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The Sesame Street Writers’ Room fellowship had its inaugural year in 2017, with eight talented writers chosen from over 800 applicants from all across the United States. Keion Jackson and Monique Hall were awarded Creative Development Deals from Sesame Workshop, while other participants have found work in the children’s media space, both at Sesame and beyond.
Here’s a program that’s actually making deals—that’s when it matters.
Sarina Bajwa|New York, NY
Sarina is a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University and she has always channeled her creativity, whether as a first grade teacher or a K-12 youth program activist.
Joon Chung|Staten Island, NY
Joon is a comedian who studied at the University of Michigan, but his passion for storytelling led him to performing and writing. He received a grant from Staten Island Arts for his web series We Love Our Customers. Joon hopes to create lasting characters he wished he could've seen growing up.
Ariana Espirtu|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, covering topics such as mental health and sex education. She also wrote Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, an educational play about math geared towards fourth to eighth graders.
Monique Hall|Paterson, NJ
Monique is a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her interests lie at the intersection of media, learning, design, and storytelling. 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 from Clark Atlanta University. His work made the rounds at film festivals, and his most recent stage play was performed Off-Broadway. 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.
Rebecca Nichloson|New York, NY
Rebecca 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. She 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 LA at UCB, Second City Hollywood, and iO West and had one of her original sketch shows picked up for a run at UCB Franklin. Her writing has placed in the Page Awards Top 25 comedy pilots and WeScreenplay Diverse Voices finals.
Erica Branch-RidleyHITN 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.
Koyalee ChandaWallykazam!, 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 CrewsThe 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 HolseyMartha 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.
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.