Who We Are
Dr. Travis A. Rountree is an assistant professor in the English Department at Western Carolina University. Along with his colleagues at WCU, he helped to continue the LGBTQ archive: Jackson County Collection at Hunter Library. He also serves on the Board of Blue Ridge Pride and is the Vice President of the Appalachian Studies Association. He has been published in The North Carolina Folklore Journal, Journal of Southern History, and Appalachian Journal. University of Kentucky Press will publish his book Hillsville Remembered: Public Memory, Historical Silence, and Appalachia’s Most Notorious Shootout in March 2023.
He is from Richmond, Virginia, but lived in Boone, NC for 9 years. He enjoys running, weightlifting, and gardening. He is an avid fan of Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Brandi Carlile, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, and several other artists. He lives in Sylva, NC with his two kitties.
Sarah Steiner is a librarian at Western Carolina University, and co-founder of the LGBTQ Archive project at WCU. She helps coordinate events and volunteers for Sylva Pride. Sarah’s lived in Sylva with her family since 2014, after about a decade in Atlanta. Sarah loves roller skating at the greenway, horror films, and painting.
Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, Destri has called Sylva her home for the last eight years. She has spent that time working in various capacities to address community needs including interpersonal violence, homelessness, and food insecurity. She is the owner of the nonprofit consulting firm Leger Consulting, LLC where she provides education, guidance, and tools to nonprofits seeking to increase their capacity and impact. Destri enjoys reading, cooking, tending to her 33 houseplants, and raising her redheaded daughter.
Jazmyne Baylor is a librarian at Western Carolina University and a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She is also the owner of Lumetas - a pop-up bookstore. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at Western Carolina University. Her work is grounded in social justice and she dedicates her time to fighting for those who are systematically oppressed. Jazmyne loves to sing, write, read, do yoga, tend to her plants, and love on her pup Sophie.
Sarah Hirsch is a proud member of Sylva Pride and its mission. She is a language teacher (Spanish & English) for UNIDXS WNC and a nationally Certified. Medical Interpreter. Sarah also does free-lance educational and legal interpretation and translation, including for organizations that fight for human rights, such as RAICES. She and her husband Geoffrey have resided in Sylva since 2018, having visited from New Hampshire for many years before making the ‘big move’ to be closer to grandchildren.
Antoine Hodge is known in New York City for his role as Bar and Spirits Director of Baccarat Hotel, New York. He has appeared as a guest host on the Food Network web series Foodie Call with Food Network star, winner, and author Justin Warner. He was also featured on Mashable, Business Insider, Good Day New York, NY Lifestyles Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine, Forbes, and Eater. Currently, he works as the Bar Manager at ILDA, a southern Italian restaurant here in Sylva, NC.
Burgin Mackey is one of the three founders of Sylva Belles Drag. She is a local girl from Madison County, North Carolina, and a recent graduate of Western Carolina University in Environmental health. Burgin performs as Beulah Land all over Western North Carolina. In her free time, she is growing flowers, baking pies, and frolicking through the woods with her cat, Clementine.
Sarah has grown up all over then moved to Sylva 2 years ago with her wife, Worth, and dog, Patty. She has worked in Mental Health for 3 years. Sarah has loves to read, write poetry, and has a passion for interior design.