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Our Crew

The JVN Project Crew consists of hardworking artists, alumns, and students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Zhalarina is a rapper/actress/ producer from Tampa, FL who serves as the co-founder & Executive Director of The JVN Project and is a graduate student of counseling psychology at UW-Madison. She has had the opportunity to travel and be awarded for her work in theatre and music, appearing on stages such as Broadway in New York and the Queen Elizabeth theatre in London, England. Currently, Zhalarina splits her time between the completion of her first rap album and working toward a tour of her one-person Hip-Hop theatre piece, Rose Gold.

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Zhalarina Sanders

Executive Director


Ekenedilichukwu is a writer and actor from Brooklyn Park, MN. He is entering his fifth year as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying neurobiology and psychology. He is currently working to develop his skills as an artist while also striving to incorporate all aspects of his identity within his art.

Ekene Ikegwuani

Director of HR


Jax Neal (he/they) is a poet from Houston, TX. Neal is the 2019 Houston Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador. They've received awards and recognition from the Library of Congress, the National YoungArts Foundation, and Button Poetry. They are a First Wave Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and are studying English and Dance. They work alongside Ella in the Youth Programming division.

Jax Neal

Producer | Youth Programming 


Ella is a poet and student from Madison, Wisconsin. She grew up attending JVN events and currently works in the Youth Programming division of the Project. She is currently a second-year First Wave Scholar at UW-Madison and is studying english. She finds inrpiration in the places and people that raised her.

Ella Dietz

Youth Programming


Dawry is a producer, rapper, and poet from Boston. He is currently a second-year First Wave scholar at UW-Madison. Inspired by his upbringing in youth arts non-profits, Dawry is currently a part of the JVNP Development division. His core belief is that accessibility to resources and opportunities are how youth are best equipped to succeed.

Dawry Ruiz



Born in Philadelphia and raised in Oak Park, IL, Corina is a poet and second-year First Wave scholar at UW-Madison. She is working toward a dual-degree in Environmental Studies and Psychology. Currently working in the Media and Marketing division of JVNP, her core belief is that Hip-Hop is necessary to spark change through activism

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Corina Robinson

Emcee Media & Marketing

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