Our Staff

megeden_headshotMeg Eden (Instructor) has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” is forthcoming from California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Lit. Check out her work at www.megedenbooks.com.

zein_nZein El-Amine (Poetry Instructor) was born and raised in Lebanon and has lived in the U.S. since 1987. A graduate student in the MFA Program in Creative Writing, his poems have appeared in GYST, Pnumbra, DC Poets Against the War anthology, and Joybringer. He received first prize in the the Tallahassee Writers’ Association Annual Poetry and Haiku Contest. He is a regular contributer of political essays to Left Turn Magazine which he co-founded and his editorials have appeared in the Washington Post and the Washington Spark. Zein leads the Morocco and Ireland Education Abroad programs, and teaches for Terps Young Scholars.

dougDoug Kern (Instructor) has been a lecturer for the English Department and a writing tutor at the University of Maryland in College Park since the spring of 2008. On an international scholarship for his doctoral studies in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York, he spent half a year in York and half a year in the United States in order to attend classes, teach, conduct research and write his PhD dissertation. Through this unique experience he was able to write and produce his own drama while establishing industry connections by attending master classes led by scriptwriting professionals such as Simon Stephens, Anthony Horowitz, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. Doug enjoys reading, watching, and writing drama and is currently researching/writing his next full-length play. Doug also teaches both ARHU275: Writing to Be Seen: Scriptwriting for Theatre, Film, and Television and ARHU318W section 0101: Screen/Scriptwriting within the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House.

laura-headshotLaura Lauth (Founding Director, 2002-2005) teaches poetry writing at the University of Maryland’s Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House, where she served as founding director from 2002-2005. She holds an MFA in creative writing as well as a PhD in English literature and has written extensively on translation and American poetry. She was recipient of the spring 2014 Orlando Prize. Her poems have recently appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly, among others.

jpwh-lmLeigh McDonald (Assistant Director) is a graduate student in the MFA program for Creative Writing, Poetry. She earned her BA in English and Psychology with a minor in Creative Writing at University of Maryland. Leigh was the recipient of the UMD Henrietta Spiegel Creative Writing Award in 2014. She has published poems in Gargoyle Magazine. Leigh teaches poetry colloquia for Writers’ House.

12936749_1330666910293621_2214880742341933142_nIsa Rei (Administrative Assistant) is a freshman at the University of Maryland, and currently double-majoring in Psychology and Special Education. Before coming to UMD, she has been an exchange student to Singapore and Czech Republic, and loves learning cultures from all over the world. Outside the classroom, she enjoys travelling, painting, reading, dancing, and singing.

vivianne-websiteVivianne Salgado (Associate Director) is a native of Chile, and studied fiction for four years with Pia Barros at Ergo Sum, one of the most prolific literary workshops during Pinochet’s dictatorship. Vivianne received an M.A. in Contemporary Latin American Literature from University of Maryland. She is a fiction instructor at The Writers’ House and leads the Chile Education Abroad winter term course. She teaches a Freshman Connection introduction to literature and critical theory as well as a summer creative writing course for the Terp Young Scholars Program.

johnna-schmidtJohnna Schmidt (Director) has been at the Writers’ House since its inception in 2002, and has been Director since 2005. She has over fifteen years experience teaching creative writing. Johnna got her start in writing through an interest in theater, and has performed original work across the U.S., mostly in San Francisco and New York City. She later pursued and received an MFA in Creative Writing: Fiction, at UMD. Her work has been published in Beltway Journal for the Arts, Little Patuxent Review,On the Issues Magazine, and Like Water Burning. Awards include the American Writer’s Program Intro to Journals Nomination in Fiction. Johnna teaches incoming fiction students, as well as the culminating publication course for all Writers’ House students.