KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 2016-2017

The staff is an integral part of the House, coming together with the Planning Committee to generate ideas, as well as ensuring that readings, musical performances, screenings, publicity, and fundraising plans go off without a hitch. We are open to ideas, questions and comments you may have, so drop us a line.

Faculty Director: Al Filreis

Al Filreis

Al is Kelly Professor of English and Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and is one of the founders of the Writers House, along with an intrepid group of students, faculty and staff whom he led into the cottage at 3805 Locust back in October of 1995. He has been the Faculty Director of the Writers House ever since. He has taught the Writers House Fellows seminar since 2000, and created the Writers House Book Groups among other projects; he has won the Lindback Award and the Meyer Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching and was chosen as the Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation in 1999. He has published books on modern poetry and has written extensively on poetry and politics and radical literary generations. Here is Al's web site.

Director: Jessica Lowenthal

Jessica has been the Director of Kelly Writers House since 2005, and an active member of its Planning Committee since 2003. As of 2010 she's the associate publisher of Jacket2. In 2009, Jessica's daughter Alice (pictured, reading spreadsheets) joined the KWH community. Jessica holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop, an MA in English from Penn, and an AB in English from Brown -- and she's putting her education to work daily, directing the activities of this vibrant and experimental literary community. Jessica's reading interests are eclectic: she loves experimental poetry, trashy novels, cookbooks, and the Philly weeklies. Visit Jessica in room 109 (all the way in the back of the house) and you'll find her eager to talk about ways you can get involved in the Writers House community.

Program Coordinator: Alli Katz

Alli Katz is the Program Coordinator for the Kelly Writers House. She's lived in West Philly since she graduated from Oberlin College in 2006, but she still introduces herself as "being from Chicago." In her sort-of-free time, she's taught comic book workshops to the cool kids at Mighty Writers, pretends to be Ernest Hemingway for City Paper, and is good at etch-a-sketching. You can find Alli all the way at the back of the house in 109 to talk about the internet, graphic novels, the 1989 NBC primetime lineup, scheduling rooms for group meetings, and working for KWH.

Business Administrator/Dead Mouse Remover: Andrew Beal

Andrew Beal

Andrew Beal has a BA from Miami University in Theater, a graduate certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and took some classes at Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania. He has previously worked at a few theaters up and down the east coast, helped keep historic Plays and Players Theater alive, and briefly operated a probably illegal performing arts space in an empty restaurant on South Street. He is along for the ride with his three-year-old Rory and wife Rachel.

Associate Director for Recruitment: Jamie-Lee Josselyn

Jamie-Lee Josselyn is from Epping, New Hampshire, and has lived in Philadelphia since 2001. She received a BA from Penn in English and French and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College and she has taught creative writing in a few places, including at Penn and in St. Paul's School's Advanced Studies Program. Jamie-Lee has published personal essays on topics ranging from her mother's life and death to her experience attending cat shows. When not on campus, Jamie-Lee may be performing some feat of endurance: running a long way, biking an even longer way, or consuming a massive quantity of food. She has a cat named Alfred J. Pancake whose friends call him "Alfie" and another cat named Bones whose nickname is "Tubby." She also has a dog named Primo who has so much character, he doesn't need a nickname.

Assistant Director for Development: Arielle Brousse

Arielle Brousse

Arielle (C'07, SPP'12) graduated a while ago, but never really left Kelly Writers House. In addition to her development work here at KWH, she runs the Sensible Nonsense Project blog and program series, and helps coordinate the Writing a Life workshops in partnership with the Abramson Cancer Center. Elsewhere at the university, she works as a Research Fellow with Penn's Center for Social Impact Strategy, where she connects emerging social entrepreneurs with relevant resources, training, and communities.

In her spare time, Arielle serves as the Vice President of Operations for the Spruce Foundation, an all-volunteer next-gen nonprofit supporting youth-serving organizations in Philadelphia. In the past, she has served as Communications Maven and Principessa of Press for Philly Give & Get. She holds a master's degree in Nonprofit Leadership from the School of Social Policy & Practice. She enjoys yoga, knitting, First Person Arts events, travel, wordplay, and any reality television show having to do with "housewives" (loosely defined). She lives with her husband and their two spoiled, particular cats.

If Arielle believes in one thing, she believes in stories. Maybe also witches. And ghosts. And possibly mermaids.

Community Partnerships Developer: Rachel Zolf

Rachel is a poet who coordinates KWH's writing outreach projects in community settings and also teaches in Penn's Creative Writing program. You can reach her at

Assistant to the Faculty Director: Lily Applebaum

Lily has lived in Philadelphia since 2008, when she started as a freshman at Penn and first became involved in the Writers House community. At the KWH she is the coordinator of many things, including but not limited to: the Fellows Program, online discussion groups, and the Brodsky Gallery. She is also a teaching assistant for the Coursera course ModPo, and has appeared in two episodes of Poem Talk. Lily graduated from Penn in 2012 with a B.A. in English and Environmental Studies. Outside of work, her interests are wide-ranging and all over the place, but this week's weather forecast and ongoing weather trends are always a good bet. Maura Reilly-Ulmanek took this picture of Lily in the Brodsky Gallery with the ladder that she has to use to do everything because she is only five feet tall.

Wexler Studio Coordinator: Zach Carduner

Zach spent his childhood designing his own SEPTA timetables and dreamt of one day becoming an El train. Now he officially works as the coordinator of the Writers House's new Wexler Recording Studio, which, though less illustrious than living as a form of public transportation, is still a pretty sweet gig.

Jacket2 Managing Editor: Kenna O’Rourke

Kenna O’Rourke once had a dream that Alli Katz led all of the work-studies to Trader Joe’s like the pied piper and bought them groceries with the pro card because there was some special KWH discount. Clearly the Writers House is embedded deeply into her subconscience.

Evening Program Assistant: Meg Pendoley

Meg Pendoley

Meg Pendoley loves talking about language and hanging around this home of a House.

Night Manager: Peter Schwarz

Peter Schwarz

Peter dreams of moving to Corsica where he would own a 1966 Shelby Cobra, eat civet de sanglier (wild boar) but obviously not every day, write a novel about something and learn Turkish. He'll settle for a Doberman puppy for now.

Administrative Assistant: Gabriel Ojeda-Sague

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague

Gabe's favorite drink is root beer.

Campus Coordinator for Mentor For Philly: Jocelyn Afadapa

Jocelyn was born in the city that raised Beyonce... Houston. This Texas native enjoys talking to strangers on planes, eating delicious food with meat, and people watching. She is a sophomore in the College who's pre-med (for now).

Student Outreach Coordinator: Zubaida Salman AlQaissi

Zubaida is a freshman in the College. She loves Edward Said (pronounced SA-EED)

Creative Ventures Program Assistant: Maya Arthur

Maya Arthur is a junior. She is not allergic to cats anymore (or maybe never was). She is in a dedicated default friendship with Kenna O'Rourke. Be very wary of her.

Student Outreach Coordinator: Camara Brown

Camara Brown has lived in Chicago for 16 years, but her whole family is from Detroit. Although Camara loves Penn for many different reasons, one of the main reasons she loves Penn is the unique and loving community that the Kelly Writer's House offers.She loves crying at really sad movies and laughing at really funny movies. She also enjoys great Indian food and Ethiopian food. If she could be any animal in the world she would be a big cat, maybe a tiger or a lion or a puma.

Program Assistant: Perren Carrillo

Perren loves dogs, staying hydrated and eating other people's food.

Wexler Studio Assistant: Annie Fang

Annie Fang

Annie is a sophomore in the college with unclear life goals. When she's not working at the Writers House, she's usually with her Penn Dance Company family. She's scared of skinless pizzas and feeding giraffes. Current obsession: dill. Longterm obsession: Guy Fieri.

Purchasing Librarian: Heather Finnegan

Heather Finnegan

Heather Finnegan likes corn tortillas and museums.

Media Technician: Lauren Feiner

Lauren Feiner

Lauren is a junior in the college who has managed to evade writing a bio for her first two years on staff at the Writers House. You can often find her awake at 4am on weekdays aided by copious amounts of coffee.

Program Assistant: James Fisher

James Fisher

James Fisher is in his second year at Penn. He enjoys performance poetry and making people laugh.

Program Assistant: Amleset Girmay

Amleset is a sophomore in Wharton and the College. She likes learning random facts, listening to foreign music and eating chocolate. She also collects overly dramatic and philosophical quotes.

Administrative / Financial Assistant (+Odd Jobs): Cindia Huang

Cindia Huang As one of the rare engineers at the Writers House, Cindia is a senior studying Animation and Cognitive Science and has plans to develop indie games. A world traveling chef, multilingual, instrumental, and First Aid/CPR/AED certified. As for hobbies, Cindia is a practitioner of Kendo, Karate, and Boxing and likes photography, gaming, blacksmithing, woodworking, programming, longboarding, and yoyo-ing. Cindia once had a conversation on voice acting with Dante Basco (aka Firelord Zuko) and met WongFu Productions and David Choi. Being a Jack-of-All-Trades, Cindia is probably the go-to person in the Writers House if you have questions about stuff or want to know handy cooking and knife-handling tips.

Editorial Assistant for Jacket2: Meerie Jesuthasan

Meerie Jesuthasan

Meerie is in the College studying History. She's from a lot of places but has not looked back since discovering the pure joy of online shopping in the United States of America. She is probably just joking about being a communist.

Assistant to the Asst. Faculty Director: Jacob Kind

Jacob Kind

Jacob likes things. These things include but are not limited to Netflixing, reading, wandering, wondering, drawing, painting, writing, propagating succulents, cooking food, stuffing himself with food, regretting the stuffing, yet appreciating the complex thought processes behind that regret, and managing his dog’s Instagram.

Wexler Studio Assistant: Ivana Kohut

Ivana (C'18) is from West Orange, NJ and is excited about working for the KWH, particularly in the Wexler Studio. She is in the College of Arts and Sciences and is excited about immersing herself in a community of passionate scholars. She loves to write, to hike, and go for walks on the beach and is looking forward to a great year.

Program Assistant/Speakeasy Maven: Michaela Kotziers

Michaela is from Florida (not Miami), although she is currently pale. She likes poetry a whole lot and is overhydrated most days.

Assistant to the Associate Director of Writing Recruitment: Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge is a sassy senior English major from Stamford, Connecticut. As the editor-in-chief of The Adroit Journal, he assists Associate Director of Writing Recruitment Jamie-Lee Josselyn. His first kiss was in kindergarten during nap time, and in middle school he played Kelsi in a gender-bending take on High School Musical. These days, he can usually be spotted strutting down Locust Walk and/or responding to emails. .

Web Master: Becca Lambright

Becca Lambright

Becca is from Cleveland and likes unsweetened iced tea. She is the bassist for Bloomers Band where they call her Yung Bec. If you were interested in knowing, she is a Capricorn. This is her dog, Bear.

Wexler Studio Assistant: Ari Lewis

Ari Lewis

Ari is a fun-sized, chocolate, LA native. She intends on majoring in Africana and Cinema Studies, and aspires to go into the film industry. Yams make her quite happy.

Web Assistant: Lisa Liu

Lisa Liu

The only living thing Lisa cares about is her aloe vera plant, Jeffrey.

Jacket2 Editorial Assistant: Mariah Macias

Mariah Macias

Mariah Macias is a College junior majoring in English, emphasis Creative Writing, and minoring in Religious Studies. She loves reading and writing, and she was a ballroom dancer for five years prior to arriving at Penn. Come November, she will be participating in National Novel Writing Month, and as such will be significantly more frazzled than usual. Not to fear—she doesn't bite!

Wexler Studio Assistant: Kaitlin Moore

Kaitlin Moore

Kaitlin Moore doesn't really know what's she's gonna do with her life but she knows it's gonna involve co-op video games, comic con, and wool socks with whales on them.

Space is cool. Star Trek is cooler. 0 degree Kelvin is coolest.

Program Assistant: Shayna O’Reilly

Shayna O'Reilly

Shayna is a junior who rarely knows what’s going on and is way too calm about it. She hails from northern Jersey and plans to major in Political Science. Her pastimes include watching obscure foreign films, having existential crises, dancing at inappropriate times, and baking cookies. Talk to her about feminism or Mediterranean food.

Program Assistant: Faith Padgett

Faith Padgett was born and raised in the suburbs of Texas and is currently a Creative Writing concentrator and an Urban Ed. minor in the college. Her poems have appeared in Hanging Loose and several anthologies including the Poetry Society of Texas' student anthologies and the YoungArts anthology for 2014. She was a semi-finalist in the Presidential Scholars program and has previously worked with the Southwest Review. Currently on staff with Spry (blog posts here) Faith can be found sipping tea with a book or walking through the prairie with one of her four adopted mutts when not writing. Her largest pet peeve is puns about her name (but she will forgive you if you can’t resist), her favorite color is mauve, and she strives to be nominated the unofficial tastythings maker of KWH.

Wexler Studio Assistant: Adelaide Powell

Adelaide Powell is a sophomore studying communications and film. Prior to coming to Philadelphia, she lived in Copenhagen, Denmark and has moved around frequently. Besides traveling, Adelaide enjoys reading, writing, eating good food, and watching movies.

ModPo Teachers Assistant: Carlos Price-Sanchez

Carlos Price-Sanchez was once a sentient android operated by a battalion of gerbils. He is now a poet and Real-Boy *tm, working as a teaching assistant for the Coursera course ModPo. You might remember him from that one time he shot your evil twin?

Assistant to the Program Coordinator: Maura Reilly-Ulmanek

Maura Reilly-Ulmanek is a junior studying English and Art History. She is incapable of winking and her face is bright red pretty much always. She has briefly, intensely loved most things and passionately disliked almost everything else. As a result, she is consistently concerned she may collapse under the weight of her ridiculous opinions. Until then, she looks forward to shaking your hand and then apologizing for how sweaty hers is.

Wexler Studio Assistant: Nick Seymour

Nick Seymour

Nick Seymour hails from the far off land of Columbia, South Carolina. He is a freshmen in the College. He is very excited to be working in the the Wexler Studio. Secretly, he is only working at the Writers House for tea, cookies, and the joy of sweeping because he is FAKE.

Web Mistress/Pokemon Master: Amanda Silberling

Amanda Silberling

Amanda Silberling is the person who has control over this website, so please be nice to her or else she will avenge you via HTML. She is level 33 in Pokémon Go.

Program Assistant: Dan Spinelli

Dan Spinelli

Dan thinks your makeup is terrible.

Jacket2 Editorial Assistant: Amy Stidham

Amy Stidham

Amy is a Junior English major whose prize possessions are a Shania Twain concert t-shirt and a hand-painted portrait of her cats. Her other job is at a cafe, but she doesn't even like coffee. She has a really good recipe for sugar cookies, if you need one, and she wears a different shade of lipstick every day. Talk to her about Vin Diesel's instagram or cute baby pictures.

Assistant to the Assistant Director: Ashley Stinnett

Ashley is an extremely tall Washingtonian from Lawnguyland, New York. If she could eat only one food until the end of forever, it would be caramelized onions.


This belly dancer from a mysteriously high number of states spends her weekends and mornings at the Writers House assisting Andrew with his daily financial needs. Ethnically ambiguous, she calls upon her knowledge of other languages to help her in her quest for the perfect translation that she will never find, but in the meantime she reads poetry and other sorts of literature including legal cases, which doesn't seem to fit but she thinks it does. Juan watched her at her Penn Yalla show and he was quite impressed. Juan also notes she has a very good sense of humor and is an overall amazing human being.

Program Assistant: Autumn Wynde

Autumn Wynde

Autumn is a sophomore in the College. She likes scavenger hunts, mobiles, and hanging out with her cactus, Fernando.

Assistant to the Assistant Director: Connie Yu

Connie Yu is a senior studying English and Art History. She loves this place.