The folk of Story Lab are your typical band of bookworms, theatre geeks, Bohemian-activists and lovers of language. We are fans of a good Tolkien reference. We enjoy the occasional anime debate. We eat doughnuts sometimes. Actually, we're a fairly motley crew. But we all have one, important thing in common: we love to write.
Virginia Archer, Community Organizer + Coffee Geek
Virginia is a founder and organizer for the Story Lab. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in anthropology and political science. After college, she put her cultural studies to good use and began exploring writing, film, gastronomy, and innovative education. Virginia believes in the importance of doing what you love and enjoys helping others explore themselves and the world through the creative arts. She's been in non-profit administration since 2010, having worked to help at-risk youth, mental health patients and people experiencing homelessness.
Her interests are writing, the arts, film, cooking, community organizing and celebrating life.
Lindsey Duga, Current Writing Mentor + Author
Lindsey Duga developed a deep love for courageous heroes, dastardly villains, and enchanting worlds from the cartoon shows, books, and graphic novels she read as a kid. Drawing inspiration from these fantastical works of fiction, she wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.
By day, she works as an Account Manager at Gatorworks, a Digital Marketing Agency specializing in inbound marketing and website design and development. By night, she writes Young Adult and Middle Grade novels. She has a weakness for magic, anything classical, all kinds of mythology, and falls in love with tragic heroes.
Lindsey Duga's debut A ROYAL'S KISS, in which a princess, trained to use her kiss as only a magic-enhancing weapon, must fight evil alongside a prince who is determined to prove love isn't just a fairytale, will be coming out July 3rd, 2018 by Entangled Teen.
Jackie DeRobertis, Writing Mentor + Curriculum Designer
Jackie DeRobertis is a writer, former teacher, and news junkie. She graduated from Louisiana State University in May 2014 with dual degrees in Philosophy and Literature and went straight to graduate school at Syracuse University where she studied modern and postmodern American literature while surviving a couple of brutal winters. Last year she worked at an inner-city high school in southeast Houston where she taught supplementary Reading courses and AP Language and Composition. Somewhere along the way she was Editor-in-Chief of the delta undergraduate literary journal at LSU and learned a lot about working in a community of writers. She recently returned to Baton Rouge to accept a position at LSU as Communications Coordinator for the Honors College and continues to develop fiction and freelance in her spare time.
Saher Khan, Writing Mentor 2016 - Current
Saher is a scholar in practice and an explorer at heart. She currently studies English literature at LSU, and when she isn’t poring over books to dig up their hidden meanings, she writes her own poetry, prose, and music about growing up as a Pakistani-American Muslim in the Deep South. Beyond writing, nothing gets her more excited than discussing how literature influences and is influenced by the world around us, and more than anything she loves helping students find these connections in their own works.
Daniel Pena, Writing Mentor 2016 + Former Board Member
Daniel Peña is a writer, blogger, book reviewer and journalist. He is a graduate of Cornell University and is currently a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholar at the UNAM. His fiction has appeared in The Rumpus, the Kenyon Review Online, Callaloo, and Huizache among other venues. He’s currently a regular contributor to the Huffington Postand the Ploughshares blog. He is originally from Austin, Texas.
Daniel is currently teaching in Texas after his stint at LSU English. We miss him dearly!
Rebecca Stewart, Filmmaking Mentor + Board Member
Rebecca is the wonder woman behind BRAWL, a women's philanthropic arm wrestling league. She studied film at Louisiana State University and has been working all year with our crew to show us the filmmaking ropes. But most importantly, she is all kinds of awesomeness, and we like her.
Steven de Brueys, Former Board Member
Steven is a go-get-em, way too energetic, entrepreneurial spirit who currently runs his own oddly named marketing company called OctoTribe. Born and raised in New Orleans, Steven began showing his love for film at the tender age of 12, filming comedy shorts and movies around his neighborhood with his brother and friends on his old RCA video cassette camera.
After graduating from LSU, Steven made his way to New York where he helped jump start a film production company called Through The Lens Entertainment, serving as the Head of Marketing. There, Steven started to learn the ropes of film production, script writing and script analysis and continues to write to this day hoping to start up another production company in New Orleans.
Olivia Watkins Hwang, Former Board Member
Olivia is a writer, mountain hiker and perpetually failing gardener from Eastern North Carolina. After working as a journalist and magazine editor, she found that the skills she used to craft her stories were the same ones that companies needed to tell theirs. Olivia told the story of Louisiana’s coastline during and after the BP oil spill on behalf of the State of Louisiana, the narrative of coastal erosion and the tale of fisheries management. She is now living and working out of state with her dreamy husband Nick.
Christina Leo, Writing Mentor 2015-2017 + Former Board Member
Christina graduated from LSU in May 2015 with dual degrees in Journalism and Creative Writing, and is currently a freelance writer and an editorial intern for inRegister Magazine. A white-bearded Romantic in the body of a 22-year-old, she has studied travel writing and oil painting in Florence, sung with choirs in Eastern Europe, and scaled as much of the Great Wall of China as she could without passing out. Above all, she is a lover of art in all its forms, and hopes to do whatever she can to keep it a part of her work and your world.