Executive Director:
Zhalarina H. Sanders

Zhalarina is a rapper/actress/ producer from Tampa, FL who serves as the co-founder & Executive Director of The JVN Project and is a graduate student of counseling psychology at UW-Madison. She has had the opportunity to travel and be awarded for her work in theatre and music, appearing on stages such as Broadway in New York and the Queen Elizabeth theatre in London, England. Currently, Zhalarina splits her time between the completion of her first rap album and working toward a tour of her one-person Hip-Hop theatre piece, Rose Gold.

Senior Manager:
Amina Iro

Originally from Bowie, Maryland, Amina is now a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Neuroscience and English Creative Writing. As a spoken word poet and performer, Amina has performed in cities all across the United States, as well as England and South Africa. In her writing, Amina explores her identity as a Black Muslim Woman to educate and inspire those around her.

National Programming Director:
Darian Wilson

Hailing from “The Brew City” aka Milwaukee, WI, Darian Wilson has been involved in spoken word for almost 10 years. He has attended Brave News Voices as a competitor, mentor, and coach. He has also hosted and competed in the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam. The only thing that rivals his love for spoken word is his love of youth work. He has been a youth worker for over 7 years. Darian is currently the High School Program Coordinator at the Goodman Community Center.


OutReach & Development Director:
TIffany Ike

Tiffany is a visual and spoken word artist from Houston, TX and currently is a senior at UW- Madison. She dabbles in different art forms such as singing, and photography and likes to involves herself in many activities. She is currently the Artist In Residence at the Wheelhouse Studios and runs for the UW-Madison track team. 

Youth Programming director:
Samantha Arriozola

Samantha Arriozola is a first-generation Chicana from Des Plaines, Illinois. Samantha began her poetry career as a participant of Louder Than A Bomb, an annual youth-poetry slam in Chicago. Currently a senior studying English-Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Samantha was a One Life Writing Workshop Facilitator with The JVN Project from 2014-2017 at Madison East High School. In the fall of 2016, Samantha became the Youth Programming Director of The JVN Project, overseeing the One Life Writing Workshop Series within the Madison Metropolitan School District and throughout the Madison community, as well as training all incoming One Life Workshop Facilitators. Within her time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Samantha has also received an honorable mention for the 2017 George B. Hill Poetry Prizes, became the Student Assistant of the Go Big Read/Teaching & Learning Programs Office, and was one of three founding members, as well as the External Director (2015-2017), of The Open Seat— the first student-run, student-serving food pantry at the UW-Madison campus.

Media & Marketing Director:
Tehan Ketema

Hailing from Berkeley, California, Tehan is an artist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Communications & Photography. She began writing with YouthSpeaks and since then has used writing as a core tool in her interdisciplinary art projects. Tehan is active in the Madison community and has a radio show on WSUM 91.7. Currently, Tehan is spending her time completing her degree, serving The JVN Project, and working on a visual arts show in Madison.