Alumni mentor bios

Conni Bille works for NewtonEdge an e-learning and e-marketing company providing multimedia solutions to the pharmaceutical industry.

Kara Blond is an exhibit developer and writer at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. It's an eclectic job; she sets interpretive messages, chooses the content to deliver those messages and writes the script that gets the content across in a clear, concise and accessible voice. She also plays the part of editor, project manager, world traveler, interviewer, construction coordinator, budget manager and advising architect, all rolled into one. This job comes after a stint as a newspaper reporter in New York, graduate student in education at Stanford and instructional designer doing online course development. All in the 8 years since she graduated from Penn!

Randi Feigenbaum Marshall CAS '97 is currently a business reporter with Newsday - a daily newspaper in New York. She covers the regional economy and housing, and has in the past written about real estate, banking and biotechnology, among other things. She has written everything from a 300 word story in less than an hour to a 2,000 word feature, to a week-long series. She hopes someday to write a book - but has not undertaken that project yet. Her interests lie primarily in newspaper and magazine journalism, but would be glad to mentor someone in those or other fields. At Penn, she was very active in the Daily Pennsylvanian, and majored in Political Science and English.

Tom Gallagher C'74, WG'75 is Managing Director of Defense & Aerospace Corporate Finance at Wachovia Securities.

Jody Girgenti CAS '98 is a film and television producer living in New York City

Randi Glass Murray has formed her own literary agency that focuses on literary and commercial fiction, and narrative nonfiction. Writers include Joyce Maynard and comedian (and native Philadelphian) David Brenner.

Marc Goodman spent five years at Vanity Fair as Editorial Associate, while freelancing for magazines such as Rolling Stone, Vibe, American Heritage, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Elle Decor and Bride's. He was also Contributing Editor at Quest and Air Jamaica's Skywritings magazines. Marc is in his second year at business school but still writes regularly for Ocean Drive and a new Trinidadian magazine started by Doug Gordon '94, Ocean Style. In the last year, he has also written marketing materials for a Deutsche Bank bond-sales team, and for Jamaica's Appleton Rum.

Carter Henderson is a former front page editor and foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and IBM executive who's written books on business such as Winners:The Successful Strategies Entre-preneurs Use to Build New Businesses published by Doubleday, Holt, Madison, The Institute for Contemporary Studies etc., and have spoken to audiences throughout the world from the Harvard Business School to the London School of Economics. He is currently completing two new books titled Speakeasy:The Lowdown On How to Give A Winning Speech or Presentation and Everything Changes: The Coming of the Cyber Age.

Roy Hoffer is currently involved in Forensic Engineering and Fire and Explosion Investigation. He performs a field investigation of an electrical shock, burn, arc, industrial accident, structure or vehicle fire, or explosion, then write an expert report. If necessary, he testifies in a trial, deposition, or arbitration as an expert witness. He also has industrial experience, from which he has achieved 29 patents. He has assisted with the writing of the patent applications and in presentations of the new, unique, and non-obvious technology at the United States Patent Office.

Elsie Sterling Howard has done extensive writing in public relations and marketing for both non-profits and retail. She has helped design, publish and distribute newsletters, fund raising letters, scripts, brochures, recognition pieces, motivational/inspirational pieces, press and media releases, photo copy and post-event copy and proof reading.

Ken Howard graduated from Penn in 1988 (English major, editor at Punch Bowl, wrote for the DP). He is science/health/medicine/technology/business/healthcare/biotech editor and writer. He is a contributing writer to the science journal Nature (writing news and features mainly for the journals Nature Biotechnology and Nature Reviews Drug Discovery) and is currently writing a book about manned space flight with Buzz Aldrin. He has written for Scientific American, Wired, Timeout NY and other magazines and have edited projects for Scientific American, Nature and other publications. He is the author of the book Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby (Bantam, 2002). He would like to be a mentor, resource and sounding board regarding freelance magazine writing and pitching nonfiction book proposals (how to write a proposal and how to find an agent).

Elliott Karetny

Jim Lee is an assistant professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before moving to California, he was an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also served as Associate Director of the Center for Asian American Studies. His book, Urban Triage: Race and the Fictions of Multiculturalism, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in April 2004. He has also written for several journals and collections, including NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, Literary Studies East and West, African American Writers, and The Blackwell Companion to the Regional Literatures of America. He is currently at work on a biography.

Caren Lissner '93 is the editor of a chain of weekly newspapers in Hoboken, NJ, and has written two novels: Carrie Pilby (about a confused genius who recently graduated from college) and Starting from Square Two. She also has tried her hand at screenplays and humorous essays, and co-hosts a weekly team trivia game in New York. She's always interested in talking to dedicated writers. More info is available on her website.

Amy MacDonald has published a dozen children's books, from picture books to chapter books. These books have been published in 25 languages around the world and won a number of awards both here and abroad (NY Times Ten Best Children's Books, etc.). As a journalist, she has worked as the editor of a local weekly and senior editor of a national youth magazine. Her freelance work has appeared in publications from the New Yorker to the Times of London. She co-produced and co-wrote a documentary film that was aired last year on PBS as part of the Independent Lens series. She also teaches writing as an artist-in-residence around the country, and is a teaching artist for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. She has taught writing at Harvard Summer School and the Stonecoast Writers Conference. Her web site has more info.

Melody Marcus

Lisa Sandell has been with Scholastic for the past five years. She is an editor for Orchard Books, a hardcover imprint of Scholastic Inc. She manages Orchard's fiction list, which focuses primarily on literary middle grade and young adult novels. She also publishes works of nonfiction, and manages several historical fiction series, as well. Additionally, she recently completed and sold her first novel to Viking. Her second novel will come out in Fall 2006.

Cindy Savett, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania CW'75, teaches poetry workshops at psychiatric institutions in the Philadelphia area to both acute short-term and residential patients. Her book, Child in the Road, has been recently released. She is published in numerous print and on-line journals, including Margie, Heliotrope, LIT, The Marlboro Review, 26 Magazine, Cutbank, and Free Verse. She is also at work on a memoir on the death of her daughter. Additionally, Cindy has served on several school Boards and other non-profit agencies. She spent fifteen years in the retail business, traveling extensively overseas. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, she currently lives in Merion, Pennsylvania with her husband and children.

Pete Segall graduated from Penn in 1999 with a BA in English. Upon graduating he worked in various editorial departments in New York; in 2003 he received an MFA in fiction writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. His non-fiction has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Village Voice, Premiere, the New York Observer, Blaze, and Vibe.

Adam Sexton has taught creative writing to students of all ages and at every level of experience and skill. He has led writing workshops at an Ivy League university and in Central Park; on a working farm in the Adirondack Mountains and in the basement of a Cosi restaurant; and at every Barnes and Noble and Borders superstore in New York City. Sexton has taught at Rutgers, SUNY Binghamton, and New York City's Gotham Writers' Workshop, where he was the school's first Dean of Faculty.

Sexton's books include Master Class: Lessons In Storytelling From Hemingway, Austen, and Others, due in 2005 from McGraw-Hill; Love Stories: A Literary Companion To Tennis (Citadel, 2003) and the forthcoming paperback edition of the book, entitled Tennis Shorts (2005); Rap on Rap (Delta, 1995), adopted as a text for courses at Columbia University and elsewhere; and Desperately Seeking Madonna (Delta, 1993), which was translated into Japanese, cited in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition, and adopted as a text for courses at UC Berkeley and elsewhere. More than fifty of his articles have been published in the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Boston Phoenix, and the Philadelphia City Paper; and he has written copy for such not-for-profit institutions as the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has read from his work and/or appeared on panels at Yale University, NYU, SUNY Binghamton, New York area B&Ns, the Knitting Factory (NYC) and Pete's Candy Store (Brooklyn). Sexton is the Nonfiction Editor of Epiphany, a literary journal, and has been an Assistant Editor on the News Desk at Time and a Contributing Editor at the Philadelphia City Paper.

Alice Shane is a native Philadelphian who was in the Creative Writing Program at Penn from 1970-1974 during which time she wrote a column on women's issues for the Daily Pennsylvanian. Presently, she is a journalist, public relations consultant and adjunct faculty member at NYU and New School University. Before relocating to the New York area, she wrote features for the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine and the now defunct Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Magazine. She was also on the staff of TV Guide. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Crain's New York Business, and numerous other publications. She has been a writer/editor for Random House and Berkley Books. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild. For more information, visit her website.

Jordan Sonnenblick is a fiction writer for young adults. His first novel, Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, is a nominee for the ALA's Best Books for Young Adults 2005, and is also a BookSense Children's Pick for this fall -- one of only fourteen YA novels so honored this year nationally. Also, Scholastic Press just bought the reprint rights to Drums, along with the rights to his second novel, Gotcha!. Jordan Sonnenblick has a wealth of knowledge about the publishing world, as well as about the craft of fiction writing.