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.

Debby Ellis Writing Center Staff

    • NAME

      ThuyMi Phung

    • TITLE

      Assistant Director and Consultant

    • About me

      Hi! My name is ThuyMi, and I am a senior. 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

      Laurel Mulkey

    • TITLE

      Special Projects Coordinator and Consultant

    • About me

      Hi there! My name is Laurel and I am a junior 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

      Aidan Zeitung

    • TITLE

      Marketing Coordinator and Consultant

    • About me

      Hello to you reading this, my name is Aidan. I am a senior 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!

    • NAME

      Bailey Barlow

    • TITLE

      Spanish Tutor and Consultant

    • About me

      Hello! I’m Bailey Barlow. I’m a senior majoring in Spanish and French, with minors in business and anthropology. I’m a member of Alpha Delta Pi and Alpha Phi Omega, and I’m also involved in a number of other different clubs on campus. I just got back from an amazing year studying abroad in France and Spain, and I’m excited to be back on campus.

      I’ve been writing pretty much since I was old enough to put pencil to paper. My mom read to me and my brother every night until long after we were able to read for ourselves, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in the power of stories. I spent most of my childhood writing for fun, but my academic writing really picked up in high school. I liked the flexibility of essay assignments, because they leave room for personality and interpretation, and it’s that style of learning that drew me to a liberal arts education. Writing can be difficult sometimes, but it makes me feel like I’m engaging with the material and really taking part in my own education.

      Along with Mel, I’ll be conducting Spanish tutoring from here in the writing center, and I’ll be able to help you with Spanish writing, as well as anything else you might need help with, like grammar or conjugation. As a writing center consultant, my goal is to help you get your thoughts out on paper in the best way possible, in Spanish or in English. I’ve always believed in the power of the written word, and I’m here to help you take control of that power.

    • NAME

      Cherryn Cha

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hey guys! I’m Cherryn, and y’all can call me Cher if you’d like. I am a rising sophomore this year and majoring in Psychology and Kinesiology. I am from Austin, and I run track here at SU. I am excited to help students like you feel confident in their writing!

    • NAME

      Elena Welsh

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hi! I’m Elena and I am a senior 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

      Jasmyne Hernandez

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hey everyone! My name is Jasmyne and I’m a junior double majoring in Political Science and Spanish on a pre-law track.

      For as long as I can remember, writing has always been something I have struggled with. As someone who is somewhat of a perfectionist, my struggle with the writing process brought about anxiety that would leave me dissatisfied with the work I produced. Stepping foot into Southwestern as a first-generation college student, I felt ‘behind’ compared to those around me. However, with the constant feedback and encouragement from my professors, I learned writing isn’t about perfection but rather about using your unique voice to deliver a message to the audience. Although I still struggle at times, this realization has allowed me to grow and develop confidence as a writer. My goal as a consultant is not only to help my peers find confidence in their writing but to learn from them as well!

      Hope to see you soon!

    • NAME

      Lauren Sanchez

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hi! My name is Lauren and I am a sophomore this year at Southwestern. I am a communication major with a double minor in business and political science. I also am a member of other organizations such as The SU Megaphone and AXID. 

      I think writing is a beautiful form of expression.  I appreciate the art of writing in many forms as I consider myself both a cinephile and somewhat of a literarian. I’ve always used it as a way to be fully honest with myself and process my own thoughts and feelings. Part of me also has considered a career using that appreciation to create my own art. That being said, I consider myself a perfectionist when it comes to my own writing. If I feel it isn’t up to my own expectations I keep it hidden out of fear of criticism or rejection. It can be disheartening when you feel proud of something and someone picks it apart like it’s nothing. It’s been a struggle to work through my own issues with that, so I understand the hesitance of having a stranger read your work. 

      My job here is to help you communicate your voice in what you write. Think of me as an extension of yourself in this process. This is not a place of interrogation and judgment, and as a consultant I want to do whatever I can to help you feel comfortable and capable. Academic writing can be very subjective. It is difficult to know how to articulate your voice through the chaos of it all, but rest assured that the writing center will do our best to help you navigate through your college writing career. After all, at the end of the day we are also just students and we’re all experiencing this together.

    • NAME

      Lillian Dolapchiev

    • TITLE

      Consultant and STEM Specialist

    • About me

      Hi! My name is Lillian, and I am a senior, 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

      Megan Kelly

    • TITLE

      Consultant

    • About me

      Hi! My name is Megan and I’m a senior 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

      Mel Richey

    • TITLE

      Spanish Tutor and Consultant

    • About me

      I’m Mel and I am one of the Spanish writing consultants 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

      Vy Nguyen

    • TITLE

      Consultant and STEM specialist

    • About me

      Hi! My name is Vy, and I am a senior. I am a pre-med student majoring in Biology, with a not-so-secret love for psychology, philosophy, and creative writing. Although I may be a STEM student, I can help with papers that aren’t STEM-related! I have taken quite a few humanities courses (Sociology, Art History, and Philosophy) at Southwestern, and I would be more than happy to help people coming in with non-STEM writing.

      I have always had a love-hate relationship with writing. On the one hand, I enjoy writing because it allows me to lay out my thoughts and serves as a creative outlet. On the other hand, I am a horrible procrastinator who dreads starting the writing process. However, as I have further cultivated my writing skills, I have gathered various tools for my writing toolbox that I would love to share with others!