Teaching Artist Corps Members
Dominique James, daughter of Chicago and Southside sweetheart, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Howard University.She has completed research fellowships at the University of California-Riverside and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. After graduation, she was a TRIALS Fellow at Harvard Law School and a University of Chicago HBCU Bridge Scholar. She is a teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors and creates word-based multimedia projects, for which she received a 2018 Propeller Fund grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation.
E’mon Lauren is a blk queer Scorpio, from the Wes and Souf side of Chicago, whose work unpacks her coined philosophy of “hood-womanism”. She was named Chicago’s first Youth Poet Laureate. She has been featured in Vogue Magazine, Chicago Magazine, and The Chicago Tribune. Her work has appeared in The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic, and elsewhere. She is a member of Young Chicago Authors Teaching Artist Corps and host of her new podcast, “The RealHoodwives of Chicago”. Her first chapbook of poems, COMMANDO, was published byHaymarket Books, Fall of 2017.
Jonathan Mendoza is a Boston-bred, Chicago-based Jewish and Mexican-American activist, spoken word poet, social justice educator, and musician. He is a National Poetry Slam Champion and the winner of the 2018 Sonia Sanchez – Langston Hughes Poetry Prize. Jonathan works as a youth and housing community organizer with Pilsen Alliance and as a teaching artist with Young Chicago Authors. Find books and updates at MendozaPoetry.com and @JMendoza010 (Twitter/Instagram).
Luis Carranza is from south west side of Chicago. He is a writer, community organizer, and activist. Luis was captain of Little Village High School poetry slam team, and a Louder Than A Bomb semi-finalist. He has performed at Villapalooza, Art Institute of Chicago, Mamby on the Beach, and Open Books.
Matt Muse is a Hip-Hop artist/producer from Chicago. With a bold presence, dynamic lyricism, & a one of a kind live performance, Matt Muse has become a mainstay in the Chicago Hip-Hop scene while quietly, but certainly, moving toward national recognition. He was featured on ‘Sway in the Morning’ in the summer of 2015, and he has performed at multiple venues throughout Chicago; the most notable being headlining Chicago’s TIP Fest in July 2016 & on the September 2016 ‘AAHH! Fest’ main stage alongside J. Cole, Common, Vic Mensa, The Roots & more.
Programs and Production
Director of Educationheather@youngchicagoauthors.org
Heather Roberts is a poet, performer, and a Teaching Artist. She earned her Bachelors in Performance Art from Cornell College. She worked as an AmeriCorps Vista at the Davenport Civil Rights Commission and as the Assistant Director and Interim Director of the Office of Intercultural Life at Cornell College. She earned her Masters in Organizational Leadership from St. Ambrose University. Heather is certified in Spoken Word Pedagogy from Concordia University.
Director of Programmingana@youngchicagoauthors.org
Ana Wright first became involved with Young Chicago Authors as an LTAB volunteer. Her professional experience includes roles as a corporate communicator, project manager, as well as, elementary educator and high school Dean of Students for CPS. She has also acted as the CIMMcon Director for the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) and as the Programs Director for Chicago Filmmakers. She holds a Bachelors of Art in Broadcast Communications, Masters of Science in Project Management and a Masters of Art in Teaching in Elementary Education.
Development and Communications
Nicholas Ward is a writer, booking manager, and event producer. He was the founder of NCW Booking, a boutique booking management agency. He has served as the Screenings Coordinator for the Emmy-nominated web series, Brown Girls, and as the Casting and School Associate at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He is a long-time company member with 2nd Story, with whom he writes, curates, and teaches.
Director of Institutional Givingsara@youngchicagoauthors.org
Sara Leginsky is a fundraising professional and musician with ten years of experience working at Chicago nonprofits. She started her career at Chicago Children's Museum, and then worked as a grant writer at Center for Neighborhood Technology, Marwen, and most recently The Joffrey Ballet. Sara graduated from the University of Chicago with degrees in History and Latin American Studies. In addition to her fundraising work, Sara is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who performs regularly around the Midwest.
Scott Schenke is an independent consultant who has been working with YCA's various technologies since 2005. He has a BA in Communications from Elmhurst College, followed by graduate studies in education at Northern Illinois University. Scott is also a semi-professional musician and audio engineer. As both a technical consultant and a creative person he has a long-standing working relationship with the local arts education community, as well as independent writers, artists and musicians.