Meet the AWP Staff
Interim Executive Director
Dr. Chloe Schwenke is an author, educator, researcher, international development practitioner, and human rights activist with extensive senior level and management experience in academia, government, non-profit, and for-profit organizations. Her executive and senior management experience includes her recently concluded one-year research grant as the first Director of the Global Program on Violence, Rights and Inclusion at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in Washington, DC. Before that posting, she served as vice president at Freedom House. Her latest book, which will be published by Red Hen Press on May 4, is a memoir titled SELF-ish: a transgender awakening.
Director of Publications
Supriya Bhatnagar has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India, and a BA in nonfiction writing and editing and an MFA in creative nonfiction from George Mason University. Her short stories have appeared in Femina and 4Indianwoman.com. Her memoir, and then there were three..., was published in 2010 by Serving House Books. Essays from this book have appeared in Perigee and Artful Dodge. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.
Director of Development
Sheila Black was the Executive Director of Gemini Ink, a literary arts center in San Antonio, Texas, prior to joining AWP. Before that, she served as Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at New Mexico State University Foundation. She is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Iron, Ardent (2017), and has co-edited two anthologies, Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (2011) and The Right Way to Be Crippled and Naked: The Fiction of Disability (2017). In 2012, she received a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. She holds a BA in French literature from Barnard College and an MFA in poetry from the University of Montana.
Director of Web Services and Systems Administrator
Kate McDevitt received her BS in computer science with minors in creative writing and mathematics from Virginia Tech. Also at Virginia Tech, she worked on her MS in computer science. Kate has designed and developed websites for many educational, governmental, and commercial organizations. She writes genre and young adult fiction and leads a local writers' roundtable group. In her free time she volunteers at local libraries, BookCrosses, and hunts historical markers. Kate joined AWP in 2006.
Director of Development
Pamela Mills was the Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at George Mason University, before she joined AWP. Pamela's career also includes sixteen years in programming, development, and conference management in public broadcasting with KQED in San Francisco and PBS in Washington DC. She holds a BA in Psychology and a Masters in Education from American University.
Roberto Perales joined AWP in 2010. He has more than 10 years of nonprofit and private accounting experience. At AWP, he is responsible for general ledger accountability and financial reporting, as well as ad-hoc reporting. Roberto has a B.S. in accounting from George Mason University.
Director of Exhibits & Associate Director of Conferences
Cynthia Sherman joined AWP in 2012. She has volunteered with several organizations in Northern Virginia, including GRACE Art as a program presenter and as the committee chair for the local World Thinking Day program of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Prior to her volunteering, she spent fifteen years in exhibits and meetings management. In her free time, she stays true to her former flight attendant days and continues to explore the world with her family. She also practices yoga and designs jewelry.
Director of Conferences
Christian Teresi oversees what has become the largest literary conference and bookfair in North America. Since his appointment in 2008, he has been dedicated to helping the conference expand and celebrate the diversity of contemporary literature. Christian joined AWP in 2003 as a membership assistant and went on to manage WC&C and Career Services. He holds an MFA in poetry from George Mason University and a BA in English from Binghamton University. His poems and interviews have appeared in several literary journals, including The American Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, the Kenyon Review Online, Sou’wester, and the Writer’s Chronicle. He is the recipient of a 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize.
Director of Membership Services
Diane Zinna received her MFA in fiction from the University of Florida and went on to teach fiction and poetry workshops for ten years at colleges in the Washington, DC, area. She designed and runs AWP’s Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, which brings together published authors and emerging writers, particularly those with no affiliation with a writing program, and those writing from backgrounds, regions, and perspectives too often marginalized in the literary world.
Conference Events Coordinator
Colleen Cable earned her MFA in creative writing at the University of Maryland, where she worked as an events planner for the admissions office. She also worked as a program coordinator for Gettysburg College’s Center for Public Service and as a volunteer for the Maryland Writer’s Association. She writes fiction.
Web Copy Editor
Brian Davis is a PhD candidate in the English Language and Literature Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. He researches and writes about contemporary literature and narrative theory. He teaches literature, film, and writing courses, and he collects books. Find Brian online.
Derek Ellis joined AWP as an intern in 2018. He is currently an MFA candidate in poetry writing at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to attending the University of Maryland, he earned a BA in English literature from Western Kentucky University, where he also minored in creative writing. During the year before attending the University of Maryland, Derek worked as a barista and as a touring musician, even playing, briefly, for Dylan Scott (who has appeared at the top of the Country Billboard Charts). Originally from the small, rural town of Owenton, Kentucky, Derek enjoys exploring the DMV area while writing and sending out his poems.
Bryan Head is currently a MFA candidate in poetry writing at the University of Maryland, College park. He is from Asheville, North Carolina. In addition to working for AWP, he is currently co-manager of HomeWord Youth Poetry, a nonprofit for young writers in western North Carolina, as well as the coach of the Asheville Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Team. Before attending UMD, he completed his B.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with degrees in media and journalism and in creative writing. His poems have appeared in Red Paint Hill, among other publications.
Christopher Kondrich is the author of Contrapuntal (Free Verse Editions). He is the winner of The Iowa Review Award for Poetry and The Paris-American Reading Series Prize. His poetry appears or is forthcoming in Antioch Review, Boston Review, Conjunctions, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, Witness, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and a PhD from the University of Denver where he was an editor for Denver Quarterly.
Meg Eden Kuyatt
Meg Eden Kuyatt's work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, RHINO, and CV2. She teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland. She has five poetry chapbooks, and her debut novel Post-High School Reality Quest was published with California Coldblood, a subsidiary of Rare Bird Books. Find Meg online or on Twitter.
Membership Coordinator and Office Manager
Kenny Lakes holds a BA in History with a minor in Political Science from Susquehanna University. Prior to AWP, he worked as a membership associate at Global Alliance for Arts & Health. Kenny joined AWP in 2013 and has previously held the positions of Membership Assistant and Membership Associate. He works closely with AWP’s WC&C membership program and helps facilitate the matching of poetry mentors and mentees in the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program.
Chelsea McLin joined AWP as an intern in 2018. She holds a BA in English from the University of San Diego, where she also minored in creative writing and ethnic studies. Currently, she is working on her MA in English literature at the University of Maryland and as a graduate assistant at the university's Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In her free time, she manages her own blog and explores the DMV looking for good vegan restaurants.
Emily Myrick is a third-year MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Maryland, where she also teaches creative writing workshops and courses in academic writing. Before her MFA, she worked as a correspondence assistant, speechwriter, and administrative specialist for the executive administration at Indiana University. Emily is originally from Marietta, Georgia and holds an MA in English from Georgia State University. Her fiction has appeared in Fugue and her nonfiction in Muse/A Journal.
Assistant Web Developer
Annie Peña earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland in Biology. Before coming to AWP in 2014, she studied the territorial behavior of monkeys in Brazil, and used GIS/remote sensing to map locations all over the world. Annie loves to travel, read with her family, and discover new vocabulary.
Kathy Ridenhour has earned an MFA in Poetry from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and an MFA in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles. In addition to raising two endearing, drama- and anime-mad children, she enjoys volunteering with NextStop Theatre, reading and writing fantasy, and going on a very occasional jaunt to the local karaoke joint.
Conference Registration Coordinator
Tiffany Robinson has worked as the conference registration manager for the National Association of Black Journalists and as a conference staffer for the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development and for Meeting Management Services. She has also worked as a programming manager for local radio stations in the Washington, DC area.
Jennifer Strass earned her BA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her MA in publication design from the University of Baltimore. She has over 25 years of experience designing for nonprofits, cultural organizations, and educational institutions. Her art background has influenced her career and she remains committed to creative endeavors, such as illustration, painting, and photography. In her spare time she enjoys sea kayaking, hiking, and landscape painting.
Ely Vance graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a double degree in English and American Studies, with minors in Philosophy and Creative Writing. During his time at UMD, Ely was heavily involved in the creative writing community: he was a member of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House, helped organize the TerPoets open-mic series, and served as a teaching assistant for workshops his senior year. He is looking forward to finding where his writing will take him.
Ronald Goldfarb is a lawyer, author, and literary agent based in Washington, D.C. His firm specializes is legal matters pertaining to writers and publishing. He is the author of ten nonfiction books, including Perfect Villains, Imperfect Heroes: Robert F. Kennedy's War Against Organized Crime. He served in the Justice Department of the Kennedy Administration from 1961 to 1964.