Writing Center Staff

  • Eric Vrooman (Writing Center Director)
  • Laura Lindell (EL. Specialist)
  • Zachary Blinkinsop (Administrative Supervisor)
  • Andrea Blom (ELL/MLL, Disability Services, and Writing Across the Curriculum Coordinator)
  • Ava Goepfert (Outreach Coordinator)
  • Heather Kok (Co-1st Year Orientation/FTS Coordinator)
  • Elida Benz
  • Darcy Coulter
  • Olivia DelViscio
  • Benjamin Dipple
  • Lars Ericson
  • Abigail Huff
  • Katelyn Juni
  • Ryan Liebl
  • Hannan Mir
  • Eleanor Mithun
  • Nick Mullenmeister

Eric Vrooman

Eric VroomanEducation: M.F.A. (Fiction), UNC-Wilmington; B.A. in English, Carleton College

Hometown: Canton, New York

Interests: Fiction writing, bridge, biking, pastry

Favorite Writers: George Saunders, Lorrie Moore, Toni Morrison, Michael Chabon

Courses I Teach: Introduction to Creative Writing, Writing Fiction, Writing Creative Nonfiction, Reading in the World, The American Novel

 Zachary Blinkinsop

Zachary Blinkinsop

Graduation Date: June 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): Scandinavian Studies and Latin (Honors) double major

Extracurricular Activities: Eta Sigma Phi Classics Honors Society, Omega Kappa, Viking Society, Swedish tutor, Latin tutor, meditation, sauna

Class I particularly liked: Latin Prose Composition with Professor Matt Panciera - because when in life will anyone willingly read anything I write in Latin?

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: I really enjoy brainstorming ideas for my papers. I think that not only is this the least stressful part of the writing process (you can even do it in the sauna!), but also the most fruitful. Without a solid soundation, any paper will collapse under its own weight.

Favorite Word: "Gaudy" - an adjective that describes something so flamboyantly extravagant or showy that it's tasteless. Easily my favorite insult.

Andrea Blom

Andrea Blom


Graduation Date: 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): English Major, Neuroscience Minor

Extracurricular activities: Gustavus Wind Orchestra, psychology research

Class I particularly liked: My sophomore year I took a special topics course on the fin de siècle with Professor Park. The decade was a pivotal time for ideas of gender and produced some fantastic literature.

Favorite part of the writing process: Outlining. I think I spend twice as much time organizing my thoughts as I do writing the paper.

Favorite Word: I really like the idea of disillusionment. It's a complex experience, and I'm glad there's a word in the English language for it.



Ava Goepfert

Ava GoepfertGraduation Date: 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): History and Communication Studies Honors

Extracurricular Activities: GAC TV, Gustavus Ambassadors, Women in Leadership

Class I particularly liked: Rhetorical Criticism and Community Advocacy with Pamela Conners. I loved taking seemingly simple texts and making profound discoveries about them. It was challenging and immensely rewarding.

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: Brainstorming. The time when the whole topic is open to you and you can get out all of your ideas, even the bad ones, out of your mind and on paper.

Favorite Word: melancholy- it's ironic to me because I believe it sounds beautiful while meaning deep sadness.

Heather Kok

Graduation Date: December, 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): English

Extracurricular Activities: Gustavus Choir, CF

Class you particularly liked: I loved Rob Kendrick’s Art of Interpretation because that class made me think critically about what I experience every day.

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: Pre-writing—I get to scribble all of my ideas down without worrying about anything!

Favorite Word: Amalgamation—because it’s super fun to say!

Elida Benz

Elida BenzGraduation Date: Spring 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): Biology/Neuroscience

Extracurricular Activities: Elders Program Coordinator, G.O.L.D., TriBeta, Pre-Health Club Treasurer, piano, running

Class I particularly liked: Neurobiology with Dr. Mike Ferragamo, because the brain is so fascinating!

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: Gathering evidence for an argument or information about a topic. I love brainstorming and having to decide which direction my paper should go.

Favorite Word: Brouhaha. Say it 10 times fast :)

Darcy Coulter

Graduation: 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): Religion and English

Extracurriculars: Mosaic Interfaith, Crossroads, Gustavus Choir, Alpha Sigma Tau

Class I loved: Sex, Race and Money with Thia Cooper forced me to look at religion, especially Christianity, from different perspectives and realize the ways in which your identity shapes your experience of your faith.

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: Outlining

Favorite Word: Serendipitous. I like the idea that unexpected joy could always be around the corner!

Olivia Del Viscio

Olivia DelViscioGraduation Date: May 2015

Major/Minor: English Major, Film Studies Minor

Extracurricular Activities: Tri Sigma, Pound Pals co-coordinator, Sigma Tau Delta, Lucia Singers, and Admission Tour Guide

Class I particularly liked: Film Theory with Sean Cobb. This class offered an opportunity to study and write on any film of my choosing. The freedom this offered allowed for an in-depth exploration of my interests in film. I also decided to declare a Film Studies minor during this class.

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: Outlining. This stage produces the first tangible piece of my paper. It is the beginning of a project that will become a constant companion in my life from this point until its conclusion.

Favorite Word: Esoteric. I appreciate the irony in its definition. It describes something that is only understood by a small group of people and the word itself is also!

Benjamin DippleBenjamin Dipple

Graduation Date: 2016

Major(s)/Minor(s): History

Extracurricular activities: History Club and International Cultures' Club

Class I particularly liked: World Regional Geography with Prof. Lencho Bati.  I really enjoyed learning about the different areas of the world and how they are all interconnected.

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: My favorite part is getting my thoughts on paper in a rough draft.  I can then use those thoughts to create a more refined final paper.

Favorite Word: floccinaucinihilipilification. I like this word because it sounds ridiculous, and I used it as an answer for high school quiz bowl once.


Lars Ericson

Lars EricsonGraduation Date: Spring 2015

Major: Secondary English Education

Extracurricular Activities: Gustie Greeters, Pan African Student Organization, Study Buddies, Intramural Sports

Class I Particularly Liked: Politics of Homelessness with Richard Leitch and Intro to U.S. Ethnic Literature with Sun Hee Lee

Favorite Part of Writing Process: Brainstorming

Favorite Word: Salty (But only when used to describe one's feelings of bitter discontentment. Ex.) I am so salty I got a C on that paper; I should have gone to the writing center!)

Abigail Huff

Abigail HuffGraduation Date: January 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): English major with a music minor

Extracurricular Activities: Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, Firethorne, Gustavus Wind Orchestra

Class I particularly liked: A class that I liked recently was Intro to Graphic Design with Prof. Brad Widness. It was fun having a class where I can be more creative and do a lot of drawing. It was also really useful and interesting learning how to use the Adobe Creative Suite, especially Illustrator.

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: Editing and revising are probably my favorite parts because I just love the feeling of making my paper better and messing with little details. Plus, when I'm at that stage, I know I'm getting closer to being done!

Favorite Word: I think a fun word is "obfuscation." I think it's wonderful that there is a confusing sounding word that means to confuse and to make unclear.

Katelyn Juni

Katelyn Juni

Graduation Date: 2015

Major(s)/Minor(s): History and Theatre

Extracurricular Activities: I am very active in the Theatre/Dance Department (obviously) and the Choir of Christ Chapel.

Class I particularly liked: If I had to choose my favorite class that I have taken thus far, it would have to be Beginning Acting with Henry MacCarthy. The movement-based course taught me more about theatre than I thought possible (and was an absolute blast).

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: My favorite part of the writing process would have to be prewriting because I can write down all of my ideas without having to filter or be caught up in the details of syntax. This part of the writing process also helps to relieve any anxieties I have about a given assignment.

Favorite Word: I consider "furthermore" to be my favorite word. It seems very simple, but "furthermore" is a word that tells readers that my thoughts or only just beginning, not ending. "Furthermore" is just a really great word!

Ryan Liebl

Ryan Liebl

Graduation Date: 2016

Majors/Minors: English and Political Science

Extracurricular activities: Jazz Lab Band, Wind Orchestra, Secular Student Alliance

Class I particularl liked: Modern Philosophy

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: Quoting people smarter than I am.

What is Your Writing Process? I look for an idea or assertion that either excites me or pisses me off.  I start composing something straightaway while the emotions linger and fuel intensive thinking.

Favorite Word: “Febrile,” because I recently learned what it means and am now seeing it everywhere





Alex Lyon

Alex LyonGraduation Date: January '14

Major(s)/Minor(s): Communication Studies major, Music & Theater minors

Extracurricular Activities: Gustavus Choir and GAC theater productions

Class I particularly: One of the best classes that I've taken at Gustavus was U.S. Political Rhetoric with Terry Morrow. I learned an incredible amount about the course's topic, but I also feel that I got a lot of skills out of this class that I'll use for my entire life. It was a challenging class, but so rewarding!

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: Brainstorming! I love to explore all the directions that an assignment could go in before I decide which path I'm going to take it down.

Favorite Word: Glorious. I love the way it rolls off the tongue, and it's so much cooler than saying "great."

Hannan Mir

Hannan MirGraduation Date: Spring 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): Chemistry Major/ Art History Minor

Extracurricular Activities: Writing Center, Volunteering, HHMI Research

Class I particularly liked: I particularly enjoyed and appreciated Science Fiction/ Fantasy with Prof. Deborah Downs-Miers. The class was fantastically entertaining (no pun intended) and opened my eyes to several new authors! The best parts of the class were the daily discussions that poked and prodded at the fundamental themes of SF/F.

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: My favorite part of the writing process would be revision. I think it is the most important part of writing and overlooked by many!

Favorite Word: My favourite word would have to be dodecahedron. It's just a fun word to say!

Eleanor MithunEleanor Mithun

Name: Eleanor Mithun

Graduation Date: 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): English Major

Extracurricular Activities: Firethorne Prose Editor, and writing, writing, writing all the time.

Class I particularly liked: I loved Baker Lawley's Writing Fiction class last semester. Not only was it fun to create things for a grade, the workshops really helped me get an outsider's perspective on my work. I recommend anyone with an interest in creative writing take it when they can!

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: I love brainstorming. There's something really cool about turning abstract ideas into words on a page.

Favorite Word: "Grok." No matter how much you try to understand what it means, you're probably still not quite getting it, and I like a challenge.

Nick Mullenmeister

Nick MullenmeisterName:Nick Mullenmeister

Graduation Date: June, 2014

Major(s)/Minor(s): Japanese Studies and English Major

Extracurricular Activities: Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, Omega Kappa Fraternity

Class I particularly liked: Shakespeare with Professor Eric Eliason. This course did so much for me in terms of becoming a better writer and pushing new ideas through creativity, but it was also quite meaningful to me on several levels as it was the last class I had with Professor Eliason.

Favorite Part of the Writing Process: I love the heart of composition - after the prep work is finished and I begin to get a feel for which direction my essay is headed and the many paths I can take from there.

Favorite Word:"Anagoge" - the interpretation(s) we find somewhere deep within the essence of our being.