Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

Michael Q. Boyd has published fiction in The Fourth River, Argus, and Catch. His feature articles and reviews have appeared in Rantsports, Fanboy Buzz, and Xbox Exclusive, among others. He’s been an assistant editor at The Fourth River, and a writing mentor at the PACE Center at Chatham University. He has a BA from Knox College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. 

Roohi Choudhry has published fiction and nonfiction in 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.

Britt Gambino has published poetry in anderbo, decomP, SpringGun PressArmchair/Shotgun, and the blog at Visual AIDS, among others. She is also a contributing writer at The Sexy Feminist blog and previously served as the 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.

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 anthology Lost and Found (W.W. Norton).  She has taught at Writopia, Pratt Manhattan, and City College of New York. 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 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 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 ReviewThe 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. 

Alexis Schaitkin has published fiction and nonfiction in Southern Review, Southwest Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gastronomica, the New York Times, and Ecotone. She has served as an editor with Meridian. She has taught at the University of Virginia and WriterHouse. She holds an AB from Princeton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia. 

Amy Shearn is the author of the novels The Mermaid of Brooklyn (Touchstone) and How Far is the Ocean From Here (Crown). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, The Millions, Poets & Writers, The L Magazine, Opium, Five Chapters, and she is regular contributor to Oprah.com and RedbookMag.com. She has taught at the University of Minnesota. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota.

Jessie Sholl is the author of the memoir Dirty Secret  (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster). She has published fiction and nonfiction in Fiction, Lit, CutBank, Other Voices, the New York Times, Experience Life, and Ladies Home Journal. She is the co-editor of Travelers' Tales Prague and the Czech Republic  (Travelers’ Tales Press). She has taught at the New School University. She holds a BA from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School University. 

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.

Alexander Steele is the president at Gotham Writers Workshop. He is the editor of the Gotham books Writing Fiction, Fiction Gallery, and Writing Movies (all Bloomsbury USA). He is the author of numerous children's books, including titles in the Wishbone series (Lyrick Publishing) and the Hardy Boys series (Pocket Books). His plays include One Glorious Afternoon, Lightning and Frenzy, and King of Ragtime, and he scripted the documentary World War II: It Happened in Color. He holds a BA from Vanderbilt University.