Melissa Hung, program manager, is a writer, editor, and educator. Prior to joining WritersCorps, she worked as a journalist, writing stories about people, social issues, and criminal justice. In 2002, she co-founded Hyphen, an award-winning magazine about Asian American culture, and led the publication for more than five years as its editor in chief. She also founded a film festival in her hometown of Houston, which she continues to curate. Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s creative writing and journalism programs, and is a speaker and panelist on the topics of independent media and literary arts education.
Gisela Insuaste, program associate, is an artist, educator, and cultural worker. As a Brooklyn transplant, she loves exploring the San Francisco Bay Area on bike, and making sculptures and drawings inspired by urban and natural spaces. Recently, she managed art, nature, and wellness programs at Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx. She has many years experience working in cultural organizations in Chicago, Washington DC, and New York, including the Smithsonian Institute, Columbia College Chicago, the History Museum of Chicago, and El Museo del Barrio in NY. She holds a BA in anthropology and studio art from Dartmouth College and an MFA in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Roseli Ilano, event & site coordinator, has ten years of community organizing and youth development experience with an emphasis on integrating creative writing, storytelling and arts into youth-led social justice campaigns. She has worked with several Bay Area youth development and media organizations including Independent Television Service, The Ella Baker Center For Human Rights, and Asian Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy and Leadership. She is co-editer of “Walang Hiya,” an anthology of Filipino and Filipino American writers and poets (Carayan Press, 2010). Roseli has also served as a teaching artist in WritersCorps, teaching youth at Mission High School and Oasis For Girls.
Maddy Clifford is a lyricist, performer, and youth advocate. She holds an MFA in poetry from Mills College. Maddy has opened for such hip hop legends as Souls of Mischief and Rah Digga. Her poetry has been published in The Black Scholar and she recently released an album called Love Child under the rap-name MADlines. Maddy has held forth on panels with hip hop journalist Davey D and workshopped her poetry with Willie Perdomo. She has several years of experience teaching youth in her hometown of Seattle, throughout the Bay Area, and even in the townships of South Africa. Her range — from stage to desktop to lectern — is extensive. She facilitates creative writing classes for WritersCorps at College Track San Francisco and the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center. Her ultimate goal is to leave an indelible footprint in a shifting cultural landscape — one in which young people’s dreams for peace can take root!
Sandra Garcia Rivera is an award-winning Nuyorican poet and an accomplished vocalist. She has captured audiences throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe as a solo artist, and alongside musical legends. She holds an MFA in poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles, and is an alumna of the CalArts Manikrudo Mambo Performance Workshop, the Writers of the Americas Conference in Cuba, VONA/Voices, and June Jordan’s Poetry for the People Program at UC Berkeley. For the past five years, Sandra has hosted and curated Lunada — Literary Lounge & Open Mic at Galeria de la Raza. She performs regularly as a vocalist and percussionist with La Mixta Criolla, and as a frequent guest with Las Bomberas de la Bahia, Rico Pabon, and John Santos. As a teaching artist and program coordinator Sandra has more than 20 years of experience in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area supporting arts and creative writing programs that empower youth and community.
Annie Rovzar has worked in youth development and education for the past six years. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and has taught creative writing to youth through ExCel After School Programs. She has also worked with college students as a community coordinator for a study abroad program in El Salvador, and as as an English composition instructor at San Quentin Prison through Patten University. She is passionate about work that connects creative writing and social good.
Rose Tully has an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, where she received the Leo Litwak Award in Fiction. She was a RADAR Lab Retreat writer in Akumal, Mexico. Her work has appeared in Lit-Up Writers, Chicago Reader, SF Weekly, and in anthologies for San Francisco State University and University of Wisconsin Press. She loves coffee, cats, and drawing portraits.
Judith Tannenbaum, training coordinator, served on the training staff of WritersCorps since the program’s inception in 1994 until fall of 2014. A keynote speaker on prison arts and education, she has taught in public schools and prisons for 38 years. Her books include “Teeth, Wiggly as Earthquakes: Writing Poetry in the Primary Grades;” “Disguised as A Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin;” and “By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives” (New Village Press, April 2010). Read Judith’s blog and learn more about her work and about teaching arts and prison arts at her website or Redroom.