Julie Falk, executive director
Julie Falk was hired as Bitch Media’s first Executive Director in June 2009. She previously served as Executive Director of the Center for Health Justice in Los Angeles and the Prison Media Fund in Cambridge, MA. Born in Kentucky, Julie is a graduate of Swarthmore College. She is thrilled to have landed in Portland OR, where she enjoys cooking and eating the local bounty and exploring the town through the eyes of her children and dog, Copper.
Favorite TV: Perry Mason, Rockford Files, Designing Women, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire
Favorite Movie: Rear Window
Favorite Authors: Carson McCullers, Carolyn Keene, MFK Fisher, Georges Simenon, Lois Lowry
Turn-ons: bakeries, used bookstores, German writing instruments, clean linens
Turn-offs: industrial meat production, extreme temperatures, inconsistency
Andi is the cofounder of Bitch Media. A longtime freelance writer and illustrator, Andi’s work has appeared in numerous places, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, Ms., Mother Jones, The Toast, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a former pop-music columnist for the SF Weekly and the East Bay Express, and also contributed to the anthologies Young Wives’ Tales, Secrets and Confidences: The Complicated Truth About Women’s Friendships (both from Seal Press), and Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit (Crown). She is the coeditor of BitchFest: 10 Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine, and the author of Feminism and Pop Culture (Seal Press). Her new book about the consumer co-optation of feminism, We Were Feminists Once, was published in May 2016 by PublicAffairs. She speaks frequently on the subject of feminism, media, and pop culture at various colleges and universities.
Andi graduated from The Colorado College in 1994 with a B.A. in Fine Art that has proved to be more or less useless, though she did use it to secure a job designing rugs for Pottery Barn back in the day. She passes her non-Bitch hours watching television, hanging out with her basketball-obsessed family, embroidering portraits of dogs, and subscribing to whatever magazines are left on Earth. Her other interests include drawing, snacking, hiking, traveling, and eating cheese.
Fatal weakness: candy, naps
Crushes: Gram Parsons, Steve Buscemi, Hugh Laurie, Domnhall Gleeson, the Portland Trail Blazers
Favorite TV shows: Mad Men, Parks and Recreation, Freaks and Geeks, UnREAL, Game of Thrones, and dog shows.
Favorite authors: Laurie Colwin, Toni Morrison, Joan Didion, Mary Roach, Alison Bechdel, Rona Jaffe, Jonathan Tropper
Turn-ons: clogs, flocked wallpaper, the Winter Olympics, rainbow cookies
Turnoffs: lip liner, improper punctuation, mansplaining, trend stories, people who say “It is what it is”
Secretly wishes she were: An arts-and-crafts counselor at a summer camp in the 1970s
Kate Lesniak, publisher
There’s nothing more energizing to Kate than outstanding engagement models that not only distribute content, but also sustain organizations financially—and that’s what Kate’s work at Bitch is all about. Kate arrived at Bitch Media as the Director of Development in 2012, hungry for the kinds of nuanced perspectives that were secondary in progressive political organizing. Four years later, after launching innovative media products like the Weekly Reader, Feminist Snack Break, and What Just Happened?—and setting Bitch Media on the path towards longterm financial sustainability—Kate serves as Publisher and is challenged daily by one question: How does Bitch thrive in an environment that caters to corporate media and is constantly evolving through new engagement models and platforms? (If you have thoughts on that, send Kate an email. No, really.)
A product of Buffalo New York, Burlington Vermont, and about 1,000 feet of snow, Kate takes pride in turning the inclement into opportunity. Before Bitch, Kate worked as a digital organizer and fundraiser, most recently with Democracy for America as the Deputy Finance Director and with Corporate Accountability International as a special projects grantwriter. Kate is currently a member of The Media Consortium’s program committee and an adviser at Making Contact. A graduate of the University of Vermont, where Kate also served as team captain for the Women’s Ice Hockey team and scored the first-ever hattrick in the program’s Division I history. Above all else, Kate values creativity, accountability, and collaboration.
Kate lives in Portland, Oregon and enjoys early morning walks with Mariah, the most lovable pony-sized german shepherd ever to exist.
Fatal weakness: sandwiches
Favorite screen stuff: Insecure, Harold and Maude, V for Vendetta, First Girl I Loved
Turn-ons: snow, outdoor projects, sunday morning paper, cleanliness
Turn-offs: people who are rude to canvassers
Writers: Leslie Feinberg, Alison Bechdel, Zadie Smith, Mary Oliver, Kate Tempest
Music: Tegan and Sara, Robyn, Lizzo, Brandi Carlile, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Gregory Alan Isakov, Lauryn Hill
Secretly wishes she were a: musician
Lisa Factora-Borchers, editorial director
Lisa Factora-Borchers is a Filipina American writer, poet, and editor of Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press, 2014). She is a long time contributor and editor with make/shift magazine and has also worked as a nonfiction editor with Literary Mama. She has contributed to The Rumpus, The Independent (UK), Refinery 29, In The Fray, TruthOut, The Feminist Wire, The International Examiner, NTRSCTN, and Mutha magazines. She has contributed to anthologies Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets (Pawa Press, 2014) and Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines (PM Press, 2016).
Lisa received a BA in English from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio; a joint masters degree in Counseling Psychology and Pastoral Ministry from Boston College; and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. After several years of nomadic tendencies, she now lives with her life partner in Columbus, Ohio where they raise their two children.
Fatal weakness: scarves and soft serve vanilla custard
Favorite TV shows: Shonda Rimes’ empire, House of Cards, 80s reruns
Turn-ons: photography, dancing, non-judgey karaoke, personal essays, Ohio State football, contemplative prayer
Turn-offs: the entire spectrum of rude and snide behaviors, willful ignorance, the bridal industry
Music: From classic to rap, ballads across genre, from Mötley Crüe to Lionel Richie: whatever fits the mood
Secretly wishes she were an: actress
Soraya Membreno, director of community
Soraya Membreno is a daughter of Nicaraguan immigrants and a pre-Lebron Miami native. An astrophysics geek turned cultural/literary theory junkie, she eventually settled on an English major from Williams College. She obsesses (and occasionally writes) about issues of accessibility, representation, and culture-straddling/identity building in literature and academia. Her writing has appeared in Catapult, Post No Ills, and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Her professional background includes editing and production at Union Station Magazine, development for various literary nonprofits including Poets & Writers and Cave Canem, and orchestrating public call-outs for gender parity at GenderAvenger. She is currently hiding from winter in Los Angeles.
Amanda Green, finance & administration director
Amanda is a recovering Texan that moved to the University of Wisconsin - Madison for college before coming to Portland to organize for the PIRGs in 2008. In 2011 she received her Masters in Public Administration focusing in nonprofit management from Portland State University. Before she started at Bitch Media in August of 2013, she worked for the Northwest Earth Institute and spent several years working in the feminist anti-violence movement, most recently as the Associate Executive Director of PAVE. She helped found the Oregon End Violence Against Women Political Action Committee and sits on the Prevention and Education Committee of the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force. She also works as an instructor in nonprofit budgeting and finance at Portland State University.
Favorite books: The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy), A Language Older than Words (Derek Jensen), Yes Means Yes (Jessica Valenti), The Razor’s Edge (W. Somerset Maugham), Small Wonder (Barbara Kingsolver) and most everything by Jane Austen and Rushdie.
Favorite movies: Cheesy action flicks, rom-coms, high budget (and lets face it, low budget) sci-fi movies, anything with Schwarzenegger before 1995, pretty much anything terrible by critics’ standards.
Favorite TV: Broad City, Game of Thrones, Veronica Mars, The Wire, Arrested Development, Bored to Death, Twin Peaks, all the Marvel shows (all of them), Buffy and EVERYTHING by Joss Whedon, Xena: Warrior Princess
Favorite Music: Joanna Newsom, Beach House, Washed Out, Radiation City, La Luz, Erik Satie, Beyonce (of course) Fleet Foxes, The Guess Who, Philip Glass, Cut Copy, Betty Davis, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Gershwin, and pretty much everything that falls into the chill-wave (sorry I can’t help myself), bedroom, or funk genres.
Turn-ons: dancing, tacos, crunchy leaves, fungi, coffee, sweaters, gardening, big trees, chocolate
Turn-offs: no soliciting signs, bad tippers, close talkers, “______________ industrial complex”
Secretly wishes she were: an astronaut, Laura Croft, or Xena: Warrior Princess
Veronica Corzo-Duchardt, art director
Veronica is a Queer, Cuban-American, Artist and Designer. Alongside her role at Bitch she maintains a studio art and design practice. She spent her early career working at various magazines and record labels in NYC. Veronica received her MFA in Studio Art in 2008 and an MFA in Writing in 2009 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; Centro Pablo Cultural Center, Havana, Cuba; Public Works Gallery, Chicago, IL. She is also included in New York Times best-selling book In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney (Artisan Books, 2016).
She lives in Philly with her partner Beth, and their recently adopted, 3-year-old Dachshund mix, Zo. She’s got a better awkward family photo than you.
Jessica De Jesus, art director
Jessica De Jesus is an art director, designer, occasional illustrator, and all-around creative. She was born in the Philippines and emigrated to the U.S. when she was just over a year old. Growing up in New Haven, CT, her family’s pizza of choice wasn’t Pepe’s or Sally’s but Costco, and she isn’t sorry about it. In addition to her regular high school classes, Jess attended the Educational Center for the Arts (ECA) in the Visual Arts department, but chose not to enroll at ECA during her senior year because she didn’t think she’d be able to make a living as a professional creative ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But after subconsciously trying to avoid an art path for two years at American University, she took an Intro to Graphic Design course and found something she quite possibly loved. She then transferred to Massachusetts College of Art & Design and received her B.F.A. with honors in Graphic Design. Shortly after graduating, she moved to Los Angeles and acclimated so well, people would often mistake her for a native Angeleno (except when asked for directions).
Jess started her design career as an art director for GOOD Magazine and after four years and a subsequent lay-off, reclaimed her time and founded her own creative studio, neonhoneytigerlily, where she focuses on supporting and collaborating with women, people of color, and other marginalized narratives through thoughtful and bold design.
In December 2017, Jess was part of the three-person team that re-designed Bitch’s quarterly print magazine and has since joined as an art director for 2018.
Fatal weakness: Tillamook’s Vanilla Chocolate Chip ice cream, snacks, a signature cat-eye
Favorite screen stuff: The Good Place, Insecure, anything by Ava DuVernay, Moonlight, Mean Girls, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Erin Brockovich, Guardians of the Galaxy, This is Us
Turn-ons: seeing Black and brown women thrive, kindness, a dope pair of shoes, a really good book
Turn-offs: manspreading, microaggressions, people who don’t use their signal light, rudeness towards servers or cashiers
Writers: Nayyirah Waheed, Cheryl Strayed, Toni Morrison, Harper Lee, Mia Alvar, Amy Tan, Ann Friedman
Secretly wishes she was both an: astrologist and astronomer
Margot Harrington, art director
Margot is a Chicago-based extroverted-introvert, Gemini-Leo-Leo, Hufflepuff, queer, nonbinary, graphic designer, printmaker, and painter. They started their design studio, Pitch Design Union, in 2008 after being laid off during the housing recession. This kickstarted a whole new approach to life, creative work, and the discovery of a feminist approach to business. Recent clients besides Bitch include mission-driven companies, non-profits, and arts organizations like the Art Institute of Chicago, Red Bull Music Academy, Vans Shoes, and Access Contemporary Music.
Originally from St.Paul Minnesota, Margot went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Glasgow School of Art in the UK. They are also an adjunct professor of design at DePaul University.
Crushes: Janelle Monáe, Kate McKinnon, Jughead Jones from Riverdale, Missy Elliot
Favorite TV shows: The Good Place, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Bob’s Burgers
Favorite artists: Martine Syms, Clare Rojas, Stuart Davis, Yayoi Kusama, Frank Stella
Turn-ons: thoughtfulness, earnest feelings, open-mindedness, make me laugh and I’m yours
Turnoffs: ignorance, pettiness, aggressive drivers, when people think the rules don’t apply to them
Secretly wishes they were: allowed to teleport or be in two places at once
Korin Lykam, director of data and operational systems
Korin Lykam joined the Bitch Media team in January of 2015. She was raised in a very small, conservative town in central California, and then escaped to the University of California in Santa Cruz. There she studied languages (she used to know Italian) with the dream of being an ex-pat, and relying on a Trinity School of London TESOL certificate and her native English for job security–and then discovered she didn’t like public speaking. Through her work with small business administration, she fell in love with systems, data and databases and gets a thrill when everything works. She is also the proud author of a large collection of unfinished speculative fiction novels and short stories, a collection that began when she was ten years old. Korin spends her spare time consuming and producing weird fiction, convincing herself to exercise, trying to grow a green thumb, daydreaming, and hanging out with her dog.
Fatal weakness: video games
Favorite authors: Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Neil Gaiman, Frank Herbert
Favorite TV: Firefly, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Cowboy Bebop, Downton Abbey–any British show set in the early 1900’s, really.
Favorite movies: I heart Huckabees, Kung Fu Hustle, Princess Mononoke, indy rom coms, Guardians of the Galaxy
Turn-ons: mornings at home with a mug of coffee, surprise adventures, coincidences, efficient errand-running
Turn-offs: tangled extension cords, cold weather, needles
Secretly wishes she were: a voice actor
Dahlia Grossman-Heinze, senior engagement editor
Dahlia is a Chicana who was born in California, raised in Kansas, and went to college in Portland. She graduated from Reed College with a BA in English Literature, where she wrote weird short stories and a thesis on Angels in America by Tony Kushner. Her hobbies and interests include reading, writing, Satanic Feminism, snacks, naps, and David Lynch films. She once trained a squirrel, survived the coldest winter in Chicago in 30 years, and rides a scooter.
Favorite TV Shows: Vanderpump Rules, Twin Peaks, Mad Men, Six Feet Under
Favorite Movies: It Follows, The Witch, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Big Lebowski
Favorite Book: We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Shirley Jackson)
Favorite Music: Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Florence & The Machine, Selena, Nicki Minaj, Lana Del Rey, Depeche Mode
Fatal weaknesses: Oysters, hot chocolate, ‘90s music, horror films, baths, my cat Howard
Evette Dionne, senior culture editor
Evette is Bitch Media’s senior editor. She’s also a Black feminist culture writer and scholar whose been published in the New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, SELF Magazine,Teen Vogue, Bustle, Hello Beautiful, The Root, and a multitude of other digital and print publications.
Before joining Bitch Media, Evette worked as a founding senior editor at Revelist where she honed her commitment to inclusion in media. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bennett College, an incredible HBCU for Black women, in 2012. In 2014, she received her master’s in media management and women, gender, and sexuality studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. That might be why researching is her favorite thing to do — outside of reading, tweeting, and ranting about self-care. Evette’s an independent women’s studies scholar who uses critical theories to examine Black female sexualities and pleasure within media texts. She’s published book chapters about Tyler Perry’s For Better and Worse and Beyoncé’s self-titled album.
She is currently doing her best Khadijah James impression in Brooklyn.
Fatal weakness: Beyoncé. All things Beyoncé, all the time.
Favorite screen stuff: The Color Purple, Crooklyn, A League of their Own, Poetic Justice, Living Single, A Different World, How To Get Away with Murder, Super SoulSunday, Ugly Betty, Drop Dead Diva
Turn-ons: beaches, good food, the smell of new books, libraries, coffee shops
Turn-offs: people who misuse the word extra
Writers: Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Pearl Cleage, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah
Music: Beyoncé, Nas, Monica, Lauryn Hill, Boyz II Men, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield
Secretly wishes she were a: writer for the WWE
Ashley Duchemin, production manager
Ashley Duchemin is a writer, editor, and producer from East New York, Brooklyn. A graduate of The City College of New York, she previously served as a digital content/website editor at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she created, structured, and edited content on metmuseum.org and served as managing editor for a number of Met blogs and The Met’s email program. At Bitch Media, she works collaboratively to create, edit, and coordinate the production of Bitch magazine. She also produces Bitch’s podcasts, Backtalk and Popaganda.
Ashley’s writing focuses on race, race, and race, and if you talk to her in person, you can expect the same. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her partner and two dogs, Jay Bay Bay and Minerva Mirabal Schick. Back in New York, she performed spoken word exactly three times. As a Dominicana, she is always on the search for Latinx books, poetry, art, music, and events. Recommendations are welcomed. Follow her on Twitter @insunandmoon.
Current favorite quote: “My curiosity always seems to move between the harmonious and the horrific, and that’s what our lives are about.”—Carolee Schneemann
Favorite music: FKA Twigs, Frank Ocean, James Blake, Sampha, SZA, Willow Smith, almost every single Bachata song in existence, Merengue típico, select Majestic Casual tracks, and hip hop and R&B from the ’90s to early 2000s
Turn-offs: white rage, tears, and privilege, and people who don’t tip or are rude to hospitality workers
Turn-ons: irreverence, cleanliness, and authenticity
Fatal weaknesses: plátanos (preferably maduros, or in the form of mangú)
Secretly wishes she were: the owner of a vegan Dominican restaurant (which she would name after her maternal grandmother)
Patricia Romero, community programs coordinator
Patricia Romero grew up in San Francisco, CA. then moved to Portland in 2013. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Women’s Studies in 2016. She enjoys critically analyzing the world she lives in with a Latina/Chicana/Black/Queer feminist lens. Her feminism is a work in progress; intersectional and messy is the best way she can describe it.
She enjoys spending time at home watching a variety of TV shows, listening to podcasts, practicing speaking Spanish/Spanglish, reading, and writing down her feelings on paper. When not at home or work she also enjoys walking, jogging, dancing, and karaoke.
Favorite TV shows: The Walking Dead, Insecure, Jane the Virgin, Parks and Recreation, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Bob’s Burgers, Lady Dynamite, and many more!
Favorite Movies: Pariah, Moonlight, Hamlet 2, Hecho En México, Coraline, Instructions Not Included (No Se Aceptan Devoluciones), Little Miss Sunshine, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Favorite Books: The Barbarian Nurseries, Persepolis, American Born Chinese, The House on Mango Street, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Bad Feminist: Essays, Now We Will Be Happy, Sister Outsider
Favorite people to listen to: Julieta Venegas, The Read, Latinos Who Lunch, Justice, Flight of the Conchords, Crystal Castles, Al Green, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Doors, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Selena, Frank Ocean
Wishes she were a: Stand-up comedian
Amy Lam, contributing editor
Amy published her first zine at the age of 15. Since then, has contributed to and published more than a dozen zines. She penned a long-running column for Razorcake, America’s first and only non-profit punk rock fanzine. She joined Bitch Media in June 2014.
Originally from southern California, she studied journalism/photojournalism and Women’s Studies at university and landed her first grown-up job at the Los Angeles PBS station. In 2005, she moved to Portland, volunteered in China and Bangladesh for a few years, and returned to Rip City in 2009. She has spent more than a decade working for non-profits, most recently with a social justice organization aimed at training activists. Amy is a first-generation college graduate.
Favorite TV shows/movies: National Basketball Association, Project Runway, documentaries, Slacker (1991)
Favorite reads: short fiction, celebrity gossip, and way too much Reddit
Favorite things to listen to: Reigning Sound, Bent Outta Shape, Childish Gambino, The Read, Zayn, Hop Along, Mitski
Turn-ons: salty snacks, modern-day plumbing, day napping
Turn-offs: vegan cheese, seasonal allergies
Secretly wishes she were a: foley artist
Soleil Ho, contributing editor
Soleil is a Vietnamese American rogue chef, writer, and podcaster with as many addresses as Carmen Sandiego. She is a graduate of Grinnell College, and she also possesses the ragged remains of an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from the University of New Orleans. Her writing has appeared in Brooklyn Magazine, The Atlas Review, Paste, On She Goes, Edible Manhattan, TASTE, and, of course, Bitch. She is co-writer on a forthcoming graphic novel on entomophagy and queer romance called Meal.
In addition to hosting Popaganda, she hosts Racist Sandwich, an award-nominated podcast on food and intersectional politics. She would like to remind you that fish sauce goes great in guacamole.
In her spare time, she carefully organizes her farm layout in Stardew Valley.
Fatal weakness: sweet baby puppies
Favorite TV shows/movies: Revolutionary Girl Utena, Demolition Man, Running Man, Coming to America, The Rose of Versailles, Survive Style 5+, Get Out, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Favorite music: the NieR and NieR: Automata soundtracks, The Clash, Nina Simone, Primary, Janelle Monáe
Turn-ons: Takarazuka actresses, riddles, soft and tender biscuits, fish-flavored snacks
Turn-offs: podcasts where it’s just white guys talking, well cocktails
Secretly wishes she were: Baba Yaga
Mia Burcham, editorial assistant
Mia Burcham is a senior at Reed College, graduating with a degree in English literature. She was born in Arizona and grew up in Texas, but has called Portland home for 12 years. Mia writes really long analytical essays on politics and really short prose poems on anything, ruins all her shoes on long walks, and cooks more than she can eat. She is writing her undergraduate thesis on American political theology in the works of Walt Whitman, and is generally interested in the foundation of American politics and literature, creative nonfiction writing, food writing, and speechwriting.
Favorite TV Shows: The Office, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, Firefly, Outlander, Stranger Things
Favorite Movies: The Way Way Back, Sense and Sensibility, The Royal Tenenbaums
Favorite Book: The Stand by Stephen King
Favorite Music: Vampire Weekend, Simon and Garfunkel, Lorde, Frank Ocean, Fleetwood Mac
Fatal Weaknesses: Pod Save America, good coffee, big salads, room-temperature la croix
Piper Gibson, operations assistant
Piper Gibson was born in Oakland, California, raised in Eugene, Oregon, and has lived in Portland for three years. She is currently in her last year of pursuing a BA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Portland State, and is working with Bitch to complete practicum credits for the program. Her passion lies in pop culture criticism and analysis, specifically through the lens of queerness and disability and how those intersect with other identity categories. She recognizes her feminism will never be perfect, but she is committed to working, growing, and learning more every single day, continually educating herself and others.
When she isn’t at Bitch or in class, she enjoys writing, listening to a variety of podcasts, baking, and hanging out with her girlfriend and their two cats, Eleanor Rigby and Noodle.
Favorite TV shows: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Steven Universe, The Get Down, Leverage, Parks and Recreation
Favorite movies: Pacific Rim, Her, Across the Universe, Singin’ In The Rain, Fourth Man Out, Carol, Baby Driver, Moonlight, Snowpiercer, The Fall
Fatal weaknesses: Anything with sugar, baby animals, queer media, acoustic music, denim jackets
Secretly wishes they were: A cat
Sabrina Nelson, editorial assistant
Sabrina grew up all over the Pacific Northwest, from the high desert of Oregon to the temperate rainforests of Washington’s northwest peninsula. She studies sociology at Reed College, where she is currently working on her thesis about menstrual activism and social media consciousness building. She loves reading and writing poetry, spending time with her mom and two younger sisters (aka her best friends), learning all she can about women’s health, making elaborate teas with obscure herbs, and talking at length about periods. If you ask her what she is planning to do with her life, she’ll tell you anything and everything related to writing, public health, and hot beverages.
Favorite books: Code Red by Lisa Lister, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, On Beauty by Zadie Smith, Look by Somlaz Sharif, Audre Lorde’s poetry, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Favorite screen stuff: Anything Nora Ephron (most notably, You’ve Got Mail), Fantastic Mr. Fox, Arrival, movies about space, any of Ina Garten’s cooking shows, How to Get Away With Murder, Jane the Virgin
Turn-ons: the ocean, used bookstores, early mornings, grocery shopping, the moon, podcasts, hot chocolate, wit, kindness
Turn-offs: bad podcasts, anthropology, dairy, slow walkers, rudeness.
Secretly wishes she were: an elite level gymnast
Jamila Aisha Brown is an Afro-Latina womanist and mujercista who is a child of the Americas and a global citizen of the African diaspora. She is a writer (albeit a reluctant one), who is passionate about amplifying voices from the global South and challenging white supremacy and imperialism. Jamila is a digital strategist by day, an assistant adjunct professor at New York University by night, and a radical fashionista 24/7/365—sometimes 366.
Naseem Jamnia | Writing Fellow in Technology
Naseem Jamnia is your average nonbinary Persian Muslim queer Chicagoan who grew up in a church and was raised on rice. Soon after starting a neuroscience PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania, they decided to skip out to Reno, Nevada, to start the cushy life of a freelancer. They’ve written personal essays for The Rumpus, Washington Post, HelloGiggles, and other sites. They’re the managing editor at SideQuest: A Bleating Heart Blog, where they get to talk about video games.
When they were a scientist, Naseem’s work focused on rodent models of psychiatric disorders. Their BA work at the University of Chicago concerned a mouse model of OCD-like behavior, and their MS from DePaul University developed a novel rat model of concussions. When they’re not lamenting the lack of science literacy in the United States, they’re working on novels that center marginalized voices.
Jourdain Searles | Writing Fellow in Pop-Culture Criticism
Jourdain Searles is a writer from Augusta, Georgia. After receiving a BA in Communications: TV & Cinema from Augusta University in 2014, she moved to New York City to attend graduate school and further her writing career. In 2016, she graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Dramatic Writing. Her writing focuses on intersectionality, queer themes, and the depiction of Black women in media. She has written for Paste Magazine, OFFTHARECORD, QUNTFRONT, and is the creator of feminist film website Fishnet Cinema. She is a lover of film, television, literature, and theater. In addition to her writing, Jourdain cohosts the weekly Bad Romance podcast and pursues stand-up comedy. Every month, she hosts the stand-up show Madams of the Universe at QED Astoria. The intersectional feminist show only features women and gender-nonconforming comedians and storytellers.
Abby Minor | Writing Fellow in Sexual Politics
Abby Minor works on poems, essays, quilts, and community art projects in Pennsylvania’s ridge-and-valley region, occupied Lenape territory, where she was raised and still lives. She is the founding director of Being Heard, a creative writing program that honors the voices and imaginations of her region’s elders, and also serves on the Board of Abortion Conversation Projects. In 2016, she was awarded first place in the Abortion Rights Poetry Contest, cosponsored by The Abortion Care Network and Split This Rock. She’s the author of the poetry chapbook Plant Light, Dress Light, published in 2016 by dancing girl press, as well as an alumna of Smith College, the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Penn State, The Penland School of Crafts, and The Rensing Center’s Artist-in-Residence Program. Abby writes, teaches, and collaborates around issues of environment, gender, race, region, beauty, and reproductive freedom.
Aqdas was born in Lahore, and grew up in Islamabad, two cities where she first learned different—and at times conflicting—forms of feminisms from her mother, grandmothers, aunts, and teachers. She came to the United States to study literature at Smith College, where she continued to be around many conflicting feminisms, ranging from liberal white feminism to women-of-color feminism with ideologies inspired by Audre Lorde. After participating in activist groups in Pakistan and feminist PoC spaces in the United States, Aqdas’ gender politics became strongly intersectional and anti-colonial.
Interested in decolonizing mainstream gender movements, Aqdas believes in centering the voices of trans and queer people of color in global feminist movements. She also believes in the importance of critically exploring how feminism gets co-opted for imperialistic, islamophobic, and racist purposes. Aqdas is currently a graduate student in English Literature at the University of Maryland, where she is working on representations of non-normative bodies in postcolonial fiction. When she is not reading or writing, Aqdas can be found biking, listening to old Urdu ghazals, and cooking experimentally. ”
Vanessa Borjon | Writing Fellow in Reproductive Rights and Justice
Vanessa Borjon is the daughter of a Zacatecano immigrant and a southwest side of Chicago Chicana. She received her BA in Creative Writing- Poetry from Columbia College Chicago in 2015. Her writing explores themes of sexuality, xicanisma, and growing up in rural Illinois. Since 2015 she has been working as a teaching artist in various alternative high schools in Chicago where she facilitates youth dialogue around poetry and literature to build social-emotional skills. Her poetry has been previously published in the Columbia Poetry Review, Corazónland Review, Quaint Magazine, Nepantla, and The Shade Journal, among others.”
Bemnet Gebrechirstos | Writing Fellow in Pop-Culture Criticism
Bemnet Gebrechirstos was born in Ethiopia, raised in D.C., sometimes lives in Maryland and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree from Scripps College in California. She writes both fiction and non-fiction that is always about womanism, radical love, accountability, and resistance narratives. She spends most of her time involved in community organizing, doing activist work and zine making as an editor for Our Sound (based out of Scripps). As a community organizer, she is a part of student mobilization towards decolonization and has worked with various non-profit organizations in helping high-potential youth from intersectional backgrounds. She is incredibly excited to share a number of her thoughts on pop culture criticism!
When not reading, writing, or working towards societal liberation, she’s watching Steven Universe, listening to her favorite podcast The Read, collecting existentialist memes, or exploring various forms of art.
Mailee Hung | Writing Fellow in Technology
Mailee Hung is a writer, editor, and cultural critic based out of San Francisco, California. She earned her MA in Visual and Critical Studies at California College of the Arts in 2016, where she wrote her thesis on prosthetics in Western contemporary pop culture. Her work focuses on the discursive and material intersections of technology and the human body. She is especially interested in the ways in which technologies define socio-biological norms and render only certain bodies culturally and scientifically intelligible.
An avid outdoor enthusiast, Mailee also writes about environmental conservation, rock climbing, and reclaiming adventure narratives and mountain literature for marginalized perspectives. When she’s not reading or watching sci-fi, she can usually be found somewhere in or near the Sierras, chuffing up trad routes or heckling other boulderers from a crashpad. She is easily bribed with dumplings or gummy candy.