Our Staff

megeden_headshotMeg Eden (Instructor) has been published or has work forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, RHINO, and CV2. She teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland. She has five poetry chapbooks, and her novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. She is the Advertising Manager at AWP. Find her online 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 contributor 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. Doug’s many teaching awards include the John Long Innovative Teaching Award (Fall 2017), the Donna B. Hamilton Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (Spring 2017), the Professional Track Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in English (Spring 2016), and he has twice received recognition from student athletes by being named Most Valuable Professor (2015).

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.

Jess Hammack (Assistant Director) is a graduate student and Research and Teaching fellow in the MLIS program at the University of Maryland. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Florida and a BA in English from Hiram College. She teaches poetry workshops for Writers’ House and co-organizes the Writers Here & Now reading series. She was born and raised in West Virginia.

Alex Carolan (Administrative Assistant) is a senior journalism student and third-year member of Writers’ House on the prose track. Her work was published in the 2017 edition of Stylus and she was a finalist in 2017’s Litfest. She participated in the 2018 study abroad to Morocco and is a teaching assistant for ARHU 320, Writers’ House Second Year Colloquium: Writing for Publication. She lives with three lovely roommates she met in Writers’ House and their two orange cats named Lady and Oliver.

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.