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Writing Center | Consultants

Meet the Staff

Writing Center

When you come to the Writing Center, you will work with one of our writing consultants who are undergraduates and graduate students, mostly in the Department of Literature.

We're students too, so we're well-versed in writer's block! We've put together some of our favorite reads to get your creativity flowing.

Beth Caravella, a first year MA student,  enjoys reading 20th century literature for school, and young adult or fantasy literature for pleasure. Her favorite authors include Mina Loy, V.C. Andrews, Virginia Woolf, Italo Calvino, and Richard Knaak. Her biggest problem with writing is getting motivated to start.

Madison Chapman is a junior Literature major in the Honors program. She is from Sarasota, Florida, where every day the weather is perfect and you never have to worry about coats or snow boots. She loves reading everything from Harry Potter to Romantic poetry, and Gothic novels to queer theory.

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Matt Ehlenbach is a first-year M.A. student with special interests in literatures of the American South and North Africa, modernist and post-modernist fiction, and contemporary French memoir. He particularly enjoys the works of Thomas Hardy, Émile Zola, Virginia Woof, William Faulkner, Assia Djebar, Salman Rushdie, Annie Ernaux, and Nina Bouraoui. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, he loves live music and fine art and tries to go to as many concerts and art galleries as he can. His biggest challenge with writing is attempting to be concise! 

Simone Feigenbaum is from Brooklyn, NY, and spent four years in Nowhere, PA for undergrad, so she's really glad to be in a real city again. She is a second-year MFA student, and her favorite poet is Sylvia Plath. Her biggest problem with writing is getting started.

Olympia Georgeson is a first-year Creative Writing MFA student who loves reading Tomas Tranströmer, Li-young lee, Mark Strand, the Brontë sisters and Thomas Hardy. She has previously been living in Brooklyn, New York. The most rewarding aspect of academic writing for her is shaping a creative, convincing thesis;and the most tedious, is making the final editing touches.

Eleanor Greene is a senior Journalism major and Creative Writing minor from Central Massachusetts. Eleanor can find something good about most things she's read, and often reads modern teen lit right along with 20th century classics. Eleanor likes writing fast then going back for editing.

Hanna Grieb is a first-year MA student. She was born in Sandy Spring, Maryland, but spent several years in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she studied at Hampshire College. Her favorite books include Desde los blancos manicomios by Margarita Mateo Palmer, No Telephone to Heaven by Michelle Cliff, The Last World by Christoph Ransmyar, and The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Her greatest challenges with writing are getting started and finally, letting go.

Rachael Groat is a junior Literature and Secondary Education double major in the Honors program from Pennsylvania.  She enjoys reading anything by Seamus Heaney, especially his translation of Beowulf, and loves the Lord of the Rings, A Grief Observed, Mansfield Park, the Black Cauldron, Blue Nights, and Thrall.  The hardest part of writing for her is working without a deadline.

Sarah Johnson is a first-year MFA student studying poetry. She is from Danville, IL. Her favorite authors include James Joyce, Louise Gluck, Mary Oliver, William Blake, Toni Morrison, and Harriet Jacobs. She loves learning about the technicalities associated with grammar as well as researching various topics in women’s and gender studies, although she still struggles with being too literal in her writing.

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Emma Lister is a first-year MA student. She got her BS in Elementary Education with a minor in Autism Studies from St. Joe's. She is a Harry Potter fanatic, and also enjoys slightly more sophisticated readings, like Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson.

Hanna Mangold is a first year MFA-creative writing student. She grew up in Alexandria, VA, but has spent the past couple years living in Shepherdstown, WV while studying English at Shepherd University. She prefers literature from the mid-late 20 authors include J.D. Salinger, Salman Rushdie, John Kennedy Toole, Edward Abbey, and Kurt Vonnegut. Hanna also has a soft spot for children's and young-adult literature such as the works of Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Norton Juster, and Robert Cormier. 

Ragini Menon is a senior double majoring in International Studies and Journalism. She has lived inChennai, Bombay, Bangalore and Hong Kong. She loves a number of Indian authors, including Amitav Ghosh, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and Jhumpa Lahiri. Her biggest problem with writing is leaving it to the last minute!

Joellyn Powers is a 2nd-year MFA student in fiction from Lititz, PA, but she spent the past four years completing a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her favorite authors include mostly contemporary writers, such as Lorrie Moore, Aimee Bender, and Robert Boswell, but she enjoys work by older writers as well, especially Flannery O’Connor and Jane Austen. She loves the absorbing experience of writing a good story, but sometimes has trouble staying focused and determined to finish.  

Sarah Sansolo is a 2nd-year MFA student who has lived most of her life in the DC area. Her favorite authors are Jeanette Winterson and Joyce Carol Oates. She loves putting her thoughts down in words, but she struggles with writing that tricky first paragraph and tends to overuse commas.  

Devin Symons is a second-year MFA student from right here in Washington, D.C. He went to the University of Pittsburgh for undergrad and spent time afterward working and living in Japan and traveling the world. He loves writing and teaching and looks forward to meeting you.  

Writing consultants

Kangsen Wakai is an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction who considers Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao a post-millennial literary gem, and finds Saul Williams’s poetry—a genre he reads the least of—stimulating. He was born in Cameroon, and has lived in Chicago, Houston, Boston and now Washington DC.

Hannah Williams is a first year MA student of Literature. She grew up in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Some of her (many) favorite authors include Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Woolf. The thing she likes most about getting started on a writing project is the excuse to get a fresh cup of coffee.

Join the Staff

The Writing Center is only as good as its staff of talented Writing Consultants. We train and support our staff and set up a schedule that is right for them. So if you are an AU student with an interest in writing and in helping other people, we have an internship for you!

If you are a rising junior or senior or a grad student here at AU, and you have a solid GPA and good writing skills, the Writing Center offers you 3 hrs. undergraduate or graduate course credit and a chance to try out a teaching interest.

After an initial intensive training period, interns work regularly scheduled hours each week in the Writing Center, meeting one-to-one with AU undergraduates to advise them on their writing projects.

Interns also complete a semester-long research project concerning an academic writing topic of their choice and present the results to Writing Center staff at an end-of-semester gathering.

For more information and an application, stop by the Center in Bender Library, first floor, or contact the Director, Dr. Janet Auten: jauten@american.edu.