Our Super Cool Staff
Nithya Thiru (Interim Executive Director) was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. While in high school, she developed a love of storytelling as an Alaska Teen Media Institute producer. She later went on to work as the News, Sports and Public Affairs Director for KRUA 88.1 FM at the University of Alaska Anchorage where she graduated with a BA in History. She recently completed her Master of Public Administration in Human Rights and Gender Policy at Columbia University. Now, after two years away from her home state, she is thrilled to be back in Alaska to serve her community as an advocate and educator. Nithya enjoys hiking, reading tarot and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Growing up among immigrant communities in Anchorage, she has witnessed the power of storytelling to bring folks together and create spaces for both healing and joy.
Regan Brooks (Grants and Programs) was born and raised in New York City and has called Anchorage, Alaska home for eleven years. She first developed her love of storytelling and the humanities in high school* but took a brief detour into the sciences because birds, plants and physics are awesome too. A former science teacher, ornithology research assistant, fry-cook, and costume character, Regan holds a BS in Government from Cornell University and an MS in Botany from the University of Vermont. She loves being a mom to her two kids, taking them hiking even when they don’t want to go, and hearing them tell stories about it later. She believes storytelling helps us make sense of what matters most and she’s grateful to all who have collaborated, through storytelling and listening, to make Story Works possible.
*Thank you, Mrs. Frosch and Mme. Krauthammer!
Annelise Burgess (Program Associate) was born in Anchorage, Alaska. Her one goal at age 7 was to work at an ice cream store. Having accomplished that at age 16, she decided to pursue her secondary dream by beginning her college education at Evangel University. The result: a B.A. in Global Leadership with a minor in French. Her resume includes noteworthy positions such as: Little League Umpire, College Football Film Guy, Food Truck Worker, Congressional Intern, ESL Teacher, Au Pair, and, of course, Ice Cream Store Attendant. She currently works with Anchorage-based high schoolers helping them pursue their ice-cream-like dreams through Story Works and Anchorage Youth Court. Annelise can often be found playing hide-and-go-seek with her nephew and hiking/skiing/backpacking/running into the Alaskan wilderness as much as humanly possible.
Our Amazing Contractors
Cari Zawodny (Student Advisory Team Facilitator) is the facilitator of Anchorage Youth Vote, the Spirit of Youth Teen Advisory Council, and the Story Works Alaska Student Advisory Team. A long-time Alaskan, Cari earned her BA in Filmmaking from Montana State University, and is the former Director of Anchorage’s Promise. Cari is raising two amazing kids and loves dance, writing, and making things with her hands. If she could have any super power it would be the ability to locate keys with nothing but the power of her mind.
Chuck Herman (College Essay Workshop Facilitator) grew up in Bethel and his childhood meals often concluded with the adults drinking decaf coffee and telling stories for hours. He is a proud graduate of Ayaprun Elitnaurvik (Yup’ik Immersion) and Bethel Regional High School (BRHS). After graduating from college in LA, he returned to BRHS as a College and Career Guide and worked with 7th-12th grade students on thinking about what they want to do with their lives. After moving and spending a few years in Boston, he is overjoyed to be back in Alaska and embracing living on the road system for the first time. He loves hearing and coaching people’s stories and is lucky to have coached people from all over the world. Chuck has a BA in Sociology and Public Policy from Pomona College and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.