Meet Our Staff


Show More

Maggie Ritchie (Co-founder and Teacher)Maggie Ritchie (Co-founder and Teacher) holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago, where she earned a certification for teaching the Story Workshop Method (R). She writes mostly magical realism and horror, but loves story in any form. She teaches high school in New Orleans and writes and performs sketch comedy with Virginia’s Harem. In addition to designing our curriculum, Maggie teaches two of our introductory courses.





Geoff HyattGeoff Hyatt (Teacher) has taught various writing and storytelling courses at Columbia College Chicago and Tribeca Flashpoint College. He is the author of the novel Birch Hills at World’s End and a former editor for Blood Bound Books, an independent press specializing in horror and dark fantasy. Currently, he works in the eLearning industry, creating online training, games, and simulations. At an early age, tabletop roleplaying games instilled in him a profound love of fictional worlds and a deep mistrust of all statuary.




Shannon Sipher (Teacher) has a BA in English Literature from Loyola University of Chicago, and an MFA from Columbia College Chicago in writing, where she specialized in speculative and fabulist fiction. She has worked and volunteered in the education sector as a substitute teacher, tutor, technical writer, and administrator in Chicago and her hometown of New Orleans for over a decade. Shannon is also ardent about solving the coastal erosion crisis in Louisiana, reading comic books, and petting any pugs that she sees. And Star Wars, obvi.

Guest Lecturers

Jay Little (Guest Lecturer) is an award-winning game designer with 20 years in the industry who also teaches game design at University of Wisconsin. He is perhaps best known for designing the X-Wing Miniatures Game and the Star Wars Narrative Dice System. Jay has been a Guest of Honor at DragonCon and GenCon, and will teach our 11th session, the Tabletop Role Playing Game Design and Theory Seminar. You can learn more about Jay Little on his website at




Christopher Hunt (Guest Lecturer)  is a twelve-year veteran of the Canadian Army, a long-time gamer, and has recently broke into the world of RPG freelancing. Chris’s unofficial Star Wars RPG blog ran weekly on for the past three years. He has written for Rusted Iron Games, Raging Swan Press, and most recently Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars RPG. Chris is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Political Science. Always the gamer, his thesis, which explores conflict short of war by uniting current threats to historical events, was inspired by a historical board game.


Administrative Staff

Show More

Keith KappelKeith Ryan Kappel (Co-founder and Guest Student) is a regular freelancer for Fantasy Flight Games on their Star Wars Tabletop Roleplaying Game, and has a BA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Outside his writing career, Keith served in the United States Navy as an Intelligence Specialist (97-01) at both Naval Space Command and onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Now, the only thing Keith serves is a cold drink at the neighborhood in Rogers Park, Chicago.




Alyx RossAlyx Ross (Guest Student Coordinator) graduated from Michigan State University in the Arts and Humanities. In addition to serving as Guest Student Coordinator, Alyx works as a Regulatory Compliance Analyst in the heart of Chicago. Outside of work, Alyx loves to volunteer and help others. She teaches ESL to refugees and sits on the board for the Safe Haven Network, a Chicago-based non-profit. Alyx is passionate about comic books, politics, plants, and petting dogs. Alyx ensures our guest students and speakers know when and where they need to be.




Dawn Rusnak (Financial Coordinator) earned her accounting degree from Point Park University in 2012. She handles all accounting duties for Adventure Writing Academy and currently works for Highmark, Inc. as a Senior Payroll specialist, and freelances as a tax accountant during tax season. When not at work, she spends most of her time raising two adorable girls. If a student payment processes incorrectly, they may be contacted by Dawn.