Writing Center Staff

  • Eric Vrooman (Writing Center Director)
  • Carly Overfelt (Multilingual and Intercultural Program Coordinator)
  • Alli Orta (Team Leader)
  • Ella Napton (Team Leader)
  • Eli Dotson (Team Leader)
  • Evelyn Doran (Team Leader)
  • Rebecca Steffen (Team Leader)
  • Monali Bhakta
  • Ratana Chheng
  • Anna Duong-Topp
  • Alexandru Florea
  • Hannah Mahr
  • Eammon McCullough
  • Ben Menke
  • Kelly Montgomery
  • Trevon Sladek
  • Laura Stickney
  • Corinne Stremmel
  • Nicholas Summers
  • Anh Tran
  • Ben Wicklund
  • Kati Williams

 

Eric Vrooman

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Education: M.F.A., Fiction Writing, UNC-Wilmington; B.A., English, Carleton College

Interests: Film, fiction writing, screenwriting, tennis, Scrabble, Wiffleball, pastry

Favorite Writers: George Saunders, Lorrie Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Lydia Davis, and Haruki Murakami

Courses I Teach: Reading in the World: Crime & Punishment, Introduction to Creative Writing, Writing Fiction, Writing Creative Nonfiction, The American Novel, IEX travel courses


Alli Orta (Team Leader)

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Class of 2019; Economics Analysis major

What is one of your favorite words and why?

Engagement, because it has an application in every context and it's so vital as a trait!

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

The tilde utilized in the Spanish language, because of its uniqueness and how it adjusts the flow of a word.

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

Constructing supporting arguments to a main thesis and seeing how your initial idea grows, expands, and takes on nuance as you begin to work with your thesis and the source material!

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Staying concise and limiting the amount of arguments I use. Once I get passionate about a topic, it's really difficult to be space-conscious and not to expand fully on the limitless different dimensions.


Ella Napton (Team Leader)

Class of 2020; CALT major, Coaching minor

What's one of your favorite words and why?

I like the word glimmering because it sounds pretty and represents something aesthetically pleasing to look at.

What's your favorite punctuation mark and why?

I love the ~ because I enjoy using it ~emphasize~ what I'm saying.

What part of the writing process do you like the most?

I love a good brainstorm session! Coming up with ideas and theses is always very enjoyable for me.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Writing short/concise sentences. I tend to go on tangents if I don't watch myself.

Eli Dotson (Team Leader)

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Class of 2020; Biology and Env. Studies
 

What is one of your favorite words and why?

One of my favorite words is fecund 

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

Need those commas

What part of the writing process do you like the most?

My favorite part of the writing process is the feeling of accomplishment that comes from articulating something juust right

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The hardest part of the writing process for me is sitting down and getting started

Evelyn Doran (Team Leader)

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What is one of your favorite words and why?

I love the word juxtaposition! I just think it sounds really fun.

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

I'm not sure if I have a favorite, but I know for a FACT that semicolons are my least favorite. I didn't learn how to use them early on and was too afraid to ask by the time I was in high school, so I continue to avoid them to this day, despite the fact that I know how to use them now.

What part of the writing process do you like the most?

Outlining! I finally get to see my ideas and research come together into the beginning of a cohesive idea.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Starting....I'm a major procrastinator.

Rebecca Steffen (Team Leader)

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What is one of your favorite words and why?

Ameliorate: to make something better. 
I love adding it to everything I write!

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

My favorite punctuation mark is the semicolon; it lets me connect all my thoughts without stopping to add a period and a capitalized letter.

What part of the writing process do you like the most?

I enjoy designing my attention grabbing, creative, and informative opening sentence! It creates an initial vibe and direction to the paper.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The hardest part for me in the writing process is having the self-control to slow down and create my outline; I am usually so excited to start my paper I just want to start typing out all my thoughts.

Monali Bhakta

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Class of 2020, Political Science & English Double Major

What is your favorite word and why?

Justice is my favorite word. Even though it's a simple word, I strongly believe in its powerful meaning of equality to vulnerable, deserving people. Justice is a value I hold close to my heart, and what I want to fight for in the future. 

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

My favorite punctuation mark is the exclamation point. I tend to be an outgoing, bubbly person, so the exclamation mark conveys my regular feelings for the world around me.

What part of the writing process do you like the most?

 My favorite part of the writing process is doing the introduction. I love starting the paper with a strong attention-getter that pulls the reader in, and makes them interested in learning the interesting content of the paper. 

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The hardest part of the writing process is suffering through writer's block. When I'm starting, I tend to have a bunch of ideas jumbled in my mind, and I don't necessarily know how to phrase them on paper. I also become too self-conscience that my reader won't understand the content I'm trying to convey. 

Ratana Chheng

Class of 2022, Computer Science Major

What is your favorite word and why?

Amazing because it's a feel-good word that hasn't been overused

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

? because I am constantly curious.

What part of the writing process do you like the most?

Word vomit ideas

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Cut out parts of the paper

Anna Duong-Topp

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Class of 2020, Religion and Japanese Studies Double Major

What is your favorite word and why?

Mellifluous is my favorite word because it even SOUNDS mellifluous :)

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

 I love semicolons; they give me freedom to add more words.

What part of the writing process do you like the most?

Brainstorming is my favorite part of writing! It's the best feeling when all of my thoughts start to come together.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The hardest part of writing is the FIRST DRAFT. I'm a self-editor, so it's hard to just get that word vomit out.

Alex Florea

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Class of 2022, Biochemistry Major

What is your favorite word and why?

My favorite word is bookkeeper because it has three double letters next to each other.

Your favorite punctuation mark and why?

My favorite punctuation mark is the semicolon because no one ever knows when to use it...even me.

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

The final revision and deciding what should stay and what should go.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Starting the writing process.

Eamonn McCullough

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Class of 2022, Biology Major

What's one of your favorite words and why?

Sojourn. It’s my favorite way to say I'm going somewhere because it really drives home the point of just how cool my adventure’s gonna be!

Your favorite punctuation mark and why?

Semicolon (;) I think it allows you to write very natural pauses, which in turn helps the writer sound more conversational and natural!

Which part of the writing process do you like the most?

Writing the first draft. I’m a fan of being able to sit down and get my ideas out on paper. I like seeing what works best and where to put it, as well as just having fun with the challenge and headbanging along to a killer playlist.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Research/pre-writing. It’s very hard for me to get all my thoughts in order/figure out the topic I want to write about and what sources I want to use. This process takes as long as writing the rest of the paper for me!

Ben Menke

Class of 2022, Political Science and Statistics Major

What's one of your favorite words and why?

One of my favorite words is “grandiloquent” —meaning pompous or extravagant in language, style, or manner—because it’s fun to say.

What's your favorite punctuation mark and why?

The comma because of the number of ways one can use it.

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

I enjoy revising the most.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The most difficult part of the writing process is starting.

Hannah Mahr

Class of 2020; Theater major, triple minor in Dance, English, and Comparative Literature

What's one of your favorite words?

Absolutely

Your favorite punctuation mark?

Exclamation mark!!!!!!!!!!

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

I love the drafting portion of the writing process. After all of the brainstorming, outlining, and planning that have to come first, it's nice to actually write. It's so rewarding to hit your stride and to feel as though the paper is just flowing out of your fingertips.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Drafting is also the most difficult part of the writing process for me. In general, I'm a very slow writer. It usually takes me multiple days to finish a first draft. I have a hard time simply putting my thoughts down on paper because I focus too intently on diction. I obsess about finding the perfect words for my ideas, and this preoccupation occasionally prevents me from moving forward with my work.

Kelly Montgomery

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Class of 2021, Elementary Education Major, Dance Minor

What is your favorite word and why?

Hope, because this word is a simple reminder of the world's endless possibilities.

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

Exclamation points because they can add such joy and excitement to writing.

Which part of the writing process do you like the most?

I enjoy brainstorming, researching and outlining because these stages allow me to explore and learn new information and ways of connecting various ideas.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Solidifying a thesis. Sometimes it is hard for me to figure out how to make my argument clear and concise and I can often get caught up on writing the "perfect" thesis and put off actually writing the rest of the paper.

Trevon Sladek

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Class of 2020, Communication Arts/Literature Teaching Major

What is one of your favorite words and why?

One of my favorite words is "pterodactyl" because it always stumps people when you're playing hangman.

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

My favorite punctuation is the question mark because I've always been one to ask odd questions.

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

 My favorite part of the writing process is the revision stage as I enjoy seeing my writing evolve over time.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The hardest part of the writing process for me is also the revision stage because I often feel very attached to my original drafts. 

Laura Stickney

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Class of 2021, English Major, Comparative Literature and Studio Art Minor

What is one of your favorite words and why?

My favorite word is petrichor, which refers to the sweet, earthy smell of rain on dry ground. I adore rainy weather and the scent of rainfall, so this beautiful word is a particular favorite of mine.

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

My favorite punctuation mark is the Oxford comma because it makes sentences flow nicely and clarifies all things being listed. Without the Oxford comma, the meaning of a sentence often seems confusing and can even be completely misunderstood.

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

My favorite part of the writing process is probably pre-writing -- brainstorming and drawing up sketches, doodles, and outlines for my ideas. But I also love getting into the writing itself and bringing all of those ideas together. 

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

For me, the hardest part of the writing process is probably revising after the first or second drafts. I tend to get really connected to what I write and often struggle with cutting out unnecessary phrases or condensing my writing when it gets too wordy. 

Corinne Stremmel

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Class of 2021, English and Communication Studies Major

What is one of your favorite words?

Currently, my favorite word is saccharine- I like the way it looks when it's written out, but I also love the meaning. I like the idea of extreme sentimentality in others, but it also refers to sugar and I have a particularly soft spot for cake in my heart.

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

My favorite punctuation is the comma because I feel that they tend to be overlooked. But to be specific, I like the Oxford comma. 

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

My favorite part of the writing process is brainstorming, I really enjoy exploring new topics. 

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Sometimes I struggle with intros and conclusions, so I always wait until the end of the assignment to write both the intro and conclusion. 

Nicholas Summers

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Class of 2021, Political Science Major

What is one of your favorite words and why?

Petrichor because it rolls off the tongue nicely and I like the smell it describes.

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

The comma because I use it a lot.

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

The part where I procrastinate because it's the easiest part of the process.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Starting is the hardest part of the writing process for me

Anh Tran

Class of 2020, English Major

What is one of your favorite words and why?

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Ben Wicklund

Class of 2022

What is one of your favorite words and why?

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Kati Williams

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Class of 2021, Biochemistry, Chemistry, French Majors

What is one of your favorite words and why?

Acquiesce. A perfect word to spice up otherwise mundane sentences! It also is a very satisfying word to say, very palatable. 

What is your favorite punctuation mark and why?

!!!!!isn't that just fun!!!!!! 

Which part of the writing process do you like most?

My favorite part of my writing process is the very first time I'm putting words on the page. I usually wait until I'm struck by a lightning bolt of motivation but once I have finally started working on a writing assignment it always feels like I could write for hours and hours. 

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The hardest part of the writing process for me is when I'm waiting around for the lightning bolt of motivation. Getting started is the worst part.