SCBWI-WI Volunteers


Deb Buschman, Regional Advisor

Deb was born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in Wisconsin. She’s been a member of SCBWI since 2011 and served as Co-Area Rep for Wisconsin’s southwest area. She is a member of 12×12 and coordinates two online critique groups. Deb won honorable mention in the 2017 “Rate Your Story” contest for her picture book. Her family can be found on the lake in the summer and skiing in the winter. For SCBWI -related topics, reach Deb at


Joyce Uglow, Assistant Regional Advisor

Joyce is a retired educator and school principal who has served the Wisconsin State Reading Association in administrative roles in which she wore many hats, including president, web editor and event registrar. She is the founder of Read the Way WSRA and has shared her ZOOM expertise with all of us as SCBWI-WI webinar coordinator throughout these confusing pandemic years. She is in multiple critique and workshop groups, honing her picture book writing skills. She is also a tree hugger, doorknob collector, and from a close family of creatives. Joyce reads to breathe in and writes to breathe out.


Rebecca Hirsch, Illustrator Coordinator

Rebecca Hirsch lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin with her husband and daughters. She has a BFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Rebecca has been an active member since 2011. She received “Honorable Mention” for her contest illustration for the Wisconsin chapter fall conference in 2016. She also received “Second Runner Up” with her piece in the 2017 Tomie dePaola SCBWI Narrative Art Award. She won the SCBWI-WI Illustrator competition at the fall conference in 2017. Rebecca’s first book, Panda’s Pause, written by Dr. Amanda DeSua, was released in November of 2018. She received the People’s Choice award for illustration at the Marvelous Midwest conference in May of 2019.


Nicole Salter Braun, Publications Promotions Co-Chair

Nicole Salter Braun made her first attempt at writing a novel when she was just ten and when she won a whole $7 in a writing contest in seventh grade, she was hooked. Later, she wrote for her high school and college newspapers and got a minor in journalism. Though she loved writing, she went on to become a nurse practitioner and started dabbling in writing again once her son was born (ahem…almost 28 years ago.) Picture books are her passion but she has tried her hand in middle grade as well. Nicole has been a member of SCBWI since 2017 and is constantly working on improving her craft. She grew up in Milwaukee yet currently resides in Elkhorn with her husband, step-children, and an obnoxious Siamese who owns her heart.


John Krause, Member Coordinator

John loves books. Shopping for them, buying them, collecting them, and, of course, reading them. The library is his temple. His first inroads to published writing were his high school’s newspaper and literary magazine. After nearly two decades in the insurance industry as an actuary, John took the plunge to write and publish full-time. His first novel, Pudge Amazon and the Ugly Ostrich, a hilarious middle-grade escapade, will be independently published in August 2023. Two more books in the series will shortly follow.


Leah Danz, New Releases Flyer Designer

Ever since Leah could hold a crayon… she liked to eat them. She has since outgrown the phase of eating her drawing utensils, and today, she puts them to use as an Illustrator and Designer. She has been an SCBWI member since 2013 and has worked on illustration projects for BabyBug magazine, has created illustrations for the books Patsy Bea, Even Lions Wear Pajamas, and Easter Elf vs. Christmas Elf written by Wisconsin author Rochelle Groskreutz (KWiL Publishing, 2019). Leah lives in Madison, WI, where she works as a Graphic Designer.


Sandra Nichols, Newsletter Coordinator

Sandra is a writer, educator, and editor who has a keen interest in helping others find joy in creative expression. Sandra has a passion for history and learning. As an educator, she teaches both developmental writing and civics. She has been an active member in Wisconsin State Reading Association for the past ten years and is a regular contributor to their state journal. She has a BA in History from UW Milwaukee and an MA in English from UW Oshkosh. Currently, she teaches at Mid-State Technical College.


Erica Dimka, Newsletter Designer

Erica has been a writer for as long as she can remember, from short stories for her dad to news articles as a former journalist and copy editor. Now, as an English teacher, she helps young people grow their own writing skills. When not teaching, Erica loves writing YA fantasy and science fiction, as well as traveling and hiking. A member of SCBWI since 2017, she enjoys connecting with other authors through critique sessions and conferences.

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Liza Wiemer, Social Media Coordinator

Liza is an award-winning educator with over twenty-five years of teaching experience. Hello?, her debut realistic contemporary YA novel, is set in Door County, Wisconsin and was published by Spencer Hill Press, NY. It was named a Goodreads Best Young Adult Novel. In addition, Liza has had two adult non-fiction books published through Random House and Gefen Publishing. Several of her short stories were included in the New York Times bestselling Small Miracles series. A die-hard Packer fan and graduate of UW-Madison, she’s married with two sons. Find her on Twitter: @lizawiemer, Instagram: lizamwiemer, Goodreads: Liza M Wiemer and


Renée Neubauer, Critique Group Coordinator

Renée grew up near Milwaukee and currently lives in Neenah with her husband, three children, two dogs, and two chickens. After working for over a decade in healthcare and management, she joined SCBWI in 2018 and became a full-time writer. She received Honorable Mention for her picture book submissions in the 2021 and 2022 PBParty contests. Renée belongs to three critique groups and looks forward to matching other writers with their (hopefully) forever critique groups. When not writing, you can find her guzzling tea, reading, rescuing worms on the sidewalk, traveling, devouring chocolate, cooking, and planning adventures for her kids.


Kate Penndorf, Webinar Coordinator

Story time had always been author KW Penndorf’s favorite ‘subject’ in school. But when her second grade teacher opted to read from a tattered old diary, Kate’s view on books changed forever. Books were now alive, with adventures, dilemmas, far away locations, heroes, villains, drama, and quite frankly, story. Everything was so real, well at least in her imagination at any rate. She wanted to live in those stories…and bring them to life. On a train ride into NYC, a vision came to Kate’s sleepy commuter mind: a girl finding a dragon egg in the middle of a Viking graveyard. Presto! The premise for her debut novel was born. A tale, which Kate hopes, will change a child’s view on books forever.When she isn’t writing her own stories, Kate is actively helping others write theirs in the strongest voice possible through her developmental edits and workshops. She loves being a part of SCBWI and is excited about her new role as Webinar Coordinator.


Maria Parrott-Ryan, Website Coordinator

Maria has been a member of SCBWI-WI since 2014 and was the recipient of the chapter’s middle grade mentorship in 2018. She is the author is Mysterious Glowing Mammals (September 2023), a nonfiction science story for middle graders, from Lerner Publishing/Millbrook Press. Maria also edits children’s books for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. She lives in Madison with her family.