Our Team

Executive Leadership

Our Team
Artistic Director

Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval is a poet and community builder. As the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago—where he teaches hip-hop aesthetics—he’s mentored thousands of young writers, artists and musicians.

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Rebecca Hunter

Executive Director

Rebecca Hunter has more than 15 years of local and international experience in the cultural sector. Before joining Young Chicago Authors as Executive Director in 2011, Ms. Hunter was formerly a Producing Director and Executive Producer of Redmoon Theater. Prior to joining Redmoon Theater in 2005, she was based in London UK and Belfast Northern Ireland where she organized literature festivals, arts festivals, cultural programs, conferences and events. Ms. Hunter also served as General Manager of Active Alloys, an entrepreneurial metal fabrication and design studio based in Chicago.


Our Team
Britteney Black Rose Kapri Teaching Artist Fellow

Britteney Black Rose Kapri

Teaching Artist Fellow

Britteney Black Rose Kapri is a teaching artist, writer, performance poet and playwright based out of Chicago. A former ensemble member and teaching artist for the Hip Hop Theater nonprofit Kuumba Lynx. Currently she is an alumna turned Teaching Artist Fellow at Young Chicago Authors. She is a staff member and writer for Black Nerd Problems. Her first chapbook, Winona and Winthrop, was published in June of 2014 through New School Poetics. She has also been published in Poetry Magazine, Vinyl, Day One, Seven Scribes and Kinfolks Quarterly. She is a 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers Award Recipient

Jamila Woods Associate Artistic Director

Jamila Woods

Associate Artistic Director

Jamila Woods is a poet, singer, and teaching artist from Chicago, IL. She the Associate Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors and a founding member of YCA’s Teaching Artist Corps. A Pushcart Prize winner, her poetry has been published by Poetry Magazine, Haymarket Books and Third World Press. Jamila was a 2015 recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship awarded by the Poetry Foundation. She is also a member of the Dark Noise Collective of poets & educators of color. Jamila recently released her debut solo album HEAVN to rave reviews by Pitchfork & the Chicago Tribune.

José Guadalupe Olivarez Marketing Manager

José Guadalupe Olivarez

Marketing Manager

José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants and the author of the book of poems, Citizen Illegal. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he is co-editing the forthcoming anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. He is the co-host of the poetry podcast, The Poetry Gods and a recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Poets House, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, & the Conversation Literary Festival. He lives in Chicago. Follow him on social media at @_joseolivarez.

Teaching Artist Corps Members

Our Team
Dominique James

Dominique James

Dominique James, daughter of Chicago and South Side sweetheart, is a poet, performer, teacher, and student. Her first book, Saffronia was published in 2013. She graduated from Howard University in 2017 and is currently completing a fellowship at the University of Chicago. She is a teaching artist with Young Chicago Authors and runs Nikki-Rosa.com, a platform committed to celebrating and supporting Black women. She is the founder of the Babygirl Initiative, a project that explores, documents, celebrates, and reimagines Black girlhood through workshops, reading groups, a digital archive, and other programming. She is currently working on a one-woman show and a project that uses photography and poetry to interrogate love as a framework for restoration and transformation. She hopes to go to law school and become a legal advocate and researcher, centering Black women within a broader pursuit of justice.

E'mon Lauren

E'mon Lauren

E’mon Lauren. November 9, 1996. Southside Chicago. Redline. Harold's Chicken. Mild sauce. Early graduate. Slam poet. Louder Than a Bomb champion. ‘14. Louder Than a Bomb Indy finalist. ‘14. Brave New Voices. ‘13 & ‘14. Louder Than a Bomb College Slam champion. ‘16. Chicago’s Youth Poet Laureate. ’16. Playwright “Commando”. ‘16. Performed at PITCHFORK Music Festival, Allstate Arena, Goodman Theatre, etc. Vocalist. Emcee. Teaching artist. Published artist. The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. ‘15. Performing artist. Non-binary agender. Womyn. Humyn.

Kush Thompson

Kush Thompson

Kush Thompson is a political-romantic poet, womanist, painter, avid As Told By Ginger watcher, teaching artist, and organizing co-chair of Black Youth Project 100’s Chicago chapter. Voted runner-up best local poet of 2014 by The Chicago Reader and one of The Root's 2015 Young Futurists, Kush is the author of A Church Beneath the Bulldozer (New School Poetics, 2014). In 2014, Kush joined, as a German consul, the Berlin-based Wort.Word.Lich collective for its first bi-lingual showcase tour. Her work has appeared in Poetry Magazine and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop.

Matt Muse

Matt Muse

Matt Muse is a Hip-Hop artist, producer, and song writer born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. He kickstarted his musical career as a student at Northern Illinois University, performing at multiple shows on the schools’ campus and other Illinois colleges. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Corporate Communication in May 2016. Matt's music has been featured on Sway in the Morning and Vocalo FM Chicago. He has done performances throughout Chicago including AAHH! Fest 2016, TIP Fest, CiMM Fest, and many other venues and shows. Matt was a featured speaker at the NIU TedX event on April 23, 2016 where he did a ‘TED Talk’ that discussed the impact that Hip-Hop has had on his life and how it can change the world artistically and socially.

Tim 'Toaster' Henderson

Tim 'Toaster' Henderson

A performance poet, mural artist and musician, Toaster uses a kaleidoscope of artistic vision to create, express and teach. He has been featured on many stages across North America including Lexus Versus and Flow, National Public Radio, various National Slam competitions and in front of the most cutthroat audiences of all: teenagers. Aside from pursuing his own craft, Toaster works in Chicago schools as a teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors, as well as facilitating his own workshops in elementary schools, high schools, universities and various other educational settings.

Programs and Production

Our Team

Ana Wright

Public Programs Manager

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.

Heather Roberts

Senior Education Manager

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.

Mariah Neuroth

Director of Programming and Production

Mariah Neuroth began her career in Chicago as the Youth Program Coordinator for RefugeeOne, co-founded and served as Education Director for Hermit Arts, a local arts organization dedicated to exposing youth and their adult allies to the arts as well as promoting and organizing local artists and writers. Mariah was founding board chair for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. Mariah has a Masters of Education in Youth Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Development and Communications

Our Team

Alissa Goldwasser

Director of Institutional Giving

Alissa Goldwasser is responsible for individual and institutional fundraising activities at YCA. Before joining YCA, Ms. Goldwasser was a freelance grant writer, working primarily with youth services organizations. She also worked for 10 years as an equity analyst in the investment banking sector. Ms. Goldwasser holds a M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Anne Manly

Grant Writer / Gifts Manager

Anne Manly is Gifts Manager for Young Chicago Authors. Anne is a lawyer and previously served as the Supervising Attorney for the Shakman Compliance Administrator of Cook County and represented plaintiffs in employment discrimination matters. Prior to law school, Anne was an wilderness guide and instructor for outdoor adventure education programs, including Outward Bound. She received her law degree from the University of Illinois and a degree in experiential education from Southern Illinois University. Anne comes to YCA with experience as a volunteer and Board Member with numerous Chicago not-for-profits, primarily focusing on women’s issues, voters’ rights and community mental health services.

Demetrius Amparan

Donor Relations Manager

Demetrius Amparan is a marketing and communications professional with eight years of experience creating opportunity for young people who come from inequitable environments. His upbringing in South Chicago inspired his belief in better life outcomes through quality support systems. Demetrius has served as the director of publications and marketing communications for Young Chicago Authors, and as communications manager for A Better Chicago. Demetrius has a BA in communications and public relations and sociology from Valparaiso University.


Our Team

Lynna Tyler

Finance Manager

Scott Schenke

IT Manager