Youth Apprenticeships

The SummerWrite apprenticeship offers high school juniors and seniors and college students a chance to learn alongside our skilled teaching artists each summer. The Claire Allen Social Justice Apprenticeship was introduced in 2021, in honor of former SummerWrite student Claire Allen, to support apprentices with a passion for social justice. 

Meet our apprentices:

Spencer Jude Perez, Claire Allen Social Justice Apprentice

Spencer (he/him/his) is a queer and trans writer and artist currently pursuing a Creative Writing degree at MCC. As the president and editor of Cabbages & Kings Magazine, he holds workshops and meetings for students to connect through their passion for art and writing, and help continue the magazine’s goal of publishing diverse voices and art. While working on a book about the color yellow and its place in everything, especially queer identity, he hopes to help uplift voices and make room for people to develop their craft by honoring their own authenticity in their art.

Social Justice Statement

Social justice advocacy requires an awareness of intersectionality, a theme and commitment many writers must grow with. Growing up I always felt out of place; relating to the world through books was the strongest tether I had to keep moving forward. As a gender non-conforming Latino person, reading in between the lines and learning to craft worlds and words of my own helped me solidify my authentic voice, even in the face of adversity that would rather see me and those in my community silent. In this current social climate, queer and trans people, especially those with other marginalized intersections, must rally together to reclaim our narratives. In a world where we must find our names, we must have the right to tell the stories of how we got them, too. My life and work are forever in the pursuit of that liberation.


Binita Koirala, Claire Allen Social Justice Apprentice

Binita attends Mercy High School as a junior. She has a love for literature and art, and hopes one day to become an educator. She was born in Nepal and moved to New York at the age of three. She now lives with her parents, two siblings and cat in Rochester. She enjoys swimming and spending her time outdoors. As a teacher’s apprentice at SummerWrite, Binita hopes to inspire kids and help them develop a love for writing. 

Social Justice Statement

I think hope lies in the small moments of unity scattered throughout the feelings of fear and uncertainty. The unity we experience when collectively fighting for justice serves as a beacon of light for me. I find the most hope during protests and acts of resistance, when I see groups of people come together for the common goal of equality. I remember going to a protest for Jacob Blake because I was so angry at our city’s failure to respect and care for black lives. Standing amongst the people holding posters and shouting I felt powerful, like I was capable of making a change. The experience gave me hope; despite the horrible reason we were all together, there was a feeling of empowerment that I will never forget. The poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes changed my perspective of the world because it made me realize my dreams and hope for the world could explode into a beautiful reality.


Amy Sherman, SummerWrite General Apprentice

Amy is an aspiring teacher and will graduate with an MEd in Social Studies Education from the University at Buffalo in 2022. She graduated with a BA in History and minor in English from the University at Buffalo in 2020, and loves to encourage collaboration across both subjects. Amy joined Writers & Books in 2019 and immediately felt at home. She is excited to return for her third year as a SummerWrite Apprentice!




Lyndsay Tudman, Claire Allen Social Justice Apprentice

Lyndsay is a senior creative writing major at SUNY Geneseo. She is originally from North Syracuse, where she spends the summers with her parents, brother, and dog, Cookie. Outside of writing and reading, she loves to explore music and get involved with her acapella group on campus. Her favorite foods are fresh cherries and roasted red peppers (though not together). This is Lyndsay’s first year as an apprentice at Writers & Books and she is very excited to get to know everyone and help the campers with their writing! 


Social Justice Statement

Gun control has always been something Lyndsay has advocated for. A turning point for her was when she was watching every news channel cover the events surrounding the Stoneman Douglass shooting because she began to realize how widespread the issue was. She quickly got involved with March for Our Lives and began to attend rallies and marches held in the city of Syracuse to help make a difference. Somewhere Lyndsay finds hope is in her best friends. A lot of her inspiration for her writing comes from them because they have left her with a strong support system and she knows that she can always rely on them. A book that changed the way Lyndsay views the world was the poetry book The Black Maria by Aracelis Girmay because of the way Girmay portrayed grief and humanization towards the exploitation of the enslaved people of African countries, a narrative Lyndsay hadn’t found in any other books. 


A’Viyannia Billingslea, Claire Allen Social Justice Apprentice

A’Viyannia Billingslea is finishing her creative writing degree at Monroe Community College. She enjoys reading and writing, but she is also very big on environmental awareness. She enjoys exploring botanical gardens and aquariums, and coffee shops. She looks forward to working as an Apprentice/Intern with the SYEP program alongside Vanessa, and exploring the establishment of Writers & Books as a whole.


Social Justice Statement 

In the term of social justice, the systematic displays of our country catch the eye. I find hope in knowing that when we leave this world, we leave it to the younger generations of youth. Whom we have instilled the compassion, love, empathy, and knowledge to do better. As for a book, though ironically on a completely different subject. I had a love for The Lorax by Dr. Suess, the one quote I always refer back to is, “ Unless someone like you who cares a whole lot nothing is going to change, it’s not.” It was meant to reference the compassion for the environment, but the same saying can be used towards every individual. As for a time I stood for what I believed in, as a teacher I take pride in talking to the children about accepting the differences of every individual. A Hispanic child called an Asian child a foreigner, and I stopped the entire class. I put them all in a line and told them to look at each other, I asked three questions. “Does anyone in this classroom look like you?, Are they apart of this class?, and will you see them again tomorrow?“ It was important for them to realize that we are all different and not any one person is the same. Also projecting that in this classroom you will all see each other again so we respect, acknowledge, and work together with each other. After that he apologized and the day continued.


Maggie Keating, SummerWrite General Apprentice

This is Maggie’s second year as an apprentice at Writers and Books and her seventh year attending SummerWrite. She will be a senior at Sutherland High School and is planning to major in English in college. Maggie loves being a friend to the students at SummerWrite and making their experience unforgettable. In her free time, she likes to visit the deer who live at Mendon Ponds Park and spend time with her dog. 




Natalie Eckl, SummerWrite General Apprentice

Natalie Eckl is so excited to be returning as a SummerWrite apprentice for her second summer! She is a Rochester native who graduated this past spring from George Washington University with a degree in English and Creative Writing. When she isn’t reading, you can find her testing out scone recipes, attempting to crochet, or relaxing with her cat, Tybalt.




Hana Oh, SummerWrite General Apprentice

Hana Oh is an undergraduate student majoring in Arts for Children and minoring in Theatre at SUNY Brockport. She loves telling stories, particularly through short fiction, nonfiction, and short plays. Besides reading and writing, she enjoys cooking and eating Korean food, traveling to new places, taking walks, and shaking off her stress to disco music such as Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” As an aspiring educator and artist, one of Hana’s joys in life is witnessing students’ imaginations spark and accompanying their creative journeys.



Chasity England, Claire Allen Social Justice Apprentice

Bio: Chasity England is 19 years old and goes to the University of Rochester with a major in English and a minor in History! She’ll be a summer apprentice for the Social Justice camps and her interests include writing, reading, and discussing music. Oftentimes you’ll catch her reading a book or advocating for BIPOC rights!


Social Justice Statement 

A time I stood up for what I believed in was during the pandemic when the protests for George Floyd were happening and I took to the New York City streets to protest along with people who knew the justice system needed change and even helped those who had gotten hurt with tear gas and rubber bullets. I find hope in the future generations and my own, knowing that we are the voices that are opening up a discourse that has been closed and considered taboo up until recent years. A quote that changed how I view the world was from Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series who wisely stated, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light”.