Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

Kelly Caldwell has written for Vox, New York Newsday, House Beautiful, Time Out New York, The Writer, The Huffington Post, and others. One of her essays was named a Notable Essay by the editors of the Best American Essays series and anthologized in If These Walls Could Talk: Thoughts of Home. She is also dean of faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop. She holds a BJ from the University of Missouri and an MS from Columbia University.

Roohi Choudhry has published fiction and nonfiction in the Kenyon Review, the Rumpus, Callaloo, Bitch, Hyphen, Desilicious, Fiction Writers Review, and the anthology 21 Under 40. She has taught at the University of Michigan and led workshops for the New York Writers’ Coalition. She holds a BSc from Lahore University of Management Sciences, an MS in Marketing Research from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan.

Ken Derry is the deputy editor of Yankees Magazine, the magazine of the New York Yankees. He has written articles for the New York Times, ESPN.com, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Runner’s World, Bicycling, AM New York, the Times of Trenton, Blue, the Rough Guides, and Shecky’s Nightlife Guides. He holds a BA from Old Dominion University and an MFA in Fiction from the New School.  

Mary Donnelly has published poetry in Boog CityThe Brooklyn Rail, DMQ ReviewHunger MountainIndiana Review, and Iowa Review, among others. She is former co-director of the "Reading Between A and B" poetry series in New York City and is now senior editor of failbetter. She holds a BA from Columbia University and an MFA in Poetry from Bennington College.

Mike Dunphy is a contributing writer for USA Today’s travel publication RoadWarriorVoices, and his articles and essays have appeared in Travel Weekly, PBS: Next Avenue, American Way, Travel + Leisure, Time Out, Beer Advocate, and NewYork.com, among many others. He has worked as an editor and contributor to Fodor’s Travel (Random House). He holds a BA from the University of Vermont and an MA in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College.

Britt Gambino has published poetry in Armchair/Shotgunanderbo, The Boiler, decomP, and Springgun Press, among others. She previously served as a contributing writer at The Sexy Feminist blog and as an Associate Poetry Editor at The Doctor T.J. Eckleberg Review. She has taught at Education Unlimited, Brooklyn Brainery, and 826NYC. She holds a BA from Drew University and an MFA in Poetry from The New School.

Pete Jensen has developed original TV series for diverse production companies and he wrote the feature screenplay Derwin's Shadow, which won a development grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He wrote and directed the award-winning short film "Charlie Primitive," which screened at over twenty festivals across the U.S. and Europe. His prose has been published in such literary magazines as Swink. He holds an MFA in Screenwriting and Directing from Columbia University.

Mo Krochmal is the executive editor and founder of Social Media News NY. He was a founding producer for The New York Times website, senior editor of GenomeWeb, executive producer of Nassau News Live and New York editor for TechWeb. He has written for United Press International, The New York Times, the Danbury News-Times, the Wilson Daily Times, and the Washington Daily News, among others. He is the vice president of the New York City chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.  He has taught for Hofstra University and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He holds a BA from North Carolina State University and an MS from Columbia University. 

Thaïs Miller is the author of the novel Our Machinery and the short story collection The Subconscious Mutiny and Other Stories (both Brown Paper Publishing). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Nautilus, Bleak House Review, AmLit, and the anthology  Lethal Rejection (Carolina Academic Press). She holds a BA from American University and an MA in Creative Writing for Social Activism from NYU. 

Jessica Penner is the author of the novel in stories Shaken In The Water (Foxhead Books), and her short fiction has appeared in Lost Writers, in the anthology Tongue Screws and Testimonies (Herald Press). Her nonfiction has been published in the Bellevue Literary ReviewThe FiddlebackLuna Luna, Rhubarb, and The Center for Mennonite Writing Journal. She has taught at James Madison University and the Long Island Business Institute. She holds a BA from Eastern Mennonite University and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. 

Stacy Pershall is the author of the memoir Loud in the House of Myself (W.W. Norton), selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program, and her work is included in the anthologies Lost and Found (W.W. Norton) and Spent (Seal Press). She has taught at Writopia, Pratt Manhattan, City College of New York, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. She holds a BA from the University of Arkansas and an MFA in Performance Art from the University of Cincinnati.

Melissa Petro has published nonfiction in Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, Poets & Writers, Salon, Daily Beast, Narratively, Jezebel, xoJane, Frisky, The Fix, and Rumpus. She is the editor of two anthologies: Pros(e): Writings by Individuals with Experiences in the Sex Industries and Corner Stories: Writings by the Washington Heights CORNER Project Community. She is a PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize finalist. She holds a BA from Antioch, an MS in Education from Fordham, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the New School.

Robert Repino is the author of the novel Mort(e) (Soho Press) and the novella Leap High Yahoo (Kindle Singles). He has published fiction in Literary Review, Coachella Review, Wild Violet, Juked Nickel Steak, Knee Jerk, Night Train, Hobart, Ghoti, Furnace Review, and Word Riot. He has served as an editor with the Oxford University Press. He holds a BA from St. Joseph’s University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College.

Domenica Ruta is the author of the memoir With Or Without You (Spiegel & Grau/Random House), which was a Barnes & Novel Discover selection. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Indiana Review, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, PEN America, and Epoch, among others. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Hasanthika Sirisena is the author of the short-story collection The Other One (University of Massachussetts Press, 2016) and has published fiction in Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch, StoryQuarterly, Narrative, among many others. Her work has won the Juniper Prize, been named a notable story by Best American Short Stories in 2011 and 2012, and anthologized in Best New American Voices. She is an associate fiction editor at West Branch literary magazine. She has taught at the City College New York. She holds a BA from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and an MFA in Creative Writing from City College New York.

Nelsie Spencer is the author of the novel The Playgroup, (St. Martin’s Press), and the optioned screenplay A Girl's Best Friend. She co-wrote the feature film Valley Inn, which debuted at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. She wrote, produced, and co-hosted the radio show The Radio Ritas, (Greenstone Media). She co-wrote and starred in the play My Heart Belongs To Daddy, produced at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, Dorothy Lyman’s A Director’s Theater in Los Angeles, and at Duke University’s Pre-Broadway series, among others, and her one-woman show Goodbye Cream played at the When I’m 34 Festival in Los Angeles. She studied dance and theater at Orange Coast College, acting at New York's The Neighborhood Playhouse, and fiction at The New School.