Our People

Our people make the difference.

Mascot’s staff is experienced in the various disciplines that converge in the world of publishing. From industry strategists, to marketing gurus, to creative types, to grammar nerds, to bean counters, we have the right people in the right positions to help authors navigate the nuances of the publishing marketplace.

We Love Books

While Team Mascot is composed of individuals offering unique backgrounds and skill sets, there’s attributes that we all share: We’re passionate about books. It’s this appreciation for the written word that provides important context and perspective to our work and enables us to offer knowledgeable direction to our family of authors.


Jess Cohn

Acquisitions Editor

Working with books is Jess’s dream job. Ever since she was little, she knew her passion in life was to help authors publish their stories. When she was a creative writing student at University of North Carolina Wilmington, she experienced the writing lifestyle and adored working with her classmates to achieve their publishing dreams. Graduating with her B.F.A. and publishing certificate allowed her to pursue her goal of helping authors put their stories in front of readers. She loves spending her days reading manuscripts, chatting with authors about their work, and exploring the wonderful northern Virginia area.

Ben Simpson

Acquisitions Editor

Ben enjoys helping aspiring authors achieve their dream of publishing their books and enjoys working with so many different projects and genres. He received his B.A. in Communications with a Concentration in Media Production & Criticism from George Mason University. He greatly enjoys film, television, and books, especially ones that make him chuckle. He is excited to join the Mascot team and show off his ping pong skills in the office!

Emily Temple

Acquisitions Editor

Emily is a reformed academic who joins Mascot after an initial career in higher education. As an educator, she loved helping students improve their writing and develop their storytelling skills, and she is thrilled to be working with authors pursuing their dreams of publication. Emily loves spending her days discovering new manuscripts, talking to authors, and helping them bring their stories to life.


Production Editors

Daniel Wheatley

Senior Production Editor

Daniel fell in love with books at an early age and never looked back. As a senior production editor, he is thrilled to help authors take their ideas and transform them into completed books. He loves helping all the parts—editing, illustration, design, and production—come together into something magnificent! Daniel graduated from Messiah College with a B.A. in English, with a Writing Concentration. He likes all kinds of stories, but his favorites to read—and write—are science fiction and fantasy. His debut middle-grade fantasy novel, The Zanna Function, was released in 2018 from Jolly Fish Press. When he’s not working on his own fiction projects, he teaches swing dancing and hunts for cheesy movies to add to his collection.

Nicole Hall

Production Editor

A lover of puns and stories, Nicole is excited to fulfill her lifelong dream of bringing books to life. This Oreo and pun fanatic enjoys dabbling in poetry and scriptwriting in her free time but loves that her role as a production editor with Mascot allows her to work in all kinds of genres. Nicole graduated from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi with a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and a B.A. in English, and cherishes the uniqueness the Deep South has to offer. When she’s not composing her next pun, she is either traveling the world with her husband in search of the best coffee nook or checking off her movie watch list.

Lauren Magnussen

Production Editor

Lauren has been working and playing with the written word since she was only a few years old (her first short story was about the final thoughts of a melting ice cream cone). A love of the art and substance of the English language has been at the core of her personal and professional ambitions for decades. Since her early forays into the realm of writing, she has worked on all sides of the process: by furiously researching, analyzing, and copy editing, Lauren helps writers create polished, original books. She believes in the power of communication to get things done, and throws herself into every project to make sure it is better than when she began it. Lauren has a B.A. in English from The College of William and Mary, and is currently pursuing her M.A. at George Mason University. Before joining the Mascot family, Lauren was the Press Coordinator at NextStop Theatre Company, and brought to life myriad academic texts for university professors in her capacity as a research assistant. She loves exploring the American South, particularly its rural landscapes, small towns, and used bookstores. Sometimes, she dreams in cartoons.

Michelle Meredith

Production Editor

A former elementary teacher, Michelle has always loved finding ways to help writers put their ideas out into the world, and she’s super excited to do just that for many different authors at Mascot Books. Michelle earned a B.A. in English Literature from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where she later worked for a small nonfiction publishing company before moving to Virginia with her dog, Gilead, and her partner, Will. She reads mostly sci-fi and speculative fiction (the weirder the better!), drinks mostly coffee, and spends most of her free time at skate parks and hiking trails.

Rachel Sutton

Production Editor

A lifelong learner and compulsive reader, Rachel spent much of her time over the years in bookstores. Her experiences reading and working in these hallowed places taught her to understand the publishing field from all angles. As a production editor at Mascot, Rachel taps into her creativity and passion for storytelling in order to become her authors’ fairy godmother. At the end of the day, Rachel loves nothing more than to see stories come to life in print. When she’s not working, Rachel devours non-fiction works ranging from theoretical physics to the developing sociopolitical landscape, although she’s also been known to indulge in sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian novels. Her library of books is matched only by her television and movie collection. Rachel attended Virginia Commonwealth University, earning dual degrees, graduating with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Psychology, as well as earning minors in British Studies and Religious Studies.


Graphic Designers

Morgan Alessi

Graphic Designer

From a very young age, Morgan knew she wanted to pursue a career in the arts. She grew up finding beauty in hidden ways and now loves unearthing the potential in authors’ visual ideas. She earned a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from James Madison University. During her time there, she was fortunate enough to experience the art and culture of Austria and Poland, which she uses as a well of inspiration in her work today. Morgan is now happy and at home working for Mascot Books, creating exciting content and expanding her skillset every day. You might even see some of her original drawings featured in Mascot’s various books. She enjoys making the recipes from the many cookbooks she works on, and sometimes her dog, Tuck, sneaks a taste when she’s not looking.
Matthew Gonsalves

Matthew Gonsalves

Graphic Designer

Matthew is an innovative graphic designer and digital painter, best known for his abstract covers and work in Photoshop. He graduated from the Art Institute of Washington with a B.A. in Graphic Design and began toying with personal design projects, which included laying out his neighbor’s book. He soon found he had a knack for it and went on a quest to find a job where he could put his talents to work. Thus, he joined Team Mascot! Now he creates unique designs catered to each individual book he comes across. Legends say he has many names: Matt, Matthew, Matty G, McFly, PBG, and Gonsalves. Matthew is also known for his preposterously high standards for food and critical analysis of French Fries, which are his favorite food.

Jasmine White

Graphic Designer

Jasmine considers herself a jack of all trades when it comes to creativity. Her pursuits include book cover and interior designs, digital painting, videos, and three-dimensional modeling. She also dabbles in fiction writing and is Mascot’s resident printer whisperer and solver of minor computer problems. In her free time, she fights hordes of evil in her Dungeons and Dragons group, reads Korean web comics, and binges TV shows full of swords, magic, and political intrigue. Jasmine earned a B.A. in New Media Design from Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina. She moved to the D.C. area to study Game Design at George Mason University but soon found herself at Mascot Books!


Chris Baker

Marketing Manager

Chris has a passion for promotion and loves helping creators make their visions viable. He has gained extensive marketing experience through promoting and managing his band The Duskwhales over the past ten years. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in English and a Creative Writing concentration. When he’s not working, Chris is probably carrying a large amplifier up a flight of stairs or watching a Caps game.

Anna-Marie Collins

Marketing Manager

Anna-Marie is a book and coffee lover originally from Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in English and creative writing. After college, she completed the Columbia Publishing Course and spent a year in New York City, where she became even more hopelessly in love with books and coffee. Anna-Marie and her equally bookish twin sister run a bookstagram account. When she’s not reading, Anna-Marie can be found either baking something chocolatey or hiking with her fiancé.

Bridget Blakely

Marketing Specialist

Bridget is a lover of all things media, and is excited to have found her home here at Mascot. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2018 with a B.A. in Media Studies and Spanish. When she is not working, she can be found going to concerts with her boyfriend, dancing, and playing with her two adorable kittens, Jessie and Joni.

Caitie Merico

Retail Specialist

A born and bred Marylander, Caitie graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Go Big Dawgs!) with a B.A. in Media and Communications and a minor in Psychology. During her time at UMBC, she became involved with the campus musical theater club where she did everything from singing and dancing to writing and directing. She was even in a student-written and student-led parody musical about a popular Disney TV show. With her position at Mascot, she is excited to help connect people to great books. When she is not working or trying to make a dent in her to-read pile, Caitie can be found binge watching an entire series of a TV show, listening to one of her favorite comedy podcasts, or taking a well-deserved nap.