KWH staff

Kelly Writers House Staff 2017-2018

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.

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 work for Kelly Writer's house. zach write gud. he from philladell phladeli philly. he like record in studio. he work for kelly's writer house.

Jacket2 Managing Editor: Kenna O’Rourke

Kenna O'Rourke lives in the attic.

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).

Jacket2 Editorial Assistant: Brianne Alphonso

Brianne is a senior working for J2 at the Kelly Writers house. She is obsessed with the kitchen and would probably die if she doesn't have a cup of hot tea every hour on the hour.

Student Outreach Coordinator: Zubaida Salman AlQaissi

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

Creative Ventures Program Assistant: Maya Arthur

Maya Arthur is a senior. 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.

Assistant to the Assistant Director: Zoe Braccia

It's 2017, and she's almost a fifth of a century old, and Zoe is still obsessed with Justin Bieber. Not even for his beautiful, crooning voice, but just for the person he is deep down. His true character is most represented through one of her favorite quotes of his: "I used to freak out at arcades, but now I'm like, whatever." Amazing. Provocative, raw, sensitive, nostalgic.

Program Assistant: Perren Carrillo

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

Press Assistant: Alyson Del Pino

Alyson is a speck of dust among a lot of other specks of dust, but a very cute one at that.

Web Assistant: Sophia DuRose

Sophia is a freshman at Penn who loves poetry, reading, writing, and making people laugh. With or at her- either way works. You can find her drinking coffee or doing homework while fantasizing about coffee. She loves dogs, specifically pugs, so if you have a pug and would like to make a certain writer very happy, feel free to let her pet your dog.

Wexler Studio Assistant: Annie Fang

Annie Fang

Annie likes fragrance free lotion, catbug, and the way her dad once pronounced the word broccoli in a Macaroni Grill.

Purchasing Librarian: Heather Finnegan

Heather Finnegan

Heather is the sophomore star of the books team and the coolest Russian-speaking vegan you'll ever meet. She was born in 1998 but has the soul of a 70s rocker queen/dad.

Program Assistant: James Fisher

James Fisher

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

Program Assistant: Amleset Girmay

Amleset Girmay is a junior who holds down the fort on the books team. Even when she's eating Qdoba and faking it 'til she makes it. Which is often. I missed her when she was in France. It felt like she was gone so long that I thought she was a senior.

Program Assistant: Tasha Hutnick

Might be a sophomore. Might be wearing a tiny hat. Might be quoting / singing something from a musical. Might be rehearsing / quoting Shakespeare. Might be making really obscure references. Also, might not exist.

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

catbug Catbug CAtbug CATbug CATBug CATBUg CATBUG

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.

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 senior double majoring in Cinema Studies and Communication. Yams and the word pudding make her quite happy.

Program Assistant: Eva Lewis

Eva Maria Lewis is an activist, advocate, and artist from the Southside of Chicago, currently studying God knows what at the University of Pennsylvania's College of Arts and Sciences. She has seen every single episode of Supernatural.

Jacket2 Editorial Assistant: Kelly Liu

Kelly is Kelly is Kelly.

Web Master: Lisa Liu

Lisa has fallen down zero flights of stairs this year.

Assistant to Jamie-Lee Josselyn: Ian McCormack

Ian doesn't believe awkwardness exists.

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. Her poems have appeared in Hanging Loose and several anthologies; her creative nonfiction is in the last Penn Appetit. She has previously worked with the Southwest Review and Spry. Faith can be found sipping tea with a book or walking through the prairie with one of her five adopted mutts (three chihuahua mixes and two large shepherd misfits) when not writing. She has an unrivaled interest in ferality and witchcraft, her favorite color is mauve, and she strives to be nominated the unofficial tastythings maker of KWH (let me bake for you...).

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?

Wexler Studio Assistant: Nick Seymour

Nick Seymour

Nick Seymour hails from the far off land of Columbia, South Carolina. He is a junior studying communication. He claims to be working as a Wexler Staffer because of his interest in digital media secretly, he is only working at the Writers House for tea, cookies, and the joy of sweeping.

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 35 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 Senior 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.


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 junior in the College. She likes scavenger hunts, mobiles, and hanging out with her cactus, Fernando.