Rebecca Briesmoore is a Master’s of Environmental Management student at Western Colorado University. Originally from Iowa, Rebecca has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University and worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for five years.
Before moving to Gunnison, Rebecca lived in Panama for a year as a Peace Corps Environmental Education Volunteer. Rebecca is interested in ecosystem restoration, water management, community sustainability, history, geography, and memorizing flags of the world.
Outside of working for Top o’ the World, Rebecca nurtures her inner child by volunteering with kids in the community. Rebecca also enjoys traveling, backpacking, writing, and finding mud puddles to splash in.
Claire is a Seattle native who has been writing her whole life. At Top o’ the World, she is both a creative writer and an editor. Claire came to Western to study Psychology, Sociology, and English and she hopes to one day become a therapist. In addition to writing, she likes to teach swim lessons, read, and run a summer day camp!
Claire is really proud of the team we have working on the newspaper and she hopes y’all like what you read!
Editor, Audio and Design
Caspen Black is a graduate student in the Environmental Management program. Their research interests include cultural resource policy, indigenous sovereignty, and inter-agency collaboration. They received their Bachelor’s in Anthropology from the University of Montana with a minor in Gender Studies. They currently work on science planning research.
Their love for writing is matched only by their love of figure skating. When they aren’t on the ice, they can be found gobbling up extraneous commas.
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.
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!
Kallie Klein is currently a Junior in the Environment and Sustainability (ENVS) program with a minor in Humanities and Diversity. She was born and raised in Denver but has lived in Gunnison for just over a year now. Besides writing for TOP, Kallie is also a board member for the Sustainability Coalition, a campus environmental club. She is also the Secretary of the Western Solar Society, and an employee with Lead Sustainability. Outside of education, Kallie majorly enjoys the outdoors, specifically skiing and backpacking, as well as hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop, and starting books but never actually finishing them.
Kallie looks forward to continuing her journey at Western and is honored that Top o’ the World is a part of that journey.
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.
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.
Ashley Peterson is a second-year Masters of Environmental Management student in the Global Sustainability track. She loves being outdoors and has a special place in her heart for the mountains and spends whatever free time she has hiking and climbing in Colorado and beyond. She also enjoys reading and writing and combines all of these interests by being this paper’s recreation columnist. She has traveled to 38 countries and wants to bring a global perspective to environmental issues, especially in mountain communities.
Ashley received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from Portland State University where she wrote an honors thesis on microplastics in Oregon rivers. Academic and recreational interests combine anywhere outdoors, but particularly in the mountains, and that’s where her true passions are.
Copy Editor and Staff Writer
Tess Peterson is a senior at Western. She is pursuing a degree in Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) with a Politics & Government Pre-Law minor. As a transfer student, Tess wanted to get involved at Western and connect with the community. In doing so, she joined LEAD Sustainability, Top o’ the World, and became a senator with the Student Government Association (SGA). Recently, she also became a team captain of Western’s Mock Trial team as well.
When Tess is not on campus, she enjoys backpacking, hiking, skiing, and just generally enjoying the beautiful Gunnison Valley. She is excited for her final semester at Western and can’t wait to see what the coming months hold!
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.
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.