Note: these biographies are the most current versions that were available at the end of Directors’ service.
Rachel Barenblat (2009-2011) Rabbi Rachel Barenblat is co-founder of Inkberry, a literary arts nonprofit organization whose mission was to help every writer find her or his own voice. She has also served on the boards of two other nonprofit organizations. The six years she spent running Inkberry gave her expertise in nonprofit management, grantwriting, and building membership. A poet who blogs about issues of faith as “The Velveteen Rabbi” as well as an enthusiastic participant in online fandom since 1999, Barenblat has a long commitment both to transformative works and to writing as a mode of personal transformation. She is married to Ethan Zuckerman, head of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and she currently serves a small congregation in western Massachusetts. During her years on the OTW Board, she watched a lot of West Wing and a lot of LOST.
Julia Beck (2011-2013) Julia Beck is a student of media and communication studies at the University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany) and works as a communications and quality supervisor in customer support. A fantasy nerd from childhood, her initiation into organised fandom was sparked by Zetsuai: Bronze and German yaoi fandom, from which she moved into international media fandom. She identifies as a hardcore gamer, mainly of Western and JRPGs, but is a fan of fandom rather than any particular source.
KellyAnn Bessa (2007-2009) KellyAnn Bessa has a BS in Management from Cardinal Stritch University, and currently works as a human resources consultant for an investment firm. She has been in fandom for nearly ten years as a writer, mailing list owner, community moderator, and webmaster. In addition to running several archives, she hosts and maintains websites for a number of fan fiction writers. One of her first childhood crushes was Batman, and she still works several hours a week at her local comic book store, and participates in the online feminist comic fan community.
Maia Bobrowicz (2013) Maia is a business analyst and project manager with the software development branch of an international company and has trouble staying away from school. She has a BSc in Chemistry, Metallurgy and Philosophy, a Bachelor of Journalism and is completing a MBA at night. Maia got involved in online fandom in 2001 and slid slowly from reading, to organising, to volunteering. A volunteer with the OTW since 2008, Maia has chaired AD&T and helped launch the Archive of Our Own into open beta. As part of a philosophy of giving back to the community Maia was on the Swancon (an annual Western Australia science fiction convention) committee for 2009 as program coordinator. Maia championed a women and family friendly program and managed to get 49% female panelists and presenters. Maia co-runs an annual discussion panel called Safe Spaces dedicated to exploring ways to make conventions enjoyable and safe(r) for all attendees.
Hele Braunstein (2011) Hele Braunstein is a student at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, where she studies biological sciences and has worked in environmental research. A latinoamerican, Spanish-as-mother-tongue fan, Braunstein is active in diverse online platforms and fannish cultures. An advocate for international and panfandom accessibility, her focus is on non-English-speaking fans and those who use English as a fannish lingua franca. She has mentored fellow fans on basic writing skills and has served as part of a website moderating team. Braunstein volunteers in various capacities with Perfect Imagination, the Jane Austen Fanfiction Index, and the Regency Encyclopedia. Her fannish tastes are broad, and currently — and non-exclusively — include Jane Austen, Harry Potter, X-Files, Naruto, Hikaru no Go, Monster, Iron Man, and The Breakfast Club fandoms.
Aline Carrão (2015-2017) has worked in consumer protection and civil law and is currently continuing her education to work as a civil servant. Aline discovered fandom back when Harry Potter was taking over the world and never left. She joined the OTW in 2013 as a tag wrangler and slowly got involved in other parts of the organization; she’s now staff in Support and Translation. In Support, she’s addressed concerns, questions and feedback from users; in Translation, she manages over 150 volunteers and has completed projects with strict timelines in an atmosphere of constant and productive team-wide communication.
Francesca Coppa, PhD (2007-2012) Francesca Coppa is director of film studies and professor of English at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches courses in dramatic literature, popular fiction, and mass media storytelling. Her writings on media fandom have been included in Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet and presented at MIT’s Media in Transition conference. Coppa has been attending conventions and buying zines since the early 1980s, when she and her friends wrote fanfiction by hand and circulated it by snail mail. She has been involved in online fandom since the mid-1990s as a writer, list administrator, vidder, archivist, and community moderator.
Cathy Cupitt, DCA (2007-2008) Cathy Cupitt teaches writing and Shakespeare at the University of Western Australia and has a doctorate in creative arts from Curtin University of Technology. Her fiction has appeared in Australian magazines such as Westerly and Borderlands, and in 1997 she won the US$20,000 first prize in Hyundai’s 20th Anniversary World-wide Essay Contest. Since discovering fandom in 1988, Cupitt has written in nine fandoms, and she runs an active recommendations site. She has served on numerous fannish committees, including Australia’s 2001 national SF convention, for which she was a co-convenor.
Eylul Dogruel (2012-2015) Eylul Dogruel is an artist and an MFA candidate at Marmara University, Istanbul. She has an eclectic background combining computer sciences and art. Her knowledge and interests cover a range of topics including new media, sci-fi, customer support, web technologies, and usability. Eylul is a lifelong fan and has moved through various media and gaming fandoms. She is a fanfic reader, fanart appreciator, an MMO roleplayer and, occasionally, a meta writer. Her current fandoms include Warcraft, Doctor Who and The Longest Journey/Dreamfall.
Franzeska Dickson (2012-2014) Franzeska Dickson does back office work in finance. Always a geek, she was introduced to fanfiction by alt.tv.x-files at the tender age of 13 and has been in fanworks fandom ever since, first as a reader, then a writer and beta, and now a vidder. Her favorite venues and events are pan-fandom ones, including her own rare Asian fandoms exchange. She has previously served on the Content, Abuse, Webmasters, and Tag Wrangling Committees as well as filling various other volunteering positions within OTW.
Anna Genoese (2014) Anna Genoese is a lifelong fan and professional editor/author who currently works full time for an international nonprofit focused on youth development. While working as a professional editor, Anna published the original fiction of several fanfic writers. Using a pseudonym, Anna has written fanfic and performed podfic in a number of fandoms, which can be found at the AO3. Anna worked with the Strategic Planning Committee of the OTW January 2012 – December 2013, and was the chair of the committee August 2012 – December 2013. Anna is also a volunteer tag wrangler.
Susan Gibel, JD (2007-2009) Susan Gibel is a senior manager with the Center for Effective Public Policy, Inc., a nonprofit organization founded to assist other agencies in developing and implementing sound public policy. Her work there is focused on national training and technical assistance initiatives related to domestic violence and offender reentry. She has worked with antiviolence organizations on issues of domestic violence and queer rights and holds a law degree from the University of Minnesota. Gibel has been involved in fandom since the mid-1970s, beginning with Star Trek. She writes in a handful of fandoms, primarily Due South, and founded the annual Due South Seekrit Santa story exchange.
Ira Gladkova (2010-2013) Ira Gladkova is a Web designer and developer who focuses on user interfaces, usability, accessibility, and Web standards. A lifelong fan and media omnivore, zie has particular interest in fan projects that bring together diverse communities and media. A community moderator and staff of two fandom newsletters, hir work in an annual multi-fandom exchange involves co-moderation, the design and front-end coding of signup forms, and crafting guidelines that use inclusive language and welcome diversity across media, kinks, and gender preferences. Gladkova has created stories, art, comics, and graphics in over fifty fandoms, is an active reccer and beta reader, and hopes to finish hir first vids soon. Zie has an unfortunate propensity for falling in love with background characters.
Soledad Griffin (2014-2015) Soledad Griffin is currently an advanced Letras student at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Argentina. She is now working for a governmental educational plan for Argentinian youth called Jóvenes y Memoria, after an extensive period as a volunteer. She has been in fandom for more than half her life, starting out in the Spanish-speaking anime fandom in the late 90s and later participating in a wide variety of fandoms.
Katarina Harju (2015-2017) is a Swedish-speaking Finn currently working towards a degree in Information Technology. Prior to this, she worked in accountancy for many years. She went searching for fandom in 2000 after reading about it in a magazine (and is eternally grateful that she happened to pick up that particular one in a moment of boredom). She has created fanworks for a variety of fandoms, many of which can be found at her AO3 userpage. Somewhere along the line, she fell in love with podfics, and she still writes fic, records podfic and even makes some fannish crafts now and then, though not as often as she’d like. Katarina followed the OTW’s work closely from the beginning, getting involved herself in 2013 as a member of the Translation committee, where she is currently a translator and staffer. She spent time as a tag wrangler in 2014, and currently also serves on the AO3 Abuse committee.
Andrea Horbinski (2012-2015) Andrea Horbinski is a Ph.D. candidate in modern Japanese history with a designated emphasis in New Media at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to the OTW Board, she also serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Ada Initiative, a breakthrough non-profit dedicated to increasing the participation of women in open technology and culture. She was previously a Fulbright Fellow to Japan, studying hypernationalist manga in Kyoto, and formerly served as the chair of the OTW’s Internationalization & Outreach committee. She joined online fandom in 1999 after writing her graduation speech on her love of Star Wars, and soon became involved in anime and manga fandom as an AMV editor and later a fan translator. She has discussed fandom, anime, manga, and Japanese history and folklore at conventions and conferences on five continents, including Otakon, Sirens, WisCon, AnimeExpo, and HASTAC, and her articles and reviews have appeared in The WisCon Chronicles vol. 6, Mechademia, and Transformative Works and Cultures.
Sheila Lane (2009-2011) Sheila Lane has a master’s degree in business management and is a licensed certified public accountant. She works as a corporate accountant for a worldwide brokerage company and has expertise in both individual and small business taxation. Lane previously worked for the U.S. Senate, serving as a liaison between constituents and government agencies, particularly the Social Security Administration and the IRS. She blogs about money matters on LiveJournal under the name “sheila_cpa.” Lane has been involved in online fandom since 1994, going from a telnet BBS and ‘zines to mailing lists and LiveJournal. She has written in more than thirty fandoms, from Alias to Witchblade, serves as a frequent beta, and has moderated multiple mailing lists, communities, and challenges.
Margaret J. MacRae (2014-2015) MJ MacRae graduated from Smith College with a degree in History. After college MJ spent three years as the general manager of a small nonprofit community theater. When it was time to move on, she decided to become a lawyer because nobody was hiring knights errant. She attended Lewis and Clark Law School, where she served as an editor of the Environmental Law Journal. MJ intended to return to nonprofit management, but the courtroom seduced her away and now she spends her days in a suit (not made out of armor sadly). Since she learned to read she has consumed books at a staggering pace, and found online fandom as a teenager when she was too impatient to wait for the next Tamora Pierce novel. Her current fandoms include MCU, Arrow, Star Trek, and GoT.
Cat Meier (2012-2015) Cat Meier studied International Relations at American University and has since worked in a variety of completely unrelated fields including financial administration, marketing and political canvassing. She was co-chair of the OTW Finance Committee, which she served on since its inception. A science fiction and fantasy reader all her life, she has been a member of online fandom since 1999 as a reader, reccer, beta reader and meta writer in fandoms ranging from historical movies to superhero comics. From 2005-2011 she served as one of the compilers of the popular fannish newsletter Metafandom.
Allison Morris (2010-2011) Allison Morris has a BA in Japanese Literature from the University of Michigan and currently works in a public library as a public services supervisor. A lifelong fan, Morris is particularly interested in fanworks that honor the work of other fans and transform other fanworks, including remixes, podfic, recs, and other fan arts. She is a prolific creator and advocate of podfic; she built and maintains the Audiofic archive, providing a stable, permanent home for a constantly growing collection of podfic, and has conducted several podfic workshops. In addition to the Audiofic archive, Morris hosts and maintains websites for a number of other fans, moderates several ongoing communities and challenges, and participates in conventions and fandom-related conferences when she can.
Kristen Murphy (2010-2013) Kristen Murphy is on the staff of the Individualized Major Program at Indiana University and is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs. She co-organized the first U.S. conference on individualized major programs, which has become an annual event. She has worked on a professional Web development team and as a writer and editor for print and online media. Murphy joined online fandom in 1996, beginning with Quantum Leap and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and branching out to numerous science fiction and fantasy fandoms. She is an avid writer, beta reader, and podficcer.
Naomi Novik (2007-2010, 2012) Naomi Novik is the New York Times-bestselling author of the award-winning Temeraire historical fantasy series, which has been translated into twenty-three languages and optioned as a film by director Peter Jackson. Previously, she also worked on the hit computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide and helped start up Juno Online Services. Novik has been active in online fandom since 1994, publishing stories and vids in more than fifty fandoms and founding several fan-run institutions: a multiuser online role-playing game begun in 1995, a vidding convention begun in 2002, and an annual cross-fandom story exchange begun in 2003. She created the open-source Automated Archive software used by many fanfic archives and helped to found the OTW in 2007, chairing the Board from its inception through the first three-year term.
Nikisha Sanders (2011-2014) Nikisha Sanders holds a BA in sociology and anthropology from Earlham College, where she authored a senior thesis on gender representation among queer women. She has worked as an activist for AIDS awareness and education, lobbied for LGBT rights at the local and state level as staff for the Fairness Campaign, and served as member of the board of the Kentucky coalition of Jobs with Justice. She brings experience in non-profit management and accounting to the Board, and has a personal interest in outreach to fannish communities of color. She is relatively new to online fandom, joining in 2000 as an avid reader of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic; and has been writing in various television and film fandoms, including NCIS, Criminal Minds, and Harry Potter, since 2006.
Jenny Scott-Thompson, MA (Cantab) (2012) Jenny Scott-Thompson is an IT and management consultant for a major international firm and has several years of experience in systems implementation and technology projects. She studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge and lives in the UK. She is a lifelong fan and open-source developer. She volunteered for Dreamwidth before and during Open Beta, during which time she acquired further awareness of diversity and accessibility issues. She’s been a fan ever since she learnt to read, with a range of book, TV, film, and RPF fandoms.
Jessica Steiner (2014-2015) Jessica Steiner began her fanfiction career by writing her first Star Trek novel in middle school. By the late 90s, she discovered that she wasn’t the only one doing this kind of thing, and entered fandom, primarily writing in Gundam Wing and Weiβ Kreuz and moving on from there. She’s always been a fandom wanderer, and has written in over 30 fandoms just since finding a home at the AO3. Currently her primary fandoms are Homestuck and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to writing fanfiction, she spends her days practicing law, and working on her professional writing career. She joined the OTW in 2012 and served on the Strategic Planning Committee before joining the Board of Directors.
Michele Tepper, PhD (2007-2008) Michele Tepper is an interaction designer and usability expert who helps companies create memorable and successful software, Web sites, and digital devices. She has published influential essays about online community and social software, and she is the former Web producer for Lingua Franca magazine. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. Tepper was one of the creators and designers of buffistas.org, a fan-built, fan-maintained site centered on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The site has more than a thousand members and has been active for five years.
Alex Tischer (2015-2017), DrMedVet: Is an ECC veterinarian. Grew up in Germany and currently lives in the UK. Has been in fandom since before the millennium and has migrated through more fandoms than can be listed here. The most current ones include Rivers of London, Person of Interest and Mad Max: Fury Road. Has been a member of the OTW pretty much continuously since 2008, volunteering in some capacity for the same amount of time. Apart from media fandom has also somehow ended up in the weird and wonderful world of sports – which are very niche groups that resemble fandoms in surprising ways. When not dealing with sick pets, Alex can be found doing assault courses, climbing and trail running nearly as often as consuming media.
Rebecca Tushnet, JD (2007-2010) Rebecca Tushnet is a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. A graduate of Yale Law School, she clerked for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia and Associate Justice David H. Souter on the Supreme Court. She practiced intellectual property law at Debevoise & Plimpton before joining the NYU faculty, then moving to Georgetown. Her work on copyright, trademark, and free speech has been published in the Yale Law Journal, the UCLA Law Review, and the Texas Law Review, and she maintains a blog on advertising and intellectual property law at http://tushnet.blogspot.com. She has advised and represented several fanfiction Web sites in disputes with copyright and trademark owners. Tushnet has been active in online fandom since 1996 and has written stories in the X-Files, Buffy, and Smallville fandoms, among others.
Elizabeth Yalkut (2010) Elizabeth Yalkut is a student at Columbia University in New York City. She has worked in development, marketing, and strategy for nonprofit legal and theater organizations, is a long-time American Civil Liberties Union volunteer, and currently works for the Educational Technology department at Barnard College. Food is one of her fandoms: Yalkut blogs about food at A Very Uncommon Cook. Yalkut also serves as treasurer of the Columbia University Science Fiction Society, and currently enjoys the hell out of Merlin, Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Pirates of the Caribbean.