People

Founding Directer

Jeanne Marie LaskasJeanne Marie Laskas (she/her) is the author of eight books, including To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope; Concussion; Hidden America; and an award-winning trilogy of memoirs. A Distinguished Professor of English, she teaches writing at Pitt and is the creative force behind the Center for Creativity.  

Director of Strategy & Partnership

Kit Ayars (she/her) is the Director of the Center for Creativity, her most recent administrative gig at the University. She began her academic administration career at Pitt in the Arts & Sciences’ graduate studies division before working in the Office of the Provost and Pitt Information Technology. She did her graduate work in literature and cultural studies at Pitt and has taught composition, literature, and nonfiction writing. She has published both nonfiction work and poetry. 

Founding Producer, C4C: The Pittsburgh Lens

Carl Kurlander (he/him), a Pittsburgh native who helped launch the University’s Pitt in LA film program, has made a variety of award-winning films at the University of Pittsburgh: The Shot Felt ‘Round The World, about the development of the Salk polio vaccine; Burden of Genius, about Dr. Thomas Starzl’s pioneering work in the field of organ transplantation; and The Rehabilitation of the Hill, which allowed Pitt students and members of the Hill District community to work alongside industry professionals in the making of a feature film. He is also a screenwriter (his credits include St. Elmo’s Fire) and TV writer/producer (including NBC’s Saved by the Bell franchise). Other work includes the Starz TV series The Chair, which followed two directors making different movies from the same script in Pittsburgh and won the 2015 TV Critics Award, and the documentary My Tale of Two Cities, which told the story of Pittsburgh reinventing itself for a new age.

Staff

Chloe BaierlChloe Baierl (she/they) graduated from Pitt in April 2020 with a degree in Nonfiction Writing and English Literature. Fueled by a passion for learning and creativity, she loves to help other people tap into their curiosity. Chloe is a fiber artist who likes to make her ideas tangible through knitting, and she loves to experiment with different art and making disciplines. She also enjoys creative writing, reading literary fiction, coffee making, and sourdough baking.

Shannon FinkShannon Fink (they/them) is the Center for Creativity Operations Manager. They are a former carpenter who began in the theater, building and painting sets and working as a stage manager. They transferred their creativity into the construction field and worked as a remodeler in residential construction. Their interests include painting, printmaking, and woodworking. They are always looking for new ways to create.  

Will FullerWill Fuller (he/him) is a visual artist. He is passionate about using and understanding how visual media communicates all types of information. He is devoted to cultivating a multi-disciplinary approach to creative endeavors and engaging across displinces. He is excited to engage with folks on whatever they are passionate about. He has formerly been a bike mechanic, a farmer, and a teatcher.
 

William Gillis (he/him) is fascinated by the creative process and loves helping the Center's users discover and explore their creativity. He writes and records music at home and also enjoys drawing, painting, stenciling, and a variety of other creative activities. William has worked as an editor and a writer for popular and academic publications. He has also taught classes in journalism and American studies.

Angela Hindes (she/they) is a cartoonist and comics creator with a background in painting and illustration. She loves art as a form of storytelling and is passionate about helping others explore mediums with which they can tell their own stories and discover art that brings them comfort. Angela enjoys writing ghost stories, exploring old, mossy abandoned buildings, and is a big fan of breakfast food.
 

Erik SchuckersErik Schuckers (he/him) is the Center for Creativity Programming and Communications Manager. He is also a former marching and jazz band nerd who has worked in nonprofit and corporate management. He is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. He has a special interest in combining words and images through collage, Instagram, and zines.  


Ariel Skovera (she/her) loves getting involved in all kinds of art mediums and helping people create different pieces of artwork. With a background in photography and film production, she has worked on film sets and assisted on photo shoots for various publications. Besides photography, she enjoys writing poetry, painting, and road tripping to various parks.

Student Workers

Matthew MonroyMatthew Monroy (he/him) is a writer with a passion for all things creative and explorative. Stirred by the power of imagination, he enjoys consuming and critiquing media of the past and present. Matthew will graduate in spring 2023 with a degree in English Literature, Film, and Nonfiction Writing. 



Natasha O'BrienNatasha O'Brien (she/her) is a sophomore studying Environmental Science. She has an interest in the way changes to the environment impact public health and combines natural science classes with public health courses to explore this relationship. When not in class, she pursues artistic ventures, including novel writing, painting, jewelry making, hair dyeing, designing clothes, and doll making.

Nori SchallesNori Schalles (she/her) is a senior environmental science major with a passion for incorporating sustainability into her everyday life. She is enthusiastic about using scrap materials as a way of expression and has a background in pottery and ceramics. Nori is the Vice President of Epsilon Eta Delta, Pitt's Environmental Honors fraternity. In her free time, she enjoys visiting National Parks, hiking, and reading.

Graduate Student Assistant

Sade TukuruSade Tukuru (she/her) is an aspiring interdisciplinary public health practitioner with a focus on infectious disease and health equity. Her background as a microbiology student, musician, and dancer has allowed her to explore intersections between seemingly disparate fields. Sade is passionate about cultivating wellness through education in the arts and enjoys helping others find solace in the creative process. She is eager to learn more about theater, visual arts, and creative writing. BS University of Pittsburgh (Microbiology, Certificate in Global Studies)