Lisa Leibow — Co-Founder, Board President, &
Chief Operating Officer
As Chief Operations Officer, Lisa is building The Scheherazade Project’s organization and leading day-to-day operations. As a recovering attorney turned fiction writer and professor, she’s driven to provide a rich diversity of context that helps people connect the writing practiced in class to other situations where they will need to communicate – across genres, in the workplace, and most importantly in making their voices heard as citizens. For Lisa, bringing The Scheherazade Project to life is a natural extension – through it, she’s fostering a community of art lovers and storytellers from all fields: writers, dancers, visual artists, musicians, comedians, and more. She’s building a platform for our voices to delight, entertain, illuminate, and heal the troubles of the world.
Lisa’s novel The Plastic World of Ruthie Rosenblum Novel was Finalist in the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s William Faulkner-William Wisdom Contest and is circulating. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming Coe Review, CommuterLit, Crack the Spine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Eleven Eleven, Five on the Fifth, Folly, Griffin, Mulberry Fork, Pisgah Review, Red Rose, Rougarou, Sand Hill Review, and Sanskrit. She’s the recipient of two Vermont Studio Center merit-based grants and residencies, as well as the winner of Pitchapalooza D.C. and an honorable mention in the John Gardner Award for Best Character Description. She teaches at George Washington University, Northern Virginia Community College, and The Writer’s Center.
Julia Alvarez — Co-Founder & Executive Director
Julia Alvarez’ vision launched the Scheherazade Project. She is recognized for her extraordinary storytelling. In poetry and in prose, Ms. Alvarez explores themes of identity, family, and cultural divides. She illustrates the complexity of navigating two worlds and reveals the human capacity for strength in the face of oppression.
Julia Alvarez is the author of novels (How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, In the Time of Butterflies, iYo!, In the Name of Salomé, and Saving the World), collections of poems (Homecoming, The Other Side/ El Otro Lado, The Woman I kept to Myself), nonfiction books (Something to Declare, Once Upon A Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA), and numerous books for young readers (including How Tía Lola Came to Visit/Stay, Before We Were Free, finding miracles, and Return to Sender). Alvarez has won numerous awards for her work, including the National Medal of the Arts, Pura Belpré and Américas Awards for her books for young readers, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. She served as a writer in residence at Middlebury College until her retirement in 2016.
Jeri Epstein — Advisor
Masters in Foreign Language, Tufts University.
Board of Trustees, Arena Stage Washington DC. Elected official, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A06 Washington DC, Board Member Inspired Teaching Demonstration School.
Barbara Benitez — Digital Media Producer
Barbara teaches digital video production for the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. She comes from a broadcast news background but her early training was rooted in film and television production. Barbara is originally from Los Angeles and once read scripts and wrote coverage for several independent production companies, before shifting gears, moving abroad, and getting an MA in International Journalism in the United Kingdom.
Barbara has worked for CNN where she received several awards for her participation on several major stories such as The Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Iraq War. She moved to Washington DC in 2006 to work for an international news channel, where she produced stories throughout Latin America and the United States.
In addition to a Master of Arts in journalism, Barbara also holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte, where she undertook a program that met in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago, and focused on Latin American literature and culture. She is currently revising her first fictional novel and has written several short stories, as well as a collection of essays.
Julia Tagliere — Creative Writer and Organizer
Julia Tagliere’s work has appeared in The Writer, Potomac Review, Gargoyle Magazine, Washington Independent Review of Books, SmokeLong Quarterly, WritersResist, various anthologies, and the juried photography and prose collection, Love + Lust. Winner of the 2015 William Faulkner Literary Competition for Best Short Story and the 2017 Writer’s Center Undiscovered Voices Fellowship, Julia resides in Maryland with her family, where she completed her M.A. in Writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2019, she founded the community literary reading series MoCo Underground, to showcase the work of local writers. She serves as an editor with The Baltimore Review and is currently working on her next novel. Follow her at justscribbling.com.
Laura Hazan — Creative Writer and Organizer
Laura Hazan is a librarian with the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD where she moderates the weekly Light Street Writers Exchange. She completed her first novel, Little Boxes, while attending the “Your Novel Year” program at Arizona State University’s Piper Writing Center. In addition, her work has been published in Natural Bridge, Sauce Magazine and Strongly Worded Women an anthology for the #yearofpublishingwomen. In the fall of 2019 Laura was Writer-in-Residence for the Highlandtown Arts District in Baltimore. Laura is a resident of Baltimore where she lives with her son, her husband, and their one-eyed dog, Boh.
Claire Anderson — Social Media & Marketing Intern
Claire is passionate about healing through art and is looking forward to working with other creatives this summer on The Scheherazade Project because of its powerful message. At Goucher College, Claire is the president of AZN Identity Affiliation, which is an Asian affinity group on campus. She is pursuing a future in fashion and in the arts, both in front and behind the camera. She is a host for a podcast called “Half Baked with Claire And” and is someone who loves to learn from other’s stories as well as share her own. This summer she is excited to learn how to be an activist on all social platforms.
Abi Coleman — Digital Media Production Intern
Emily Goldman — Social Media & Marketing Intern
Emily was attracted to The Scheherazade Project because it incorporates art in women’s activism, which she finds to be a unique combination. She’s inspired by creativity, which is why she is a University Innovation Fellow at Bucknell and focuses her studies on art and innovation. She’s interested in all forms of art, including drawing, painting, studio art and jewelry making, and hopes to incorporate these interests in her future career. Emily has worked with nonprofits in the past, and is excited to see this organization grow. She is passionate about pursuing art in a way that can inspire others and The Scherhazade Project is the perfect way for her to do so.
Olivia Tripodi — Social Media & Marketing Intern
As a journalism student, storytelling is in her nature, and she looks forward to discovering other forms of storytelling through art. In addition to interning with TSP this summer, Olivia will complete a business school certification while training for her senior year soccer season. She is on the Board of Directors for Street Soccer RVA, where she is able to share her passion for soccer with disadvantaged youth. She loves to tap into her creative side by painting and dreaming of owning her own business one day. Olivia has always had a great appreciation for art and is excited to spend her summer learning more about activism through this medium.
PARTICIPATE IN THE PROJECT FROM WHERE YOU LIVE
We live our lives made up of a great quantity of isolated instants. So as to be lost at the heart of a multitude of things. (From the Double Dream of Spring, 1970.)