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  Artistic Fellow

Britteney Black Rose Kapri

Artistic Fellow

Britteney Black Rose Kapri is a Chicago teaching artist, writer, performance poet and playwright. She is a staff member for Black Nerd Problems and Pink Door Women’s Writing Retreat. Her first chapbook Winona and Winthrop was published in June of 2014 through New School Poetics. She is a 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers Award Recipient. Her book Black Queer Hoe was released in the fall of 2018 by Haymarket Books.

Tim 'Toaster' Henderson Teaching Artist Fellow

Tim 'Toaster' Henderson

Teaching Artist Fellow

Toaster is a performance poet, mural artist and musician, 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.


Teaching Artist Corps Members

Our Team
Dominique James @niqjames

Dominique James


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 @laurenlikepolo

E'mon Lauren


E’mon Lauren is from the South Side of Chicago. She is a Scorpio enthusiast and a firm believer in Dorthy Dandridge reincarnation. E’mon uses poetry and playwriting to explore a philosophy of hood womanism. She was named Chicago’s first Youth Poet Laureate. A former Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble slam team member and Louder Than a Bomb champion, E’mon has performed in many venues including The Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival and The Chicago Hip Hop Theatre Fest. She was a 2016 finalist for The Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award. Her first chapbook COMMANDO, was published by Haymarket Books, in Fall of 2017.

Jonathan Mendoza

Jonathan Mendoza

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

Luis Carranza

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 @mattmuse12

Matt Muse


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

Our Team

Ana Wright

Director of Programming

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.

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.

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.

Mariah Neuroth

Director of Strategic Initiatives

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.

Nicholas Ward

Booking Manager

Nicholas Ward (Booking Manager) 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.

Nicole Humphrey

Brand and Operations Manager

Nicole Humphrey is a writer, visual artist and curator from Chicago. Growing up in Bronzeville, graduating from Wendell Phillips Academy HS then going on to attain a BA in English from Jackson State University, her experiences include merchandising, inventory management, event coordination, brand strategies and sales. She has been an LTAB volunteer, Chi-Track cohort participant and mentor, LTAB Merchandise Manager and YCA Site Manager. 

For all YCA media inquires or if there's an event, conference, contest you'd like YCA to share with our social community you can email flyer/links to Nicole

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Our Team

Lynna Tyler

Finance Manager

Scott Schenke

IT Manager