Theater Arts Director Amalia Ortiz is an actor, playwright, and performance poet. She was awarded the 2020 American Book Award for Oral Literature and appeared on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO. She also starred in the indie film, Speeder Kills. NBC Latino named her book of poetry, Rant. Chant. Chisme. one of “10 Great Latino Books of 2015,” It was also awarded the 2015 Writers’ League of Texas Poetry Discovery Prize. She was chosen to speak at TEDx McAllen 2015. She was awarded the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Grant, a writing residency at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and the 2018 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant to film videos for her book The Canción Cannibal Cabaret & Other Songs. She won a 2021 City of San Antonio Individual Artist Grant to create poetry inspired by women in punk. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a Hedgebrook writer-in-residence alumna. Amalia received her MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.