Debby Ellis Writing Center

Meet Our Staff

Each of our peer consultants has been trained to work on any kind of writing assignment, and we encourage you to drop by and visit us anytime. If you worked with a consultant who was particularly helpful and you’d like to see that consultant again, please consult our staff list below.

DEWC Staff

    • NAME

      Gabrielle Cano

    • TITLE

      Assistant Director and Consultant

    • About me

      Hi everyone! My name’s Gabby and I’m a senior Chemistry major at SU. 

      For the longest time, writing always felt like something scary (and oftentimes boring) that I just had to get done and be over with. I struggled with the process so writing was never my favorite thing, despite the pride I felt of the finished product. Throughout my time in highschool and at SU, I have worked hard to figure out what my academic values are, and how to actually appreciate every part of the writing process from beginning to end. I began to really enjoy adding my own voice into my writing and seeing how others add in their voices. Writing can still feel like a challenge sometimes but it’s a good kind of challenge.

      The mix of classes I’ve had during my time at Southwestern has shown me that I can enjoy writing things like lab reports just as much as I can enjoy writing papers in other disciplines like political science and religion. I strongly believe that writing is less about mindlessly getting a good grade and a lot more about effectively communicating what you desire/deserve to communicate with your unique voice, experiences, and knowledge. 

      I look forward to helping you feel more confident as a writer and scholar here at SU (and beyond)!

    • NAME

      ThuyMi Phung

    • TITLE

      Marketing Coordinator and Consultant

    • About me

      Hi! My name is ThuyMi, and I am a junior. My areas of study are Business, Sociology, and Communication Studies. 

      When I was young, I did a lot of creative writing. I grew up listening to my parents’ tales of war, escaping from Vietnam, living in refugee camps, and adjusting to life in America. Their stories conjured up vivid images of fishing boats crammed with people, of pirates, of danger and hardship; they taught me to be grateful for what I have in America. 

      I wanted to be able to tell and write stories like my parents. However, I eventually realized that I could not do that. My parents’ stories are their own, influenced by their hardships and perseverance and therefore they are something I cannot replicate. Ever since that revelation, I started on a journey to create my own voice in my writing, one that is inspired by my past, but that is also filled with the discoveries of the present and the possibilities of the future. 

      Academic writing is no different from creative writing or storytelling where you convey a message for the audience to learn. Keeping in mind the information and help Southwestern provides, I learned to be meticulous in my research and sincere in my messages for my papers. My goal as a consultant is to use and share my writing skills to help students, no matter what field of study, with conveying their messages in their voice.

    • NAME

      Nila Dhinaker

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hey! My name is Nila (rhymes with vanilla) and I am a junior Instrumental Performance and Psychology major. I play the French Horn in the Southwestern Orchestra and Wind Ensemble and also work in the Health Education office on campus. 

      I’ve always been the kind of person that was against rough drafts, and would dread assignments where I’d be forced to turn in writing I felt was unfinished in some way. However, as I’ve grown as a writer I have discovered the joys of outlining and drafting. Working at the DEWC for the past year has shown me how much of a difference a collaborative reviewing process can transform people’s writing. My main goal as a writing consultant is to help people become better writers and carry the tools they learn from me into other areas of their lives, whether that is sending an email to an employer, working on a capstone, or finishing that final class paper. I also hope to encourage people to look at their writing through different lenses to consider how their work relates to their discipline’s literature or even their personal writing repertoire. 

      One of the reasons I love writing so much is because it creates a truly vulnerable space in which many underrepresented groups feel empowered to share experiences and perspectives. Oftentimes, these written spaces are the only areas where certain voices can be heard. The merging of disciplines that occurs when people write for social justice is something that is extremely affirming to people’s personal struggles and criticisms of current society. This is something I very strongly connect with on a personal level and find that this outlook helps me be more mindful in my writing. 

      When I’m not writing, I like to cook, go geocaching, and hang out with my roommates or cats (both of which I have four of).

    • NAME

      Lillian Dolapchiev

    • TITLE

      Consultant and STEM Specialist

    • About me

      Hi! My name is Lillian, and I am a junior, majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish.

      I’ve always loved reading from a young age. My absolute favorite series is the Harry Potter series! I generally prefer fantasy and fiction books because I love escaping reality and visiting another world through books. Although I love reading, writing has been more difficult for me to truly be confident about because I tend to have a hard time starting a paper or I’ll be too focused on the details, trying to make each sentence “perfect”. However, I’ve realized that starting a paper shouldn’t be scary and is manageable if broken into smaller pieces. I want to help students realize and work through this also!

      Being a biology major, I know writing in the sciences is different from other subjects and that it is intimidating to think that your lab report has to sound super sophisticated like in a scientific journal, but it’s more important to communicate the facts directly using your own voice. Something I like about scientific writing is that I think it has more structure than papers in other subjects because each section of a lab report, like the introduction or methods, is defined and needs to have specific information. This is great for students, like me, who have trouble starting a paper because they don’t know what to write about or struggle with organization.

      Another aspect that allows me to appreciate writing is different languages. My parents are from Bulgaria, so I can speak Bulgarian, and although it’s not a very popular language, I love finding similarities in the words or phrases between other languages, like Spanish, and learning about different cultures! I love that writing is just another way to express yourself in any language, especially if you’re struggling to verbally communicate what you really want to say!

      I look forward to working with and getting to know my peers through their writing, and I hope to instill in others joy and confidence in writing!

       

    • NAME

      Jules Kasper

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hey! I’m Jules and I’m a senior Philosophy major and RES minor. I’ve loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I read anything I could get my hands on and filled countless notebooks with creative writing. Yet, I’ll be the first to admit that academic writing is often frustrating for me. I am the type of person who spends an inordinate amount of time on a single paragraph and overthinks every word I write. In these moments when I feel stuck, being able to brainstorm and talk things out with a writing consultant or friend helps me tremendously. I hope that as a writing consultant I can offer this same support to my peers.

      I was drawn to the writing center because I see it as a site of rebellion and innovation at an institution of higher learning. The DEWC radically opposes the traditional belief that academic writing is a solitary activity oriented towards a final product. At the DEWC, academic writing is instead experienced as an ongoing conversation and process of collaboration. This approach seems more aligned with the ways we learn and write, never alone, but always in conversation with those around us and with the disciplines that we contribute to.

    • NAME

      Megan Kelly

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hi! My name is Megan and I’m a junior here at Southwestern, majoring in Psychology and Political Science. 

      Like many students, I used to—and still sometimes do—experience anxiety when it comes to the process of writing a paper in college. During those moments, I often remind myself that writing provides an opportunity to show and enhance my understanding of a subject. My favorite part about writing is getting to share my thoughts and ideas in a paper that clearly and cohesively conveys the exact message I am trying to get across. I see myself as a quiet introvert, and over time I have personally found that written communication has been the most effective method for expressing my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Historically, along those lines, writing has been a pathway for healing and personal growth. My hope is that I can help others discover the unique benefits of using writing as a way to express themselves. 

      Wherever you may find yourself in the writing process, whether it be brainstorming a thesis statement or reviewing a final draft, I am always happy to help! When I’m not in the library or working on class assignments, you’ll likely find me walking around campus with my dog, Willow!

    • NAME

      Paresa Mosavi

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hi! I’m Paresa and I’m a senior here at Southwestern majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Sociology and History. Despite always being told that I was a ‘good’ writer, I really struggled with written assignments throughout high school and my first few years in college. Writing academic essays and research papers felt like the biggest burden to me, and I dreaded having to sit down and force myself to produce a piece of work that I could be proud of (no matter how long it took me).

      While I sometimes still experience these writing anxieties, I feel like I have come a long way since I first started writing for college courses. My professors and their constant encouragement and feedback have played a huge role in my overall development as a writer, and I can’t stress enough the importance of fostering meaningful relationships with your professors while in college. I understand the stress and insecurity that can come with expressing one’s ideas on paper, and I want to help others overcome these hardships in order to become more confident in their own writing abilities. I’m so excited to collaborate with my fellow SU students in the DEWC and look forward to learning from everyone that drops in for a writing consultation! 

      When I’m not working in the writing center or going to classes, I enjoy cooking, reading historical fiction and non-fiction, and hanging out with my kitty Ollie who lives with me on campus.

    • NAME

      Laurel Mulkey

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hi there! My name is Laurel and I am a sophomore Psychology major and English minor here at Southwestern. As a child, I adored having stories read to me. I was fascinated by a writer’s ability to create entirely new worlds from scratch, so much so, as an adult, I’ve tried to capture this same magic in my own creative writing. That being said, thinking about what I am going to write and actually doing so is not entirely an easy task for me. I want my writing to be perfect the first time and I get frustrated when I cannot put my thoughts to paper. This frustration is what led me to the Debby Ellis Writing Center initially.

      Even before joining the team, I was drawn in by the writing center’s magnetism. It’s one of the first places I’ve felt that has captured the magic of my childhood stories. This is because, beyond its exterior appeal, the DEWC is a place of hope. The kind of hope that any writer, regardless of where they come from or what sort of task they are trying to surmount, can accomplish anything through collaboration, conversation, and compassion. As a consultant, I want to help people find the magic in their writing while lessening those anxieties that might surround the task at hand. It’s incredibly important to me that people know their thoughts are important, and I can’t wait to hear what sort of stories are bubbling at the surface of SU!

    • NAME

      Vy Nguyen

    • TITLE

      Consultant and STEM specialist

    • About me

      Hi! I’m Vy Nguyen! I’m currently a junior, and I’m a pre-med, Biology major. Outside of being a DEWC consultant, I am also one of the biodiversity BETAs!

      I love writing my own short (and oftentimes, not-so-short) stories. Because of my experience with STEM courses at SU, I am experienced in writing lab reports (specifically for biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry). However, I have taken courses from Sociology, Art History, and Philosophy, so I serve as a non-STEM-focused consultant, too!

    • NAME

      Mel Richey

    • TITLE

      Spanish Consultant

    • About me

      I’m Mel and I am the Spanish writing consultant here at the DEWC. I am majoring in Math and minoring in Spanish. I am part of the Crochet Club formally called The 7 C’s and I am planning on joining other student organizations now that a lot of the COVID restrictions are being lifted!

      As a student that deals mostly with computations and numbers, writing is not as much of a priority as I would like it to be, which was the main reason why I decided to become a writing consultant. However, I think that writing and mathematics have a lot more in common than people may initially think. Math can be considered its own language: it has its own structure and flow and each value needs to be explained thoroughly in order to be understood by others. The reason I say this is because many people that are STEM majors, myself included, become discouraged by their own writing because their strengths are related with numbers. My goal as a writing consultant is to make people feel that they are capable in their own skills and potential to be strong writers.

      As I mention instilling confidence in people’s writing skills, I am also available to those who are writing papers in Spanish. I come from a family of native Spanish speakers and I love to help others understand the language that connects me closely to my own culture. As a Spanish tutor, I will focus mostly on understanding how to solidify the structure and flow of a paper, since I know that people that are just beginning to learn a language are very focused on grammar and vocabulary.

    • NAME

      Elena Welsh

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hi! I’m Elena and I am a junior English and Feminist Studies major. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to reading in an obsessively focused (and as I later learned, neurodivergent) manner. The quirky morality of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the seemingly unending adventures in Animorphs, and the captivating intrigue of series by Rick Riordan, CS Lewis, and Christopher Paolini filled my elementary years. Eventually, I started spinning my own tales. 

      Going into college I knew I wanted to pursue a degree that would represent my interests and keep me passionate. Considering my history, both of my writing-heavy and story-oriented majors appeal to this requirement. Despite my focus on personal passion, I’ve taken a myriad of other courses across the humanities – from psychology to sociology and anthropology – in order to expand my knowledge about other fields of study. I hope that by working as a writing consultant I can further enhance my experiences with writing by helping other people with their writing processes. Storytelling is rarely a solitary act, after all. 

      When I’m not writing or consuming obscene amounts of literature, I love teaching myself languages (I’m currently working on my fluency in Spanish and am beginning Russian), going on barefoot walks, and playing with my cat, Gatsby.

    • NAME

      Kaylee White

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hey there! My name is Kaylee White, and I am a senior here at Southwestern. I am a Psychology major and Communication Studies minor. While I transferred here my junior year and am still a little new to the Southwestern campus, I am no stranger to the art of writing. Through my major and minor, I have experience in both academic and creative writing, and I love every aspect of the writing process. 

      My affinity for writing began at a young age. I was an avid reader, which naturally led me to paper and pen. I still remember as a young 5th grader, I was so determined to write my own novel that I even made a whole outline for one. While that project may have been discarded, my love of writing has only blossomed since then.

      Every paper I write, no matter the subject, I try to take a creative approach and allow myself to enjoy the process. Working as a consultant not only has helped me perfect my craft, it has also given me the opportunity to share my love and enthusiasm for writing with my fellow students. Sometimes, all it takes is just someone there to help the creative process flow. Sometimes, it takes a little more in-depth look at the writing and the purpose behind it. Whatever it takes, I look forward to this wonderful opportunity to share writing and life experiences with my fellow classmates!

    • NAME

      Aidan Zeitung

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hello to you reading this, my name is Aidan. I am a junior studying Psychology with a minor in Data Science.

      Akin to many of the other writing consultants at DEWC, reading was of much importance to me as a child. For the first couple years of my life, until I turned 4, I was a relatively mute child. This concerned my parents as they couldn’t necessarily gauge how I was doing in terms of emotional and mental growth. It wasn’t until I started reading fortune cookie fortunes aloud to them seemingly out of nowhere that my parents realized I had high potential for my age in terms of reading and writing comprehension.

      In later years, I enjoyed fiction novels and literature like most others, but what always held my attention and had me staying up past my bedtime were encyclopedias containing cornucopias of information. Space, trains, botany, anatomy, mythology, etc… It didn’t matter what information these encyclopedias possessed, I loved and felt the need to be “in the know” of little nuggets of wisdom across different disciplines and spreading them to my family, my friends, and even strangers if I was feeling bold enough. (What a nerd!)

      My appreciation for writing, however, took more time. It wasn’t until my journalism courses in high school that I realized there was a grander purpose to writing outside of submitting my work for a grade. In this writing style, I was able to incorporate the creative and the matter-of-fact. I ultimately took control of what words I expressed on the page in a way I never felt previously. Through this experience, I also had the opportunity to assess the writing of other people by being a copy editor for the school yearbook, which in turn gifted me with better writing of my own.

      Since then, I have continued to hone my written knowledge and capabilities through my coursework (particularly in Psychology) at Southwestern, and I hope to further better myself during my time as a writing consultant. Academic writing is a process that takes years of cultivation to be “successful” at. And I believe that being vulnerable and working together through the struggles it entails with fellow collegiate-level peers can be mutually beneficial for all involved!