Consultant Biographies & Specialties
African -American Studies
Business & Professional Writing
East Asian Studies
Job Search Materials
Medicine & Nursing
Mixed Media/Genre Projects
Proposal & Grant Writing
Sue Mendelsohn is the Writing Center's director. She has more than a decade of writing consulting experience. She regularly presents her research on multimodal composing, visual rhetoric, and composition history at national conferences and has published articles on writing center theory and administration. In addition to her own scholarly work, Sue teaches University Writing. She earned her PhD in English with a specialization in rhetoric and composition from the University of Texas at Austin. Specialties: American literature, APA style, business & professional writing, job search materials, MLA style, multimedia composing, personal statements, University Writing.
Alexander Landfair is an assistant director of the writing center. He holds a MFA in writing from Columbia and a BA in religious studies from the University of Florida. As a UWP instructor, a corporate writing consultant, and a magazine editor, he has experience working closely with students and professionals at all stages in their development as writers. Specialties: business & professional writing, ESL, fiction, grammar, job search materials, poetry, publishing, University Writing, long projects, literary non-fiction, documentation styles.
Jason Takayuki Ueda
Jason Takayuki Ueda is an assistant director of the writing center. He teaches composition at Hunter College and Empire State College. His interests include modern and contemporary poetry, Japanese medieval history, labor studies, media and culture, cooking, and bike riding. Jason received a BA from Hunter College and an MFA in poetry from The New School. Specialties: American literature, Art Hum, British literature, close reading strategies, comparative literature, East Asian studies, grammar, Lit Hum, MLA style, personal statements and application essays, poetry, University Writing, long projects, American studies.
After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Virginia, Allen Durgin worked as a professional actor in New York for nearly ten years before returning to academia. Currently a lecturer at Baruch College, he recently earned his PhD in English at The Graduate Center--City University of New York, Allen has spent the better part of a decade teaching writing and literature to a wide range of undergraduate and graduate students. He has experience working with students from a variety of disciplines, from public policy to law, from anthropology to economics. He particularly enjoys working with master's students and doctoral candidates on their theses and dissertations. Specialties: American literature, British literature, comparative literature, dissertation writing, fiction, film, grammar, job search materials, linguistics, Lit Hum, MLA style, personal statements and application essays, philosophy, poetry, political science, theatre, thesis writing, University Writing, long projects, literary non-fiction, American studies, women and gender studies.
Alyssa Pelish is a freelance writer and editor. Her essays, articles, reviews, and fiction have appeared in Slate, Science, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Quarterly Conversation, 3 Quarks Daily, Pop Matters, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. She earned her B.A. from Carleton College, her M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and completed doctoral course work in English literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has taught literature and writing at both the college and high school level. Specialties: literary analysis, creative writing, science writing, personal statements, grammar and usage.
Amanda Culp is a PHD student in the Doctoral Subcommittee on Theater at Columbia University. Though she specializes in classical Sanskrit drama, she has broader interests in translation theory, classical drama in adaptation, and performance theory. She holds a BA in Drama from Vassar College and an MAR in Asian Religion from Yale University. When she is not reading and writing, she is likely cooking or doing yoga.
Writing Center Specialties: academic humanities writing; personal statements; project proposals; dramatic literature.
Bridget Potter, a writer, has a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia and an MFA in Literary Non-Fiction from Columbia’s School of the Arts. She taught University Writing at Columbia for three years, and conducted memoir-writing workshops for the Columbia Summer High School program. Her work has been published in Guernica, Quarto, Best American Essays and The Wall Street Journal. She reviews non-fiction for Publishers Weekly, for whom she also writes author interviews.
Before entering GS at Columbia, she had a long career in television, as an executive and also as a producer, most prominently as the head of Original Programming at HBO. Her specialties: University Writing, Lit. Hum, C.C., Art Hum, Literary Nonfiction, Personal Statements, Anthropology, History, Sociology, Film and Media Studies, and GS.
Daniella Gitlin is a writer, translator, editor. She studied comparative literature at Princeton University and received her MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia, where she taught University Writing for two years. Her translation of Rodolfo Walsh's Operación Masacre (Operation Massacre) was published by Seven Stories Press in 2013. Daniella's writing and translations have appeared in CineAction, Huffington Post, Asymptote Journal, and sensesofcinema.com. Her consulting specialties include: talking about ideas with an eye towards structuring a piece of writing; translation; long-term projects such as dissertations; critical analysis of literary texts; and University Writing assignments.
Hal Sundt is currently pursuing his MFA in nonfiction writing in Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He is also an instructor in the Undergraduate Writing Program. He writes researched and reported pieces, personal essays and criticism (primarily sports and film). Specialties: University Writing, literary non-fiction, personal essays, journalism, sportswriting, web writing.
Jaime Green has a BA from Brown University and she has finished coursework for her MFA in Nonfiction at Columbia, which she will complete following her University Writing teaching fellowship. She currently teaches in the Sustainable Development theme of UW. Jaime has published essays, reviews, and interviews with The Awl, The Rumpus, The Cossack Review, BuzzFeed, Hooded Utilitarian, Download the Universe, and Everyday Genius. Her essays cover food, science, museums, culture, and American history. Before graduate school she worked in new play development. She also writes about astrophysics for Astrobites and The Planetary Society. She is a member of Neuwrite, a collaborative working group for scientists, writers, and those in between, and she has worked as a consultant for scientists applying for NSF fellowships. Specialties: University Writing, creative writing, theatre, science writing, science journalism, personal statements, medical school applications, science (astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry, earth science), application essays, writing process.
Julia Drake is pursuing her MFA in fiction writing at Columbia University's School of the Arts. She graduated from Williams College with a degree in Spanish Literature and has also studied literary translation at Columbia. She has led several language-learning trips for high school students to Spain and currently teaches University Writing. Specialties: creative writing, Spanish Literature, Comparative Literature, literary translation, University Writing.
Kat Savino holds an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University and a BA in English from Montclair State University. She also works for Baruch College and as a writing instructor for LEDA (Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America), a non-profit program that helps underprivileged high school students apply for college. She is working on a poetry collection and a novel. Her work has appeared in Diagram and the Los Angeles Review, and she was the recipient of The Room of Her Own prize in poetry. Her specialties include brainstorming, literary analysis, job materials, application/personal statement writing, creative writing, gender studies, and ESL.
Kirkwood Adams earned his MFA in poetry from Columbia University. Currently he teaches composition at the College of Staten Island. He has a BFA from Emerson College in writing and literature. While living in Boston, Kirkwood taught in several capacities, including as a docent at the Museum of Fine Arts. He writes poems and makes collages. Specialties: American literature, art history, Art Hum, British literature, Lit Hum, poetry, theatre.
Linh An earned her PhD from UCLA. Her dissertation research is on Chinese American women who provide caregiving to a family member who has been diagnosed with a mental illness. She also works with the New York State Psychiatric Institute on research that aims to develop culturally competent treatment models for limited English proficiency patients. Linh has served as a TA for various introductory anthropology courses and has taught upper-division cultural anthropology courses at UCLA. Specialties: anthropology, proposal & grant writing, thesis writing.
Matthew Harrison is a Columbia graduate, Matthew Harrison is now completing his PhD at Princeton University. His academic work is on “bad” poetry, experimental verse, and the ways embracing failure can open up new opportunities. He has worked with students on a variety of subjects and genres: including academic articles and chapters, essays in the Columbia Core, and applications for jobs and graduate school. Other interests include poetry and poetic theory, philosophy, British and American history, feminism, theoretical and critical work on video games, personal essays, urban studies, and food writing.
Matthew Rossi is a graduate of Columbia's MFA Writing Program, where he focused on fiction. Before coming to Columbia, Matthew worked for a theater company that specialized in collaboratively made work. As a result, he loves the process of brainstorming to helping students discover new pathways for their ideas. He has published work in NY Tyrant magazine and Mudlark, and is currently at work on his first novel. Specialties: American literature, art history, astronomy, Chicago (CMS) style, fiction, grammar, medicine & nursing, University Writing, literary non-fiction.
Michael Keenan received his MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University. His first book of poems, Translations On Waking In An Italian Cemetery, was released by A-Minor Press in 2014. His writing has appeared in Poetry International, the PEN Poetry Series, Fence and Alice Blue Review, among others. Along with working as a writing consultant, Michael teaches writing and ESL classes at the New School. Specialties: American literature, application essays, Art Hum, British Literature, ESL, fiction, film, Lit Hum, Music Hum, poetry, University Writing.
Miranda K. Pennington
Miranda K. Pennington is an MFA student in Creative Nonfiction. She currently teaches a GS section of University Writing and is working on her thesis, a book project about the Bronte sisters that fuses memoir, literary criticism, and biography. She has also taught creative writing workshops for high school students and a comics-making seminar. Her work has appeared on The American Scholar online, the Ploughshares Writing Blog, and The Toast. Specialties: arts criticism (film, television, and literature), humor writing, grant-writing, comics/graphic novels, editing for both trade and test-prep publications, anthology curation, blogging, and personal essay.
Paula Hopkins graduated cum laude from Boston College with a BA in English, and went on to earn a JD from Columbia Law School. Paula spent five years working as an intellectual property associate at a New York law firm, where she served as an associate representative on the firm’s hiring committee and the women’s leadership forum. Paula received an MA in English from Georgetown University, where she worked as a teaching assistant in the School of Continuing Studies and as a tutor in Georgetown’s writing center. Paula also has experience working as a writing consultant in the admissions preparation industry. Paula is currently pursuing a PhD in the English and Comparative Literature Department here at Columbia University, with a focus on occult knowledges and the figure of the black spirit medium in 19th-century American Literature. Specialties: 19th-century American and African-American Literature, the personal statement, academic writing in the humanities, legal and business writing.
Phoebe Collins holds an MA in English literature from Saint Louis University and BA in cultural studies from SUNY Empire State College. She taught undergraduate English at Saint Louis University, and ESL in France, Spain, and Korea. She has worked as an acquisitions editor for Liguori Publications and the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, edited a nursing journal for Sage Publications, and published articles in Ambassador Media, Aishti Magazine, Divine Wine, and Cinematheque, as well as contributing writer for two non-fiction books. Specialties: American literature, Art Hum, British literature, Business & professional writing, ESL, Fiction, Film, Grammar, Job search materials, Lit Hum, Medicine & nursing, Personal statements, Publishing, Theatre, Thesis writing, Long projects, Literary non-fiction.
Sarah Thomas works both as a Writing Consultant and an Instructor of University Writing. She has finished her coursework for an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, and she will graduate in 2015 upon completion of her thesis, a novel. Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University with a BA in Creative Writing, and she attended New York University's Summer Publishing Institute. Sarah has published creative non-fiction in The Huffington Post, Al-Jazeera America, xojane, and Apogee Journal. She has previously worked in book and magazine publishing. Her fiction and non-fiction focus on issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Sarah has also worked in the field of job preparation, so she is familiar with resume and cover letter writing.
Shannon Azzato Stephens
Shannon Azzato Stephens holds a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University and an MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. In addition to her work at Columbia, she has taught in writing centers at the University of Rochester, Carnegie Mellon University, and Baruch College. While serving in AmeriCorps, she also taught basic skills writing and literacy in Mississippi public schools. Her short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in journals including The Sugar House Review, The Susquehanna Review, Coal Hill Review, Commonline Journal, and Anderbo. Specialties: creative writing, argument development, essay structure and organization, reading comprehension, interpreting assignments, and incorporating research into academic papers.
In addition to working as a writing consultant, Tejan Waszak has taught at the university and high school level for six years. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Long Island University and a BA in journalism from Hunter College with a minor in theatre. In her spare time, she enjoys performing in community theater productions. She is currently working on a book of poetry and short stories and is a doctoral candidate at The Graduate Center at CUNY. Specialties: African-American studies, Caribbean studies, gender studies, American literature, ESL, fiction, film, journalism, personal statements, poetry, theatre, religious studies, Literary non-fiction, mixed-media projects.
Valerie Seiling Jacobs
Valerie Seiling Jacobs holds an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University and a JD from Cornell University. Before returning to academia, she practiced law for more than twenty years. She has experience teaching academic, creative, and legal writing. She is a former UWP instructor and previously served on the editorial board of The Morningside Review. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and other publications. Specialties: University Writing, dissertation and thesis writing, business & professional writing, literary nonfiction, law, research-based writing, and journalism.