Our summer 2018 Program Assistants will be introduced here in January!
Meanwhile, meet our Program Assistants from summer 2017.
MaKayla Allen is an English major and 2017 graduate who is as excited to be working with the Juniper Institute as she is to graduate! One of her hobbies and passions is collecting children's literature from past centuries (her favorite tales being Pinocchio and Peter Pan). She writes poetry, and legitimately loves taking books out from the library. Most of all, she feels strongly about how writing can improve a person's quality of life.
Jessica DiCristoforo is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and communication. She grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts most known for being the birthplace of Emily Dickinson's mother. She is particularly fond of memoir writing, spoken word poetry, television writing, and observational comedy. At nineteen, the state of Massachusetts sent her a jury duty summons addressed to "Jessiba DiBristoforo" and thus, an alter ego was born. She likes to view all experiences, good or bad, as an opportunity for a good story, which is why when she met Morgan Freeman she looked up at him and asked, "What do you like to dip your french fries in?" Jess is obsessed with dialogue and often overuses it in her writing and in real life.
Paul Flamburis is currently in the tricky position of writing a bio for himself that will be accurate in June of 2017. He recently probably graduated from UMass Amherst with a major in English, a minor in Biology, and a specialization in Professional Writing and Technical Communication. He is from Westford, Massachusetts but now he hopes that he lives somewhere else. He writes short fiction on a wide variety of topics ranging from psychic cashiers to ghost frogs, but occasionally dabbles in poetry about lizards and worms. His favorite book is A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, and he strives to live every day of his life like Keanu Reeves.
Nathan is a recent graduate of UMass Amherst with a degree in English, a creative writing specialization, and a film studies certificate. He pursued computer science for a bit, but a summer in Silicon Valley was more than enough to convince him that Big Data is evil. You can find him reading Joan Didion and Eileen Myles as he drifts toward his future. He could use a long nap and does not know much about riding bicycles.
Symone Green is currently a sophomore at UMass Amherst, studying English with a concentration in creative writing. She also plans on completing a minor in Education and a certificate in the Civic Engagement and Service Learning department, to combine her passion for writing with teaching and community service. Her favorite genre is poetry, but she also loves reading fiction, and almost anything produced within the Beat Generation. She appreciates all visual arts, nature, Alabama Shakes, and thinks of herself as a "tea enthusiast."
Jake Phillips is a recent UMass grad who majored in English and concentrated in creative writing. He plans to pursue an MFA in fiction in the future, but is exploring positions in the fields of education, publishing, and nonprofit organization in the meantime. Jake is an advocate for wearing tee shirts at any occasion, reading young adult literature even when you're not a young adult, and making as many different playlists as possible. When he’s not pulling on his hair while trying to write a new short story, Jake can be found binge-watching tv, jamming on the guitar, and playing video games.
Sarah Phou is an English and accounting double major and Chinese minor at UMass Amherst, finally a 2017 graduate after five long years. As of March 2017, she has had two pieces (the poem “Peach” and short fiction “Home”) published on The Scribe, an online creative publication. Her writing origins begin with Harry Potter fanfictions, which she must both proudly and shamefully admit, because the Harry Potter series is awesome while fanfiction (alas!) is rather cringe-worthy. Outside of writing, Sarah is an avid watcher of Asian dramas, nearly-exclusive listener of foreign music, and has perfected the art of procrastination. She also loves listening to people talk, and is looking forward to Juniper so she can indulge in listening to and exchanging stories with other people.
Ruthie Sterling is a 2017 graduate of the UMass Amherst English department. For her senior thesis with the Commonwealth Honors College, she wrote a Young Adult novel as an ode to her high school and hometown. Her favorite authors include John Green, J. K. Rowling, and Sarah J. Maas. She writes YA fiction, always novels, and enjoys exploring sub-genres from realistic fiction to fantasy. When not writing, she can be found walking around UMass, watching movies, or working as a librarian. She is so excited to meet other writers at Juniper and celebrate love of creativity!
Once an engineer—then tired of computers—I plan on teaching. Writing is my voice, tap dance is my first great love, but I also act. I’m a pianist, social justice activist, and a dog lover.
Hallie Yarmus is a graduating senior English major, with a minor in psychology. This will be her second year as Program Assistant with Juniper. Hallie writes, poetry, short fiction, and personal essays that tend to explore themes relating to social justice. She enjoys Young Adult Fiction and loves any kind of work that provides her with a new or enhanced perspective on life, the universe, and everything. More importantly, she is very excited to meet all of you.