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College Writing Program | Faculty

John Hyman
Director, College Writing Program
MA, University of Maryland
John Hyman began teaching at American University in 1986. He has won several teaching awards and was recognized for outstanding service to the university community in 2000. He has directed the Writing Center since 1993, and in 2000 became the director of the College Writing Program. In addition to many courses in writing, he has taught courses in American Studies, the Beat Generation, and the history and literature of the Vietnam War. He did his graduate study at the University of Maryland, where he met his wife, Betsy Alperin. Now he and Betsy are somehow outnumbered by their sons, Jake (18) and Max (17).

Janet Auten
Director, Writing Center
PhD, Bowling Green State University
Janet Gebhart Auten directs the Writing Center and teaches the graduate Teaching Composition sequence. She holds an MA from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a PhD in Rhetoric/ Composition and American Lit. from Bowling Green State University. Her published articles concern nineteenth-century American women writers and teachers’ responses to student writing, and her current project concerns the ways we talk about academic writing. 

Angela Dadak
International Student Coordinator
MA, Monterey Institute of International Studies
Angela Dadak received her BA in Russian Area Studies from Dartmouth, and then, after teaching English abroad in Poland and Peru, she returned to the US and earned her MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies on the central coast of California. In her position as International Student Coordinator for the CWP at AU, she primarily works with students adjusting to US academic work and with the CWP faculty who have international students in their classes. Outside of work, she enjoys reading science fiction (good stuff and brain candy), watching movies with her husband (the department’s film geek), and playing violin with a local symphony orchestra.

Schedule an appointment with Angela Dadak.

Cynthia Bair Van Dam
MA, American University
Cindy Bair Van Dam joined the Department of Literature faculty in 1995. She earned an MA from American University in 1993 and a BA from the University of Nebraska in 1991. Prior to teaching at AU, she taught at Howard University. Her professional interests include political rhetoric, children's literature, and composition theory. Her less than professional interests revolve around college football, pop culture (read: television advertising), and academic novels.

Edward J. Comstock
MA, American University     
Ed Comstock holds an MA in Literature from American University, and is an ABD PhD in the Department of Education at American University. His dissertation focuses on applications of the philosophy of Michel Foucault to education, specifically looking at how Foucault can help us understand the ADHD phenomenon. In addition, Ed holds a BS from James Madison University, where he double majored in Sociology and English. He began teaching classes for the College Writing Program in fall 2006.

Chuck Cox
MA, American University
Chuck Cox received his MA in Literature from AU and his BA in English from Temple University in Philadelphia, not far from his Pennsylvania hometown. His academic interests include composition, drama, and the cultural roles of popular genres (e.g. mystery, SF/fantasy, musical theater). These are frighteningly close to his non-academic interests: reading mystery and fantasy novels, following theater with obsessive avidity, watching too much British television, and fiction writing.

Robert Drummond
MFA, George Mason
Rob Drummond earned his MFA from George Mason University, where he also taught expository and creative writing. Before that, he worked as a technical editor in Los Angeles and a high school teacher in New Orleans. He is a voracious reader of twentieth century American fiction, and when he’s not teaching, he’s spending time with his wife and young son or working on his own fiction writing.

Lydia Fettig

MFA, American University
Lydia Morris Fettig holds a BS in Social Science from Portland State University (in Oregon, not Maine!) and an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. Prior to teaching at AU, she taught writing and literature courses at University of Maryland University College for four years. Her academic interests include modern and post-modern literature, issues involving social and economic disparities, deviance, and the American criminal justice system. Her personal interests concern her family, animal rights, short story writing, and anything that makes her laugh uncontrollably.

Caimeen Garrett
MFA, Syracuse University
Caimeen Garrett has an MFA in Fiction from Syracuse University, and is ABD in the doctoral program at Florida State University. She is currently working on her dissertation, a collection of linked stories about the Lindbergh kidnapping. Her academic interests include epistolary fiction, Newgate/sensation novels, the governess novel, and contemporary fiction. Her personal interests include historical research, waxworks, felting, the history of aviation, famous unsolved crimes, and all things Bronte.

Leah Johnson
MA, American University
Leah Johnson holds an MA in Literature from American University and an MA in Music from The University of Connecticut. She has been teaching in the Department of Literature since 1996. In previous incarnations, Professor Johnson has been a staff reporter for the Hartford Times; Co-Founder, Producer, and Artistic Director of Dumbarton Concerts and Yehudi Menuhin's Live Music Now! USA; and a teacher of piano and theory at the University of Connecticut, Maret School, The Potomac School, and at her private studio. In addition to her teaching at AU, she is a freelance writer and editor and conducts writing workshops for the New Directions Program of The Washington Psychoanalytic Foundation.

Kelly Joyner
MFA, George Mason University
Kelly Joyner began teaching at American University in 2000. His courses have thematic links to psychology, sports, and history. Lately, he’s most interested in the psychology of deceit in politics, sports, academia, and the entertainment industry. He’s a product of the Northern Virginia suburbs where he still lives with his wife and three kids. In his non-teaching hours, he writes poetry and fiction and plays music.

Caron Martinez
MFA, George Mason University
MS, London School of Economics and Political Science
A native Californian, Caron Martinez earned her BA in English from Williams College before joining the United States Information Agency as a Foreign Service Officer assigned to the US Embassies in Quito, Ecuador, and Mexico City. While living in places as varied as Los Angeles, London, and Virginia, Ms. Martinez worked in a number of managerial positions ranging from public relations firms to government agencies. Because of her special interest in group dynamics, she earned her MS in Organizational and Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science during part of the five years she called the U.K. her home (1996-2001).

She has taught Business Writing at the University of Maryland, College Park; English as a Second Language at NVCC; and assorted composition, creative writing and literature classes at George Mason University, where she also earned her MFA in Creative Writing in 2007. Besides motivating students to build their confidence and finesse as writers, she is working on a novel and is passionate about two non-profit efforts dedicated to helping children in Kenya and in Nicaragua.

Jocelyn McCarthy
MFA, American University
Jocelyn McCarthy received her BA in English from Cornell University and her MFA in Creative Writing from American University. She writes fiction and nonfiction, and is currently at work on several projects. She has lived and worked in Thailand, and traveled extensively in south and southeast Asia. Her interests include running, yoga, and spending time with her husband. 

Heather A. McDonald
MFA, American University
Prior to teaching, Heather McDonald wrote and edited website content for a national nonprofit organization. Her academic interests include classical rhetorical strategies, strengthening individual writers' voices, graphic novels and memoirs, and the phenomenon of food-themed literature and media. She is working on a collection of essays.

Glenn Moomau
MFA, University of Maryland, College Park
Glenn Moomau has taught at American University since 1995. His book from Apathy Poets Press, Ted Nugent Condominium, profiling a young rock'n'roll band as they criss-cross the American landscape in search of an audience, was published in the winter of 2001.

Randon Noble
MFA, New York University
Randon Billings Noble received her BA from the University of Michigan and her MFA in fiction from New York University, where she taught creative and expository writing before coming to AU in 2001. She has also taught Shakespeare classes in NYU's Summer in London program as well as creative writing courses in summer programs at Amherst, Williams and Bennington College. Interested in visual as well as textual forms of nonfiction, she writes familiar essays and makes short documentary films. She is currently working on an essay collection called The Summer before Marriage.

Stina Kasik Oakes
MA Boston College
Stina Kasik Oakes earned her MA from Boston College and her BA from the University of New Hampshire. Prior to teaching at AU she taught high school English in Central Virginia and writing at Central Virginia Community College. Her academic interests focus on the creation of the self in writing and the exploration of how writing unlocks the inner psyche. Her personal interests revolve primarily around her two young children and husband. In the little time left for herself, she enjoys quilting, watching trashy TV dramas, and reading contemporary fiction.

Trisha Reichler
MA, American University
MA, Catholic University
Trisha Reichler joined the faculty as an adjunct in 2000 and became a full-time instructor in 2003. She holds an MA in Literature from American University, an MA in Education from Catholic University and a BA in English from George Washington University. After teaching middle and high school English, she took a slight detour from the education setting and spent fifteen years as the director of various civil rights programs for state and local governments. Her primary research interests are the writings of nonviolent resistance and composition theory. Her primary non-research interest is her family. Her daughter, a college junior, constantly reminds her how complicated the life of a college student can be.

Adam Tamashasky
MFA, American University
Adam Tamashasky graduated from the University of Dayton with a BA in English, then followed that rousing triumph with his MFA in Creative Writing from American in 2002. Now he's returned to AU with the College Writing Program, a fact which thrills him. Academically, he loves modern American fiction, poetry, the Romantics, and just about anything else inked onto a page. When not reveling in the Ivory Tower, Adam works on his fiction, spends afternoons at the movies, and plays a surprising amount of Xbox. Sara, his wife and a native New Yorker, turned him into a Yankees fan."

Alison Thomas
MFA, America University
Alison Thomas earned a BA in English and Spanish from Cornell University. She completed her MFA in creative writing at American University. Currently she is at work on revising her first book, a collection of linked short stories called “Our People.” She has taught College Writing at AU since 2005 and has previously taught Spanish language classes. Her interests include ethnography, trashy pop-culture, humor writing, translation and the Red Sox.

Kate Wilson
MA, Medieval Studies
MA, English
Kate holds Master’s degrees in English and Medieval Studies from the Catholic University of America, and a BA in English and Music from Stanford University. Her academic interests include medieval literature, 15th century British drama, classical rhetoric, composition theory, and the “literature of food.” When she’s not in the classroom or office hours, Kate enjoys spending time with her family, going to classical music concerts, rooting for the Nats (albeit somewhat in vain these days!), and playing bad tennis. She also admits to playing the viola.

Lacey Wootton-Don
MA, American University
Lacey Wootton-Don completed her MA in Literature at AU in 1999 and has taught in the College Writing Program since then. Prior to her time at AU, she earned a BA in English from U.C. Berkeley, worked in publishing for two years, and returned to Berkeley to earn her teaching credential in English through the Bay Area Writing Project. She taught English in Northern California and on U.S. military bases in the Philippines, northern Japan, and Okinawa. Her teaching and research interests include issues of classroom authority and ways to encourage students to engage in more intellectually based (as opposed to purely skills-based or formulaic) writing practices.