Hofstra University Continuing Education

Writing Instructor Bios


Leslie Stern Abramowitz is a full time writing consultant, freelance editor and business owner. During her years as a high school English teacher and book editor for major publishing houses like Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster, she shared her passion for helping people develop their writing skills. For the past twenty years she has helped students and writers with a variety of writing projects, from school assignments and college essays to novels and memoirs. In addition to the experience, her educational training from Brown University (B.A. English and American Literature) and Columbia University's Teachers College (M.A. English Education) has provided her with a depth of content knowledge and the pedagogical tools necessary to help people with a variety of skills and achievement levels.

Maria Cerniello Long Island playwright, Maria Cerniello, teaches writing to students of all ages. A Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Maria has studied with OBIE winner, Annie Baker and director Jeff Bennett of Bare Bones Repertory Company. She has taught at New York University School of Education, participated in N.Y.U. Educational Theater and directed a children’s theater program in NYC.

Carol Hoenig : Carol is President of Carol Hoenig, Publishing Consultant, Inc. She works with authors and publishers in a variety of ways, from first drafts to putting together book proposals to creating publicity and marketing campaigns. Carol is a freelance writer with two published novels. Her essays are in numerous anthologies. She was named Best of Long Island Author 2012 by the Long Island Press and named Outstanding Advocate for the Arts 2013 by the Long Island Arts Council. You may find out more about her at www.carolhoenig.com

Janice Levy is the award-winning author of nineteen children's books, including Alley Oops, Gonzal Grabs The Good Life, Finding The Right Spot, The Runaway Radish, I Remember Abuelito, Abuelito Eats With His Fingers and the Spirit of Tio Fernando. Translated into Spanish, Chinese, Italian and Japanese, they're used in nationwide reading programs, classroom curriculum, and sold in book stores internationally. Her adult fiction won the Writer's Digest Competition for Best Literary Short Story three times. Her work appears in numerous anthologies and literary magazine, including Glimmer Train, Story Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly, Iowa Review, Greensboro Review and The Sun. She has taught juvenile and adult fiction in Hofstra's Summer Writing Program. When she writes for children, she pretends she's a child. When she writes for adults, she's still a child, she just has bigger parts. For more information, visit janicelevy.com

Sandra Mardenfeld B.A., Buffalo State College; M.A., New York University, PhD, Rutgers University. Freelance writer, editor, and teacher based in Long Island, New York. She has worked as the managing editor for several national magazines, as the Broadway editor of Playbill, and as an editor/writer on many websites. Sandra has written for more than 50 newspapers, magazines, and websites. Her features, articles, essays, and reviews have run in such publications as Bride & Groom, Newsday, Allure, Distinction, The New York Times Book Review, Parents and Children, The Daily News, Jewelry Connoisseur, ModernBride.com, Elegant Bride, Working Woman, Time Out New York, Stagebill, The Christian Science Monitor, Entrepreneur.com, Retail Ad World, American Bookseller, Construction Equipment Guide, and Good Dog. Sandra's review of Snow White for Show Showdown won the 2012 Society of Professional Journalists/Press Club of Long Island Award for Best Online Arts Journalism.

Ellen Meister is the author of five novels, including Dorothy Parker Drank Here (Putnam 2015), Farewell, Dorothy Parker (Putnam 2013),The Other Life (Putnam 2011) and The Smart One (HarperCollins 2008). Honors include being selected for the prestigious Indie Next List, foreign language translations of her work, appearances on NPR, and receiving a TV series option from HBO. Her nonfiction has appeared in Publishers Weekly, New York Times, Wall Street Journal blog, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Long Island Woman, Writer's Digest and more. Ellen mentors emerging authors, and does public speaking about her books and about Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table. For more information visit her website at ellenmeister.com.

Dina Santorelli B.A., M.A., Hofstra University. Voted one of the best Long Island authors for two consecutive years, Dina Santorelli has been a freelance writer and editor for over 16 years and has written frequently about entertainment, travel, business, and pop culture. Dina currently serves as the executive editor of Salute and Family magazines for which she has interviewed many celebrities, including James Gandolfini, Tim McGraw, Bryan Adams, Ashanti, JR Martinez, David Cook, Angela Bassett, Mario Lopez, Gary Sinise and Kevin Bacon, among others. She has collaborated on a variety of nonfiction book projects, including Good Girls Don't Get Fat (Harlequin, 2010) and Bully (Weinstein, 2013), the companion book to the acclaimed documentary. Her most recent book, Daft Punk: A Trip Inside the Pyramid, was published in January 2014 by St. Martin's Press. Dina is currently working on a sequel to her award-winning debut novel, Baby Grand, which was a top-rated Mystery/Thriller on Amazon Kindle. For more information about Dina, visit her website at http://dinasantorelli.com

Devra Newberger Speregen is the author of more than 100 children's books, including many 'tween chapter book series, celebrity biographies, puzzle/activity books and the 2011 children's book series based on Bo Obama, First Puppy. She is a former book and magazine editor at Scholastic and The Walt Disney Company, and most recently helped AOL launch their popular 'tween/teen site, JSYK.com. Devra received a Sydney Taylor Honorable Mention Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries for her biography Ilan Ramon: Jewish Star and a Simon Rockower Award for her feature article "On Eagle's Wings: Operation Solomon" for BabaGaNewz Magazine.

Peter Vanderberg served in the US Navy from 1999-2003 and received a MFA from Queens College, CUNY. His work has appeared in CURA, Ozone Park, LUMINA and in collaboration with his brother James’ paintings in their book, Weather-Eye (Ghostbird Press, 2011). He teaches Art, Writing and SAT Prep at St. John’s Preparatory School.

Stephen Young BA -Long Island University MSW - SUNY Buffalo. Young is a long time not-for-profit executive. He was Associate Director of the JCC of Mid-Westchester for 19 years, and Executive Director for eight years. Also a writer, Young spent the early part of his professional life scripting television shows. His credits include episodes of The Jefferson’s, Sanford & Son, as well as many other shows that are only remembered by his relatives and serious television buffs.
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