Emily Phillips, Bay Area Program Coordinator
Emily has worked with Bay Area youth of all ages in several different capacities, as a creative writing teacher for elementary school kids with Take My Word For It! and SF Arts Ed, as the Middle School After School Program Coordinator at Oakland School for the Arts, and as a high school tutor, mentor, and substitute teacher. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts in 2008 and when she’s not doing fifteen things at once coordinating our growing writing program, she writes as much as possible.
Mary Pat Julian, Northern Virginia Program Coordinator
Mary Pat Julian graduated with a major in English from West Virginia University. Mary Pat’s interest in finding unique enrichment programs for area schools combined with her love of all things written made her fall in love with Take My Word for It! When not busy with TMWFI, you can find her entranced in photography or writing (her own or someone else’s), volunteering or, more often than not, ferrying her 3 boys all over the DC area while dreaming of summers at the beach.
Kerstin G. Mendelsohn, Boston-Area Program Coordinator
Kerstin fell in love with Boston when she was a student at Boston University. Along with being a parent to two daughters, she’s consulted with business start ups and worked in the travel/hospitality industry. Joining Take My Word For It! was an obvious outlet for her passion for reading and writing and her belief in the importance of encouraging writers of all ages to express themselves.
Julie Wachowski, Chicago-Area Program Coordinator
Julie is a storyteller. She studied Film and Television at Northwestern University because it seemed more practical than acting. When TV work grew boring, she decided to study teaching because kids are never boring. The University of North Carolina declared her a Master of Education! So she laughed and began writing fiction. Now, Julie lives in the Midwest where the winters build character with her family who are all characters.
Susan Shay, Social Media Coordinator
Susan has been an operations & marketing consultant for over 10 years. Her clients stretch from coast to coast and include health & wellness professionals, yoga studios & arts organizations. Exercising her creative muscles, Susan has worked on & off stage in New York, Chicago, DC and San Francisco as an actor, stage manager, dramaturg and designer. She is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, English Literature) and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Her favorite audiences are under the age of 12, as they allow their imaginations to enrich storytelling – on stage and on the page!
Alexa Peters, Social Media Marketing Intern
Alexa is a creative writer and journalist. She received her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing at Western Washington University and was awarded the R.D. Brown Memorial Writing Scholarship. Alexa has been published in Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party blog, Elohi Gadugi Journal, Crossing Guide Magazine, What’s Up! Music Magazine, and The “B” Side. Alexa was raised in Seattle, but now lives in Berkeley where she sings and plays ukelele, snuggles with dogs, writes prose poetry and eats tiramisu as often as possible.
Kim Bielak, Marketing Consultant
Kim graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Media Studies. She found that her heart aligned with Take My Word For It!’s mission to give kids the opportunity to express themselves creatively and is thrilled to be able to employ her studies in digital media to interact with our online community. She finds her own creative outlet in dance, art and travel.