Alumni Council

Alumni Council Members pictured from left: Iviva Olenick (’93), Antonio Pulgarin (’07), Zara Kessler (’08), Justin Nissley (’01), Winston Chmielinski (’06) and Dionisio Cortes Ortega (’04) with Alum Philip Pearlstein, center.


The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Alumni Council is a select group of writers and artists who advocate for and champion the arts for teenagers in diverse communities across the nation while encouraging other Alumni to remain connected to the program for unique networking opportunities. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Alumni Council advises the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers’ staff leadership on Alumni residencies, outreach, and workshops, as well as fundraising and audience development.

Are you an Alum of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards? Introduce yourself on LinkedIn and join our Alumni group!


In addition to ongoing opportunities and resources, the Alumni Council hosts two programs exclusively for Alumni of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

A Suite of One’s Own is an Alumni Writers-in-Residency program now in its third year! Two Alums will be awarded a suite of their own at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City with a stipend for travel and incidentals provided.

The Alumni Microgrant Program provides a monetary grant to Scholastic Awards Alumni for research costs, writer’s retreats and conference fees, production costs, community projects, and so much more.

Meet the Council

  • Ashley Bass
  • Winston Chmielinski
  • Haris A. Durrani
  • Katiuscia Gregoire
  • Zara Kessler
  • Timothy Hyunsoo Lee
  • Loretta Lopez
  • Justin Nissley
  • Iviva Olenick
  • Dionisio Cortes Ortega
  • Antonio Pulgarin
  • Mara Sprafkin

To invite an Alumni Council member to speak, lead a workshop, or participate in a panel discussion, contact Laura Petrucci at