Kayla is a sophomore at Western studying Studio Art with the hopes to pursue a BFA in photography. She grew up in Denver and worked in the Taylor Park area for six summers. She finally decided to call this place home and moved to Gunnison in 2020. Her love for photography began with taking analog photo classes in high school and in her adoration for the ordinary and habitual. She is excited to contribute her love for Gunnison to the Top O’ the World team!
Abigail is a freshman honors student at Western Colorado University studying Geology. She grew up in Colorado Springs, where her love of photography began in middle school when she had photoshoots with her friends. This is her first year joining Top o’ The World and she is excited to be a part of the team! She enjoys trying new things, such as figure skating, skiing, hiking, and exploring the beautiful Gunnison Valley.
Kate Kulow is a freshman honors student at Western Colorado University. She is majoring in Psychology, minoring in Creative Writing, and is on the hockey team! As a part of the Top o’ the World newspaper team, her favorite things to write about are campus and town events.
Kate is also a part of Word Horde, Western’s creative writing club, and has spoken at an Open Mic night held by the Council for Creative Expression (CCE). Her greatest goal in college is to experience more of the world around me and to help people connect through words and writing.
Emma Omid was raised in Denver, CO and will graduate from Western Colorado University in the spring of 2023. She is completing a communications major with an emphasis in film studies alongside her minor in biology. She lives on campus with her miniature poodle, Jake.
Emma’s favorite things to do are develop characters, play piano, train dogs, ride horses, and create stop motion short films. She plans to visit Alaska, London, and Japan.
Alex is a Senior at Western Colorado University studying Applied Physics and Economics. He grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado and has loved being outside since he was young. He has done photography at a professional level for over ten years.
In his time in Gunnison Alex has done a lot of climbing and exploring the valley and the surrounding landscapes. When he has time to break away from his two majors you can find him working on his truck in the parking lot and exploring all the secrets of the Valley. You can also find him walking his dog Trooper around Gunnison.
Khristina Rhead calls herself a writer, wannabe rock climber, and environmentalist. Writing since she was a child, she decided to pursue writing in a professional sense in 2020 when she wrote her first article as a freelance writer for a local news site in Los Angeles. Since then, she’s written articles on a variety of topics, including rock climbing, politics, and police brutality. In addition to being a writer for Top o’ the World, Khristina is also a writing tutor at Western. Currently living in Los Angeles, CA, Khristina will graduate from Western in 2023 with an MBA focused on the outdoor industry.
Matilda is currently a freshman at Western. She grew up in a small town out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her major is environmental sustainability, with a minor in photography. Matilda is an experienced photographer who has been taking pictures for 5 years.
When she got to Western, Matilda saw the newspaper as a new opportunity to help her grow her photography skills and knowledge. She also loves the mountains and all the nature they hold within them. Matilda is excited to explore more parts of Colorado and expand her photography skills.
Staff Writer and Photographer
Emily Tanner is a sophomore at Western Colorado University. She is majoring in Strategic Communications with minors in psychology and business. She hopes to either work in the nonprofit or lobbying worlds, but has a second love for pet grooming. She has enjoyed writing and keeping up with current events for as long as she can remember. Photography is one of her favorite hobbies, and there is no better place for it than Gunnison.
Emily joined Top o’ The World in the Spring 2022 semester and will be covering mental health along with campus & community events.
Brian Wagenaar is a Master’s of Environmental Management student at Western Colorado University. He joined Top o’ the World as a writer in the spring of 2021, and immediately began adding unnecessary commas to the dismay of his editors. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, stopping by a few schools along the way.
He later served AmeriCorps terms in Massachusetts, California, and Missouri, where he worked on conservation and trail stewardship projects, prescribed burns, and emergency management. In his free time, he enjoys traveling around Colorado, hiking, volunteering on conservation projects, and embarking on a grand journey to soak in every hot spring west of the Mississippi.