Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet our SCBWI-WI Volunteers

Regional Advisor

Deb Buschman

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




Illustrator Coordinator

Rebecca Hirsch 
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.





Illustrator Representative

Jeanne Stycszinski 
While Jeanne was teaching kindergarten, she collected ideas for books which she stored in a filing cabinet in her classroom. Finally in 2013, Jeanne decided to establish Jeanne Kay Publishing as a way to pursue her passion for writing and illustrating children’s books. Jeanne resides in Colfax, Wisconsin with her husband, Gerry, dog, four horses, and two barn cats. Her four children are all grown up and live across the Midwest, visiting home often. Jeanne has enjoyed visiting schools and libraries to talk to students about writing and illustrating books.




Publications Promotions Co-Chairs

Joyce Uglow
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.




Nicole Salter Braun
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.






New Releases Flyer

Leah Danz
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 and Even Lions Wear Pajamas, and is working on illustrations for the upcoming book, 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.





Newsletter Coordinator

Sandra Nichols
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.







Newsletter Designer

Erica Dimka
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.






Blog Coordinator

Jane Kelley
Jane grew up by a woods in Mequon, Wisconsin, a perfect place for her imagination to roam. After graduating from Northwestern University, she performed street theater throughout the Midwest. She moved to Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, and was inspired by their daughter, to write for kids. In 2010, she published her first middle grade novel, Nature Girl. She was the 2013 Thurber House Children’s Writer in Residence. She has written many more novels, including The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya, which was honored by the CCBC in 2014. Her most recent work is the chapter book series, The Escapades of Clint McCool.




Social Media Coordinator

Liza Wiemer
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






Critique Group Coordinator

Renée Neubauer
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.






Webinar Coordinator

Kate Penndorf
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.



Website Coordinator

Maria Parrott-Ryan
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.