A Fellowship Program for Diverse Talent in Children's Media
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Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Sesame Street Writers’ Room is a brand new fellowship opportunity from the creators of Sesame Street. And we are looking for YOU! Fresh new writing talent from underrepresented racial backgrounds. As a company that advocates diversity, we recognize the importance of representation both on and off-screen, so that children of all backgrounds can see themselves in the content they consume. Emerging storytellers who are selected to join the Writers’ Room fellowship will receive hands-on writing experience guided by Sesame Street veterans and other media industry leaders.

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2017 fellowship, but leave us your email address if you’d like to hear about next year’s program.

Seven to ten writers from underrepresented racial groups will be selected

Weekly sessions will take place at the Sesame Street NYC offices from June-July 2017

Includes six, three-hour sessions on creating children’s educational media content

Learn from industry writers, producers, agents and executives

Complete at least one script during the program

Two writers may have the opportunity for creative development deals and further mentorship

All participants must adhere to the following guidelines listed below in order to qualify for the program. For additional questions about any of the requirements, please feel free to contact us atwritersroom@sesame.org

• Participant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

• Participant must be 21+ years old

• Must come from an underrepresented racial group (see FAQ)

• No extensive media writing experience, such as having written more than 6 episodes for a network or cable series

• Participants must be able to get to NYC for the 6 weekly sessions, which will be held on a weeknight evening. Travel and lodging expenses are the participant’s sole responsibility.

All participants will be asked to submit the following items with their application. For additional questions about any of the requirements, please feel free to contact us atwritersroom@sesame.org

• Application form

• Resume: this can feature your overall work experience, NOT only writing experience

• Personal Statement: tell us about yourself, for example, why you want to write for children’s educational media, how your experiences influence the stories you tell, why you value diversity/representation in children’s media, etc. (up to 500 words)

• Original script sample: 11-page maximum, it can be an excerpt from a larger piece, must be content written for children

• More info about your script: what’s the bigger picture/idea of your script sample? (up to 500 words)

• Application must be submitted by March 31st, 2017 11:59PM EST

Below are a few common questions about the fellowship program. For additional questions about any of the requirements, please feel free to contact us atwritersroom@sesame.org

When is the application due?

Applications will be accepted until March 31, 2017 11:59PM.

What are the script sample requirements?

Your script sample should be no more than 11-pages (12-point Times New Roman or Courier font) and it must feature original content for children (under age 16). "Original" means that the stories and characters should be your own.

Can I submit a short story or manuscript?

No, for this fellowship we can only accept writing that is in a script format. That said, it can be a script for a play, television, film, etc.

What are the script sample requirements?

Your script sample should be no more than 11-pages and it must feature original content for children (under age 16). "Original" means that the stories and characters should be your own.

Can I submit a short story or manuscript?

No, for this fellowship we can only accept writing that is in a script format. That said, it can be a script for a play, television, film, etc.

Can I submit multiple applications, featuring different scripts?

No—only one application will be accepted per person.

Will I have to work on the script from my application during the fellowship?

No, you are free to continue working on your application’s script during the fellowship, or you can work on another idea you have.

What are underrepresented racial groups?

The Sesame Street Writers’ Room fellowship is an effort to identify and increase the presence of underrepresented voices in children’s media writing. For this specific purpose, underrepresented groups are those who identify as any of the following: Asian, Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Middle Eastern, or multiracial (two or more races, which may include white).

Should applicants have writing experience?

No, writing experience is not necessary to apply—what is most important is that applicants show a passion for writing. Our goal is to identify and nurture new writers from underrepresented racial groups for children’s educational media. Therefore applicants cannot have extensive media writing experience, such as having written more than 6 episodes for a network or cable series.

I am not 21 now, but what if I turn 21 by the time the fellowship begins?

Feel free to apply if you are over 21 by the time the program starts in June 2017.

Do participants have to pay for the fellowship?

No, the fellowship is free of charge to apply and to participate. However, participants must be able to get to NYC for the 6 weekly sessions, which will be held on a weeknight evening. Any travel and lodging expenses are the participant’s sole responsibility.

Will there be interviews? If so, when will the interviews be held?

Yes, select applicants will be invited to take part in an interview with the selection committee in late April/early May 2017.

What days/times will the sessions take place?

The exact details have not been confirmed, but the sessions will likely take place over six weekly, 3-hour, weeknight evenings from early June until early July, at the Sesame Street offices in NYC.

What are the Terms and Conditions?

Click here to read full Terms and Conditions.

What if I have additional questions?

Contact us atwritersroom@sesame.org

Sarina Bajwa

New York, NY

One of Sarina's greatest passions is to write and dream up stories to explain everyday occurrences to children. She has always channeled her creativity as a first grade teacher, a K-12 youth program activist, and currently as a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University. Now, to have the opportunity to write and educate at the same time is truly a dream come true.

Joon Chung

Staten Island, NY

Joon is a comedian born and raised in Staten Island, NY. He studied marketing at the University of Michigan, but his passion for storytelling led him to performing and writing. He recently received a grant from Staten Island Arts for his web series We Love Our Customers, a story about a magical dry cleaner. Currently a Creative Producer at Fusion, Joon hopes to create lasting characters he wished he could've seen growing up.

Ariana Espiritu

San Francisco, CA

Ariana is a writer, editor, and researcher. Since attending the University of California, Irvine, her work has largely focused on demystifying health information. She wrote Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, an educational play about math geared towards fourth to eighth graders. She is passionate about science, health, and technology, and how the craft of storytelling can make these subjects more accessible to future generations.

Monique Hall

Paterson, NJ

Monique is a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education whose interests lie at the intersection of media, learning, design, and storytelling. She is passionate about children’s media and its ability to make learning come alive for kids, but recognizes a need for more diverse narratives to be told. She hopes to write stories that are both delightful and meaningful in their representation of voices that don’t often get heard.

Keion Jackson

Port Allen, LA

Keion is an author, playwright, and filmmaker, with a degree in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University. His work made the rounds at film festivals around the country, and his most recent stage play was performed Off-Broadway. Whether he’s writing a play about a family in need of reconciliation, or a children’s book about a sheep who takes her job very seriously, Keion’s goal is to make people laugh, feel good, and remember the things in life that matter most.

Jehan Madhani

Houston, TX

Jehan is a recent graduate of Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She wrote a thesis about romantic comedies and animated a short film about a small frog, FrogBoy. Alongside her studies, Jehan performed sketch comedy with her friends. She recently relocated from her hometown of Houston, TX to NYC to pursue new opportunities in writing, comedy, and animation.

Rebecca Nichloson

New York, NY

Rebecca has a passion for innovative, culturally relevant storytelling! She is the author of over a dozen creative works and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including an America-in-Play fellowship, two Many Voices Fellowships, and a Liberace Award. Rebecca holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Columbia University, an M.A. in English Literature, and a B.A. in Liberal Arts/Business Administration.

Joy Regullano

Los Angeles, CA

Joy has performed on improv and sketch house teams around Los Angeles at UCB, Second City Hollywood, and iO West and had one of her original sketch shows picked up for a run at UCB Franklin. Acting credits include Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, House of Lies, Speechless and Supernatural. Her writing has placed in the Page Awards Top 25 comedy pilots and WeScreenplay Diverse Voices finals.

Latoye Adams

Researcher in Media and Educational Technology

LaToye drives a youth-centered design process by integrating formative research throughout the production lifecycle for television content, educational technology and virtual reality. She has collaborated with teams at Nickelodeon, Michael Cohen Group, LLC (MCG), Sesame Workshop and Google. At MCG, she was the Director of Research for Nickelodeon’s Bubble Guppies. She was awarded the Fred Rogers Center’s Early Career Fellowship to conceptualize and test mobile apps for underserved families. LaToye has the great joy of serving as President of the non-profit organization Children’s Media Association.

Erica Branch-Ridley

HITN Learning, VP of Creative Development and Production

Two-time Emmy Award winning Erica Branch-Ridley oversees multi-platform approaches to learning for preschoolers at Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN). Her work combines touchscreen apps and games with traditional learning methods, to address the academic and socio-emotional needs for young Hispanic chidren and their families. Prior to HITN, Erica worked at Sesame Workshop, where she led digital strategy for the children’s TV show The Electric Company. Erica was also Sr. Producer at Nickelodeon Online where she created the first fully interactive experiences for Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer.

Janice Burgess

The Backyardigans, Creator

Janice created and served as executive producer of the Emmy Award winning preschool series The Backyardigans for Nickelodeon. As an executive-in‐charge of production and then Vice President at Nick Jr., she oversaw the production of Peabody and Emmy Award-winning Nick Jr. shows including Blue’s Clues, Little Bill and Whoopi’s Littleburg. In 2015 ‐ 2016, Janice served as Executive Consultant for DreamWorks Animation Television. Her latest project is Enchanting Leela, in development with Canadian animation studio Nelvana Ltd.

Koyalee Chanda

Wallykazam!, Co‐Executive Producer

Koyalee is a seven‐time Emmy nominated producer, director and writer. She is the Creator and Executive Producer of an animated series currently in development with Dreamworks Animation based on Where’s Waldo? Previously, she was the Co‐Executive Producer of Nickelodeon’s hit series Wallykazam! Prior to that, she produced the pilot for the now hit series Odd Squad. For Sesame Street, Koyalee developed, produced and directed multiple seasons of the What’s the Word on the Street? Koyalee’s first job out of college was on the ground‐breaking series Blue’s Clues, and she began directing the series at the age of 23.

Nina Crews

The Neighborhood Mother Goose, Children’s Book Author/Illustrator

Nina has written and illustrated many energetic stories for young children including The Neighborhood Mother Goose and Below – both ALA Notable selections. Her books have been recognized by the Cooperative Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild, and Bank Street College of Education. Her most recent books are The Neighborhood Sing-Along and Jack and the Beanstalk. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.

Ron Holsey

Martha Speaks, Odd Squad, Writer

An award‐winning playwright and two‐time Emmy nominee, Ron has written more than 70 episodes of television for series including Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, Big Time Rush, Martha Speaks, Curious George, Arthur, Johnny Test, Wallykazam!, Nina’s World, Odd Squad, Miles from Tomorrowland, Elena of Avalor, The Furchester Hotel and Sesame Street. He has developed original series for several kids’ networks and is currently writing for several new animated series premiering in 2017. Ron is an alum of the Nickelodeon Writing Program and was in the inaugural group of the Emerging Writers Program at Terra Firma Films.

Julie Kane-Ritsch

The Gotham Group, Talent Manager/Head of Animation and Family Entertainment

Julie represents successful series creators, Emmy award winning writers, directors, and composers, New York Times Bestselling authors, and fresh new voices. Her clients include series creators Butch Hartman, The Fairly Odd Parents; Chris Nee, Doc McStuffins; Daron Nefcy, Star vs. the Forces of Evil; Nadine van der Velde and Scott Kraft, The Fresh Beat Band; Jennifer Oxley, Peg + Cat; Sascha Paladino, Miles from Tomorrowland; and Carl Greenblatt, Harvey Beaks. Julie's literary clients include New York Times Bestselling authors Tony DiTerlizzi and Jim Benton and award winning author/illustrator Brom.

Susan Kim

Creative Galaxy, Head Writer

Susan is the Writing Workshop Facilitator for the inaugural 2017 Sesame Street Writers’ Room. She is a TV writer, author, documentary producer, and playwright. She has written for or story edited more than four dozen children’s series in the US and abroad, including Wonder Pets!, Reading Rainbow, Arthur, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Cyberchase, Octonauts, Speed Racer, Pocoyo, Handy Manny, the upcoming Welcome to the Wayne on Nickelodeon. Most recently, Susan was made head writer for the upcoming season of Creative Galaxy on Amazon. She has been nominated for the Emmy and Writers Guild award four times.

Chris Nee

Doc McStuffins, Creator/Executive Producer

Peabody, Humanitas and Emmy Award‐winner Chris Nee is the creator and executive producer of Disney Junior's Peabody Award‐winning series Doc McStuffins. She is also executive producer of Disney Junior's upcoming animated series Vampirina. Chris has received multiple Emmy Award nominations for writing and won an Emmy in 2002 for her work on Little Bill, based on the children's books by Bill Cosby. Other writing credits include American Dragon: Jake Long, Johnny and the Sprites, Higglytown Heroes, The Backyardigans and Olivia. Chris began her career as an associate producer at Sesame Street International.

Adam Peltzman

Wallykazam!, Creator

Adam is a three‐time Emmy award winning writer and producer. He is the co-creator of the PBS series, Odd Squad, and the creator of the Nickelodeon series, Wallykazam! He’s been a head writer of several other award‐winning shows, including The Electric Company, The Backyardigans and Blue's Clues. Adam lives in Brooklyn, New York. He's pretty good at ping pong, and just okay at ending bios.

Maria Perez-Brown

Gullah Gullah Island, Executive Producer

Named one of the most powerful women and minorities in the cable industry for 2012 and 2011 by Cable Fax Magazine, Maria has over 20 years of experience developing and producing content for leading brands including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., ABC, CBS, and NuvoTV. She was the creator and executive producer of critically acclaimed Taina. She also created the landmark pre‐school series Gullah Gullah Island, which TV Guide recognized as one of the nation’s “top 10 television shows”. Most recently, Maria was CEO of Zwoosh Media, a company that specializes in producing children’s content across linear and digital platforms.

Ken Scarborough

Sesame Street, Head Writer

Ken’s head writing credits include Curious George, Martha Speaks, Pocoyo, Arthur, and Doug. He served as a staff writer on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. For Sesame Workshop, Ken developed Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures. He serves as Executive Producer and Head Writer of the Amazon series If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which premieres in 2017. Other writing credits include Between the Lions and The Adventures of Pete & Pete. He has received four Emmy awards for his work and six further nominations.

Rosemarie T. Truglio, Ph.D.

Sesame Street, SVP of Curriculum and Content

Rosemarie is the Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Content at Sesame Workshop. She is responsible for the development of the interdisciplinary curriculum on which Sesame Street is based and oversees content development across platforms (e.g., television, publishing, toys, home video, and theme park activities). She is also responsible for curriculum development for all Creative Development properties. Previously, Rosemarie managed an interdisciplinary global content team responsible for all global co‐productions and content development across all media platforms, including digital media.

Ligiah Villalobos

Go, Diego! Go!, Head Writer

Ligiah was the Head Writer on the Nickelodeon animated children’s show, Go, Diego! Go!, which became the first show to beat Dora the Explorer off the #1 spot. She also wrote several episodes and helped Brandissimo! in the development of the TLC animated series Big Foot Presents: Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks. More recently, Ligiah is the Writer/Executive Producer of the indie hit film Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna). She is currently developing a TV pilot based on the NY Times bestseller, The Dirty Girls Social Club, and an animated feature film she wrote titled, Koati, is currently in production.