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.

Chief Operations 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, and tutorials.

Director of Programs
Co-New York City Regional Director
Yael Schick

Yael has been a member of the Writopia Lab team since 2011. As the Director of Programs, she oversees programs nationally and supports all instructors and workshops at Writopia’s Upper West Side lab. Yael’s favorite role at Writopia is that of instructor; she works with writers of all ages in all genres, including college essay. She has been recognized as an “Outstanding Educator” by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018, and her students have been awarded National Medals, including American Voice Awards, Best in Grade Awards, and Silver Medals with Distinction in their senior portfolios.

Yael is also the lead Program Developer of Writopia Lab’s Language Play program, which runs enriching early-literacy engagement for the emerging writers. She has helped over 300 preschoolers become filmmakers as part of the Language Play Filmmaking program, and she regularly brings the program into UPre-Ks in homeless shelters and Title 1 schools in New York City. She also developed Writopia Lab’s service trip to Quito, Ecuador and has led the annual trip each year. She co-created and runs WriCampia, working closely with all instructors, counselors, and campers year-round.

She holds a BA in English Literature from Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. She lives in Manhattan but will always call Queens home!

Director of Camps and Curriculum
Co-New York City Regional Director
DanielleSheeler

Danielle has been part of the Writopia Lab team since 2011. She currently co-directs Writopia Lab's full-day camp. In addition, she develops and implements curriculum in workshops at Writopia Lab, in schools, and in Residential Treatment Facilities.

She received her Masters in Humanities and Social Thought at NYU in January 2010 and her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University in Spring 2019. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors."

Director of Business Operations
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.

Senior Program Manager
Janelle M. Williams

Janelle M. Williams has been a part of the Writopia Lab team since 2016. At Writopia, she works as an instructor and a program manager. She manages private sessions and co-manages the Write-to-Recognition Program and the Joy and Literacy in After School Program. With the support of Executive Director Rebecca Wallace-Segall and the team, she founded Writopia Lab's annual Teen Writers' Summit. She enjoys teaching on-site and off-site workshops, some in Title 1 schools and a residential treatment facility. She is enthusiastic about sustaining safe, diverse, and socially conscious workshops at Writopia Lab. Janelle received her BA from Howard University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. In 2017, she received a fellowship from Kimbilio Fiction. As a southern writer from Decatur, Georgia, Janelle's lyrical stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, SmokeLong Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Split Lip Magazine, midnight & indigo, Kweli, and elsewhere.

Program Manager and Senior Instructor
Elsa Bermúdez

Elsa Bermúdez has loved teaching creative writing, essay writing, sketch comedy, and graphic noveling at Writopia Lab since 2014. As Program Manager, she also runs Writopia Lab’s on-site scholarship program, Write to Recognition, and several off-site partnership programs. Elsa is a writer, comedian, artist, and educator. She earned her BA in Philosophy from Providence College and her MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction from The New School. Her short story, Agency, was published in H.O.W. Journal's Issue 11. She also studied improv and sketch comedy writing at UCB. Elsa has produced and performed on comedy stages around New York City, including the Magnet Theater, the Pit, and Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. She has also directed for Magnet Theater’s sketch program, Remix. Currently, Elsa writes for Magnet Theater’s house sketch team, House Party, and writes, directs, performs, and produces a sketch comedy show, I Feel Funny. Elsa lives in Astoria, Queens with her dog and two cats.

Program Administration Manager
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.

Brooklyn Regional Manager
Instructor
biancaturetsky

Bianca is thrilled to be working with Writopia Lab as the Brooklyn Regional Manager. She is the author of The Time-Traveling Fashionsta, a historical fiction series published by Little, Brown and Company. The books have been translated into nine languages. After graduating from Tufts University, Bianca began working for artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel. She managed his studio for over 11 years and was his assistant on the Academy Award-nominated film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. She is currently at work on a new chapter book series, Magic On the Map, with fellow Writopia Lab instructor Courtney Sheinmel, to be published by Random House Kids in Spring 2019. In 2018, 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."

Media Manager
Instructor
Ethan Shafran Moltz

Ethan joined the Writopia Lab community as an intern in 2013. He has since been serving as a full-time creative instructor, filmmaking instructor, and program coordinator. He has also served as Writopia Lab's Media Manager since 2018. His Writopia students have been showcased as part of the Tribeca Films Festival every year since 2015! 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!

Office Manager
Kyle Henry

Kyle joined Writopia Lab as the Office Manager in 2017, bringing a wealth of experience in office management and in plumbing mechanics. His passion is creativity – he loves sketching, music, writing haikus and has done everything from t-shirt screen printing to tattoo art. Kyle hails from Sangre Grande, Trinidad W.I and came to Brooklyn at age thirteen (the original Bushwick). His greatest accomplishment is his ten-year-old nugget – his daughter Kelyse. He loves New York City, and he has a deep dedication to NYC sports teams (#nyjets #nyk #nym). Fun facts – he loves classic cars, butter crunch cookies (in the yellow packaging), and he has not cut his hair since 1999.

Senior Curriculum Manager
Editor-in-Chief of Litmags
Matthew Jellison

Matthew Jellison is over the moon to be joining the Writopia Lab staff full time as the Games and Curriculum Manager and the Editor-in-Chief of Litmags. He began as a creative writing instructor in summer of 2017 and since has had the privilege of reading wonderful writing by extraordinary kids. Born and raised in NYC, Matthew writes plays and works with kids. The first two plays in his cycle, the giants, was produced by Loft 227 in winter of 2016. He’s getting the third play ready for a workshop this coming Fall at TOWN stages, where he’s currently in residence. Matthew is the 2012/13 Kenan Playwriting Fellow at the Kennedy Center, a two-time Playwriting Fellow at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, an alumnus of FreshGround Pepper Playground Playgroup and SPACE on Ryder Farm, and a finalist for the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Prior to Writopia, Matthew worked with kids and teens with the 52nd Street Project, Marquis Studios, the Kaufman Cultural Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club’s education department. He graduated from the acting school at the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Operations Specialist
Rachel Crocker

Rachel is part of the operations, registration, private sessions, and web teams at Writopia Lab! Rachel graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in May 2017 with a BA in French/Francophone Studies and International Business as well as a minor in Political Science. At UT Knoxville, Rachel’s favorite classes were the ones that featured different cultures and traditions. Building on her French language skills and her love of foreign cultures, she taught English to elementary students in France during the 2017-18 school year. Rachel loves curling up with a good book, listening to podcasts, and watching cute dog videos (because dogs are the best).

Program Coordinator
Instructor

Malcolm Knowles has been part of the Writopia Lab team for two years. He is a writer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Houston, Texas, where he learned to record and release music during his teenage years. He later attended Sarah Lawrence College with a focus in Jazz Guitar, Composition, and Radio. During the summer, Malcolm teaches Creative Writing and Songwriting at both the Writopia Full Day camp and WriCampia. During the school year, he helps guide young minds through the process of Essay Writing, Creative Writing, and his specialty program, Songwriting Studio. When not teaching, you can often find Malcolm next to the closest musical instrument.

Senior HR Associate
Jocelyn Gottschalk

Jocelyn recently joined Writopia Lab as Senior HR Associate. She is delighted to enthusiastically support its mission. Jocelyn has a BA in theater, an MA in Museum Studies--Costumes and Textiles, and a certification from SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management. She has many years of experience in HR management and operations in the creative industries of publishing, music, and higher education. Prodigiously curious, she loves to learn by reading, discussing, sharing, and doing. Jocelyn is endlessly inspired by the human creative spirit and is excited to work with the amazing people at Writopia Lab who engage with that spirit every day.

Associate Creative Director of Programs
New York Metro North Regional Manager
Lena Roy

Léna began teaching Writopia Lab workshops in Manhattan in 2009, then went on to bring the program to New York City's northern suburbs in 2010. Léna is the author of the YA novel, Edges, published by FSG. She co-authored Becoming Madeleine, a Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters, coming out in February 2018. She co-edited the award-winning Girls Write Now anthology, First Lines. Her writing was featured in the essay collection for middle school kids and their teachers: Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Essays to Devour: Your Favorite Authors Take on the Dreaded Essay Assignment. From 2014 to present, Léna has been recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." Léna earned her BA from Barnard, studying English and Italian literature, and her MA in Drama Therapy from NYU. Mentoring has long been the connective tissue in Léna's life, whether through her work with at-risk adolescents in Utah, California, and New York; or through her own writing discipline, as fostered by her late grandmother, author Madeleine L'Engle. It was her grandmother who taught Léna to transform the solitary nature of writing into a sacred sense of community, where her art and the art of others can flourish. You can visit Léna at www.lenaroybooks.com.

Associate Director of Operations
Rob Roy

Rob is Writopia Lab's administrator for the New York Metro North labs. Having worked more than a decade in New York film production, Rob says he's perfectly qualified to run errands, file paperwork, and tinker on computers. And because Rob shares Writopia's vision of building an environment in which to foster the creativity of teens and kids, he now runs, files, and tinkers with more joy than he did before.

Program Coordinator
Instructor
Rachel Dean

Rachel Dean joined Writopia Lab, Westchester as an instructor in 2019. She graduated summa cum laude from Monmouth University with a degree in Journalism and received her MFA from Adelphi University in Creative Nonfiction, where she was the recipient of a fully-funded candidacy and studied under Katherine Hill, Martha Cooley, and Jacqueline Jones LaMon. Rachel has taught Creative Writing as an adjunct professor and has worked for Bridges to Adelphi, a comprehensive program that assists students on the autism spectrum as they pursue college degrees. Rachel loves teaching and learning with students, and she enjoys working in creative environments like the one fostered at Writopia Lab. She is currently at work on a collection of nonfiction lyric essays and spends her spare time reading, writing, and traveling.

Bay Area Regional Manager
Chicago Workshop Coordinator

Michaela is ecstatic to be the Regional Manager of the Bay Area, and to be coordinating workshops in Chicago! Before this beautiful transition, she was Program Coordinator and Head Instructor at our location in Hartsdale, NY for two years. Michaela received her BA in English & Literature from the University of Alaska Anchorage and her MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she worked with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri. Her publishing credits include Madcap Review and Under the Gum Tree to name a few. Before working at Writopia, Michaela taught English and creative writing at the college level, led creative aging workshops for Alzheimer's and dementia patients, and played Division I college soccer while coaching players ranging from age three through college. Whether on the field or in academia, she enjoys mentoring and helping people to achieve their full potential. Her hobbies include hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking. On the weekends, you can find her playing soccer in various leagues and enjoying all the pizza.

Instructor
Anu Amaran

Anu Amaran (pen name: A. Anupama) is excited to work with the team of Writopians, young and old, in the Metro North labs. Anu is a poet, critic, essayist, and translator whose work has appeared in Fourteen Hills, CutBank, Numéro Cinq Magazine, Tulane Review, and elsewhere. She studied at Northwestern University and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she received her MFA in writing. She currently organizes literary community and is a founding editor of the literary journal River River. She lives and writes in Nyack, New York. Find Anu’s musing at seranam.com.

Los Angeles Regional Manager

Kimberly Faith Waid

Kimberly Faith Waid is Writopia Lab's Los Angeles regional manager, where she is an educator, registrar, marketing lead, and director of regional partnerships. She also is a part of the national communications team with a focus in social media. For over thirteen years, she has taught creative writing, Language Arts/English, and arts enrichment to all age-levels and is passionate to continue growing confidence and literacy skills in young writers. Her Writopia students have received Scholastic recognition on regional and national levels. A community builder, Kimberly worked for five years with the founder of The Moth, George Dawes Green, on The Unchained Tour, a storytelling series which brought storytellers and musicians to small towns across the American South to support local literary communities and their independent bookstores. At Writopia, in addition to creative writing, she teaches screenwriting, drawing on her experience as a script coverage consultant for high-level filmmakers and on the set of Breaking Bad. She holds a BFA in Media and Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art & Design and an MFA from New York University, where she was selected as a Goldwater Fellow. She’s been shortlisted for the 2019 Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest and the 2012 William Faulkner Wisdom Competition. Her fiction has appeared in Abe’s Penny and The Stirling Spoon. She's twice been a resident in fiction writing at Vermont Studio Center where she began work on a historical novel set primarily in her home state of Alabama.

Program Coordinator
Instructor
Madeline Stevens

Madeline Stevens has taught writing to adults and children for over ten years! At Writopia Lab, she leads creative and essay writing as well as graphic novel workshops. Madeline holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Portland State University and an MFA from Columbia University. Her first novel was published by Ecco Press in the US, Faber & Faber in the UK, and translated into six languages. Her essays, stories, and other writing have appeared in places such as The Guardian, Electric Literature, CrimeReads, and Monkeybicycle. For three years she was host and curator of the Brooklyn reading series Sundays at Erv’s and is excited to be organizing events along with teaching and program coordinating for children and teens in Los Angeles through Writopia Lab!

Instructor

Jacquelyn Stolos can barely contain her excitement about joining the Writopia team in Los Angeles this spring! Jacquelyn began her writing career as an elementary schooler filling up spiral-bound notebooks while perched on a mossy rock in the woods behind her childhood home. Her habits have barely changed since. She studied English and French literature at Georgetown University, where she completed an honors thesis of short stories and won the Annabelle Bonner Medal for short fiction. For her masters, Jacquelyn was awarded the Writers in the Public Schools fellowship to study fiction in New York University’s MFA program. She has also workshopped at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, and the New York Summer Writers Institute. Her short fiction has appeared in The Atticus Review, Conte Online, and The Oddville Press. Jacquelyn is an ardent believer in the power of story and is always looking for ways to spread the love through education. She previously worked as a teaching artist at Teachers and Writers Collaborative, leading creative writing workshops in elementary and middle school classrooms, as well as an adjunct professor at New York University. Jacquelyn's first novel, Edendale, will be released by Creature Publishing, a feminist horror press, in the spring of 2020.

Instructor

Sophia is thrilled to be joining Writopia Lab, Westchester as a Writing Instructor. Sophia is an author of books for children and young adults. Her first book, What Things Mean, is a young adult novel published by Scholastic Asia (2016). This work won the Grand Prize at the 2014 Scholastic Asian Book Awards, and is one of the first young adult stories about the Philippines to have been published by Scholastic. What Things Mean was included in the Philippine Daily Inquirer's Top 10 Books of 2016. Her second book, a children's picture book titled Soaring Saturdays, won 2nd Prize at the Samsung KidsTime Authors' Awards (2015). It was digitized into an interactive e-book app in 2016 and is set for print release by Scholastic Asia in 2018. Sophia wanted to be many things growing up: doctor, teacher, ballerina, ninja, crime-fighting international spy, wizard, time traveler, journalist, and lawyer. She likes to think she can be all these things through writing. She studied creative writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman, and is currently a Creative Writing MFA Candidate with a concentration in Writing for Children and Young Adults at The New School in New York City. You can find her online at www.sophianlee.com.

Instructor
Justin Allen

Justin Allen is excited to be an instructor at Writopia Lab. Justin is the author of two novels, Slaves of the Shinar and Year of the Horse. He is also the author of three plays. Murder at the Masque: The Casebook of Edgar Allen Poe and Gilbert and Sullivan, The Ballet! were both commissioned and produced by Dances Patrelle. The Beatitudes was commissioned by Eidolon Ballet in Concert and was produced for the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. Justin is curently formulating a new script, which he wants to call Superhero: The Legend of the Lightning Defender. Justin earned his MFA at Columbia University and studied Comic Book Scripting at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He loves fantasy and science-fiction, mystery and alternate history, love stories and comic books, and he adores work that defies classification. He has taught writing as a part of the Columbia Writing Workshops at Bank Street College of Education, led a seminar focusing on graphic novels and comic books at Bethesda Academy, and spent years as a children's ballet master in New York City. He looks forward to reveling weekly in the work of the talented and creative young writers that make Writopia Lab a special place.

Assistant Office Manager
(and D & D Dungeon Master)
Alison Fortune

Alison is so excited to join the Writopia Lab team! After initially starting at Writopia as the Office Management Intern, she is thrilled to come on board as the Assistant Office Manager. Alison is a Washington, DC native who currently lives in Brooklyn. In May 2018 she graduated from Reed College, located in Portland, Oregon, with a B.A. in Theater and Literature. Upon moving to New York City, she dove into the theater world, working as a PA for 59E59th Theaters and stage managing for Cave Theater, Access Theater, Art House Theater, and the Paradise Factory. However, she couldn't be happier to start applying her organizational skills to Writopia's mission. In her free time she likes to read Roosevelt biographies, explore the city with her friends, and work on her miniature building.

Registration Coordinator
Assistant Instructor
Sarah Boyle

Sarah Boyle is thrilled to be returning to Writopia Lab as a Registration Coordinator and Assistant Instructor. She recently graduated from Emory University, where she studied English & Creative Writing, with a minor in Anthropology. Sarah was a Writopia intern during the summer of 2019. At Emory, she was the treasurer of a student-run literary magazine and volunteered at various elementary schools to help students with their literacy skills. She also wrote a novella as part of an honors program, under the mentorship of award-winning author Tayari Jones. Sarah hopes to publish a novel of her own one day soon.

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.

Volunteer Mentor
ScottLarner

Joe, who will be joining Writopia as a volunteer writing mentor, is the author of three novels; nonfiction books on science, natural history, and baseball; and a bunch of mystery short stories. He's also worked as a mentor for writing students (everything from middle schoolers through adults) for many years, and may love that part of his life the most. He lives in Westchester with his family, which currently includes two kittens and a patient old dog.

Instructor
AlexandraCohl

Alexandra Cohl is a creative and essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab NYC. After graduating from the University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Theatre Performance, she moved to New York City to pursue writing and teaching. She is currently an M.A. candidate for English Literature at the City College of New York (CCNY) and has also taught undergraduate composition courses at CCNY. Her short fiction has been published in Luna Luna Magazine, and she has contributed blog posts to New York School Talk, an education blog. Her Writopia Lab writers have won both regional and national recognition from the Scholastic Writing Awards and have also had plays or spoken word performed in Writopia's Worldwide Plays Festival. In addition to writing fiction, memoir, and songs, she is currently running her own blog, POD.DRALAND, where she combines her love of supporting fellow artists and listening to podcasts.

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.

Instructor
Anisha_Sridhar

Anisha is thrilled it be a part of the Writopia DC teaching team. She is a published journalist and fiction writer who holds holds a Diploma in Screenwriting from Vancouver Film School in British Columbia, Canada and a Masters of Arts from NYU in Digital Media Design for Learning. Anisha is an accomplished writer, educator, and, producer. She recently co-produced and co-wrote a web series set in New York City. She also develops curriculum, writes in-game scripts, characters, and story bibles for educational gaming products. In her spare time, she loves reading comics and long-form fiction. She is originally from India and tries to read at least one non-English story or book a year.

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.

Instructor
AmyDupcak

Amy Remland 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!

Program Manager
Instructor

Laura Owsiany is excited to be a part of Writopia Lab! She first worked with Writopia as an intern in 2015, then joined full-time as Registration Coordinator in 2018. She holds a BA in English from Georgetown University. After graduating, Laura worked as a full-time tutor in McLean, VA, where she mentored students in college essay writing and taught everything from English to Calculus. She previously served as a publishing intern at the nonprofit 826DC. In addition to writing, Laura enjoys reading modernist poetry, podcasting, the outdoors, and frequenting DC’s many free museums.

Program Manager
Instructor
Lucian Mattison

Lucian Mattison is very excited to be a part of the DC Writopia team! He is the author of two books of poetry, Reaper's Milonga (YesYes Books, 2018) and Peregrine Nation (Dynamo Verlag, 2017). His poetry, short fiction, and translations appear in numerous journals including Hayden's Ferry Review, Hobart, Nano Fiction, The Nashville Review, Puerto Del Sol, and Sixth Finch. Over the past six years, he has also taught creative writing writing workshops for adults, undergraduates, and teens in DC and Norfolk, Virginia. He's thrilled to join Writopia in cultivating a community of young poets and writers who will grow to be the voices we see in magazines and on bookshelves in the future!

Program Coordinator & Registration Coordinator
Rita Feinstein

Rita is excited to join the Writopia Lab family! She received her MFA from Oregon State University, where she taught composition and creative writing. Her work has appeared in The Cossack Review, Permafrost, and Grist, among other publications, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. Life on Dodge, her debut poetry chapbook, is available from Brain Mill Press. She lives with her husband, who is a lawyer, and her dog, who is not.

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.

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.

Instructor
Kathleen McCleary

Kathleen McCleary is the author of three novels, including House and Home (Hyperion); A Simple Thing (HarperCollins) and Leaving Haven (HarperCollins). Her non-fiction articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. She has also taught writing as an adjunct professor at American University. When she's not writing, she can be found in the gym, trying to teach herself to do pull-ups. You can find more about Kathleen's work at www.kathleenmccleary.com.

Instructor
Melanie Howard

Melanie Howard is excited to join Writopia Lab as an instructor in the Greater Washington DC area. Melanie is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared online and in print in Time.com, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, SELF, Seventeen, Parenting, Good Housekeeping and other major publications. She is the co-author of the satirical novel, Queen of the Court (2013) and her second novel, a mystery set at a girls’ boarding school in 1963, is in the publication process. Melanie is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in General and Comparative Literature. She loves writing for a living for many reasons, but mostly because she gets to stay home with her dog, Rocket.

Instructor
Monica Baker

Monica adores teaching creative writing with Writopia DC! In 2010 Freestyle (Schiffer Publishing), her first middle grade novel and 2011 Crystal Kite Award finalist, was born. Monica went on to write nonfiction for Science Weekly before earning her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has always loved a good adventure and has always loved including those adventures in her writing. For over twenty years she has worked on wildly fun marketing assignments, which have exposed her to exotic places like Cambodia and to interesting movements like the Underground Railroad. Currently, Monica is marketing a novel and several picture books.

Instructor
Chad_Anderson

Chad is thrilled to join the team at Writopia Lab DC. He is a freelance editor and writer and has published fiction in Salamander, Black Warrior Review, and Nimrod International Journal. He also has written extensively about culture and higher education. Originally from Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, Chad earned his B.A. in English and in American studies from the University of Virginia and his MFA in creative writing from Indiana University, where he taught academic and creative writing and also served as the fiction editor for Indiana Review. In addition to writing, Chad loves hiking, camping, being on the water, reading (of course), traveling, karaoke, analyzing television and film, gardening, and attempting to cook. To learn more about Chad and his work, visit www.chadbanderson.com.

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.

Instructor
Chelsey Grasso

Chelsey believes that storytelling is universal and at the heart of human connection, and she is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab community once again after time at the NYC site. Chelsey's fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, The Minnesota Review, Harvard Review Online, Carve Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. Her work has also been a finalist in multiple prose contests and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Along with writing and teaching, Chelsey loves attending writing workshops herself and has been awarded fellowships and grants from the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Conference, and the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she is currently completing her MFA.

Instructor
Kukuwa Ashun

Kukuwa Ashun is very excited to join Writopia Lab NYC! Born in Brooklyn, Kukuwa is currently a second-year MFA candidate at New York University pursuing her advanced degree in Creative Writing. An avid bibliophile, Kukuwa's fiction writing is informed by identity formation in coming-of-age Black women, environmental injustices in low-income communities, and social exclusion across race, gender, class, creed, and mobility. Before joining Writopia as an instructor, Kukuwa was an Editorial Intern for Writopia's online magazines, The (Parenthetical) and The Ellipsis..., in 2017. Since then, she has continued to work and intern with renowned nonprofit organizations including the I, Too, Arts Collective; One Story Inc.; and the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards. When Kukuwa isn't watching reruns of The Office, you can find her working on her debut collection of short stories somewhere in Brooklyn.

Instructor

Alison Doherty loves working with writers of all ages at Writopia Lab. She also teaches writing classes to freshman at The New School. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in 2016 with a concentration in writing for children and teenagers. For undergrad, Alison studied English Literature at Smith College and The University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Before moving to New York, Alison worked as a classroom teacher and a curriculum consultant at Harvard EdLabs. Now, when she isn't teaching, Alison is working on her first YA novel and writing about books for Book Riot.

Instructor
Sarah SP

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 an instructor and part-time registartion support. 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.

Instructor

Corey Ann Haydu is thrilled to be teaching with Writopia! She is the author of the Young Adult novels OCD Love Story (Simon and Schuster 2013), Life By Committee (HarperCollins 2014), Making Pretty (HarperCollins 2015), and the middle grade novel, Rules For Stealing Stars (HarperCollins 2015). A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Corey has been working in children’s publishing since 2009. In 2013, Corey was chosen as one of Publisher Weekly’s Flying Starts. Her books have been Junior Library Guild Selections, Indie Next Selections, and BCCB Blue Ribbon Selections.

Instructor
Rachel Barclay

Rachel Kay Barclay Prabhu has been teaching with Writopia Lab since 2012 and has had the pleasure of working out of four Writopia Lab regions: Washington D.C., Manhattan, Brooklyn, and now the Bay Area. Rachel has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Catholic University of America and a B.A. (magna cum laude) in English and Theater with a minor in Creative Writing from Arcadia University. Rachel was the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s JFK National Playwriting Award and a finalist for the National Partners of American Theatre National Playwriting Award. Her plays have been produced across the United States and beyond in cities such as London, New York, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. She is the creator, writer, and producer of the comedic web series, Human Telegraphs, and her work has been selected and premiered by film festivals, such as DC Shorts, at the National Constitution Center.

Co-Editor of Love Letters: Volume One

Awa Soumahoro moved from Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa to the United States when she was 16 years old. She is currently a sophomore at Brandeis University, studying neuroscience and biology with a minor in International Global Studies. She is planning on going to medical school to become a neurosurgeon. Passionate about writing, Awa was part of Writopia for over two years and is a proud Writopia alumna. Awa has performed spoken word poetry multiple times with Writopia at the Nuyorican Café and also published an article on the Women's eNews online. In her free time, Awa loves to read, write, exercise, or sometimes volunteer at the local hospital.

Instructor
Michelle Kim Hall

Michelle Kim Hall is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia community and is committed to honoring young voices and the power of self-expression. She believes that writing is serious fun. She wrote her first poem at age five after breaking her arm: "casts are white / paper can tear / this thing hurts / more than you care." She hasn't stopped writing since. After graduating summa cum laude from UCLA with a concentration in creative writing, she went on to earn her JD from Harvard Law School. Her thesis explored a troubling human rights issue through the short story form. Michelle practiced law in both California and New York before deciding to return to academia. She got an MFA in fiction from New York University, where she taught creative and expository writing. Her poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in periodicals including The Rumpus, Open Letters Monthly, and The Margins. With almost two decades of teaching experience, Michelle loves working with writers of all ages.

Instructor
Ben Zuckert

Ben is looking forward to being a part of the Writopia team! He's a Brooklyn-based writer and filmmaker originally from Westchester, NY. His stories have appeared in The Westchester Review and The New York Times’ "Metropolitan Diary." His first feature film Larchmont screened at the Twin Cities Film Fest and Yonkers Film Festival in 2016. Ben is also a composer with music appearing on the PBS NewsHour. In 2019, he was recognized by the Scholastic Awards as an "outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." He is currently in post-production on his second film Noah Wise.

Instructor
AnneMetcalf Anne is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab team as an instructor. Coming from a long line of female educators, Anne is humbled and inspired by the opportunity to work with such talented, imaginative young writers! She holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Southern California, and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute Conservatory. Her work has screened at film festivals around the world, including the Soho International Film Festival, Paris Independent Film Festival, NYC Independent Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest, NewFilmmakers LA, and as a Golden Egg Selection at the Reykjavik International Film Festival. She is currently developing a web series based on her original screenplay, Trouble, a coming-of-age story about trauma and resilience. Across mediums and forms, Anne is continually drawn to the tragicomic. In addition to television and film scripts, Anne has also written poetry, short fiction, personal essays, and at least 37 agonizing drafts of this bio.

W2R Volunteer

Abby Coleman

Abby Coleman joined Writopia Lab in September 2012. She is the former Associate Director of Programs and Instructor. 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. She is thrilled to be volunteering with Writopia Lab.

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.

Instructor
Brady Guy

Brady couldn't be more excited to join the Writopia Lab team as an instructor. Brady graduated Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where he spent his time studying for classes in a hammock on the beach. After earning his BA in Creative Writing, Brady worked in podcasting for WBEZ, Chicago, and as an Associate Producer for the PleasureTown show, a fictional narrative podcast set in Old West Oklahoma. In Chicago, Brady studied comedy and won the Second City Original Sitcom competition and placed in a few others as well. Brady can't wait to use his experience to inspire Writopians.

Instructor
Will Howard

Will is very excited to join the Writopia Lab team! He graduated with a BA in English from Pomona College, where he received the Dole-Kinney Prize in Creative Writing and the Matthew Klopfleisch Prize in English. While at Pomona, he wrote for the student newspaper and taught creative and expository writing to children through the Weekly Writing Workshop. More recently, he is a finalist for the 2019 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction. In the near future, he plans to pursue an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Will loves to read and write across all genres!

Instructor
Cassandra Rose

Cassandra is tickled pink to be working with Writopia Lab in LA, after teaching for Writopia in Chicago for a year. While in Chicago, Cassandra worked as a professional playwright for over a decade. Her longer plays include The Amen Trilogy, The Battle of Charlottesville, Billy to His Friends, and The Volunteer. Her work has been developed and produced by Broken Nose Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Jackalope Theatre Company, The New Colony, and Stage Left Theatre. As a screenwriter, her first pilot, The Great Desire, made it to the second round of the 2020 Sundance Episodic Lab. She loves helping young writers with their scripts, their essays, and their creative writing in general.

Instructor

Di is thrilled to join the Writopia team! She is a Sri Lankan New Yorker, currently living in beautiful DC. Words are her life. In addition to being a creative writer, she is a communications professional who works with literary, arts, and immigrant and racial justice nonprofits. She has mentored and taught youth since she herself was a teenager, and is so excited for the opportunity to unite her passion for writing and youth mentorship at Writopia. Her fiction and prose poetry have appeared in Unbroken Journal, Ginosko Literary Journal, Fiction Fix, and The Albion Review. She is currently at work on a collection of autofiction.

Instructor
Carmen Rodrigues

Carmen Rodrigues lives and plays in the great urban wilds of Northern Virginia, where she is a writer by day and a writing instructor by night (and afternoon). She has worked with hundreds of students along the east coast, specializing in enrichment education and executive function. Teaching creative writing to the next generation remains one of her greatest joys. As such, she is thrilled to be in her third season at Writopia Lab, where she has the honor of shepherding stories set in worlds both real and fantastical, profound and comical. In the workshop space, Carmen embraces Writopia Lab’s process-based approach that enables young writers to embark on a unique journey that expands their individuality in storytelling. Carmen earned her MFA in Fiction from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and BA from Florida State University, where she majored in English and minored in Theater. She is the author of three young adult novels—The Universal Laws of Marco (a “best read of 2019,” Seventeen Magazine), 34 Pieces of You (“a haunting read,” Publisher’s Weekly), and Not Anything. For more, visit CarmenRodrigues.com.

Instructor
Anney Bolgiano

Anney Bolgiano earned her MFA from George Mason University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in A Velvet Giant, District Lines, Oblong Magazine, and The Greenleaf Review. She primarily writes short stories and prose poems and is currently working on a novel. Anney loves teaching and writing equally and has taught creative writing, literature, and composition to first graders through college seniors. She loves the unique, funny, surprising, and insightful stories young people write.

Dungeon Master
Peter Quinn-Jacobs

Peter Quinn-Jacobs is enthusiastic to be a Dungeon Master at Writopia Lab! He has played role-playing games since he was seven years old and has run many games both in-person and digitally for decades in a variety of fantasy and science fiction settings, using myriad systems of rules. In his free time, he designs his own board games and murder mystery parties. His science fiction has earned an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future competition (2008) and his scholarly work won the William Hamilton Prize at William & Mary Law School (2018) and was a finalist in the American Indian Law Review Competition (2018). He's excited to work with Writopia to spur the imaginations of writers and players through fantasy gaming!

Intern
Zachary Gardener

Zachary (Zack) Gardner is jazzed to be a part of Writopia Lab as an intern. He is currently a sophomore working hard to major in both English and Secondary Education at Vanderbilt University. Currently, he is the lead writer and designer for the Desktop Dungeons Extreme Edition team and is working on another currently unannounced video game project. In whatever scraps of free time remain, Zack enjoys board games and playing the piano.

Instructor
Alexa Salvato

Alexa Salvato has worked at Writopia Lab on-and-off in many capacities since 2013, and she’s so excited to rejoin the team this summer. She has a BA in journalism from Ithaca College and is beginning her Master’s of Arts in Teaching at Northeastern University. Her journalistic work and creative writing have previously been published in Stillwater Magazine, River River Literary Journal, BUST.com, Chronogram magazine, Buzzsaw magazine, and various other publications. She was awarded a Scholastic Outstanding Educator award for her young writers’ regional recognition in 2017. She is passionate about empowering young people to be stronger readers and more compassionate citizens.

Instructor
Charlotte Nicole Davis

Charlotte Nicole Davis is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia Lab team. A 2016 graduate of The New School's Writing for Children MFA program, Charlotte is the author of the young adult fantasy novel The Good Luck Girls (Tor Teen, 2019), which was honored with a starred review from Kirkus and selected as a Kids Indie Next List pick. Her most recent work is a short story featured in the anthology A Phoenix First Must Burn (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2020). Charlotte has attended book events and conferences nationwide to talk shop about the writing process, and she cannot wait to share her love of the craft with the young people who have always inspired it.

Instructor

Tasnim Hussain is a creative writing and essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab, where she offers support to young writers throughout their writing process. Tasnim graduated as salutatorian from Hunter College, where she majored in English with minors in Education and Sociology. She has taught in public schools throughout the city, working with students in many different contexts and settings in English classrooms. In awe of the creative genius of Writopia Lab writers, she finds herself constantly learning from their passion and enthusiasm. In her free time, Tasnim enjoys writing short fiction and free verse poetry, and she has been published in GRLQUASH, a bi-annual literary magazine, and Hunter College's The OliveTree Review.

Instructor
Celine Aenlle-Rocha

Celine Aenlle-Rocha is thrilled to be a creative, essay, and college essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab NYC. She is a writer from Miami and Los Angeles, residing in Washington Heights, New York City. She has contributed to literary magazines HIKA, Luna de la cosecha, Broad! Magazine, The Suburban Review, Pen + Brush, and Salt + Pepper, among others. Celine is pursuing an MFA in Fiction at Columbia University, where she is a volunteer instructor with Columbia Artists as Teachers, the Online Editor for the Columbia Journal, and Co-President of Our Word, the School of the Arts' student organization committed to championing inclusiveness in literature. She previously attended Kenyon College and the Columbia Publishing Course. Before Writopia, she marketed academic books at Oxford University Press for several years. Her writing is inspired by her family history from Havana to New Orleans to Los Angeles, and she loves helping emerging writers discover their own voices at Writopia.

Instructor
Zakiya Harris

Zakiya Harris is thrilled to be an instructor at Writopia Lab, NYC! Zakiya joins us from Penguin Random House, where she worked as an assistant editor on both nonfiction and fiction books. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in 2016, where she focused on nonfiction writing and crafted personal essays revolving around topics such as identity and her childhood growing up in Connecticut, and she received her BA in English literature from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2014. Zakiya was first published in 2006 by American Girl Magazine after winning a contest whose prompt was to write a short story based on a simple illustration, and she’s excited to encourage a love of creativity and storytelling within other young individuals. When she isn’t working on her workplace-sci-fi novel, she’s writing book reviews for The Rumpus or falling down the deep, irresistible rabbit hole that is Spotify.

Instructor
Reuben Sack

Reuben is ridiculously excited to join the Writopia Lab team! Reuben is a children’s author and the ghostwriter of ten books in the iconic Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery series for Simon & Schuster. While Reuben loves writing for kids and young adults, his storytelling experience spans a variety of genres and media. He is an award-winning independent filmmaker and screenwriter whose work has appeared in film festivals around the world. Reuben graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Media Production and minored in Journalism and Mass Communication. When he’s not writing, you can often find him helping other writers as a university guest lecturer and freelance editor—and now as a Writopia Lab instructor.

Instructor
Nicole Flippo

Nicole Flippo is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab family! She is currently an MFA in Writing candidate at Sarah Lawrence College, as well as the Blog Editor of Lumina. She received her BFA in Dramatic Writing with a minor in Creative Writing from New York University. Her short fiction has appeared in Grimm Tales. Her scripts have received awards with the Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival, Fusion Film Festival, Oklahoma State One Act Festival, Oregon Short Film Festival, Talent Factory’s Script and Storyboard Showcase, and Tulsa City Smashers. Previously, she worked in production on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer. She was also a primary cast member on WNYU’s American News Now (seasons 1-3).

Instructor
Kristi Cook

Kristi is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab team as a creative writing instructor. She is the best-selling author of more than a dozen novels for both adults (writing as Kristina Cook) and teens (writing as Kristi Cook). Her YA debut, Haven, was released by Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse in 2011, was a National Readers Choice Award finalist for Best YA novel, and was selected by the International Reading Association as a 2012 Young Adult Choices novel. Kristi's other YA novels include Mirage, Eternal, Magnolia, and Mischief & Magnolias. Kristi has taught creative writing classes for both teens and adults at Sarah Lawrence College and the Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami-Dade College, as well as leading workshops at libraries and conferences nationwide. Kristi earned a B.S. in History (with a minor in English) from the University of Southern Mississippi. She lives in New York City with her husband and two college-aged daughters (when they're home from school, that is).

Instructor
María Alejandra Barrios

María is very excited to join Writopia lab. Teaching and writing are her two passions, and she is overjoyed to be a part of the Writopia Lab community! María Alejandra Barrios is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She has lived in Bogotá and Manchester where in 2016 she completed a Master's Degree in Creative Writing from The University of Manchester. She was selected for the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Performing & Literary Arts for the city of New York in 2018. Her stories have been published in Hobart Pulp, Reservoir Journal, Bandit Fiction, Cosmonauts Avenue, Jellyfish Review, Lost Balloon, Shenandoah Literary, Vol.1 Brooklyn, and El Malpensante. Her poetry has been published in The Acentos Review. Her work has been supported by organizations like Vermont Studio Center, Caldera Arts Center, and the New Orleans Writing Residency. She is the 2020 SmokeLong Flash Fiction fellow.

Instructor
Jane Young

Jane Young began teaching Writopia Lab workshops in 2019. She is a writer, editor, and teacher, whose plays have been seen in over a dozen Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theaters in New York, as well as Ohio and Colorado. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she served as a non-fiction editor for its literary magazine, Lumina. Her fiction debuted in the premier issue of the magazine, and a book of poetry she’s written with Thomas Keith, The Histories of Gladys, was published by Mellon Poetry Press. Jane recently completed her first novel, War Cry of the Good Angels. Her teaching credits include State University of New York at Purchase College, the Women’s Correctional Facility at Bedford Hills, and LEAP. She is thrilled to be working with Goddard-Riverside Community Center and Writopia Lab!

Instructor
(and D & D Dungeon Master)
Jared Wilson

Jared Wilson started as an intern at Writopia Lab in March of 2018. He soon became an Assistant Instructor, began leading graphic novel workshops, and recently emerged as a Writopia Lab Dungeon Master. Jared is an aspiring graphic novelist and a college student finishing his last semester at Hunter College. Jared is very excited to share his passion for writing and teaching with others. He is well versed in illustration and comic book storytelling and is currently working on a graphic novel of his own. Jared is beyond excited to continue working alongside the creative minds at Writopia Lab and can't wait to experience more of the amazing stories that our imaginative students tell!

Instructor
Samantha French

Samantha has been involved with Writopia Lab in various capacities since its inception in Rebecca's studio apartment in 2007 and is so excited to now come onboard as an instructor. Having begun her Writopia journey as a student and later having worked as a WriCampia counsellor, Samantha has witnessed first-hand the incredible impact Writopia Lab has on its young writers and is a passionate believer in its mission to empower children and teenagers through the medium of storytelling.

Samantha’s own writing career kicked off when she was 11 years old when a short story of hers was published in the Anthology of Short Stories by Young Americans. She has since gone on to write essays and opinion pieces that have been published on websites such as Girl With Pen and Forbes.com. After attending drama school in Boston, Samantha graduated with a BA in English Literature with Journalism from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. Samantha now lives in Bath and has most recently been working with high school students on short story and essay writing while completing an MA in Law.

Dungeon Master
Sarah Brackett (Williams)

Sarah Brackett (Williams) is overjoyed to be a part of the Writopia Lab team! Sarah is a Dungeon Master for Writopia, teaching all the children about crazy monsters, fantasy worlds, and how to roll dice with ease. Sarah graduated from Reinhardt University in 2017 with a degree in Musical Theatre. She is an Atlanta native, newly transferred to New York City with her husband, Chase. She has performed all over the country over the last few years. Some of her favorite credits include Belle in Beauty and the Beast, a performer at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, Belle in A Christmas Carol, and Kalliope Darkwalker, a dark elf, in She Kills Monsters (a Dungeons and Dragons themed play). She loves that she gets to use something she is passionate about to help children explore their imagination, learn problem solving skills, expand on social skills, and so much more in this fantastical immersive role-playing game.

Dungeon Master
Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia Lab team as a Dungeon Master for D&D workshops. Born and raised in midtown Manhattan, he comes from a family of actors and writers. Alex has worked in public education in New York City as well as in the entertainment industry. He has been an enthusiastic player and Dungeon Master for several years, playing and running games with a variety of groups. He believes Dungeons & Dragons offers a unique and collaborative, improvised method of storytelling. He looks forward to creating new adventures with young writers at Writopia Lab.

Instructor
Sanina Clark

Sanina L. Clark has been with Writopia Lab since January 2020 and is the editor of Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve (longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature) and All City by Alex DiFrancesco (2020 Ohioana Book Awards Finalist in Fiction). Their bookcase is filled with YA, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, horror, plays, and queer literature. They’re addicted to ramen, cat photos, tea, and Doctor Who paraphernalia. A perfect day to Sanina involves lots of green tea while relaxing with a good book or anime and cuddling their cat... They really love cats.

Dungeon Master
Jaime Reuter

Jaime Reuter has been an admirer of Writopia Lab’s mission for years. They studied English and Communications at Pace University until receiving their BA in 2019. As soon as they finished school, Jaime immediately became involved in Writopia’s ‘Write 2 Recognition’ program as a volunteer mentor. They saw the opportunity to work for Writopia as a Dungeon Master and knew this would be the perfect fit. Jaime loves all types of creative writing, but especially creative nonfiction, flash fiction, poetry, and of course, Dungeons and Dragons. They even wrote their senior thesis on the benefits of fantasy role-playing games on both mental health and creative processes. Jaime is currently working on being published for their fiction writing and RPG work.

Instructor
Madeleine Cravens

Madeleine Cravens is very happy to join Writopia Lab as an Instructor. She began at Writopia as a Write to Recognition Mentor, where she worked with youths, guiding many aspects of their creative writing. Madeleine is a graduate of Oberlin College, where she studied Creative Writing. In fall 2020, she will be the Max Rivto Poetry Fellow at Columbia University. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Best of the Net, the Adroit Journal, IMAGE Journal, Folio, Frontier, and the New Ohio Review. Madeleine lives in Brooklyn and looks forward to continuing to work with the inventive and dedicated writers at Writopia.

Instructor

After eight years at Writopia Lab's Upper West Side location, Jordana Frankel drove across the country in her green, tiny house on wheels to be a part of the Bay Area family! She is the author of two young adult dystopian novels (The Ward, 2013 and The Isle, 2016) and is currently at work on a fantasy novel for adults. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins University and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Literature from Goucher College, where she taught as the Kratz Writer-in-Residence in 2015. Jordana also has experience in the publishing world; while living in New York City she worked as a literary assistant, scavenging the slush pile for manuscripts to pass along to the Lead Agent. At The Book Report Network she worked on marketing strategies for NYT Bestsellers like Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay and Lauren Kate's Fallen. Jordana can be found at various coffee shops around Oakland, writing by hand and dreaming up the impossible-made-possible.

Instructor
Ally Glass-Katz

Ally Glass-Katz is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab team! She graduated from Bowdoin College and received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, where she served as Fiction Editor of Bat City Review and taught fiction through Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp. Her stories have appeared in The Sewanee Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. She is so excited to share her love of storytelling with this community of young writers!

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