Our Team & History

Founder and CEO 

Elea-Maria Abisamra

I remember writing stories in first grade and second grade — I used to print out pictures of Mickey Mouse characters, gluing them on papers and making my own plot with them. My books were stapled and composed with my sloppy handwriting, but they were stories that I was creating. I know that many children have done the same thing, wishing their final work could have professional binding instead of paper clips or staples. My mom’s friend, Noelle Jesmer, published her own book when I was in the third grade through a website called CreateSpace (now known as Kindle Direct Publishing), and showed me that it was, surprisingly, a free and simple process. I ended up publishing a story I wrote in the third grade two years later, and the day I got my first check from people who bought my book was the craziest day of my life. It was such a thrilling and odd feeling knowing that people were paying to read my stories. I felt like I was already accomplished and a professional. That day was the moment I created the first Kids Can Write website in 2013, and realized I wanted all children to have the same opportunity I did. 

Presently, I am an Honors College Junior at Virginia Tech majoring in Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience and minoring in Chemistry and Creative Writing. During my free time, I like to go on walks and read, spend time with my friends and family, and write as many stories as I can. I created this organization to give back to communities and give kids a chance to explore different fields as they work to become Published Authors. 

Your creativity can take you to great places if you let it — to new worlds and dimensions, to solutions and questions, to any point in time where anything can be, and we're here to help you along your journey.

Welcome to Kids Can Write!

Board of Advisors

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence is a senior instructor in the English department at Virginia Tech, where she also serves as the Writing Center Director.

Jeff Mann

Jeff Mann

Jeff Mann has published six books of poetry, three collections of short fiction, three volumes of personal essays, six novels, and a memoir.  He teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Sarah Clinton

Dr. Sarah Clinton

Dr. Sarah Clinton is an Associate Professor in the School of Neuroscience at Virginia Tech, where she holds the position of Associate Director of the School and Director of Undergraduate Programs. Her research and teaching focus on mental health and the biology of emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. In addition to her scholarly work, Dr. Clinton is dedicated to mentoring students and building programs to help them advance their careers.

Dr. Amanda Brown

Dr. Amanda M. Brown

Amanda M. Brown is an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research group uses immunodeficient mice to model HIV-1 infection of the central nervous system to identify and study cellular pathways involved in inflammation and neurodegeneration. Over the course of her career she has chosen to be deeply invested in training the next generation of diverse researchers.

Dr. Michael Fox

Dr. Michael Fox

Michael A. Fox, Ph.D., is the Director of the School of Neuroscience and the Director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute neuroSURF Program at Virginia Tech. He is also a Professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. Dr. Fox is also the principal investigator in the Fox Laboratory.

Dr. Aparna Shah

Dr. Aparna Shah joined Virginia Tech as an Assistant Professor in 2021 after completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. As an educator, she is eager to prepare students to enter the workforce as confident and creative problem-solvers. Her ultimate goal is to help students understand the scientific method, communicate neuroscience effectively, and develop healthy skepticism as well as an analytical worldview.

Christina McIntyre

Christina McIntyre is the Director of Professional Development, National and International Scholarships at Virginia Tech. She is also the Vice President of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and serves on the Board of Directors for The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Laura Omi Townsend

Laura Townsend currently serves as the Director for the Innovate Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community (LLC) under the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. Laura is a passionate advocate of community building and student development at the collegiate level and is especially interested in issues related to racial and gender equality and neurodiversity.

Amy Baldwin Efird

Amy Baldwin Efird brings her expertise in creating connections and partnerships in the start-up space to her career in technology. She is the person who will chat you up in the elevator about rescue dogs, music, and science trivia (or the cool socks you have on). Amy is a professional, union actor and an avid hiker. She is also the founder of DBI Coaching, which gives business professionals the resources to be amazing speakers and presenters. 

Timeline of KCW

Kids Can Write was an idea first created in 2013 by Elea-Maria Abisamra after she self-published her own book that she wrote in the third grade. The concept of Kids Can Write was to help kids with a passion like she had to self-publish their own books, too!

After arriving at Virginia Tech University as a freshman, almost a decade later, in Fall 2021, Elea realized she could turn this dream into a reality by creating Kids Can Write's very first Chapter at Virginia Tech as a Student Run Organization on campus.

Since June 2022, Kids Can Write Club At Virginia Tech has been founded and running, consisting of determined and passionate students at Virginia Tech!

In January 2023, another chapter for the regular program was created at George Mason University. Kids Can Write has also branched into more programs, such as our Neuroscience Program currently available in Blacksburg, and an Entrepreneurship Program available online! Kids Can Write has also expanded to underserved communities in the Middle East, and is provided as a program in hospitals along the East Coast for cancer patients. We are now also in collaboration with the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership.