Writing Center Staff

  • Eric Vrooman (Writing Center Director)
  • Pam Pearson (Multilingual and Intercultural Program Coordinator)
  • Ben Menke (Team Leader)
  • Evelyn Doran (Team Leader)
  • Rebecca Steffen (Team Leader)
  • Katherine Williams (Team Leader)
  • Lilly Anderson
  • Lindsay Benavides 
  • Grace Bureau
  • Liam Carr
  • Mad Chase
  • Ratana Chheng
  • Riya Goerwitz
  • Anjolie Kue
  • Eamonn McCullough
  • Sam Peters
  • Laura Stickney
  • Corinne Stremmel
  • Nicholas Summers 
  • McCall Walker
  • Grace Worwa
  • Geena Zebrasky
  • Autumn Zierman

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

Evelyn Doran (Team Leader)

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Class of 2021, English and Political Science Major, Management Minor 

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.

Ben Menke (Team Leader)

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.

Rebecca Steffen (Team Leader)

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Class of 2021, Mathematics and Statistics Major, Computer Science and Dance Minors

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.

Katherine Williams (Team Leader)

Class of 2021, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and French Majors

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

Oh, there are so many words about which I could passionately limn, but at this moment my favorite words are hinterland, dauntless, and pounce. Amid the barren tundra of a polar hinterland, the arctic fox—dauntless in her endeavor—can be found pouncing headfirst through feet of snow to capture her unsuspecting prey. Wasn't that just fun‽

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

I'm really feeling the interrobang right now. It is rather unconventional because it has no place on our keyboards, but it expresses the sentiment of "?!?!?!?!!?" See the above question for an example. 

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

To combat extreme procrastination, I have come to start my papers by free-writing whatever I want or can about the relevant topic. Then, I pluck the ideas and sentences I like out of the burning pile of rubble and organize them into something vaguely reminiscent of order. Possibly because I love magnet poetry, this has rapidly become my favorite part of the writing process.

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

Starting! It's frick'n impossible. 

Lilly Anderson

Class of 2022, English Major, Pre-Med Chemistry Track 

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

Wombat! It's a cool word for a cool animal.

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

I love commas because they are so simple, yet they do so much to influence a sentence! 

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

My favorite part of the writing process is revising. I love figuring out how to portray my thoughts more effectively, make my language more descriptive and specific, write sentences that are more concise, and overall create a cohesive piece of work. 

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

The hardest part of the writing process for me is figuring out specifically what I want to write about. When I first begin, I often have so many thoughts that it can be challenging to sort through them all and narrow my focus on what I actually want to say. 

Lindsay Benavides

Class of 2022, English Major; Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Minor

What's one of your favorite words, and why? 

Crunchy. So many things can be crunchy. My bones cracking when I stand up? Crunchy. That chip I just popped in my mouth as a snack? Deliciously crunchy…

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

Not to get too deep, but I enjoy commas and semicolons the most because they often signify a continuation of a thought. I find comfort in language reaffirming the idea that there is never a definite end, rather there are always continuations to our thoughts and experiences.

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

I love word vomiting. Getting down every thought I have on something is cathartic in its own way.

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

Oftentimes, sharing my work with others can be difficult. It is important to remember in these instances that the person you share essays or personal works with is there to help you through the process, and while criticism is intimidating it builds us up to be better writers and people.

Grace Bureau

Class of 2023, Communication Studies Major, English and Political Science Minors

What's one of your favorite words, and why? 

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but only because I'm proud that I can spell it!

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why? 

The apostrophe -- just because my favorite earrings are supposedly shaped like it (check out my staff photo to see what I mean!). Also, I like that the word apostrophe has two meanings when discussing writing and punctuation. 

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

I love going through the first round of edits after completing my rough draft. It's comforting knowing that I already have a paper's worth of words written down, and it's fun fine-tuning my words to convey exactly what I want to say! 

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

The hardest part of the writing process for me is definitely writing that first draft. Knowing which pieces of information to include, choosing which points I want to emphasize, and deciding how to order/structure the paper can be difficult. It's way too easy to get overwhelmed and struggle with just putting words on the page!

Liam Carr

liam

Class of 2021, Classics and English Majors

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

Werifesteria is one of my favorite words because it a) sounds really cool and b) means to wander longingly through the woods in search of mystery, which is a feeling I vibe with. The internet may or may not have made it up, but I still like it

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

My favorite punctuation mark is the comma because periods are for the faint of heart

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

The editing of the final draft; it's so satisfying to see all of the hard work you've put into something finally coming to fruition

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

The beginning. Thinking is hard and that's all starting the writing process is.

Mad Chase

Class of 2023, Scandinavian Studies and History Majors

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

My favorite word is "however". Although it may seem a bit mundane, it is possibly the most useful word ever. "However" seamlessly allows you to draw out differences in subjects while still acknowledging their similarities. 

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

I don’t exactly have a favorite punctuation mark but I do have a favorite sentence structure: Subject Verb; (conjunctive adverb), Subject Verb. Chances are if you are reading a paper of mine, this sentence structure will make an appearance!

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

Hard question! I think my favorite part of the writing process is reading my work out loud. My mindset is almost always- “if it sounds like I could give a speech with this paper, I’m on the right track”, reading my work out loud really helps make that a reality. 

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

The hardest part of the writing process for me is self-editing. I am very prone to looking over my own mistakes. When I am editing, my brain automatically corrects and clarifies things, so I tend to look over small mistakes like punctuation and spelling. This is why I always have a peer edit my work, or better yet go to the Writing Center!

Ratana Chheng

Class of 2022, Financial Economics

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

The word "petrichor" invokes a specific, easy memory and enjoyably homey smell of the rich earth after the first few rains of the year. Dictionary.com defines it as "a distinctive scent, usually described as earthy, pleasant, or sweet, produced by rainfall on very dry ground."

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

The question mark aligns with my constant curiosity and want for new knowledge, perspectives, and authenticity/truth/reliability.

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

It often amazes me to see how much material I had on the topic in my mind when I see a relatively finished draft.

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

Starting to write is hardest because I usually draft the majority in my mind first.

Riya Goerwitz 

Class of 2023, Sociology Major, English Minor

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

I have many favorite words but my favorite word to say is parapluie which means umbrella in French. My favorite word in terms of meaning is defenestrate (de·fen·es·trate /dēˈfenəˌstrāt/) which means to throw someone out of a window. I think it's hilarious that we have a word for this and it has been my favorite for many years now.

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

I like the * the most because it's fun to c***r words that don't need to be c******d. A close second is the ! because it makes everything seem exciting!!!

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

I really enjoy coming up with ideas for creative writing. Even if I don't use most of them it's fun to have snippets of stories in my head to work on when I am bored.

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

I have a bit of a hard time listening to peer reviews. I understand that they are important, but I get attached to specific ideas or parts of my writing and I am not always receptive to criticism. I know this is an issue and I am working on it.

Anjolie Kue

Class of 2021, Biology

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

My favorite word is “VOTE” because it is something we should all do this fall. If you don’t vote you’re not cool (unless you can’t vote then that’s understandable). 

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

My favorite punctuation mark is a period because it can be used to form acronyms such as B.L.M. and A.C.A.B. :)

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

I enjoy writing my concluding sentence because I always think of it as a mic drop, which makes your writing better and memorable. 

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

The introduction/opening sentence is always hardest and I usually leave it until last because I want to find the best way to hook readers and your hypothesis has to be spot on. 

Eamonn McCullough

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!

Sam Peters

Class of 2023, English and Theatre Majors

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

Crepuscular is a great word because it sounds exactly like all the dark and creepy possibilities that twilight brings. It seems like a word Shakespeare would have invented to describe the works of Edgar Allan Poe. 

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

The semicolon; it provides a way to link ideas without stopping for a mental breath. 

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

I most enjoy the part of the writing process where I leave the project and go eat a snack so I can "get the ideas flowing."

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

For me, one of the hardest parts of writing is resisting the urge to spend an hour finding exactly the right word to make a sentence pop. 

Laura Stickney 

Class of 2021 (graduating December 2020), English Major, Comparative Literature and Studio Art Minors

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

One of my favorite words is petrichor, which refers to the sweet, earthy smell of rain on dry ground. I've always loved rainy weather -- its soft grey skies, its calming scent, the way it makes the leaves seem to glow an even brighter shade of green than usual -- and this lovely, musical word captures all of that! 

What's 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 enjoy most?

My favorite part of the writing process is probably pre-writing -- brainstorming and drawing up sketches, doodles, and outlines for my ideas. I'm a very visual person, so sketching out my vision and letting all of my thoughts spill out onto the paper helps me organize my ideas effectively and figure out the direction I want to take once I begin writing.

Which 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 things out or condensing my writing when it gets too wordy.

Corinne Stremmel 

Class of 2021, English and Communications Major, Scandanavian Studies Minor

What's one of your favorite words, and why? 

Catharsis--we can all use a nice cathartic moment these days, right?

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why? 

The em dash

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most? 

Deep analysis

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

Conclusions 

Nicholas Summers

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

McCall Walker

Class of 2023, Psychology Major

What's one of your favorite words, and why? 

Queue, because it simply does not need that many letters.

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why? 

Exclamation point! Feels the most expressive.

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most? 

The last round of edits when all of my hard work finally comes together.

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

Brainstorming a thesis that fits my ideas.

Grace Worwa

Class of 2022, Political Science, English, and Spanish Majors

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

I like the word "plethora". It just sounds fun!

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

My favorite punctuation mark is a dash because it lets you add to a thought without getting fancy. It allows you to express an idea so that it appears on paper in a way that resembles how it occured to you in your head -- as a continuation of a developing train of thought. 

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

My favorite part of the writing process is being able to express an idea in a way that is both elegant and coherent. 

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

For me, the hardest part is at the very beginning, when I have to sift through my jumble of thoughts and ideas in order to create a coherent outline.

Geena Zebrasky

Class of 2023, Biology and Environmental Studies Majors

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

One of my favorite words is holobiont. Besides looking and sounding cool, I really love how the concept asks you to think outside of the individual, and look at all of the interactions that are occurring to allow an organism to live - I think it's really important to think about the complex interactions that are occurring to create and influence anything, not just within the field of biology.

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

Definitely a comma. My thought process is too long to go without them.

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

My favorite part of the writing process is either researching and compiling all of my ideas and information, or revising what I've already written. 

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

The hardest part of the writing process for me is probably starting the first draft, because after spending time researching or brainstorming a lot of ideas, it can be pretty overwhelming to start pulling it all together. 

Autumn Zierman

Class of 2023, Political Science Major, Economics and Religion Minors

What's one of your favorite words, and why?

Effervescent: It is the best description of me hyped up on caffeine anyone has ever given. 

What's your favorite punctuation mark, and why?

Parentheses; it feels like you are sharing a joke with the audience (and I love e.e. cummings)

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy most?

I love researching! I will always be a debater at heart. 

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

Grammar because it never fails to trip me up.