Who We Are

Headquarters and Regional Leaders

KATIE ORENSTEIN, Founder and CEO of The OpEd Project, writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media and mythology – that is, what we think is fact or fiction and how that shapes our ideas about politics, culture and history.  She has contributed to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald. Her commentaries on women, power, popular culture and human rights have been nationally syndicated. She has lectured at Stanford and appeared on ABC TV World News, Good Morning America, MSNBC, CNN and NPR All Things Considered.  A graduate of Harvard (BA) and Columbia (MA) universities, she is the author of Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale, which explores stories told about women over 500 years and how they shape our lives today.  Orenstein has worked around the world and particularly in Haiti, where she reported, consulted with the United Nations, and worked with a team of human rights lawyers to assist victims of military and paramilitary violence in seeking justice.  She is a recipient of The Diana P Scott Integrity in Action Award, and a fellowship from Echoing Green, which selected The OpEd Project as one of the most innovative social enterprises worldwide, out of 1500 applicants. Click here for more


ZEBA KHAN is the Director of The OpEd Project's Public Voices Fellowship Program.  She is also a writer and social media consultant. Having never written an op-ed, Zeba attended the Op-Ed Project seminar in early 2009. Later that fall, she was first runner-up in the Washington Post’s “America’s Next Great Pundit” competition, beating out nearly 5000 other aspiring writers. Zeba has since written in numerous media outlets, including the Christian Science Monitor and the Huffington Post.  As a social media consultant, Zeba has worked in the nonprofit and higher education sectors. Most recently, she consulted with Harvard University’s Law Lab at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the Ashoka Foundation’s GenV, and the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies. Her insights and work have been featured in numerous media outlets including NPR, Newsweek, Reuters, Voice of America, The Guardian and The Stanford Social Innovation Review. Her work with the List Project was also highlighted at the 2009 Personal Democracy Forum Conference in New York and on the tech site Mashable.com. A Fulbright Scholar, Zeba received a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a joint MA/BA from the University of Chicago.


ALYSSA BEST is the Senior Program Manager for The OpEd Project.  As a career coach, trainer, and speaker, she offers guidance and skills on topics related to career and professional development to build leadership for social change. She has mentored and worked with emerging leaders at Wider Opportunities for Women, the Center for Progressive Leadership, and the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University. Her writing has appeared in scholarly and mainstream media, including The Huffington Post. She contributes to a group blog on career issues: LYJ: Love Your Job, Love Your Life.


CHELSEA CARMONA serves as The OpEd Project’s Manager of the Public Voices Fellowship Program and West Coast Regional Manager, managing programs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since attending the "Write to Change the World" seminar in January 2012, Chelsea's work has been featured in media outlets like The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2008, she conducted a comparative study at UCSD, which examined drug policy and incarceration demographics in the U.S. and in the Netherlands. Chelsea enjoys learning from the incredible OpEd Project community every day. 



COURTNEY BAXTER is the Chief of Staff at The OpEd Project, based in the New York City Headquarters office.  She wakes up in the morning to spend time with people addressing the world's problems, and thus, is thrilled to be at The OpEd Project.  In her "spare time" she runs a crowd-sourced street-art project, Queer in Public, works on community initiatives at Feministing, and sings karaoke.  To find out more about her path to The OpEd Project, read her piece in the New York Times here.




Fellowship Leaders and Teachers


ZEBA KHAN is the Director of the Public Voices Fellowship Program.  She is also a writer and social media consultant. Having never written an op-ed, Zeba attended the Op-Ed Project seminar in early 2009. Later that fall, she was first runner-up in the Washington Post’s “America’s Next Great Pundit” competition, beating out nearly 5000 other aspiring writers. Zeba has since written in numerous media outlets, including the Christian Science Monitor and the Huffington Post.  As a social media consultant, Zeba has worked in the nonprofit and higher education sectors. Most recently, she consulted with Harvard University’s Law Lab at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the Ashoka Foundation’s GenV, and the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies. Her insights and work have been featured in numerous media outlets including NPR, Newsweek, Reuters, Voice of America, The Guardian and The Stanford Social Innovation Review. Her work with the List Project was also highlighted at the 2009 Personal Democracy Forum Conference in New York and on the tech site Mashable.com. A Fulbright Scholar, Zeba received a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a joint MA/BA from the University of Chicago.



JANUS ADAMS - Emmy Award winner, journalist/historian, talk show host, cultural critic. A scholar of African American and women’s history, Adams specializes in putting current events into historical perspective. An NPR commentator and publisher/creator of BackPax children’s media, her column is in its fourteenth year. Read more about her at www.JanusAdams.com


Read the OpEd Project Interview with Janus Adams



Rose Aguilar hosts Your Call, a daily call-in radio show focusing on politics, social issues, the environment, and the arts. It airs from 10-11am PST on KALW in San Francisco and KUSP in Santa Cruz. Listen online at yourcallradio.org. She's also an op-ed contributor for Al Jazeera English and provides a weekly commentary about undercovered activism for KPFK's Uprising. She has written for Truthout and is the author of "Red Highways: A Liberal's Journey into the Heartland," which is about a six-month road trip she took through the so-called 'red states' to interview people about issues they care about and why they vote the way they do (or not). Rose has appeared on the BBC and GritTV with Laura Flanders. She speaks on panels about women's issues, the media, and current events. Connect with Rose on Twitter: @roseaguila


CHLOE ANGYAL a writer and commentator from Sydney, Australia. She is based in New York City. Chloe is an Editor at Feministing, where she blogs about gender, sex, politics, pop culture and body image. Her freelance writing has been published in The Atlantic, The LA Times, The Guardian, Jezebel, Slate, and Salon. Her writing covers a range of topics, including sexual assault prevention, women in politics, and reproductive rights. She has also appeared on MSNBC, Al Jazeera English, and NPR. Chloe’s academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis, currently in progress, is about how the genre depicts gender, sex and love.


JENNIFER BLOCK has been a journalist for twelve years. She writes about women, health, science, sustainability, abuses of power, and social justice for publications including Time, The Daily Beast, The Village Voice, The Nation, Babble, ELLE, ReadyMade, and Walrus. She is the author of Pushed: The  Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care, which was named a "Best Book of 2007" by Kirkus Reviews and a Best Consumer Health Book by Library Journal. She continues to speak frequently on maternity care issues and has written commentary for the Los Angeles Times, The UK Guardian, Alternet, and Huffington Post.  A former editor at Ms. magazine, Jennifer was also a senior editor at the short-lived but well-loved sustainable lifestyle magazine Plenty. She joined The Op-Ed Project in 2012 and currently co-leads a Public Voices Fellowship at Emory University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.



MARY C. CURTIS is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Charlotte, N.C. She contributes to The Washington Post "She the People" blog, TheGrio.com, TheRoot.com, NPR, Women's Media Center and Creative Loafing, where she wrote a weekly column on the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. A public speaker and commentator, Curtis also appears weekly on TV's WCCB News Rising Charlotte. Other venues include public broadcasting shows, including "All Things Considered," "Here & Now" and "Tell Me More," MSNBC, CNN and Newsweek/Daily Beast TV. Curtis was national correspondent for AOL's PoliticsDaily.com, covering politics, race and culture. She has worked at the New York Times, where she helped create The Living Arts section in the national edition, the Charlotte Observer, as executive features editor and syndicated columnist, the Baltimore Sun, Arizona Daily Star and Associated Press. A 2006 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Curtis contributed to the Nieman Watchdog Website and was a 2011 fellow at the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs at Ohio State, journalism's first social media fellowship. Read more about her work at www.maryccurtis.com.

ABBY ELLIN is the author of "Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs in on Living Large, Losing Weight and How Parents Can (and Can't) Help." For five years, she wrote the "Preludes" column, about young people and money, in the Sunday Money and Business section of the New York Times. She also regularly writes the "Vows" column in the New York Times Sunday Styles section, as well as feature assignments for that section. Her work has appeared in a range of publications, including Time, the Village Voice, Marie Claire, More, Self, Glamour, the Boston Phoenix, and Spy (RIP). Her 14-part series, "How to Raise a Millionaire," ran on Msn.com. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. But her greatest claim to fame is naming "Karamel Sutra" ice cream for Ben and Jerry's.


E.J. GRAFF’s award-winning reporting and provocative commentary have, over the past 25 years, appeared in venues ranging from early gay and lesbian publications to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The New Republic, and Slate. Her first book, What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution (Beacon Press, 1999, 2004), written while she was a fellow at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library, was called “the bible” of the same-sex marriage movement. Her work on Getting Even: Why Women Still Don’t Get Paid Like Men–and What To Do So We Will (Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, 2005) launched lead author Evelyn F. Murphy’s campaign to end the gendered wage gap. Graff’s work has been cited widely in academic and law review articles, governmental and quasi-governmental reports, NGO research, court filings, textbooks, syllabi, and other policy discussions. She regularly gives talks, keynotes, and presentations at colleges, churches, conferences, and other forums in the U.S. and internationally, and has been interviewed on public, private, and cable news and documentary outlets such as NPR, ABC, BBC, CBC, Logo TV, MTV, PBS, and beyond. Currently, she is a contributing editor at The American Prospect and The Advocate, and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.


GINNA GREEN, a veteran journalist, editor and op-ed writer, handles communications and media relations for the California office of the Center for Responsible Lending, a research and policy organization headquartered in Durham, N.C. Prior to joining CRL, Ginna was Director of Public Relations at Full Court Press Communications in Oakland, California, where she worked on a diverse portfolio of clients primarily in the areas of the environment and education. She has also worked as an editor at AlterNet, as a strategist for the Breakthrough Institute and was a Leland-Emerson Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center in 2000. Ginna edited, with Dr. Julianne Malveaux, the 2002 anthology The Paradox of Loyalty: An African-American Response to the War on Terrorism.

KATHERINE LANPHER is the OpEd Project Senior Seminar Leader, leader of our 2012-2013 Public Voices Thought Leaders Fellowship at Dartmouth College and led the pilot 2011-2012 Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship at Yale University. A veteran public radio journalist, she has been heard as a host on WNYC New York Public Radio, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio, most recently as the host of PRI’s foreign policy documentary series “America Abroad. She was the host of a weekly podcast on the economy for TIME.com and in 2008 received a Gracie for best national radio magazine show from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television for her work as host and creator of “More Time,’’ an hour-long magazine radio show that broadcast on XM Satellite Radio. She is the host and executive producer of "Upstairs at the Square," a reading and performance series for the Barnes and Noble Studio page (www.bn.com/upstairs) that Daily Candy has described as "an awesome literary salon on a date with an intimate rock concert.” Her op-eds, travel pieces and essays have appeared in the New York Times, MORE, Marie-Claire, Slate.com and other publications. Her memoir “Leap Days,’’ an account of her simultaneous move to both Manhattan and midlife, received four stars from People magazine and was reviewed in the New York Times and featured on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.’’ She moved to New York in 2004 to serve as the co-host of “The Al Franken Show,’’ as heard on Air America Radio and seen on the Sundance Channel. She began her career as a reporter and columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota.

SHARON LERNER is a journalist focusing on work-life balance, education health equity and other issues affecting families in the United States.  A Senior Fellow at Demos, she is writing a book, “Chutes and Ladders: Learning from the Best – and Worst – Places to Raise Children in America.” She has also written extensively about reproductive politics.  Lerner’s first book, "The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation" (Wiley, 2010), put a human face on American family policy. NPR called it “A stinging account of how public policy and private businesses have failed to adapt to working mothers. ” “The Los Angeles Times” described it as “An infuriating, galvanizing read — a page-turner for working moms.”  Lerner has worked as a writer, reporter and public radio producer. A former Village Voice columnist, she has also written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, The Nation, Salon.com, DoubleX/Slate.com, and Ms, among other publications.  Lerner is the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the Front Page Award for News Coverage, and the Jane Cunningham Croly/GFWC Print Journalism Award, and a special award from the Women and Politics Institute. She went to Brown University and the Columbia School of Public Health. Before coming to Demos, she was a senior fellow at the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs.


JOE LOYA is an author, essayist, playwright, and contributing editor at the Pacific News Service. His op-eds on politics, religion, criminal justice issues, and other cultural events have appeared in national newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Newsday, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He has appeared as a commentator on television (CNN, CBS NEWS/48 Hours, FOX's The O'Reilly Factor, COURTV) and radio (This American Life), and he has lectured at numerous colleges and universities (including USC, NYU and Mills College). As a young man, he moved from a violent home life to a life of crime, robbing over 25 banks in the state of California before he was eventually arrested and sent to prison. During seven years in prison, including two in solitary confinement, Joe examined his past and began to re-write his life story, figuratively and literally. With the prize-winning Mexican American writer Richard Rodriguez as a pen pal and an inspiration, Joe eventually left prison and became a writer. His memoir, The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell, was published in September 2004 by HarperCollins, to high acclaim. Joe has worked with Walden House in San Francisco to help former prisoners re-enter society, and to change the lives of those who want to escape the revolving doors of homelessness, substance abuse, and imprisonment. A firm believer in the need to own one's story in order to make radical change, Joe has gone into California State Prisons and other Walden House reentry facilities to conduct writing workshops. Joe has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a Sundance Writing Fellowship, a Sun Valley Writer's Conference Fellowship and a Soros Justice Fellowship. He lives with his wife and young daughter in the Bay Area.

courtney martin



COURTNEY E. MARTIN is an author, blogger, and speaker. She is also the author of five books, including Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, and Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women. She is Editor Emeritus at Feministing.com, Founding Director of the Solutions Journalism Network, and Partner at Valenti Martin Media, a social media strategy firm. Her work has recently appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and MORE Magazine, among other national publications. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely on Millenials’ re-imagining success and social change. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She has led the Op-Ed Project’s Public Voices Fellowship Programs at Princeton and Yale Universities and is a strategist for the TED Prize. Read more about her work at www.courtneyemartin.com.

LAURA MAZER is a veteran Op-Ed editor, book editor, and publishing consultant. In the 1990s, she was the managing editor of Creators Syndicate, the international agency that represents some of the most widely published opinion writers around the globe, including Molly Ivins, Arianna Huffington, Hillary Clinton, Tony Snow, Robert Novak, Susan Estrich, Benazir Bhutto, and Pat Buchanan. The columns she has edited have appeared in close to every daily newspaper in the country, and many international papers as well. Laura is also a book editor, having worked with publishing houses such as Avalon Publishing Group, Perseus Books Group, Soft Skull Books, Sierra Books, Counterpoint Press, and Random House. Her focus as a book developer is on nonfiction and groundbreaking cultural analysis. In the 1990s, Laura was a senior editor at Brill's Content magazine, a fiercely independent monthly magazine that kept a close eye on media’s cultural and political influence. She has served as the columns editor at the award-winning literary magazine Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined, and as the special sections editor at the Los Angeles Times.


KELLY NUXOLL is a freelance writer and writing teacher. Her essays and articles have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, and the Huffington Post, and she co-authored "Work on Purpose," a nonfiction book about social entrepreneurs. She's taught writing for over ten years, including the Logic and Rhetoric course at Columbia University. She has a MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia and a BA from Yale.



CATHERINE O’NEILL GRACE is a longtime editor and writer. She edited Tufts Veterinary Medicine magazine for the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine from 2008-2010, and has been editor of Creative Living magazine, a quarterly published by Northwestern Mutual, since 2001. In the 1990s, she edited Independent School magazine for the National Association of Independent Schools in Washington, D.C. She wrote “How & Why,” a health and science column for kids, for the Washington Post, from 1985-2000. Her first job in publishing was as “literary assistant” at The New Republic.  Catherine co-authored Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children (Ballantine 2001) with psychologists Michael G. Thompson and Lawrence J. Cohen. Her children’ book, The White House: An Illustrated History, was published by Scholastic in 2003. Her many other nonfiction titles for children include Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Colonial Voyage (2003); and 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving (2002), published by National Geographic.  Catherine grew up in New Delhi, India, and Washington, D.C. Her father was a U.S. diplomat and novelist, her mother an editor. She holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MA from Georgetown University. She lives in New York City.   


TERESA PUENTE is an assistant professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She also is the editor and publisher of Latina Voices http://latina-voices.com/wp04/ and writes an independent news and opinion blog for Chicago Now (Chicago Tribune Media Co.) called Chicanísima http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicanisima/ Puente was previously a reporter at the Chicago Tribune and also was a member of the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board and wrote a column for the op-ed section. Puente has also worked for dailies in southern California and for Hispanic Link News Service in Washington, D.C. She also is the recipient of the Studs Terkel Award from the Community Media Workshop for her coverage of Chicago’s diverse communities. She has been a journalist for almost 20 years and in that time has written extensively about immigration and the Latino community in the United States.

DEBORAH SIEGEL, PhD is an expert on gender, politics, and the unfinished business of feminism across generations. She is the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild, co-editor of the literary anthology Only Child, founder of the group blog Girl w/Pen, and co-founder of the webjournal The Scholar & Feminist Online. She is a Founding Partner of She Writes, the largest online community for women who write, with over 20,000 active members from all 50 states and more than 30 countries. Deborah’s essays and op-eds on women, feminism, contemporary families, sex, and popular culture have appeared in publications including CNN.com, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Slate’s The Big Money, The Huffington Post, The American Prospect, Ms., More, and she has been featured on television and radio, including The Today Show, Good Morning America Radio, Pacifica Radio, and The Wendy Williams Experience. Currently a Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University, she has been a visiting fellow at Barnard College and the University of Michigan as well. Deborah recently relocated from Brooklyn to Chicago with her husband and toddler twins and lives online at The Pink and Blue Diaries, where she blogs about gender, parenthood, writing, and life. Visit her at www.deborahsiegelwrites.com.


MARTHA SOUTHGATE, an OpEd Project Fellowship Leader, is the author of four novels; her newest is The Taste of Salt, published by Algonquin Books. Her previous novel, Third Girl from the Left, won the Best Novel of the Year award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was shortlisted for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy award. Her novel The Fall of Rome received the 2003 Alex Award from the American Library Association and was named one of the best novels of 2002 by Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post. She is also the author of Another Way to Dance, which won the Coretta Scott King Genesis Award for Best First Novel. She received a 2002 New York Foundation for the Arts grant and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Her July 2007 essay from the New York Times Book Review, “Writers Like Me” received considerable notice and appears in the anthology Best African-American Essays 2009. Previous non-fiction articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, O, Premiere, and Essence.


MICHELE WELDON: An award-winning journalist and author for more than three decades, Michele Weldon is an assistant professor of journalism at the Medill School of Northwestern University, where she has taught since 1996. She is the director of the Northwestern Public Voices Fellowship, and was a co-leader in the Public Voices Fellowships at Stanford and Princeton universities. Her first book, I Closed My Eyes (Hazelden/ HCI, 1999),was translated into seven languages and was released in 2012 with a new edition as an ebook. Writing to Save Your Life (Hazelden/HCI, 2001), has been translated into four languages and has been the basis of her Writing to Save Your Life Workshops over the last 10 years. It was also released in 2012 as an ebook. Her third book, “Everyman News: The Changing American Front Page” (University of Missouri, 2008), won the National Federation of Press Women nonfiction book award in 2009. Weldon has written chapters in This I Believe on Fatherhood (Wiley, 2011), Encyclopedia of 21st Century Media (Sage, 2009) and Conversations with Joyce Carol Oates (University Press of Mississippi, 1989). She has written columns, news and features for newspapers, websites, magazines and radio such as Al Jazeera, Alternet,org, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Dallas Times Herald, Dial, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, More.com, Newsday, Nieman Narrative Digest, Parenting, Seventeen, U.S. Catholic, Writer’s Digest, West Suburban Living, womensenews, Woman’s Day and hundreds more. She completed a series of narrated, animated lessons in journalism on TED Ed and competed in the Moth Story Chicago GrandSlam in 2012. A popular public speaker, Weldon has delivered close to 200 keynotes across the country and Canada on issues related to women and the media, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television shows in the United States, Europe and Canada including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “"The Bob Edwards Show" on NPR, “Milt Rosenberg Show,” “NBC’s Later Today,” “ABC Sunday Morning,” “CBS Morning Show,” and BBC-TV. She is a former member of the board of directors of Journalism & Women Symposium and is a member of the board of advisors for Global Girl Media and a member of the Association for Women Journalists. She has been working with The OpEd Project since 2011.