Manhattan

Learn more about Writopia in Manhattan.

  • Rebecca Wallace-Segall

    Executive Director
    Founder
    Rebecca Wallace-Segall

    Rebecca founded Writopia Lab in April 2007, currently directs the national organization, teaches writing workshops and college essay writing and runs in-school staff and teacher trainings in New York City through the DYCD, the DOE, and at community-based organizations that serve at risk youth. She has grown the organization in NYC, and established and oversees Writopia in the DC Metro region, NY Metro North, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Jersey. She trains Writopia instructors across the nation, as well as classroom teachers and volunteers in the Writopia method.


    Rebecca has won multiple teaching awards including the Scholastic Awards' 2012 Ovation Inspired Teacher Award for submitting the most outstanding senior portfolios on the national level and for "developing a method of working with students that inspires them to create original work that embodies their unique, personal voice.... Because of [her] tutelage... these students are now empowered to bring that voice into the broader world..." She has also won the 2008, 2009, and 2011 National Gold Apple Teacher Award for "submitting the most outstanding group of submissions on the national level" to the Scholastic Art & Writing event. She lectures at schools, events, and parents' organizations on a variety of topics including "How to Inspire the Writer Within Your Child," "Writing for High School and College Admittance," and on "Identifying and Participating in Positive Competitions." Previously, Rebecca established the creative writing program at the Abraham Joshua Heschel Middle School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a consultant. While she was there, the program outperformed every other school in the city (including every elite public and private institution) in Scholastic's prestigious Art & Writing Awards competition. She has been awarded recognition from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as an "outstanding educator" every year since 2006. (Writopia won Scholastic's official endorsement in 2007.) Rebecca was also nominated by students and selected to be entered into the 11th Edition of Who's Who Among American Teachers.

    Rebecca has taught at SUNY Albany, New York University, and at Gotham Writer's Workshop. In 2009, Rebecca was invited to join The Op-Ed Project Mentor Editor Program and has since helped several brilliant women break into some of the nation's most widely read national opinion pages. In 2002, she had the pleasure of working with young writers in New York City public schools for the first time as a resident writer with the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. By 2003, she was working at the Heschel School, planting the seeds for a unique and successful creative writing program there. She also participated in the judging of the Scholastic competition in 2006 and currently serves as a judge of several national youth writing competitions (in which her students are not involved).

    Rebecca also serves on Writopia Lab’s Board of Directors and is thrilled to have a team of accomplished board members from various social and business sectors, help shape the future of Writopia's youth literary community.

    Writings

    Rebecca began writing for publications in 1997. She has contributed opeds about education and writing to the The Atlantic Monthly and The Wall Street Journal, and thought pieces to The Huffington Post and The Nation, along with five cover stories (and other pieces) to the Village Voice. She has contributed the foreword to Bryant Park's Poem in Your Day Chapbook 2012 and to The Scholastic Award's 2012 Best Teen Writing. She also served as Senior Editor at Psychology Today Magazine, and won Salon's "Best People Story of the Year Award" for "Love Labor's Flossed." In 1999, she became a Journalism Fellow at Brandeis University. In 2003, she entered the world of comedy writing, and began writing and performing sketch comedy around NYC. She won a "Best Sketch" competition at the Upright Citizens Brigade in 2006.

  • Jeremy Wallace-Segall

    Chief Operating Officer
    Jeremy Wallace-Segall

    Jeremy Wallace-Segall is the Chief Operations Officer for Writopia Lab. Jeremy oversees technology and back-office functions, contributes to the organizational literature, recruits new students and new schools, and does light housekeeping.

    Jeremy has built and implemented databases and websites for 15 years. He ran a consulting business, ABCDataworks, for six years, that brought database, website, and communications strategy to non-profits and socially minded corporate ventures. Jeremy spent a few years in the corporate world, but most of his work experience has been focused on making the world a better place by helping non-profit organizations manage their data collection and dissemination. Jeremy has written corporate policy documents, software documentation, branding copy for websites, tutorials, and recently published a featured article of the month on Idealware.org.

  • Yael Schick

    Director of Programs
    Instructor
    Yael Schick

    Yael is thrilled to be part of the Writopia team! She received her BA in English from Stern College of Yeshiva University, and joined Writopia Lab in 2011. She has taught and tutored writing in several New York City colleges and private schools, and has worked as a director, most recently directing at 59e59 Theaters and at Roy Arias Theater. At Writopia she works as an instructor and program developer. Her Writopia students have received Scholastic recognition on both on the regional and national levels, and she has served as a national judge for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In 2012, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors."

  • Danielle Sheeler

    Director of Camps and Curriculum
    Instructor
    DanielleSheeler

    Danielle has been part of the Writopia team since 2011. She currently codirects Writopia’s NYC full-day camps and WriCampia, Writopia’s Sleepaway Camp, and develops in-school and essay writing curricula. Danielle teaches writing workshops at Writopia, in schools, and in Residential Treatment Facilities for incarcerated youth. She provides literacy support and creative writing workshops for at-risk teens who are transitioning these facilities into adulthood as part of Writopia’s Write to Independence Program. She launched the Essay Writing program at Writopia in 2013. In 2015 and 2016, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." Prior to Writopia, Danielle tutored for the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests both privately and with a Long-Island based company called Dynamic Tutoring.

    She has studied writing at Stanford University and New York University, and received her Masters in Humanities and Social Thought from the Draper Program at NYU in January 2010. She has co-written (with Yael Schick) a new musical How to Click, which was showcased at Shetler Studios and the Sorter Lee Theater. Her one-act play, Under Somebody's Nose, was produced at Roy Arias theater in November of 2012. She produced and performed the one-acts Graduands to Graduates; The Megalomaniac and Valedictorian Commence; and Scene From a Dartboard at the Manhattan Repertory theatre in March through June 2010, and the one-act Look at Me When I Am Talking to You at the Wings Theatre in New York in May 2008. She has had the opportunity to teach English and creative writing in a classroom setting to children in Pram-pram, Ghana; Quito, Ecuador; Chinatown, New York; East Palo Alto, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Tom Flynn

    Business Operations Manager
    Tom Flynn

    Tom has worked in higher education, business consulting, and creative management. He is also a seasoned professional writer. Tom studied Philosophy and Peace Studies at Siena College and earned an M.S. in Communication and Rhetoric at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At Rensselaer, he became Creative Director of a research group that created interactive multimedia learning software. He also worked on a variety of K-12 multimedia initiatives and taught a graduate level seminar for teachers on technology in the classroom. As a management consultant, Tom worked with a wide range of innovative technology companies and large corporate clients. In a past life, Tom studied with Marilyn Robinson and Amy Hempel at New York State Writers Institute Graduate Creative Writing Workshop at Skidmore College. He has written and edited for Pavement Saw, Guitar School Magazine, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, and Scyre. While living outside Boston, he wrote about the arts and nightlife for the Boston Phoenix publication Stuff @ Night. Also, during a more than 15-year association, Tom published countless feature length articles, interview pieces and reviews on music, culture and the arts for the alternative newsweekly Metroland in New York's Capital region.

  • Amina Phelps

    Senior HR Associate
    Janelle Williams

    Amina is excited to join Writopia Lab as the new Senior HR Associate! Prior to joining the team, she has consulted with several non profit organizations and small businesses supporting leadership teams with building HR infrastructure and projects to streamline HR processes and procedures. Although her professional experience is within the Human Resources industry, her first love has always been creative writing and of course reading. She holds a BA in English from Brooklyn College and has completed two children's books that are scheduled to be self published soon! Amina resides in The Bronx with her husband and two children, but she will forever call Brooklyn home.

  • Abby Coleman

     

    Program Manager
    Instructor

    Abby Coleman

    Abby Coleman joined Writopia Lab in September 2012. She completed her BA in English/Creative Writing from Hendrix College in Arkansas (2011) and her MFA in Poetry from The New School (2014). Her poetry and artwork have appeared in The Providence Journal, The Aonian, The New School Collaborative (for which she also created the cover design), and most recently in Pieces of Cake, The NYD Anthology 2014, great weather for MEDIA, and Eleven Eleven. She has also created two chapbooks, The Heart Machine and Involuntary Rabbits. Abby manages the Write to Recognition Program, Joy and Literacy in After School, and External Submissions, and she serves as an adviser to The (Parenthetical) and The Ellipsis... She is thrilled to be working with Writopia.

  • Janelle Williams

    In-School and Outreach Lead Instructor
    Janelle Williams

    Janelle M. Williams is thrilled to join New York City's Writopia team! She is a graduate of Howard University and received her MFA from Manhattanville College in January 2017. Janelle is also a 2017 Kimbilio Fellow. She has experience teaching Creative Writing and ELA to middle schoolers throughout the New York City area. As a southern writer from Decatur, Georgia, Janelle's lyrical stories are inspired by her friends and family. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Feminist Wire and Kweli Journal. She is currently at work on a novel set in Harlem and a collection of short stories.

  • Elsa Bermudez

    Human Resources Associate
    Instructor
    ElsaBermudez.jpeg

    Elsa Bermudez is a writer, graphic novelist, artist, and educator. She has loved teaching creative writing, essay writing, and graphic noveling at Writopia Lab since 2014. Elsa runs creative writing workshops for children and teens in under-served communities through Writopia programs such as Write to Recognition and Homes for the Homeless. She holds her BA in Philosophy and her MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. Her short story, Agency, was published in H.O.W. Journal's Issue 11. Elsa loves fashion, hates speaking in third person, and lives in Astoria, Queens with her wife, Abby, and their puggle and cats: Bug, Beyonce, and Jay-Z.

  • Ethan Shafran Moltz

    Instructor
    Filmmaking Program Developer
    Ethan Shafran Moltz

    Ethan joined the Writopia community as an intern in 2013. He is now a full-time instructor, filmmaking instructor, and the program coordinator. His Writopia students have been showcased as part of the Tribeca Films Festival in 2015 and 2016. Prior to Writopia, Ethan worked as a freelance video editor and photographer. Ethan graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in May 2015 concentrating in religious philosophy, fiction, and non-fiction. During his time there, he produced and directed over a dozen plays. You can sometimes find Ethan leading Writopia’s unique Literary Yoga for Language Play workshops!

  • Peter Cohen

    Assistant Instructor
    Operations Specialist
    Peter Cohen

    Peter is thrilled to finally be a full-time member of the Writopia team. He has interned at Writopia for many summers, and used to be a student at Writopia during high school. He's always enjoyed writing and frequently uses it to unwind (and justify procrastinating). Combined with his love of working with kids, Writopia is the perfect place for him. Peter was initially drawn into Writopia before there even was a Writopia. Rebecca Wallace-Segall, Writopia's Executive Director, was his 7th grade English teacher. She encouraged him to submit his stories to the Scholastic Writing Awards, and, in turn, he won multiple regional and national Scholastic Awards during that time. Rebecca helped him realize that writing was more than just a hobby. Now Peter is able to help transmit that lesson to the hundreds of students who attend Writopia's classes every week. Peter graduated from SUNY Binghamton in May, 2014.

  • Alexandra Cohl

    Instructor
    Program Developer
    Developing Regions Manager
    AlexandraCohl

    Alexandra is thrilled to be an Instructor, Program Developer, and the Developing Regions Manager at Writopia NYC! As Developing Regions Manager, she oversees the growth of new regions and specifically serves as the Program Coordinator for the Chicago and Bay Area regions. Alexandra interned at Writopia NYC during the summer of 2014 after graduating from the University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Theatre Performance. While in school, she wrote and performed a solo Commedia dell’Arte mask show, Stella, for the theatre department and outside guests. Her short fiction has been published in Luna Luna Magazine. Throughout the school year, she instructs multi-genre workshops and private sessions, and in the summer, mainly works with the playwrights, helping them bring their written pieces to the stage. Outside of work, she writes memoir and realistic fiction and is currently working on a series of short stories. Periodic summer visits to her grandparents' house in upstate New York—or as her mother called it: "cousin camp"—proved to be influential in her artistic endeavors and remains a place of inspiration; she and her cousins would create and perform original stories, often times charging for entry. Since then, she has always loved the beauty and therapeutic power of words. In addition to reading and writing, she loves to sing and is especially moved by R&B and soul music.

  • Madeline Taylor

    Registration Coordinator
    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Madeline Taylor joined Writopia as an intern in June 2015 and, after a year of working part-time, began full-time as Registration Coordinator. She also served as the Production Stage Manager for the Writopia Worldwide Plays Festival 2016. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University with a BA in English & Creative Writing. At Barnard, she stage managed, edited, and contributed to student-written theater productions, and her main areas of instruction at Writopia are the Playwriting & Performance program and the Essay Writing program. She writes primarily creative non-fiction and short fiction, and received recognition for her non-fiction writing at Barnard College with the Schwimmer Prize for the Humanities and the Estelle M. Allison Prize for Literature.

  • Hannah Boysko

    Instructor & Curriculum Developer
    Private Sessions Coordinator
    Hannah Boysko

    Hannah started at Writopia as an intern in 2015 and is over the moon to be part of the team full time! She graduated with a History and Education degree from Barnard College, where she wrote essays, short stories, poems, and a year-long research thesis, taught in classrooms all over the city, facilitated wellness workshops on campus, and hosted a multi-genre radio show, among many other things. She plans to dedicate her life to working with young people and couldn’t imagine a better place for learning than Writopia, with community and creative play at its heart. Hannah developed Writopia Lab's summer Zine-Making curriculum and teaches Essay Writing and Creative Writing workshops at our labs and off site. As a child, Hannah performed Lady Macbeth’s famous “spot” scene twice before turning 11 and was a founding member in a mother-daughter book club that has run for 12 years now. Writing has been a consistent source of joy, comfort, and excitement for Hannah, and she is so thrilled to help bring this gift to Writopia’s many writers.

  • Sarah Park

    Registration Support
    Editor-in-Chief of The (Parenthetical) and The Ellipsis...
    Madeline Taylor

    Sarah is thrilled to join Writopia Lab NYC! Born and raised in New York, she graduated Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Baruch with a B.A. in English and a minor in Art History. At Baruch, she was a poetry and prose editor for Encounters Magazine, and launched a digital nonfiction magazine, Refract Magazine, as the Editor-in-Chief. Sarah won the 2016 Sidney Harman Fiction Writing Competition for a short story that challenges the conventional female muse narrative. She hopes to use this experience to help others flex their imaginations and craft exquisite stories of their own.

  • Milana Meytes

    Assistant to Executive Director
    Instructor

    Milana Meytes is thrilled to be returning to Writopia as an essay writing instructor and full-time administrative staff member. Milana received her Masters from New York University in Humanities and Social Thought from the Draper Program at NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She concentrated on Memory and Diaspora Studies, focusing on emigre writers and Eastern European literature. Her OpEd has been published in NYU's Journal of Political Inquiry (2017) and poetry and fiction in NYU's Anamesa/Caustic Frolic: Graduate Literary Magazine (2015, 2016, 2017). Milana was a fiction and poetry editor of NYU's graduate literary magazine and the recipient of the Graduate Research Initiative Grant to research Russian emigre writers and literature in Prague. Milana received a BA in English from Wheaton College, MA. At Wheaton she founded Wheaton Words, an autobiographical storytelling production that has been a staple and annual event at the college ever since. Her poetry was published in Wheaton College's Literary Journal: Rushlight (2013, 2014 and 2015). She has taught creative writing workshops at New York's Friends of the Children Foundation. She has been affiliated with Writopia Lab ever since she wrote her first memoir in 2006 under the guidance of Writopia's Executive Director, Rebecca Wallace-Segall, the year before Rebecca founded Writopia Lab. Writopia was pivotal in her journey as a writer and advocate for the power of storytelling.

  • Sarah Shatan-Pardo

    Registration Support
    Assistant Instructor

    Sarah joined Writopia full time the summer of 2017 after spending the summers of 2015 and 2016 assistant teaching at our workshops and camps as an intern. She graduated from Haverford College with a BA in English in May, 2017. At Haverford, Sarah had a concentration in Creative Writing and spent her senior year writing a creative thesis. When she graduated, she was awarded the Terry M. Krieger ‘69 Memorial Prize for her achievements in writing. Sarah attended Writopia workshops as a high school student, so Writopia has been a part of her life for a long time. At Writopia, Sarah is a part of the registration team and an assistant instructor. She is also an enthusiastic member of the team who brings fantasy and adventure to young writers through Worldbuilding, where the young writers create their own interactive worlds and stories. YA fantasy is Sarah’s genre of choice for both reading and writing, but nothing inspires her like the stories written by Writopia’s young writers.

  • Daniel Ajl Kitrosser

    Instructor
    Artistic Director of Writopia Plays Festival
    Playwriting and Screenwriting Specialist
    DanKitrosser

    Dan Kitrosser has been teaching year-round at Writopia since 2007. He teaches musical theater, playwriting, language play, and fiction workshops, and also produces and directs Writopia Lab's annual Best Playwrights' Festival. Dan is the resident storyteller at Central Park and an award-winning playwright. His plays and musicals have appeared at Urban Stages, 45 Bleecker Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Brooklyn Lyceum and American Place Theatre. His children's musical, Night of the Butterfly, has been declared "a winning original musical!" by TimeOut Kids, and had an extended Off-Broadway run. He was the recipient of the 2010 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant for his one-man musical The Legend of Ichabod Crane (Halloween Pick - Village Voice) which he continues to tour around the city. At Writopia, six of Dan's students have won "Best Play" in Stephen Sondheim's 2008, 2009, and 2010 Write a Play! contests, and many others were named finalists or won honorable mentions. A graduate of NYU, Dan's screenplays include Old Days, directed by Matt Shapiro and starring Brad Oscar (Tony Nomination, The Producers) and Mary Beth Piel (Dawson's Creek) and Bodybuilder Island, directed by Matthew Kliegman. Dan has been a final committee judge for the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival for four years (this coming summer will be his fifth). Dan's play Be Here Now won this festival and was a finalist in Stephen Sondheim's National Playwriting Competition.

  • Alex Henderson

    Instructor
    AlexHenderson

    Alex Henderson has enjoyed working with young Writopians since 2012. Originally from North Carolina, he has lived in Prague, CR, and Washington, DC, where he was awarded the Thesis Fiction Fellowship by the MFA program at George Mason University. He soon made the leap to New York City and Writopia's headquarters here, where you can now find him most days of the week (sometimes it's hard to get him to leave). Alex spends his free time riding the subway with a notebook balanced on his knees or figuring out how to re-arrange the bookshelves in his Brooklyn apartment. His fiction has appeared in Harper-Perennial's Fifty-Two Stories and Ekleksographia. He will listen to anyone tell a good story.

  • Courtney Sheinmel

    Instructor
    CourtneySheinmel

    Courtney Sheinmel teaches summer and year-round fiction and memoir workshops at Writopia Lab. She grew up in California and New York, graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, and Fordham University School of Law. After working as a litigator for several years, Courtney decided to focus on her true love: writing. Her critically-acclaimed debut "tween" novel, My So-Called Family, was published by Simon & Schuster in October 2008. Her second book, Positively, came out in September 2009. She is also the author of Sincerely Sophie/Sincerely Katie (June 2010) and You Can't Even Measure It (2011). Visit Courtney online at www.courtneysheinmel.com.

  • Steve DiUbaldo

    Instructor
    Steve DiUbaldo

    Steve is honored to be a part of Writopia's New York City team. He is a playwright, filmmaker, essayist, poet and producer living in New York City. His work has appeared in production and workshop in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Steve is a proud member of the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater apprentice company, “The Middle Voice.” He was a 2014 terraNOVA Collective “Groundbreaker,” and a 2015 member of Page 73’s “Interstate 73” writers group. Steve was the recipient of the Clifford Odets Ensemble Play Commission at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in 2015, where his play “Wayward” was developed and produced. His play “Exposure” is a 2016 semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neil National Playwrights Conference. His short film, “Couples Therapy,” appeared on the front page of FunnyOrDie. He was awarded “The Rita and Burton Goldberg Playwright Foundation Fellowship” and the “Excellence in Playwriting” Award at NYU, where he received his MFA (’13) in Dramatic Writing. He has been to the NCAA Tournament as a player and to the Grammy’s as a Beyonce dancer.

  • Rachel Barclay

    Instructor
    Rachel Barclay

    Rachel is thrilled and honored to be joining the Writopia Lab team! She is an award-winning playwright and poet based out of Washington D.C. Her plays have been developed and produced in New York, London, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. She was the recipient of the Kennedy Center's JFK National Playwriting Scholarship and a finalist for the National Partners of American Theatre National Playwriting Award. Her poetry was published in the anthology, The Poetry of Yoga, in November 2011. As an educator, Rachel has worked with Horizon Theatre Company's New South Young Playwrights Festival, the DC Theatre Lab, and Imagination Stage's Speak Out On Stage program, where she guided students through a devised theatre-making process and wrote the book and lyrics for the program's musical, On This Side of the Mountain, which will be produced in June 2012. Rachel is also a founding member of In One Day DC, a social outreach initiative whose mission is to cultivate community connection and empowerment through artistic expression. Rachel has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Catholic University of America and a B.A. in Theater and English with a minor in Creative Writing from Arcadia University.

  • Brigit Kelly Young

    Instructor
    BrigitKellyYoung

    Brigit is honored to work as an instructor at the oasis of creativity that is Writopia! Brigit's poetry and fiction have been published in several venues, some of which include The North American Review, 2River View, Eclectica Magazine, Drunken Boat, Opium Magazine, The Pinch, Emerge Literary Journal, and Midwestern Gothic. She has received a nomination for the Million Writers Award, and is a winner of the Esther Unger Poetry Prize as well as a two-time recipient of the James Emanuel Poetry Award.

  • Cathleen Davitt-Bell

    Instructor
    CathleenDavittBell

    Cathleen is the author of two novels for young adults, Slipping (Bloomsbury 2008) and Little Blog on the Prairie (Bloomsbury 2010). She holds a BA in American Studies from Barnard College and an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. Aside from teaching writing to kids, she's worked as a reporter, a salesperson, a market researcher, a copywriter, a birthday party entertainer, a personal shopper and a research assistant. Visit her online at CathleenDavittBell.com. She is thrilled to join the Writopia community. She has two dogs named Oscar and Oprah. Her favorite food is pizza and, strangely, in her thirties, she's developed a great love for playing catch.

  • Taylor Sykes

    Instructor
    Taylor Sykes

    Taylor joined the Writopia team the summer of 2013. She graduated from Purdue University West Lafayette in 2013 with her BA in English Education and Creative Writing. During her last year of college, she taught American Literature and Creative Writing at McCutcheon High School in Indiana full time. Taylor received several literary awards from Purdue for her creative and critical writing and was recently a finalist in NPR's Three-Minute Fiction contest. Her short fiction was published on NPR's website and a portion was read on the air during All Things Considered. Other fiction, poetry, and nonfiction has been published in Alyss, Pieces of Cake, and The Brooklyn Film and Arts blog. She has been a fan of Writopia for some time so she is thrilled to be part of the team of inspired thinkers, teachers and writers.

  • Cory Tamler

    Instructor
    CoryTamler

    Cory Tamler (www.corytamler.com) writes and translates essays, fiction, and plays/pieces for performance. She also works as a director, producer, and organizer, often on cross-disciplinary projects with an international component and performed in non-traditional venues. She has made theater in Germany, Serbia, New Zealand, Mongolia, and throughout the United States. Cory is a former Fulbright Scholar, a member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET/TEN Exchange Grant recipient), an alumna of DirectorsLabChicago, and a CEC ArtsLink Grant recipient for her theater work in Belgrade. Her personal and critical writing has been published in The Offing, Culturebot, Extended Play, ArtParasites, Howlround, and Interartive, and her translations have appeared in Asymptote, The Offing, and The Animated Reader (New Museum Triennial). In the fall of 2015 she designed a writing residency on board the RV Roger Revelle, a research vessel on which she shadowed and worked with oceanographers for five weeks. She is the Spring 2016 R&D Season Fellow at the New Museum. A Brooklyn resident since 2011, Cory is originally from Pittsburgh, where she studied physics and fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She will begin a Theater Studies PhD program in fall 2016. As a homeschooled kid, Cory took a lot of writing and theater classes and wouldn't be who she is today without them. She is proud to teach writing and performance across the city with Writopia and with Brooklyn Acts.

  • Melissa Baumgart

    Instructor
    Melissa Baumgart

    Melissa is honored to be part of the Writopia team! Melissa graduated from Northwestern University, where she studied Radio/TV/Film and History. She volunteered for several years as a mentor and as a Writing & Critical Thinking consultant for Minds Matter NYC, where she helped students prepare their college applications. Melissa has worked at HBO and Comedy Central, TV Land, and Spike TV. She is currently working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

  • Amy Dupcak

    Instructor
    AmyDupcak

    Amy Dupcak is truly excited to join Writopia, NYC. She studied Writing, Film History, and other random things at Sarah Lawrence College, then earned an MFA in Fiction from The New School. Along the way, she's worked as a music and culture journalist, editor, blogger, and publishing intern. She started and taught a Creative Writing course for high school seniors in Westchester, and now teaches English and tutors on the college level in Manhattan. She has published short stories and creative nonfiction in Sonora Review, Fringe, Phoebe, The Dirty Napkin, and other literary journals, and has also completed her first novel, which she hopes to get out into the world soon!

  • Talia Sand

    Instructor
    Talia Sand

    Talia Sand teaches Language Play workshops at Writopia. She graduated from Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Women's Studies. While there, she served as the editor of the Lifestyle section of Stern College Observer. She eventually became the first female staff member and Creative Editor and Section Editor of the Yeshiva University Commentator. She has served as an intern at Random House Publishing and is currently an event assistant at Eloise Shop at the Plaza. Additionally, she has also served as the lead writer of the Simply Southern Cookbook. She recently graduated from the New School for Creative Writing where she studied under David Leviathan and Sarah Weeks. She is currently working on her first Young Adult novel.

  • Stephen Cedars

    Instructor
    Stephen Cedars

    Stephen began teaching fiction and playwriting at Writopia in 2011. His original theatre has been produced throughout New York City for the past seven years through the Brick Theatre, the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival, and the Ontological-Hysteric Incubator, chashama. He has also co-produced community theater for Williamsburg families. He studied English, History and Theatre at Louisiana State University, and recently graduated with his MFA from NYU's Department of Dramatic Writing, where he was awarded the John Golden Prize for Excellence in Playwriting.

  • Sarah Bernstein

    Instructor
    Sarah Bernstein

    Sarah Bernstein is an award-winning teacher and playwright. Sarah studied playwriting with Paula Vogel at Brown University, and her work has been produced and/or developed with companies throughout the country, including the Lark Play Development Center, the Amoralists, Forward Flux Productions,The Motor Company, the Source Festival, FullStop Collective, Caps Lock Theatre, the American Globe Theatre, Project Y, and the New Voices Project. Her play, Perpetuation, and her adaptation of Les Miserables, will be published by Playscripts, Inc. next year. After falling in love with Writopia through her work on the Worldwide Plays Festival, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Writopia's brilliant students and staff as an instructor.

  • Steve Ross

    Graphic Novel Mentor
    Steve Ross

    Steve Ross is an artist, illustrator and writer whose work has appeared in many magazines and periodicals including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is the creator of two popular graphic novels: Marked, a re-imagining of the Gospel of Mark and Blinded, an idiosyncratic take on the misadventures of St. Paul of Tarsus. He and his son, Allen (a proud Writopia alum), are also the creators of the online web comic www.SeventyOfSeventy.com.

    Steve began his professional career as a teenager in San Antonio, Texas, selling pictures of angst-ridden, dark and disturbing surrealist art to his friends and teachers. Soon after high school he landed a job drawing dining room tables for a local furniture company, and was surprised when the owner became upset that he was drawing dark and disturbing surrealist furniture for the company's newspaper ads. They parted company.

    You can visit Steve and see more of his work at www.StevenTracyRoss.com.

  • Michelle Schusterman

    Instructor
    Michelle Schusterman

    Michelle Schusterman joined the Writopia team in the spring of 2014. Michelle is the author of the middle grade series I Heart Bandand The Kat Sinclair Files (Penguin), as well as the upcoming horror-fantasy novel Maudville (Egmont). She has a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of North Texas and was a middle and high school band director for several years before teaching ESL in Brazil and Korea. She currently lives in New York City with her husband (and bandmate) and their chocolate lab (who's more of a vocalist).

  • Catherine Curan

    Instructor
    CatherineCuran

    Catherine began teaching with Writopia Lab in 2012. Her writing has been published in Fiction, Many Mountains Moving, Ozone Park Journal, the SalonZine and Sleet magazine. As a journalist, Catherine has investigated the mortgage industry for the New York Post, covered fashion shows for Condé Nast Portfolio.com, and earned a Newswomen's Club of New York Front Page Award for her Crain's New York Business special report on the hip-hop economy. Catherine earned her A.B. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Princeton University, graduating cum laude, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She volunteers as Associate Publisher of the online journal Anderbo.com, and has twice served as a national judge for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

  • Kyle Metzger

    Instructor
    Kyle Metzger

    Kyle joined the Writopia team in 2015. He is first and foremost a storyteller. As a theater director he devises, develops and directs new plays. As a teaching artist he's worked with the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) teaching playwriting and songwriting, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) teaching music theater, and Serious Fun After School running their program at PS33 in Chelsea. Kyle has directed numerous plays over the last 3 years in Writopia's Worldwide Plays festivals and is pumped to join the team this summer as an Instructor. He holds a BFA in Music Theater from The Hartt School, and recent directing projects include work at Signature, terraNOVA Collective, Culture Project, and 59E59. This summer he will be adapting and directing Shakespeare's As You Like It to be performed in NYC parks. If you see a guy biking around the Upper West Side with a neon yellow helmet and a very sweaty face please wave hello and offer him water. This spring Kyle assisted director Mia Rovegno on the world premier of Underland by Alexandra Collier at 59E59. Currently in development are two new plays by frequent collaborator Tim Duncheon - Stage Spies! and Almost Free as well as an adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It to be performed this August in parks throughout the city.

  • Kerry Blu

    Instructor
    kerry_blu

    Kerry Blu is so happy to explore this amazing opportunity with Writopia Lab. He is a Rapper, Songwriter, Producer, Actor, Dancer, and Columnist living in Brooklyn NY by way of Winston-Salem N.C. After high school, Kerry majored in Theatre and Dance performance at Appalachian State University. Hip-Hop soon became an intricate part of his artistry and expression and in 2012 he made the move to NYC to develop the craft of song writing and stage performance. Since that time he has produced over 20 musical concerts and performed in over 40 musical concerts as a solo artist; including shows at Webster hall, the Fillmore, Santos party House and SXSW music Festival 2016.

  • Gina Stevensen

    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Gina Stevensen is a playwright, performer and teaching artist based in Brooklyn. Her plays have been produced in New York City and regionally and include: Book of Esther (semi-finalist: 2016 Princess Grace Award, workshop production: Binghamton's KNOW Theater), The Time Crawlers Save the World (grand prize winner: Manhattan Repertory Theater's one-act competition, space grant recipient: Looking Glass Theater) and Troll Doll's Big Day (36-hour play festival: Urban Stages). Plays in development: Cruel Sister and When You're Young You Know You'll Live Forever at Columbia University. Gina is the artistic director of Park Slope Day Camp's Cirque d'Été summer circus camp, and is the writing coordinator at Tribeca Performing Arts Center's Writers in Performance Workshop. She has traveled three times to southern India to train in Mohiniyattam, a classical Indian dance-drama form. She was the choreographer for Narcissus: An Ancient Roman Pantomime, a new opera that aired on PBS in March of 2016. She received her BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch and is an MFA Playwriting candidate at Columbia University.

  • Aimée Heath

    W2R Mentor
    Aimee Heath

    Aimée is very excited to join the Writopia team this fall! A proud Houston native, Aimée first came to New York City to pursue a degree in English at St. John’s University. Now, she’s pursuing two degrees: both a BA and an MA in English from St. John’s. Though she spends most of her time analyzing literature, her true love lies in Creative Writing (which just so happens to be her minor). She writes both poetry and fiction, and her work has been featured in Sequoya, her university’s literary arts magazine. Additionally, Aimée runs a blog: The Unauthorized Review of New York Theater and Dining. If it hadn’t been for her many great teachers and mentors encouraging her in her writing along the way, Aimée would certainly not be the writer she is today. Therefore, she wants to pay that kindness forward as a Write to Recognition mentor. Aimée loves to travel, support her Houston sports teams and the St. John’s Red Storm, and play the piano.

  • Mike Poblete

    W2R Mentor
    Madeline Taylor

    Mike is thrilled to be part of the Writopia family as a Write to Recognition mentor. Originally from Brooklyn, Mike has had six full length plays and numerous one acts performed in six countries, two of which have been published. He has a Playwriting MFA from Trinity College Dublin and works as Director of Script Development at The Foxboro Company, a Broadway, film and television production office.

  • Alex Sarappo

    Intern
    Alex Sarappo

    Alex is is excited to join Writopia Lab NYC's team! Alex recently graduated from Colby College in Waterville, ME, where he double majored in Philosophy and English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. While at Colby, Alex served as the editor in chief of Pequod, Colby's student run art and literature magazine. Alex likes reading Annie Proulx and Donald Barthelme, and writing short stories.

  • Catya McMullen

    Instructor
    Catya McMullen

    Catya McMullen is a playwright, comedian, and NYC native thrilled to join Writopia as an instructor! Her short play, Missed Connection, directed by Leslye Headland and published by Samuel French, won the 37th Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival. She is the author of six full-length plays (The Collective, Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, Everything is Probably Going to be Okay, AGNES, We Pray to Elephants, and AIGS) along with numerous shorts and musicals. She is a member of the Obie Award Winning EST/Youngblood and a company member of The Middle Voice Theater Company, the apprentice company of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. She is also the Educational Director for Ground UP Productions. She is a regular performer and sketch writer at The People's Improv Theater. She was a finalist for the City Theater National Award for Short Playwriting and a semi-finalist for the O'Neill Playwrights Conference. Catya is also the Creator of the WE ARE ANIMALS series, a quarterly variety show series she writes with Scott Klopfenstein of the gold-record selling band Reel Big Fish, where she raps as her hip hop alias “MC Chihuahua Fancy.”

  • Katherine Roldan

    Intern
    Katherine Roldan

    Katherine is excited to be joining the Writopia Lab team in New York City as an intern! Katherine is a graduate of Mercy College with a BA in English. She has worked with young readers in a volunteer program called Reading Buddies. Her aim was to allow her "buddies" to pursue literacy in a fun, engaging manner, and to get the readers enthusiastic about books. Her experience with children and love for creative writing is what drew her to Writopia. Katherine is currently working on getting teaching certification so she can further expand the minds of young readers/writers.

  • Chelsey Grasso

    Assistant Instructor and Film Editing Assistant
    Chelsey Grasso

    Chelsey Grasso is excited to be joining the Writopia team as a Teaching Intern. She is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her writing has appeared in Paste Magazine, Thought Catalog, and The Huffington Post. She also regularly contributes to Bustle and City Guide NY. Chelsey received her B.A. in Media (Film/Video) from the University of California San Diego, minoring in French Literature along the way. While Chelsey is primarily focused on her fiction and editorial writing these days, she has worked as a professional photo editor for the national teen magazine Tiger Beat, as well as for the British online newspaper Mail Online.

  • Hannah Seidlitz

    Editorial Intern
    Hannah Seidlitz

    Hannah is thrilled to join the Writopia team in Manhattan as an Editorial Intern. At New York University, she studies the intersections of linguistics, semiotics, creative writing, and public policy for a cumulative concentration in applied rhetoric. She was a writing center tutor at Skidmore College before she transferred after the fall of 2016, where she specialized in copyediting and the consolidation of student theses, collaborating with students and faculty to strengthen the content, organization, and rhetorical effectiveness of their written work. While at Skidmore, she co-wrote and performed in a staged spin-off of Eve Ensler’s "The Vagina Monologues" to support women’s issues and intersectional feminism. In the tradition of her literary heroes, Didion and Foster Wallace, she writes creative nonfiction and has fervid, albeit idealistic, dreams. Maybe one day she’ll write for the New Yorker, or at the very least wield the honor of organizing David Remnick’s filing cabinets.

  • Ashley Somwaru

    Editorial Intern
    Ashley Somwaru

    Ashley Somwaru is delighted to be a part of Writopia Lab's Editorial team in Manhattan! Currently, Ashley is a senior at Baruch College and is planning to graduate with a double major in English and Journalism. She is the Managing Editor of Encounters Magazine a creative literary and arts publication, as well as a copy editor at Refract Magazine, a nonfiction digital publication, which are both housed at Baruch. Ashley has a deep passion for writing poetry and fiction. She hopes to encourage others to express themselves through their own unique creativity.

  • Agustin "Augi" Lopez

    Instructor

    Agustín "Augi " Lopez joined the Writopia NYC team in April 2017 as an Instructor. After receiving a BFA in Film and TV Production at NYU, he went on to work in Hollywood, publishing, and the busy world of advertising. He has written short stories published in Hobart, Metazen, and other literary journals, and regularly gives comedic history lectures for the Society for the Advancement of Social Studies.

  • Kukuwa Ashun

    Editorial Intern

    Kukuwa Ashun is very excited to be joining Writopia Lab NYC as an Editorial Intern! Born in Brooklyn, Kukuwa is currently a senior at Purchase College pursuing her BA in Creative Writing and double minoring in Journalism and Global Black Studies. Her passion and concentration in fiction writing allows her to create short stories and prose pieces about the realities of race, gender, and class in today's society. Kukuwa has also used her writing skills to contribute to all three of her college's publications (The Purchase Phoenix, Italics Mine, and The Purchase Beat) while working as a writing tutor. Outside of her schoolwork, Kukuwa is actively involved around her campus and enjoys helping others in her community. Her leadership experience stems from her time as a student orientation leader, resident assistant, and club president.

  • Ye Sin (Danny) Kim

    Intern

    Ye Sin (Danny) Kim is super thrilled to be a part of Writopia Lab as an intern in New York City! He is currently studying Cinema as a senior at Binghamton University. He has experience working with children in both academic and creative environments, such as the United States Tennis Association (USTA), where he worked with children with disabilities. His written works and films have been recognized and awarded The Kenneth Jacobs Grant in early 2017 by his university, and many of his short films have been screened at large public events. He is passionate about writing, directing, and editing short films that explore the unique lives of various individuals and enjoys analyzing and discussing films! In his free time, he likes to scribble ideas on napkins and sticky notes, read film commentaries, work on graphic design, and visit museums.

  • Sabrina Castillo

    Intern

    Sabrina is excited to be a summer intern at Writopia NYC! Sabrina is an English major and a double Chemistry and Japanese minor at Vassar College. Even though she seems to be juggling a lot, her true passion has always been reading and writing, especially teen fiction. In her writing, she thoroughly enjoys finding and celebrating small actions, like sharing bubble tea or reading The Little Prince with a friend. Sabrina hopes to inspire younger generations with the same sort of curiosity through a shared love of writing, which is why it is serendipitous for her to join the Writopia team after all these years. Sabrina spent a year in high school taking Writopia workshops, and she feels incredibly lucky to be part of a place that jump-started her creative voice and helped her grow. Sabrina is excited to give back to the Writopia community and make this summer unforgettable!

  • Matthew Jellison

    Instructor
    MatthewJellison

    Matthew is an instructor for Writopia Lab in NYC! Born and raised in New York City, Matthew is both a writer and an actor. His play, the giants, parts one and two was produced by Loft 227 last winter. He is the 2012/2013 Kenan Playwriting Fellow at the Kennedy Center, an alumnus of the FreshGround Pepper PlayGround PlayGroup and SPACE on Ryder Farm, and a finalist for the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. He hangs out with kids a lot at the 52nd Street Project, and works as a teaching artist with Marquis Studios, Kaufman Cultural Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club.

  • Jessica Fleitman

    Instructor

    Jessica joined the Writopia team in summer 2017 and is thrilled to be surrounded by such imaginative, passionate, and accomplished students and instructors! She is a NYC-based writer of plays, musical theater, and comedy. Her produced works for the theater include The Average-Sized Mermaid (Corwin Award), Deuteranomaly (nominated for 5 PCTF Awards), Word of the Day (commissioned by the Sloan Foundation/Magic Theatre), G Train Exodus (winner of the LIC One Act Play Festival), and Show of Hands (Finalist for the International Jewish Plays Project). She is a lyricist in the BMI Musical Theatre Advanced Songwriting Workshop, and her work with composer Rick Bassett has been performed in venues throughout the city and recognized with commissions from JCP Downtown and the Well Songs Project. Her comedy sketches for Seriously.TV have been featured in The Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, and NewNowNext. She holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she was awarded The Rita and Burton Goldberg Playwright Foundation Fellowship and The Chair’s Award (the department’s highest honor for overall excellence in playwriting, screenwriting, and TV writing).

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