Staff

Staff

Ana Stern

Senior Manager, Education Program
Ana Stern
Ana is extremely thrilled to join the Moth! Although she has traveled all over the world, she is a die-hard New Yorker with a bachelor’s and MPA from New York University. For over 10 years she has worked with programs that amplify and promote young people voices, their stories, and their dreams. The current chapter of Ana’s story features bike rides through Brooklyn, her two cats Andre 3000 and Big Boi, getting her hands dirty with her pottery craft, speaking different languages, reading books in the park, and now being a team member at the Moth!

Melissa

Manager, Education and Instructor Programs
Melissa Brown
Melissa Brown is The Moth’s Manager, Education and Instructor Programs. As an instructor with The Moth's Community, Education, and MothWorks programs since 2011, Melissa has taught storytelling to high school and college students across NYC, as well as exonerees at the Innocence Project, individuals living with disabilities at Upstream Arts, team leaders at Google, mentors and mentees at Bloomberg and Summer Search, and storytellers at Rikers Island, Muslim Writers Collective, and Center for Court Innovation, among many others.

Melissa has also taught public speaking, communication, and theatre at CUNY and worked as a teaching artist and curriculum developer at B.A.M..  She is Co-Artistic Director of ARTBARN - a theatre company that creates immersive performances that draw on the stories and history of the spaces they are performed in- and the co-founder and Education Director of Other Shore - a company that partners with social justice organizations to employ storytelling and theater toward a more equitable future.

Devin Wilson

Program Manager, EDU Engagement 
Devin Wilson

Born and raised in sunny southern California, Devin found (& continues to find) her truest voice in New York. Storytelling led to her commitment of creating safe spaces for marginalized communities. When she’s not on her bike, catching a musical, or eating Levain cookies (OG choc chip walnut of course), Devin can often be found belting out showtunes at her favorite singalong piano bar in the West Village.

Andrew Alers

Assistant Producer, Education
Andrew Alers
Andrew has been able to express himself in a multitude of mediums throughout his career. He thrives off of the opportunity to join the Moth and to be able to share that feeling of expression with others, and to inspire everyone to share their story. Coming from a background that is diverse with family living in different countries and multiple languages, communication is key. From living in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, The Netherlands, New York, Canada, and back to New York life has been a journey of connecting with individuals from all walks of life. When taking a break is necessary, music is a huge part of relaxation, along with reading, documentaries, and playing hockey as well.

Instructors

Hannah Allen

Hannah Allen is a Brooklyn based performer, choreographer and teaching artist. She received her BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch where she studied at Atlantic Acting School. Her work in educational programs around the city focuses on student driven theater, writing and movement exploration. As an interdisciplinary artist, HannaH seeks collaborative spaces with an emphasis on process and community building. She loves frolicking in nature and swimming in the ocean (no matter how cold!)

Anooj Bhandari 2

Anooj Bhandari wandered around taking long pauses until he found himself here, showing up places claiming to be things and people believed him, so he then became those things.  He is a company member of the New York Neo-Futurists where he writes, directs, and performers in their weekly show, The Infinite Wrench, and works as the Restorative Justice Coordinator at Make the Road NY.  He makes art at the intersection of queerness and diaspora, hoping to play with lifelong liminal space as a place of dignity and joy as he floats within his own.

Amy Blumberg

Amy Shoshana Blumberg is a theater director, dramaturg, and teaching artist based in Brooklyn. She is co-producing artistic director of the after-image, a passionately postmodern theater company, with whom she creates devised dance-theater works. She also collaborates with IKantKoan Games / Jessica Creane (Chaos Theory), GREYZONE, and MeenMoves. She holds an MFA in Theater Directing from Temple University and a BA in Africana Studies and Dance from Barnard College. She loves going on adventures, particularly if they involve snacks.

Chazz Bruce

ChazzGiovanni* Bruce is a polymathic generator, taster & "tool". Hailing from Harlem & Queens, New York, ChazzGiovanni* co-founded the production and community-building body NGRcreative in 2016. NGR is dedicated to activating Black Creation, joy, and reclaiming space and land. The physical, mental and spiritual spaces inside, around, and of us.

As an actor, you can catch him as an assortment of characters on Left3TV, as Tartuffe in Moliere's classical play, in Carlton Daniel Jr.'s coming of age tale Homegoing playing the role of Meech, and on HBO's Random Acts of Flyness as young Tio. ChazzGiovanni*'s work is centered around community enrichment, education, science, justice, creation, and love; blooming from both interpersonal & cosmic radicalism. Chazz is SUPER excited to be joining and fluttering alongside the rest of the MOTH squad.

Screen Shot 2021 04 27 At 8 03 06 Pm

Zahra Budhwani (she/her) is a director, choreographer, and teaching artist based in NYC. She has taught theatre and dance with Artists Striving to End Poverty, CO/LAB Theatre Group, Broadway Bound Kids, Child’s Play, and more. She holds a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch- Playwrights Horizons Theatre School with a minor in Global and Urban Education. Zahra is passionate about creating community spaces for people of all ages to imagine new worlds and cultivate joy together. In her spare time, she can be found collaging, swimming at Brighton Beach, and trying to find the best mac and cheese in the city!

New York Kujegi Py2022

Kujegi Camara is passionate about creating meaningful connections across different platforms, entities, and people. Kujegi gets the most excitement when she is supporting others and working to improve the processes and systems they are in, when she is sharing her poetry with others, and when she is baking banana bread for her family and friends. Kujegi was a storyteller for The Moth's Community Program and with the help of The Moth Team unearthed a story of how the birth of her eldest daughter empowers her to love herself unabashedly. She believes there are stories in all of us, like flowers, waiting to blossom, and is looking forward to helping others find their way with words.

Vera Carothers

Vera Carothers is a writer, audio producer, and educator. Currently, she is an MFA candidate in Nonfiction Writing at Columbia University's School of the Arts. Previously, she worked as an assistant producer at WNYC and traveled the country as a bilingual facilitator with the StoryCorps Mobile Tour. Her audio work has been featured on NPR's Morning Edition, NPR's Latino USA,WNYC, WAMU and Panoply. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Brown University, where she won the Casey Shearer Memorial Award for Excellence in Creative Nonfiction. She was also awarded the Impact Providence Grant for her work compiling a bilingual oral history of a Latino community in Rhode Island. She loves eating empanadas and riding her bike, preferably at the same time.

Eric Carrera

Eric Carrera is a rising sophomore at New York University. An All-City alum, Eric is an aspiring creative and hopes to use storytelling to illustrate the communities he grew up in. You can find him jogging in and around Southern Brooklyn, free writing in between classes at Washington Square Park, or listening to the latest Logic album. On a lighter note, one of his medium-term goals is playing a background character in Law and Order SVU.

Arlene Chico Lugo Instructor

Arlene Chico-Lugo is super excited to be joining The Moth’s Educational team. She is a seeker of truth, meaning, justice and joy. When she’s not being co-founder of Liberation Arts Collective, performing, producing, consulting medical students on interpersonal communication skills, teaching, organizing, or emailing you might find her dreaming of a vacation...and then thinking about how that vacation can turn into a project.

Shana Creaney

Shana Creaney received her Bachelor's from Fordham University and her MA in Literature from City College. She attended The Moth's Young Women's Voices Festival and her story was featured on the 10th Anniversary podcast. She has had poetry published at The Poetry Shed and her fiction appears in Sword and Sorcery Magazine and RIPE, while productions of comedy sketches and longform plays have been staged through Fordham University, Poor Mouth Theater, and The Tank. In addition to being a Moth Instructor, she currently teaches the freshman writing courses at City College. She has won the David Dortort Creative Writing Award of Playwriting and was longlisted for the Stauch Book Prize. She has presented at City College's annual Graduate Student Literature Association, Pacific American Modern Language Association, and Popular Culture Association academic conferences. She is a native of the Bronx and enjoys strong tea, bad weather, and scary movies.

Chris De La Cruz

Chris De La Cruz is a regular host for the Moth High School Slams. He is a comedian, storyteller, and social justice educator originally from Dayton, Ohio. He works as a Youth Development Specialist at South Bronx Community Charter High School and has most recently been featured on Refinery29, The Food Network, and SXSWedu as a keynote speaker.

Yadira Epb

Yadira De La Riva is a theater artist from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She is an alumna of UC Santa Cruz and NYU where she wrote, performed, and produced One Journey, a one-woman show exploring US/Mexico border identity, which she toured throughout the U.S. and along the U.S./Mexico border. Her recent acting credits include: Zoongoro Bailongo (New York Children’s Theater), La Negra (BRIC), Alonzo (2019 New York Latino Film Festival), Noche de Alebrijes (One Blue Cat and Art VallARTa) and Carla's Quince (The Voting Project). As an educator, she has taught theater-making and storytelling with diverse communities, non-profits, universities, and cultural centers throughout the U.S. and internationally. Yadira is dedicated to liberating storytelling and thrilled to join The Moth's Teaching Artist Community! www.yadiradelariva.com

Mariama Diallo

Mariama Diallo is an alum from the Brooklyn High School of the Arts Moth team. She’s really excited to join the team as an Instructor and begin to work with storytellers. When she is not singing to herself, she is often happily standing on egregiously long theater rush ticket lines.

Casey Donahue

Casey Donahue has been a lead instructor with The Moth since 2012, where she has worn many hats, including that of the Moth's Community Program Manager and Curatorial Associate.  As a speech coach, Casey has shaped TED Talks, British Vogue interviews, and wedding vows, among other things. She has also partnered with organizations such as the Supportive Housing Network, Caring Across Generations, Girls Who Code, the American Jewish Historical Society, Pioneer Works, and the Reproductive Health Access Project to help people shape their personal experiences into powerful stories.  She holds an MDiv from Union Theological Seminary, loves officiating weddings, and eats ice cream for breakfast sometimes.

Img 8600

Shani Douglas is a human being - artist, educator, student of life, youth advocate, and restorative justice practitioner, from Oakland, California. The embodiment of peace, freedom, love, creativity, healing, and self-expression is her life’s greatest pursuit, and she has spent her journey on earth thus far cultivating these values within herself while encouraging and empowering others to do the same. With a BA in social work and a heart for healing, she has served youth, families, and communities for 10+ years. Her love of storytelling was first cultivated through film and songwriting at an early age, and thus her passion for “The Arts” was born. Currently studying acting at New Federal Theatre, Shani is faith walking her way into the life of her dreams. One where love, dignity, integrity, authenticity, connection, wellness, liberation, and joy are the highest priorities. Honored and grateful to be joining The Moth team! 

Ciera Dudley

Ciera Dudley is an educator, illustrator, and writer excited to join the Moth team. She holds a BA in Urban Studies from UC Berkeley and has worked for four years in education, focusing on the intersection of urban planning, geography, and storytelling. She currently leads workshops at Green-Wood Cemetery and Brooklyn Children’s Museum with youth visitors. Since 2017, she has organized with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, documenting and fighting displacement and eviction in New York City through oral history, cartography, and data visualization. Originally from California, she has a low tolerance for cold weather and a high tolerance for people complaining about traffic.

Sandrine Dupiton

Sandrine Dupiton started her professional career as an English and Creative Writing teacher and went on to serve as a teacher leader in both public and private schools. She is a published poet and Senior Writer for the celebrated New York based African Voices magazine. She has worked as a Teacher Artist using writing and performance to advance issues of social justice and personal empowerment, and currently works with Girl Be Heard, a theater and social justice-based program in Brooklyn, NY. She rounds out her work as a spiritual life coach and transformational workshop facilitator.

Megan Xotchilt Espinoza

Megan Xotchilt Espinoza grew up in Southeast LA and was raised on stories that fueled her fervent curiosity about timing and life's happenings. This prepared her in her work and undergraduate career to understand the reverence in meeting strangers turned companions of truth when they’d share stories about their lives. With the support of family, friends, mentors, and community she has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. You can find her documenting her dreams, running among the trees, conjuring a poem or two, burning her coffee or tea just right, rewatching The Matrix, or religiously reciting the lyrics to Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst.

Jasmine Francois

Jasmine Francois is a theatre artist, storyteller and Applied Theatre Practitioner, and aspiring writer from Riverside, California. Most recently she worked as a Teaching Artist Americorps Fellow with ArtistYear at PS 171 in Astoria, Queens. She created a theatre curriculum for the school and taught different theatrical styles such as playwriting, movement, puppetry and acting to students in Pre-K to 5th grade. Jasmine is also a proud alum of the Teaching Artist Project. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Drama and History from Ithaca College in 2011. After graduating, she taught in English in Japan with the JET Programme for three years. Jasmine then rejoined the theatre-making world and graduated with a Master’s degree in Applied Theatre from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. While in London, she worked as a drama workshop facilitator with Body and Soul Charity and Outside Edge Theatre Company. She was also a writing workshop assistant and intern at the Ministry of Stories, Production Assistant and performer with The Paper Project, and Festival Assistant for Talawa Theatre Company.

Tishell Gabriel Intern

Tishell Gabriel is a sophomore at Medgar Evers College majoring in Psychology. She’s from the beautiful twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago and enjoys music regardless of genre; from Alternative to Annette Hanshaw (because she is her own genre) to Soca. She loves open water and adventure.

David Gaskin

David Gaskin is born and raised in the old Bed Stuy, not the new Bed Stuy. David currently served as a community leader against Gun and Gang Violence inside Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Brownsville, East Flatbush, and the Fort Greene. His current role is one-third of the leadership team at Second Chance Studios (SCS), a non-profit agency that trains and employs the formerly incarcerated in the digital media field. David is also the proud father of 3 beautiful children.

Instructor Julian Goldhagen

Julian Goldhagen is a social worker and performance artist based in Brooklyn. His storytelling work has been featured at the New Museum, NY International Fringe Festival, the United Nations Palais de Nacion, and the Moth GrandSLAM stage. He is madly in love with his cat, Lavender.

Lauren Gonzalez

Lauren Gonzalez loves to share her passion for storytelling in community throughout New York City, and has worked with The Moth for the past two years to cultivate these spaces. She's taught workshops in partnership with community organizations, high schools, and in conference settings, and co-hosted The Moth Podcast Tenth Anniversary Episode. She is constantly astounded when a room full of strangers becomes a makeshift community throughout the course of a Moth workshop.

Img 2258 4 1

Aleeza Kazmi is a multimedia storyteller passionate about using the power of storytelling for social good. Aleeza has worked as an Assistant Producer with The Moth, where she brought dozens of stories to live stages across the U.S. She has also hosted two episodes of The Moth Podcast and has worked with the organization for over six years as a storyteller, telling stories on stages from NYC to LA. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue and The Moth’s New York Times bestselling story collection, Occasional Magic. Aleeza graduated from Stony Brook University in 2019 with a degree in Journalism. She is a proud native New Yorker and resides in Queens, NY.

Zoë Laiz

Zoë Laiz is an actor, educator, and storyteller based in New York City. She believes in the power of stories and their ability to help us understand the world, those around us, and ourselves. Zoë is passionate about collaboration, representation, and social, racial, and environmental justice. She is almost equally passionate about Shakespeare, dogs, and mac & cheese.

Tim Lopez Instructor

Tim Lopez is a storyteller and teaching artist from Los Angeles. A multiple Moth StorySLAM winner on both coasts, his stories have been heard on WNYC, KCRW, and CBS Radio. Tim has been an instructor with the Moth Community Program since 2012. He has worked with communities including the Metropolitan Correctional Center, The Fortune Society, and the 9/11 Tribute Center. He is honored to be a part of the high school slam program and has taught at schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Nancy Ma Profile Pic

Nancy Ma is an actor, writer, and facilitator who grew up in Chinatown, New York. Her solo show, Home, produced by The Latino Theater Company, is a raw interrogation of belonging. It has been performed at schools and festivals around the country. Nancy also facilitates professional development workshops with Change Agents, an organization that empowers underrepresented college women, and acting workshops with The Bramon Garcia Braun Studio. She's so excited to join the team at The Moth!

Instructor Tim Manley

Tim Manley is a writer, illustrator, storyteller, and former high school English teacher. He is the author of the book, Alice in Tumblr-land: And Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation.

Catherine McCarthy

Catherine McCarthy is the co-founder and former Senior Manager of The Moth's Education Program.  She has been a story director for the Moth Mainstage, and is the co-editor of the Penguin Random House Teacher's Guide for The Moth: All These Wonders. She also directed the award-winning solo show The Secret Life of Your Third Grade Teacher at the 2016 NYC Fringe Festival.  She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work at Fordham University, and works as a psychotherapist at the Kull Initiative for Psychotherapy in Manhattan.

Melle Powers Instructor

Melle Powers is a writer and performer whose work has been produced at the NY International Fringe Festival, The NY Frigid Festival, UCB and The Pit. Her solo show.“Whence Came Ye, Scarlett O’Hara O’Hanrahan,” earned her a NYTheatre.com “Person of the Year” commendation, as well as a nomination for “Best Solo Show” from the NY Innovative Theater Awards. As a professional actress she's appeared in over 100 films, commercials, voiceovers, theatrical and television shows. In addition to The Moth, she facilitates for The Anti-Defamation League, WomenSpeak Training, and Bi-Jingo! She has enjoyed being a Teaching Artist for Tada!, Black Nexxus and has been an Adjunct Professor at NYU. Melle loves storytelling!

Ingrid Romero

Ingrid Romero is an educator, organizer, and artist, born and raised in NYC/Lenapehoking with deep roots in the Andes of Colombia. Ingrid came up through local community organizing and deeply believes in the power of arts and culture towards our collective liberation. They can be found working with young people through media-making, facilitating community spaces, and working on creative projects with beautiful people.

Onnesha Roychoudhuri

Onnesha Roychoudhuri is a Brooklyn-based writer, educator, and storyteller. A 2013 fellow at the Center for Fiction, her writing has appeared in publications such as Rolling Stone, n+1, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Boston Review, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, The Nation, The American Prospect, Salon, and Mother Jones. She is the co-founder of Speech/Act, an organization working at the intersection of storytelling and social justice. Her book, The Marginalized Majority: Claiming Our Power in a Post-Truth America (Melville House Books, July 2018) was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2018 by Kirkus Reviews.  

Brielle Silvestri

Brielle Silvestri is a recent graduate of the MA in Applied Theatre program at CUNY SPS.  She is an educator, performer, and writer. As part of her degree, Brielle co-facilitated applied theatre workshops at the University of Rwanda, College of Education.  She also co-facilitates anti-sexual harassment workshops for start-up companies and works as a teaching-artist with the The Moth Community and Education Programs, People’s Theatre Project, Creative Arts Team, and New York City Children’s Theater. Brielle studied abroad at the London Academy of Theatre, is a graduate of The William Esper Studio's two-year acting conservatory, and has taken improv classes at The Magnet Theater. In 2016, her play SALT was accepted into the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska. She holds a BA in English Literature from Rutgers University.

Callie Thuma Instructor

Callie Thuma is a listener, an educator, and a believer in the power of sharing our stories. She currently works at HERE to HERE, a new partnership between Dreamyard Project and Big Picture Learning that builds interest-based career pathways for 14 to 25 year olds in the South Bronx.  Previously, she worked at The Moth Education and Community Programs, producing live events and teaching the art of personal storytelling to high school students and adults. She began her career as elementary school teacher in New Orleans, and has also worked on StoryCorps' national Mobile Tour, where she recorded and archived life stories from over a thousand individuals. A Pittsburgh native, Callie is a proud Schenley High School graduate, and holds a Bachelors of Arts in American Studies from Macalester College.

Christopher Moncayo Torres

Christopher Moncayo-Torres is an Ecuadorian-American playwright, teaching artist and live storyteller, born and bred in Queens, NY. He first practiced creative writing while pretending to study for his forensic psychology degree. He’s an alumnus of Playwrights Horizons’ Perspectives on Playwriting (POP) Core Workshop and a former facilitator of their POP Talks. He’s a member of The Civilians 2018-2019 R&D Group, Mission to (dit)Mars Propulsion Lab and NYC Latinx Playwright Circle. 

He is the co-founder and Managing Director of Fail Better NYC, a BIPOC-CUNY centered community of multi-disciplinary art-makers who safely experiment together with their unfinished, messes-in-progress through free workshops. He also produces and hosts the monthly live storytelling-workshop show, Fail Better Storytime. 

Diavian Walters

Diavian Walters is currently a junior at Mercy College who aspires to be a Social Worker. Her love for stories has grown throughout her time of being a student and Interning Teaching Artist in the Moth Education program. Brooklyn born and raised, she enjoys the city life and its opportunities. As an introvert and empath, she finds joy in creating art, writing, fighting social injustices, and caring for animals.  Recently becoming a mother of two Red Ear Slider turtles and a kitten has given her purpose and motivation.

Nica Williams

Nica Williams is a teaching artist at The Moth. As a former high school storyteller herself, she relishes fusing both experiences to not only encourage students, but to additionally demonstrate different ways to contribute to storytelling. Outside of The Moth, Nica is an artist and performer, who’s always ready to create and connect with others. She spends half her time daydreaming of the day she meets Rihanna and hopefully introducing her to The Moth Stage!

Interns

Mmachi Dimoriaku

Mmachi O. Dimoriaku is a Nigerian-Bronxite actress, singer, dancer, director, choreographer, and freelance photographer. She earned her B.A. in Theatre Arts with a minor in Creative Writing from Wilkes University in 2020. Some of her performances include Martha Kenton in Tecumseh!, Mrs. Muller in Doubt, and Star-To-Be in Annie. As a proud EDU Alum, she is excited to work with the EDU team and help create the next generation of storytellers.

Eddy Laughter

Eddy Laughter grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and is an alum of the Moth Education Program at The Beacon School in Manhattan. She’s a fan of writing, wandering aimlessly, and overanalyzing monster movies. Currently, she’s attending Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she will most likely end up studying some form of storytelling. 

Danny Llerena

Danny Llerena is a sophomore at Brooklyn College and an All-City alum. As a poet and storyteller, she has found a way of expressing emotions and speaking her mind through words. She’s hoping to fulfill her dreams of becoming a teacher and guide others into using their voice as she has learned to do. As a current Teaching Intern with The Moth, she aspires to gain the confidence and knowledge to build herself a successful future.

Frandy Zeferino

Frandy Zeferino is a current undergraduate student at St. John’s University who aspires to be a physical therapist. With passions spanning from boxing to writing, his love for knowledge and desire to learn from others fuels him in hopes of fighting for a better world.