The Stone Soup Team


Emma Winsor Wood, President and Editor in Chief

Emma joined Stone Soup as Editor in 2017. As a writer, she has experienced firsthand the power of publication to validate, motivate, and inspire, and she is grateful for the opportunity to validate, motivate, and inspire young people via Stone Soup.

Emma is a poet, essayist, and translator. She holds a BA from Harvard in Russian History & Literature, an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in literature from UC-Santa Cruz. Her books include The Real World (BlazeVOX, 2022) and A Failed Performance (Plays Inverse, 2018). Her poetry has received fellowships from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, in addition to appearing in a number of literary journals.

She currently lives with her husband—writer, professor, and Stone Soup teacher Conner Bassett—their two young children, and two aging dogs in Connecticut. You can read more about her on her personal website.

Conner Bassett, Creative Writing Instructor

C Dylan Bassett is an assistant professor of English at Albright college. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His fiction and poetry are published in Chicago Review, Iowa Review, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. He started teaching a regular series of Stone Soup Writing Workshops and a Summer Camp class in 2021.

Caleb Berg, Blog Editor

Caleb joined the Stone Soup team in August, 2020 as a video editor. He now also works as the blog editor and as a writing workshop assistant. In addition to his work for Stone Soup, he also provides video editing and works on special projects with Stone Soup Founder, William Rubel.

He is currently an MFA student in fiction at the University of Houston. In June 2021, he graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in Literature, with a focus in creative writing.

You can find some of his published writing in Chinquapin Literary Magazine, Emerge Literary Journal, and Versification Zine.

Carmela Furio, Production Coordinator

Carmela joined Stone Soup in 2022 as the team’s production coordinator. They are currently at the University of Iowa pursing a BA in English and creative writing, with a publishing specialization, as well as a BA in Italian. They plan to pursue a master’s in library and information science following their graduation. Carmela has a background in book design and project management, and currently lives in Iowa City awaiting the day they can finally adopt a cat.

Tayleigh Greene, Communications and Events

Tayleigh joined the Stone Soup team in 2020. She graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in History, with a focus in Mediterranean (especially Italian) history. In 2022, she spent three months teaching English to students ages 3 to 5 years across two public preschools in Italy, combining her two greatest passions: education and Italy.

Tayleigh lives in Houston and works as a preschool teacher. She loves working with children because their creativity is unmatched. One of her goals in the classroom is to foster a love for reading in her students from an early age.

In her spare time, Tayleigh enjoys cooking (yes, fresh pasta), crocheting, and dancing.

Laura Moran, Refugee Project Director

Laura joined the Stone Soup team in early 2020 as director of the Refugee Project. She also teaches the Society of Young Inklings and Stone Soup summer writing workshop, Anthropology of the Everyday: The Art of Creative Nonfiction.

Laura is a cultural anthropologist with a PhD from The University of Queensland, in Australia, and a master’s degree from Oxford University, in the UK. Her research is on refugee youth and racial identity and she teaches anthropology at universities in the Boston area. Her first book, Belonging and Becoming in a Multicultural World: Refugee Youth and the Pursuit of Identity, was published in 2020, by Rutgers University Press.

Laura currently lives on the Northshore of Boston, MA with her husband, young son, and 11-year-old daughter, an avid reader and published Stone Soup author!

Sophia Opitz, Operations Manager

Sophia joined Stone Soup in 2022.  She graduated from Macalester College with a BA in Music and promptly went into the book industry (although she still plays her viola from time to time). In addition to her work with Stone Soup, she is also a freelance editor of Japanese works in translation, particularly light novels and manga. You can view her (growing!) list of titles here.

Sophia’s other interests include reading fantasy and science fiction, gaming, watching anime, and catering to her cat, Melvin.

Jeff Piekarz, Typesetter

Jeff Piekarz is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa and the Columbia Publishing Course, and lives in Illinois. He is the former designer for patchwork lit mag, and has also done both design and editorial work for earthwords: the undergraduate literary review, The Iowa Chapbook Prize, and New Moon Magazine. He is very excited to be typesetting for Stone Soup, and hopes to begin a career in the publishing industry with this experience! He also likes reading, playing video games, finding new things to cook, and caring for his many, many plants!

William Rubel, Director Emeritus and Creative Writing Instructor

William was the founder of Stone Soup and the Children’s Art Foundation. In 1972, he gathered together a group of fellow students at the University of California Santa Cruz who shared his vision of creating a magazine written by and for children to highlight their creative talents and inspire them.

William is also an author specializing in traditional foodways, the history of bread, and Early Modern British kitchen gardens. His book on hearth cooking, The Magic of Fire (2002), was a World Gourmand Cookbook award winner and a James Beard nominee. His second book is Bread, a global history (2011). He is currently writing a history of bread for the University of California Press.

William lives in Santa Cruz with his daughter, Stella, and their cat, chickens, rabbits, and aviary birds. You can read more about his other interests at his personal website.

Joe Sherlock, Copyeditor and Proofreader

Joe proofreads and copyedits Stone Soup’s magazines and books. He is a poet and writer based in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California’s Central Coast, where he enjoys tinkering with old vehicles, reading and writing on the beach, and practicing traditional archery. Joe read Stone Soup as a child and was fortunate enough to become part of the team in 2018. He believes strongly in Stone Soup’s mission of giving a platform to young writers and bringing their work to their peers. He also particularly enjoys learning from the original and unbridled way that Stone Soup’s young poets craft their verse.

Sabrina Guo, Refugee Project Consultant

Sabrina is a young poet, journalist, musician, researcher, social activist, and humanitarian. She is the youngest global winner of the 2021 Poems to Solve the Climate Crisis Challenge, spoke out against climate injustice and performed in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). She is the recipient of the Civic Expression Award and an eight-time national medalist from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She is the winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award. Sabrina is also an internationally performing violinist, having performed in Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and appeared in UNICEF World Children’s Day music video. She is also the founder of Girl Pride International, a global empowerment nonprofit that uplifts marginalized, refugee, and migrant girls through advocacy, education, leadership, and material support. She is also the founder of Long Island Laboring Against COVID-19, or LILAC, a student-run organization profiled by Disney that donates PPE, meals, and funds, specifically helping disproportionately affected, predominantly-POC areas. Sabrina has been invited to speak as a panelist in various roundtables hosted by elected officials, focusing on combating all forms of hate and discrimination, and advocating for girls’ empowerment to bridge the gender gap. Her activism and humanitarian work has been commended by the White House, Mrs. Michelle Obama, the Senate Commendation Award, and recognized by LI Herald as 2021 Person of the Year.


Gerry Mandel, Editor Emerita

Gerry served as editor and co-director of Stone Soup for more than 44 years, from its inception in 1973 through the publication of the July/August 2017 issue. In addition to her editorial work, Gerry oversaw the design and production of each print issue of Stone Soup and managed the day-to-day operations of the business. She stepped down from these roles in 2017 and currently serves as Operations Manager for the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony.

Dr Jane Levi, Former Managing Editor

Jane was Managing Editor and served on the Board of Stone Soup from 2016-2021. She is a cultural historian, writer, educator and researcher with a particular interest in food, utopianism and space travel. A visiting research fellow at King’s College London she contributes to its Georgian Papers Program, focusing on dining and cookery in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. With teaching colleagues at Birkbeck, University of London, she is co-author of the book Food, Politics and Society: Social Theory and the Modern Food System (University of California Press, 2018) and her writing has been published in books, journals, consumer magazines and on websites–from Gastronomica to GQ. She was co-founder of the artist’s co-operative, Edible Utopia, and co-produced its creative urban growing initiative at Somerset House, London (2016-21). Chair and trustee of the Sophie Coe Prize in food history writing, she lives in London with her cat, Kimchi. You can read more about her on her personal website.

You can read about the current and former Stone Soup interns here.

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