Senior Instructor


  • Role:

  • Position:

    • Senior Instructor
  • Concentration:

    • Literature, Writing, and Composition
  • Department:

    • English and University Composition Program


I am fortunate to work as an instructor. The material always sends me on unexpected adventures toward deeper understanding, and students continue to teach me about learning and our world.

Born and raised in Arvada, Colorado, I now hold a BFA in Theatre and a BA in English from Stephens College, a 1025-hour CMT from the Rocky Mountain Institute of Healing Arts, and a literature-extensive MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Additionally, numerous national and international literary journals have supported my poetry and other works, and The Poetry Foundation selected me as a 2011 finalist for a Ruth Lilly Fellowship.

Since 2008, I have taught at three universities – including CSU since 2012. Classes I have led here so far include: World Drama, Reading Without Borders, Introduction to Poetry, College Composition, Self/Community in American Culture, Twentieth Century Fiction, and Study of Literature. I work with an average of 200 undergraduates a year. Additionally, I'm grateful to have had the opportunities to volunteer with CSU's community literacy outreach program SpeakOut! and UAF's rural and indigenous student services writing center.

Recently, I have been featured as a poetry reader, workshop leader, or panelist with Telluride Institute: For Place and Planet, Western Colorado Writers Forum, “Rabbit Holes” for KAFM Radio and WCWF, Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival, CSU’s Master Teacher Initiative Program, Xi Draconis Books, Lithic Bookstore and Press, 100,000 Poets for Change, CALYX, and Poets' Co-op, and, distantly, I have enjoyed several leading roles in a small number of local theatres, a 2000 title of young “Best Actress in Colorado” from the International Thespian Society, and a 2014 CSU Alumni Association Best Teacher Award nomination.

Thirteen years of experience as a massage therapist and healing artist, including seven years as a successful small business owner, being raised by an environmentalist in a large, proud working class, active Coloradan family, and lived experiences in Northern India, Nepal, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Mexico (Northern to Southern borders), Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Morocco, England, Canada, Czechia, Austria, Switzerland, and twenty-nine USA states are all notable contributors toward offering students a collective context and outlook.

Thank you for your interest, and please feel free to contact me.


As Erica Waters:

Fungi magazine, vol. 13:4, Winter 2020, poem

“Maya's Micros,” The Closed Eye Open, September 2020, three poems

Plants & Poetry House, storytelling and agriculture, August 2020, poem

Weber—The Contemporary West, Fall 2019, vol. 36:1, three poems

Weber—The Contemporary West, Fall 2019, vol. 36:1, photo

As Airica Parker (maiden name):

El muro de Flores 12,000 Semillas, Summer 2019, miles 10.2 + 10.3

Lifeline Audio App Podcast, January 2019, short play

The Courtship of Winds, Summer 2018, one-act play

The Sun Magazine, Issue 510, June 2018, interview

Central Michigan University's Temenos, Fall 2016, poem

Mycoepithalamia anthology, Fungi Press, 2016, poem

Antipodes: A Global Journal, vol.30:1, 2015, review

Driftwood Press, vol. 2:4, 2015, poem

The Nature of the West: Camas, Winter 2015, poem

Fungi magazine, vol. 8:2, Summer 2015, poem

CALYX, vol. 28:3, 2015, poem

Lalitamba, Annual 2015, two poems

The Voices Project, 2013, poem

Antipodes: A Global Journal, vol. 27:2, 2013, review

Skidrow Penthouse, Issue 14, 2013, poem

Antipodes: A Global Journal, vol.26:1, 2012, review

Fiddlehead: Atlantic Canada's International Journal, Issue 250, 2012, three poems

Antipodes: A Global Journal, vol. 25:1, 2011, review

Permafrost, vol. 32, Summer 2010, interview

40 Below: A Journal of Teaching and Writing, 2010, poem

University of Alaska in Fairbank’s Ice Box, 2009, poem

Healing Path Magazine, February 2009, poem


"Why do you still teach under your maiden name?"

Because students return to new courses and recommend me from year to year. For example, every semester I have students who are there because someone they trust suggested they trust me. That trust - even from just one person in a room - can transform a classroom experience for the whole group. I'm a challenging and imperfect teacher trying to win students toward courageous exploration and sharing full of good humor, disciplined focus, and applied criticism. It's a big ask, but in many cases, it works so well that we all seem to levitate together. The threaded base of students who kindly admire and recognize me as "Airica Parker" tends to help new students get more from their experience, and the opportunity to be known as a person more or as much as a projection helps me teach at my best from day one. I'm very grateful. Additionally, I identify with all of my names by any spelling - a woodcarver in Ireland spelled my name "Aerica" - he is a keeper of myths, so you know that must be right. Thank you!


First Generation Story

My parents were determined to provide us with strong work ethic, inclusive action, and advance education. They made many efforts and sacrifices to create new opportunities for me, and they taught me to value the role of an educated populace toward a healthy democracy. Because of generous scholarships, the ability to hold two jobs at times, and diverse support including that offered by my parents and grandparents, I'm now in a position to continue their efforts and dreams toward a fairer, healthier world as a teacher, writer, and healing artist. I remain rooted in the values of community and environmental responsibility, and I remain very proud of the labors and laborers who make our lives possible. My hope as a teacher is to uplift as many students as possible by challenging each student to work hard and consider other perspectives and the complexities of texts, contexts, resources, and ecosystems so that each student may share in the gift my parents gave me - the opportunity to grow and offer unique contributions and responses to our long, shared story. First Generation Students, welcome!!!


  • Introduction to Poetry


    Here is a syllabus to model a bit about my teaching style.

  • College Composition


    One more to show the range of what I teach based on course requirements.