Admiral Clawson

WC Mascot, The Lobster

To be or not to be?  That is a serious question for a crustacean.  Is it better to lounge in the sea for days on end, evading predators from above and below, or would it be better to seek out a noble demise? This question has plagued me of late and the choices are definitive and difficult, to say the least.  On one claw, I could ascribe to the similar tactics of my neighbor, Hermit, he lives a solitary life, but one he seems most pleased with.  Were I to ponder an alternate path, it may be prudent to join the less adept, the ones who are ensconced in the traverses that speed them to the surface, where they will entices palates and grace tables.  But alas, this query is all for not! I am merely a sheaf of paper, festooned in blazing rouge, a mere element or adornment added to this glorious display. Yet, am I detecting notes of iconery?!  My stars and garters! I shant hang my head, nor bemoan my fate, for I am The Lobster. The WC Lobster! 

Written By Sarah Keyser-Brown

Nadia Alamah

Writing Tutor

Basic Info: Senior, Undergrad; Major: English with a Specialization in Writing; Number of Years Tutoring: This is my second semester

What do you love most about tutoring? What inspires you about working with students in the UM-Flint community?
I love collaborating with students on their ideas through conversation to where they finally figure out that one idea that seems perfect to include in their paper. I'm honored to work with the students who are eager to pursue their education and do so here at UM-Flint.

What advice would you give Freshman students?
Stay organized. Choose your classes carefully. Make time for yourself to relax at least once a week. And get your sleep. Keep your life in balance or it'll fall apart.

What did The M.E.W. Writing center offer you to help you be successful in your education?
 A chance to work with students and give back to the community, to become a better listener and learn from people I otherwise may have never met.

Why is writing a valuable skill to develop?
Writing is a conversation on paper. And conversations are an invaluable form of communication. It doesn't matter where you are using it in your life-- it could be a cover letter, a report, an email/letter to a loved one, or a list of ideas for a project-- if you don't develop your writing skills, you could be letting all sorts of thought gems slip through your fingers that you could otherwise polish, refine and let shine.

Paige Elizabeth Anderson-Knott

Writing Tutor, Master of Knowledge

I love to read, and read just about anything (I even read the back of cereal boxes and mayo jars). Mostly I find myself gravitating to non-fiction because I love knowledge and I am always wanting to work on myself and my goals. I am a “when I have time” writer who is aspiring to be an “I schedule time for my writing” writer. I like to write everything from mainstream fiction, sci-fi, to creative non-fiction, and informational. Currently, I am working on a project about pregnancy, birth and becoming a mom. This is a pretty new experience for me. I had my wonderful daughter, Tempest last November and am due in June 2014 with baby #2; my husband and I couldn't be happier.  

As for my more professional life, I just started my Master’s program in English. I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with my Master’s degree yet, but my main goal in obtaining my degree is strictly for the love of knowledge; a trait I hope will assist me in teaching my children as well. I received my Bachelors from University of Michigan Flint and am so happy to have such a wonderful master’s program at the school I love.  I have worked in the writing center since 2010. I absolutely love it and if I could do it forever I would be in heaven.

Kevin Brown

Front Desk Support, Rehabilitating Writer Wellness

My name is Kevin; I am a jack of all trades and a master of none.

When you call on the phone I sense your tone,

I’ll assist you to make an appointment so there is no need for ointment.

I’ll let you speak to a tutor so you can make changes on your computer. 

Your paper will be dandy, but never better than our candy.

I sold my soul to the writing center I’ve been here so long I am now a renter

and since I wrote this poem I am now a repenter.

Zakariya Chouikh

Fabulously Fierce Writing Tutor

Howdy ho, Dudarinos! My name is Zach! I’m the white rabbit of the writing center, but not for long because I just got this totally awesome pink plastic Hello Kitty® digital watch (Holllaaaaaa!). I have a hard time figuring out the time on those old fashioned clocks, the big hand and little hand is so confusing! I spent an extra year in kindergarten trying to learn the meaning of all those numbers and lines on the face of a clock. Now, I’ll no longer be perpetually late because I finally learned how to tell time thanks to my delightfully adorable digital watch. My newfound knowledge of telling time has helped me be successful in the WC and at my other job. Please forgive me if some days I smell like bacon, but it is worth smelling like delicious breakfast meat because I am a killer, short order fry cook. I am THE MAN with a spatula in my hand. When I’m not posting inspirational memes on Facebook, sharing YouTube videos of my sick dance moves, or trolling Axe Body Spray® chat rooms to meet fine homies on the mighty interwebs, I like to write poetry about fluffy bunnies, cuddly mice, and sweet little kittens. I love to giggle! Who doesn’t?! My reading list is extensive. Right now, I’m in the middle of the Nancy Drew series. I totes adore her! If only I could be a smart and savvy detective like her someday. Soon, I hope to finish my degree at UM-Flint so I may one day open my own detective agency.

Bobbi Coates

Writing Tutor, Judge Justice

Bobbi Coates has been tutoring writers since 2008, when she got her start in the writing center at Mott Community College. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2012, majoring in Criminal Justice and Sociology, and is currently attending Wayne State University Law School. Bobbi enjoys working with students from diverse backgrounds and academic disciplines. Her specialties are MLA, APA, and Harvard Bluebook citation formats. She also tutors speeches and presentations!

Vicky Dawson

Writing Tutor, Professor Jazz

I am a wife and mother of two children, ages 20 and 17. I love writing, hiking, backpacking, photography, and the outdoors. I have a 26 pound Pomeranian named Pudge, who can spell. He hears t-r-e-a-t, and it's all over. I started my undergraduate degree in English with a specialization in writing and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies back in 1999. I did not come to the university confident in my writing skills. However, I discovered two critical things: first, my writing skills were not all that different from most of my classmates, and second, grammar is a skill, not a talent. I will be forever grateful to the professor who told me that.

I became a writing tutor in 2002, and have been tutoring both in and outside of the university ever since. I always wanted to be a writer, but after seeing how transforming being a writing tutor could be, I also decided I wanted to be a writing instructor. Over the years, I have written for newspapers, magazines, and websites, but my dream of teaching came true this summer when I finished my M.A. in English with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric. I am now a writing instructor for Education and Human Services. I still tutor in the writing center, (it’s a hard to give up a place that feels like home), but I am thrilled with the new opportunities to teach writing in the classroom. Yet, I will never forget the Writing Center. There, I found a welcoming community of writers, friends, and colleagues that gave me the support I needed to reach all of my goals. I hope you will stop in and see us!   

Sara Follo

Writing Tutor, Adorable Comedienne Extraordinaire

I love being a tutor at the writing center! It's an amazing experience and I am so incredibly grateful for it. Seeing as I aspire to be a professor of literature and linguistics one day, I feel like this is a great experience to be the best professor I can be. Speaking of my future goals, I'm finishing my undergraduate degree in English with a specialization in Linguistics. I'm also getting a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. I love working with writers and having conversations about their work, you'd be amaze how much you can learn from someone in thirty minutes...or less! 

I also make bad jokes, so bear with me. :)

Bob Gidcumb

Writing Tutor, Code Hero

In days past when lawlessness ruled the M.E.W. Writing Center, people yearned for an end to the chaos…

Just as all hope seemed lost, the tutors’ cries were answered when a man descended from the mesa. Mounted on a tall, white stallion he came riding from out of the west with the sun at his back.  He stood tall and straight in the saddle. 

Here was a man to be reckoned with.  Other men were in awe. Women gasped, clutched their hankies and fanned themselves as he and his trusted steed slowly cantered down Main Street.  “There’s a new sheriff in town, “someone exclaimed.

A stoic, mysterious man, the new sheriff moved and dressed differently than others; with a quiet confidence and power that was immediately noticeable. He was dangerous, yet the safest man to have around because it was clear he could handle himself on both an intellectual and physical level.  Once he formed a friendly tie with someone he was the kind of man that remains loyal forever.

A year has passed since that fateful day.  Peace and tranquility are plentiful as law and order rule at the writing center.  Tutors and students enjoy an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration.  Times are good and blessings plentiful as this quiet stranger keeps watch over the citizens.  Many folks have adopted and chosen to live by his unofficial creed:

  • To have a friend, a man must be one.
  • All people are created equal.
  • Everyone has within himself the power to make the world better.
  • Be prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight for what is right.
  • Sooner or later we must settle with the world and make payment for that which we have taken.
  • All things change but truth. Truth alone lives on forever

As everyday life proceeds smoothly and peacefully at the writing center, the sheriff, always striving to be a better man, pursues an M.A in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan – Flint, concentrating on creative writing projects. 

You may not see him in the writing center every day, but he’s always around, in the background, and, if trouble brews and outlaws attempt to overrun the town, he and his trusted steed will be there in a flash to restore order and hope to the law abiding students and tutors at the Marion E. Wright Writing Center


Nancy Grigg

Writing Tutor, Unicorn Whisperer

I love working with students during English 109 and English 110 class, as well as tutoring appointments, because I love assisting writers at various stages in their writing processes.  I feel that our writing center provides a reciprocal learning environment-while I try to assist students in improving their writing, I always learn something new from the students I have the pleasure of working with.

I would advise students to manage their stress levels when trying to meet the demands of college by being proactive in tackling assignments, and to divide larger projects (such as writing papers) into smaller pieces or steps to make them less overwhelming and more manageable.

Writing is an important skill needed for success in all majors and disciplines, and employers in today's job market are looking for candidates who are able to think critically and write concisely.  No matter what you decide to major in, writing is an important skill set in any and all disciplines. 

Rebecca Hawley

Writing Tutor, ENG 109 Facilitator Extraordinaire

This biography blurb is late.  Completely uncharacteristic of my type-A, people-pleasing personality, I know.  But I want it to be just right.  This draft is actually the seventh one; I cannot find the precise words or organization I want.  I tried using third-person in one draft:  “Rebecca likes knitting and …” Blech.  That draft didn’t make it past four words.  (sigh)

Instead of a flawless, sophisticated summary of my life, here are random details about me.

Family: one husband, four kids (17, 15, 12 yo twins)

Profession: Field Researcher in the Area of Child Development and Education; teacher; writing collaborator

Hobbies: reading, knitting, strategy games, dance (performing and teaching), cooking, drawing, painting, scrap-booking, singing, acting

Unusual Detail:  I have lived in 34 homes in my life.  I've been in my current home for ten years - a record.

Favorite reads: The Book Thief, The Anything Box by Zenna Henderson, the Thomas Covenant series (first trilogy), all of Tolkien

Favorite radio: 

 Looking forward to meeting you and chatting about life, the universe, and everything! Or writer’s block.  I know a little about that, too.  :)

Sarah Keeler

Writing Tutor with a Katie

I am a wildlife biology major and a Sophomore with an interest in entomology (aka. Insects). Though I am majoring in the sciences I love being a writing tutor! I also love my cat, Gandalf, and my four tarantulas, Fluffy, Norbert, Aragog, and Fang. As can be seen from my pets names I am an avid reader and I'm always looking for a good book. 

Sarah Keyser-Brown

Writing Tutor, Betty Crocker Expert

I earned an M.A. in English Language and Literature as well as an M.A. in Literacy K-12 at the University of Michigan – Flint and have been a tutor at the Marian E. Wright Writing Center (MEW) for almost 2 years. Education and UM-Flint are a tradition in my family, with my mother, father, son, daughter-in-law and soon my husband all being graduates. The mainstays of education, writing, reading and speaking, are all valuable skills that should never be done in isolation, and the MEW is the optimum venue for writers of all skill levels and interests to seek input from others. I find our writing center to be the perfect place to collaborate, learning with and from each and every writer that graces its doorway. I enjoy the variety, inspiration, and camaraderie I am privileged to experience every minute I spend there. In my spare moments I enjoy reading, creative writing, gardening, crafting and especially baking tasty treats for my home and writing center families. I hope to see you around the center soon!



Marianna Kilbourne

Writing Tutor, 109 Rockstar

Being a writing tutor has enriched my graduate studies in English in many ways. I have  learned the value in collaborative writing, the importance of having a reader who can give you a fresh perspective, and exposure to diverse topics and writers. I get the privilege of reading students' papers, and have learned so much about the world through their eyes. Everyone can benefit from getting feedback from a reader, regardless of their writing abilities, and that is the biggest thing I have learned from working in the Writing Center.

I strongly encourage Freshmen to take advantage of all the resources available to them at UM-Flint. Students should not be discouraged by experiences in high school and earlier education, because everyone has the capability of improving their writing skills. Writing is a form of communication students will use throughout their academic careers.

This is my second semester being a writer tutor, and I plan to keep tutoring as long as the writing center directors will keep me!

Abbie Gale Lemmon

Writing Tutor, Intelligentsia Costra Nostra

This morning, roused from a comatose state—brought on by a late night of academic reading—I awaken to the impatient screeching of my alarm clock. Suddenly, I realized I had pushed the snooze button, one too many times.  As consciousness kicked in, and my cursing subsided, I ran around my apartment like a jack rabbit on speed—as if my frantic bumbling would create a time warp to slow down the persistent ticking of the clock.  The reality of potential tardiness was looming, so I skipped a morning shower to make time for coffee.  In my haste, I dropped the container holding my heavenly caffeinated bean juice.  The haphazard fumble blanketed my kitchen floor in a brown, gritty, snowstorm of freshly ground coffee.  Unshowered, uncaffinated, and cursing the world, I scampered out the door. . . . to find my car encased in an ice fortress.  My only means of travel was trapped within an imposing four foot wall of snow; all thanks to a mischievous, dementedly deranged, evil genius known as the #*%!@* snowplow truck driver.  Armed with nothing but a corn husk broom, and a mildly simmering rage, I waged war upon the mountainous pile of snow blocking my car in the driveway.  After an exasperating twenty minute battle against the early morning forces of evil, I finally claimed victory over the day—this is after pouring boiling water on the door frame of my car to release the frozen door.  Finally, victory would be mine with the turn of the key in the ignition. . . .or so I thought.  A turn of the key, no spark, no chugging engine, no hope. I begin banging my head on the steering wheel—as if beating the car and myself senseless would fix this "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."  As I retreated to my home in defeat, I considered buying a plane ticket to Australia. Instead, I decided it would be best to go back to bed and forget this morning ever happened.
So, professor, that is why I missed class today.  

Dave Linden

Writing Coach in an Outdoorsman’s Body

I’m a forty-something husband and father of three, with a son and daughter who are students at UM-Flint along with their dad. My youngest son is in 8th grade.

I’m in my first semester as a graduate student, pursuing an MA in English and a concentration Writing and Rhetoric. This is likewise my first semester as a tutor in the Writing Center, but I prefer the term “coach” over “tutor.” As I look to carve out a new career in the field of writing or editing, it’s my goal to help anyone I serve become a better writer and learner, regardless of what they’re working on.

When I’m not in class or the writing center, you’ll find me hanging out with my family, attending to my landscape contracting business, coaching middle school football or baseball, or, as the accompanying photo implies, lost on some remote lake, fishing for the day’s yield.

Maria Oakley

Lovably Macabre Writing Tutor

My name is Maria, but I prefer to go by Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way. I am the Queen of the Underworld, Death incarnate. My lifelong dream is to marry Draco Malfoy. I love darkness and shadows and drinking things that may or may not be blood. I also really like kittens and puppies and other fluffy cute things. I’m very fond of ducklings. I spend most of my days performing black magic rituals, summoning demons to do my bidding, and stumbling through reddit. I have a severe addiction to twix bars and energy drinks—thanks, college, for that. My biting sarcasm can cause flowers to wilt. That’s great, since I prefer my roses dead anyways. My favorite color is black, but there are some days that I almost prefer gray. I wear black because I’m in mourning for society, which is crumbling around our feet even as I type this. In my spare time I visit graves, write short stories, dance with the devil in the pale moonlight, and pretend I hate upbeat pop music. According to the strange people in the writing center I’m adorable. They’re obviously deranged. People without souls can’t be adorable.

Kris Price

Viking Tutor of Words

AAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!!! I am the word Viking, sent from Asgard by Thor himself! I’ve come to pillage and plunder your minds and imaginations! My mind is my armor and my pencil is my hammer! Just kidding, but seriously I could not be happier to be part of the UMFlint Writing Center team. Reading and writing have always been a passion of mine. I love to meet new people and experience the exchange of knowledge and information. I am an undergraduate studying for an English degree with a specialization in creative writing. I hope to one day teach English at the college level, specifically creative writing. As I’m sure you can tell from my opening I’m a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy. Maybe I’m a geek, maybe I’m a nerd. I would gladly accept these titles if that’s what it takes to be a fanatical Star Wars/Lord of the Rings fan. I cannot wait to read your papers, delve into your minds, and experience your imaginations. Come in to the Marian E. Wright Writing Center and see me or any of our other awesome writing tutors, we would love to meet you. Now if you’ll excuse me I must continue my training with Master Yoda. May the force be with you.  

Jennifer Ross

Writing Tutor, Dance Ninja

Hi all, my name is Jennifer. I am a graduate student in the English Language and Literature program, and I’ve been working in the Writing Center since last January. Not only is tutoring here fun because you get to meet lots of people, but you constantly get to read new things and talk to people about their ideas. As a tutor, you never stop learning. The students I see come from a wide array of backgrounds, so I’m always exposed to a broad range of subjects and opinions. Things are always interesting around here – stop by! You’ll see. When I’m not at the Writing Center, I’m working as a research assistant for the Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching, dancing in any of my Modern, Hip Hop, or Jazz classes, or hanging out at home with some hot chocolate and a good book.

Scott Russell

Writing Center Coordinator

There’s no excuse for me. There is only an explanation. Sadly, the explanation doesn’t make much sense and isn’t taken seriously. It reads like the pitch for a 1950s sci-fi movie about giant grasshoppers devouring Illinois (The Beginning of The End even had a place in the script where the main characters implore the army colonel in charge to keep an open mind because what they have to tell him is NUTS!). That means I wind up making excuses for the explanation and might as well give up and settle for being inexcusable.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that we probably never know ourselves: whatever I might say to you about myself is so highly suspect, so potentially biased, that you shouldn’t even bother reading it. And if I try to be highly negative in reaction to my bias, I go too far the other way and make up just as much fiction (which might be deceptively compelling for its illusion of blunt honesty). Let us just say that I am a writer and given an empty page I will fill it with all manner of nonsense because I can’t help myself.

Rachel Tatum

Writing Tutor, Allegorical Culturist

A long time ago, in a sophomore poetry class far, far away at Mott, I gave a presentation on Sir Walter Raleigh. After doing some quick googling, I came up with a selection of his poetry to share in my presentation. Unfortunately for me, I didn't spend enough time searching for reputable sources. NONE of my poems were actually the work of Raleigh (which my instructor kindly pointed out to me…in front of the entire class).

I'm telling you this to make the point that we've all messed up on an assignment. We've all struggled with research, citations, and figuring out how to put our thoughts into words on a page (or how to stop scrolling the internet long enough to even consider putting our thoughts into words on a page). You're not alone in that. Come talk to me or my fellow tutors, we've been there. And if you're one of those mythical writers who never struggles, come talk to us about what you're working on anyway. We are all ears and excited to explore your work with you.


Also that Raleigh incident was seven years ago, so don’t judge me on that.

Wendell Vanburen

Night Tutor Ex·tra·or·di·naire

Wendell is my name and tutoring in the PM is my game.  I have been a writing tutor since January 2014, and I like working the night shift because it gives me an excuse to avoid writing profiles like these. When I am not working in the Center, I enjoy long walks on the beach and romantic comedies.  Some of my favorites are Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, and Moonstruck. But truth be told, I really don’t like the moon. It’s too mercurial. Anyway. My favorite movie of all time is My Big Fat Greek Wedding, mostly because of the food. I also love unique shoes, so my favorite TV show is Sex and the City. And, yes, Carrie Bradshaw does look better with short hair.  So, if you come in for an appointment with me, feel free to quiz me with Sex and the City trivia. I own all of the seasons. Try to stump me.  I dare you.

JoAnn Zak

Writing Tutor, Jack-of-all-Trades

Alright, so then here it goes… I  sold cameras; I have managed a key shop in Lincoln Park, MI (yes, I can pick locks!); worked at a bank for 3 years; worked as head teller of a credit union for 6 years; worked in Accounting at the C.U.; sold puppies; worked for a tax accountant; managed Cadillac Brick in Brighton for 6 years; worked in Cardiology at U of M; worked at mortgage investor’s firm in St. Petersburg, Florida as a mortgage processor; and worked at American Home Title in Land O’ Lakes, Florida as a processor and administrative assistant. Currently, I work at the Marian E. Wright Writing Center.  I also love building, remodeling (just helped install a laminate floor!), I can drywall and mud like a pro, and have done little aluminum siding and cement patch work.  All in all … I’ve done a heck of a lot of work.  Whew!  I forgot to tell you I also managed to raise three awesome children in the process!  My daughter is currently an Assistant Principal in Okinawa, Japan.  My oldest son has his securities license selling stocks and bonds, and my youngest has a degree in Civil Engineering.  Finally, I decided it was my turn to pursue a professional degree.  So here I am, a grandmother of three, back in college.  Not exactly your traditional student, but I thoroughly love it! Despite all of the stress, all the deadlines, I can honestly say, I am having the time of my life!

Writing is a wonderful and conversely terrible torture at times.  I love it when it’s right, but it sometimes feels like torture getting there.  That’s the deal.  The process of writing is a pain to go through, but a sense of pride and satisfaction at the end of the journey.  Like life, writing is a journey – try to enjoy the ride.  We are here at the Writing Center to help you make writing enjoyable.