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Meet Our Regional Team

About Us


Lisa Crayton, Co-Regional Advisor

A versatile author of 17 children’s nonfiction books, including JUNETEENTH (2021), and co-author of ONLY LIGHT CAN DO THAT: 60 DAYS OF MLK (2023), Lisa’s background as a writer, editor, public speaker, and sensitivity/authenticity reader brings a wealth of experience to fostering top-notch programming in our region.


Nicole Davis PhD, Co-Regional Advisor

Nicole and her husband Tony co-founded EMPOWER TO ENGAGE to support families and organizations. Their children’s series GROWING UP WITH BENDIE THE SQUIRREL was written to teach children important life skills. In addition to sharing leadership gifts nurtured by her career in mediation, coaching, and training, Nicole edits our monthly Regional Roundup E-blast.


Cheryl Mendenhall, Illustrator Coordinator

Cheryl's stories and illustrations have appeared in Highlights and other magazines, a cowboy-themed board book, and several decades of early readers. A long-time SCBWI member, Cheryl understands the importance of lifelong creative growth, building community, and giving back.

Our Regional Volunteers


Sam Cameron, Critique Group Coordinator

Sam(she/her) is the book coach behind Truant Pen, a YA author, and high school history teacher. She believes that all children deserve to see themselves represented in great books. They deserve your story…and you deserve a chance to tell it! As Critique Group Coordinator, Sam wants to foster community and connection in our chapter. Everyone needs a network of support to create their best work.


Laurie Carmody, PAL Coordinator

Laurie lives in Maryland and is the author of BIG TRUCK PLAYDATE (Beaming Books, 2023). Her stories have themes of finding inner strength, embracing uniqueness, and building empathy. She also loves a good pun and humorous wordplay. As PAL (Published and Listed) Coordinator she helps published authors in the region connect with each other and explore ways to market their books.


Mirka Hokkanen, Webinar Coordinator

An award winning author-illustrator, Mirka is best known for her picture book series KITTY & CAT, graphic novel series MOSSY & TWEED, and her nonfiction picture book series LITTLE SEASONS. As a military spouse and mom to three kids, Mirka has learned to adapt quickly to all kinds of situations, and turn challenges into opportunities. As Webinar Coordinator, Mirka puts together a year-round schedule of online events accessible throughout our region and the world.


Orly Konig-Lopez, Event Coordinator

A reader, writer, dreamer and co-founder of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Orly shares her planning expertise with our region.


Jennie Moore, Delaware Liaison

After decades of serving the communities where she lives and works, Jennie has evolved into an early childhood advocate, helping young children and the adults who care for and educate them. She enjoys honing her writing skills among a supportive community of authors and illustrators. As the Delaware Liaison, she works to help fellow SCBWI members feel connected and encouraged to pursue and achieve their personal publishing goals.


Krystal Waters-Howard, Social Media Coordinator

Originally from a small town in Georgia, Krystal currently resides in the Maryland-DC area, where she is a wife and mommy of two kids who keep her busy and inspired to illustrate. As Social Media Coordinator she also finds time to help with graphics and spread the word about regional events on Facebook, X, and Instagram.

RA Emeritus

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Lois Szymański

was Regional Advisor of SCBWI MD/DE/WV for over 10 years. A writing teacher and weekly correspondent for the Carroll County Times, she is the author of over 27 books, 2 series, and many short stories, including the picture book SURFER DUDE (2017).

Visit our profile pages

Sam Cameron
Author, Educator, Editor
Laurie Carmody
Lisa Crayton
Regional Advisor
Nicole Davis, PhD
Co-Regional Advisor
Mirka Hokkanen
Author, Illustrator
Krystal Waters Howard
Orly Konig-Lopez
Cheryl Mendenhall
Illustrator Coordinator
Jennie Moore
Lois Szymanski

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