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Meet Our Tutors

Meet the Fall 2017 Writing Tutors!

Our tutors share why they love writing and working with fellow scholars at the SLC.

Alexa Aburto - 4th Year, English, Creative Writing Minor
Writing is a beautiful and powerful process that should be celebrated. With my fellow tutors, I hope to contribute to the creation of an academic space that nourishes and uplifts writers. Together, we can enhance our creative agency through the written word and flourish as individuals.

Alison Oses - 3rd Year, English 
I hope to create a writing culture where diverse thoughts are welcomed and heard. As someone who understands the difficult process of writing, I hope to  support my peers with advice and patience. In practicing the writing process, I hope to grow alongside my peers as we learn from each other’s thoughts and experiences 

Amanda Chang - 3rd Year, Molecular and Cell Biology
Writing has always been a passion of mine because it allows me to express myself and share my experiences with others. I hope to use this passion to empower other students to find and explore their own writing voices, which they can then use to provoke thought in themselves and in their communities.

Andres Irigoyen - 3rd Year, English
Through writing, I have found profound psychological and intellectual liberation. Organizing the chaos in our minds into logically coherent ink on a page can be a daunting challenge, but I aspire to create a writing culture that inspires my peers to appreciate this introspective and enlightening process. With the current ideological and political climate, it has never been more important to embrace this challenge in a collective effort toward intellectual clarity and social harmony.

Anvi Bahl - 3rd Year, Gender and Women’s Studies & Political Science
Writing has always been the primary tool by which I have made sense of the world around me and my relationship to it. I believe that writing affords expression to all individuals, especially in situations where the right to speak is one held by privileged communities within society. Writing cultivates empowerment, and I hope to facilitate this process within individuals as a writing tutor.

Blue Griffin Fay - 2nd Year, Intended Sociology
Everyone comes to writing in a different way. For some it is a means of expression and enjoyment, for others, a dragon they have to slay. Whatever the case, I believe that writing is not something we have to do alone. The kind of writing culture I am interested in seeing is one that is supportive and encouraging, and that values the stories we have to share.

Christopher (Chris) Newton - 4th Year, English, Philosophy Minor
Words have the capability to warp space-time, to open up new worlds by breaking through the expanse of thought. Writing has helped me carve my own space into the world, where I can navigate my ideas, emotions, and experiences willfully. I want my peers to harness writing in a similar way--to carve open spaces for themselves within which their independence may flourish. 

Claire Newfeld - 3rd Year, Philosophy
I hope to see a writing culture at Cal that is much less associated with stress and responsibility and more appreciated as a mechanism for communication of ideas. Writing, regardless of the length of the piece or the percentage of the course grade, should ideally not be daunting or scary. It is an opportunity for one’s voice to be heard.

Dana Abdelgadir - 4th Year, Public Health
For me, engaging with writing as a process allows me to create finished and rewarding pieces that are uniquely mine. In experiencing and embracing the process of writing, we can all come to better understand and value ourselves as writers.

Devynn Danipour - 4th Year, Peace and Conflict Studies
To me, the act of writing is a time for self-reflection and self-exploration, regardless of the class or grade for which the paper is ultimately written for. I hope that I can support writers as they engage with their ideas, enabling them to present themselves in a way that highlights each unique facet of their expressive ability. My goal is to encourage others to see writing as a positive (and supremely fulfilling) experience!

Dorrin Akbari - 3rd Year, Legal Studies
Every act of writing, regardless of its genre, is an attempt at telling a story, and no story would be whole without narration—the writer’s voice. Finding one’s voice as a writer is what distinguishes those who write for the sake of writing from those who write to be heard. I’d like to contribute to a writing culture that encourages writers to write in a manner that makes people want to listen.

Ellen Zhang - 4th Year, History
I believe writing is a necessary balm to the solitude and inertia of everyday life, because it enables us to communicate honestly, compassionately, and without fear. As a fellow writer, I hope we can use the vehicle of written word to speak our minds bravely, make mistakes, learn about each other, and become more ourselves.

Erika Siao - 2nd Year, Political Economy
I believe that everyone is capable of being a good writer. As a tutor, I hope to foster an environment where writing is not seen as a chore, but rather as a wonderful medium of expression that is open to all.

Fátima Casas - 2nd Year, Ethnic Studies & Political Science
Everyone has stories worth writing. As I write, the ink dances on my blank canvas, creating a masterpiece of my unheard narrative: my struggles, passions, and dreams. I dream of empowering conscious scholars to use their pens to fight against a system that enchains our voices; for only through reclaiming our words can we find our true selves.

Gabija Safranavicius - 4th Year, Interdisciplinary Field Studies & Social Welfare 
I am so excited to be joining the SLC Writing Tutor program, as it has been an incredible opportunity for me to engage in developing and capturing the diverse thinking that goes on at Cal. I am looking forward to a semester of exploring new ideas and critical thinking— as well as meeting new people and collaborating through academic variables. Reading and writing are an essential part of who I am, and I am so excited to learn and develop new perspectives through the tutoring position.

Gerald Orellana - 2nd Year, Architecture
To me, writing has always been a form of creative expression and self-introspection. I have come to know who I am today through documenting my family's past and my own transformative experiences. This theme of introspection and narration is the type of culture I would love to see in writers at UC Berkeley.

Gitika Nalwa - 2nd Year, Economics & English, Creative Writing Minor
I'd like to create a writing culture that promotes unabashedly honest writing, writing that is incisive but not insensitive, provocative but not illogical, complex but not muddled.

Harrison (Harry) Tunggal - 4th Year, English, Journalism Minor
In an odd way, finding the right combination of words in the perfect order is both deeply frustrating and profoundly rewarding, but I love to write because of it. Writing is my personal creative outlet, and I’m at my happiest when I’m putting my thoughts to paper. I hope that my own love for writing will rub off on the peers that I tutor, and that they will use their voices to engage with their communities in a meaningful way.

Isabella Garcia-Mendez - 3rd Year, French & Political Science, Creative Writing Minor
For me, the aspect of writing that matters most is the journey and not the destination.  When I am writing, i feel as if I am free to express myself and discover parts of myself that I didn't even know existed.  I hope to be able to help other writers find this avenue of freedom, growth, and discovery as a writing tutor for the SLC.

Jenny Pelagio Castillo - 5th Year, Chicana/o Studies & Ethnic Studies
My goal is to foster a writing culture that is inclusive and welcoming. I hope to empower my peers to develop their unique voices and to find that writing can be a transformative tool for social justice.  

Joseph (Joe) Ayers - 4th Year, English & Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies
In my opinion, writing is an art, one that should be deeply respected because it has such great power and influence. I hope to inspire my peers to find their voices and empower themselves through their writing. My goal is for them to see writing not as a source of stress and anxiety, but rather as a source of validation and infinite possibility. If I had to sum up my philosophy about writing in a quote, it would be, "I don't write for you to love me. I write for you to feel me."

Julia Konstantinovsky - 4th Year, English & Political Science, Public Policy Minor
Writing is a tool of self-discovery as well as empowerment. Writing creates the opportunity for agency, and, as a tutor, I hope to support other writers in embracing the apparent obstacles of the process in order to closer engage with their academic work, their powerful thoughts and ideas, and their life experiences.

Juliette Pascual - 3rd Year, Conversation and Resource Studies
Writing can embody strength, success, and resistance, making it not only a vital academic tool, but an agent of personal empowerment. I envision Berkeley’s writing culture becoming a supportive community that encourages our students to develop their voices and their confidence in self-expression.

Kaiyu Xu - 3rd Year, Comparative Literature & Economics
I enjoy writing because it makes me feel free in a world defined by infinite “rules.” I hope to contribute to a writing culture where we are able to voice our opinions freely, challenge authority, and build a world based on our unique perspectives.

Karis Tanksley - 4th Year, English
Since I was a kid, writing has been a form of communicating with myself and others, usually on topics that were harder to say out loud. Now that I’m a tutor, I want to join you in this communication style, help you feel more comfortable in it, and encourage you to challenge yourself. We’re all writers, and with that in mind, I hope you’ll find yourself as a part of a larger community of scholars and thinkers as you develop your skills.

Kayla Baskevitch - 4th Year, Molecular and Cell Biology, Conservation and Resource Studies Minor
Writing has always been the way I feel most comfortable expressing myself. When I write, I feel the confidence and power of my individual voice. As a writing tutor, I hope that I can encourage my peers to see their writing as similarly empowering, while supporting them in both fostering their own unique styles of expression and finding enjoyment in all parts of the process.

Kelsey Hartman - 4th Year, Peace and Conflict Studies, Journalism Minor
I hope to see a writing culture at Cal that emphasizes personal expression and growth, and works toward mitigating the stress, competition, and isolation that often surround Berkeley academics. I believe in helping my peers build the confidence to be comfortable and proud using writing as a tool to achieve whatever ends they desire, as well as find fulfillment through the writing process itself.

Laila Esfandiari - 4th Year, Integrative Biology
While writing is often an anxiety-inducing task, I believe it is critical professional tool and a vital mode of self-expression. As a tutor, I hope to make writing not only accessible but also enjoyable to my peers.

Laura Atukunda - 3rd Year, Public Health 
Every time I write, I discover something new. Writing helps me delve deeper into topics I am passionate about and explore different perspectives. I would like to contribute to a writing culture that empowers individuals to learn more about themselves and discover the world around them.

Lauren Kelly - 4th Year, History
Throughout my life, writing has been a fun and challenging form of communication that pushes my mental limits. As a tutor, I hope to encourage writers to feel comfortable, open, and enthusiastic about their individual progress in writing. I would like to help foster a supportive community of students who all enjoy this process of writing together.

Lilian Vasquez - 4th Year, Ethnic Studies & Social Welfare
I hope to foster a writing culture where writers can freely express their ideas and engage in critical analysis. I envision a program where, by reflecting upon and revising their own work, writers feel empowered to develop meaningful and original scholarship.

Madison Burson - 3rd Year, History & Political Economy
For me, writing was always a means in which I could articulate my thoughts and perceptions of the world, giving me a sense of understanding of my own ideas. As a writing tutor at the SLC, I hope to help others find this clarity and voice as well, and in doing so create a community at Cal in which we can communicate and empathize with each other.

Marnie Lowe - 4th Year, Legal Studies 
As a writing tutor, I want to foster a relaxed, friendly environment where anyone and everyone can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts. I know writing can pose both challenges and opportunities, so I hope to help my peers approach assignments with confidence in their abilities and excitement about their ideas.

Megan Conner - 3rd Year, English & Environmental Economics and Policy
To me, writing is a means to investigate and communicate with others. People are all quite different. When someone takes their pen to paper, the articulation of their thoughts can produce newfound pockets of knowledge for others with contrasting backgrounds and perspectives. I hope to see an SLC culture that works to encourage this type of  knowledge exchange.

Midori Chen - 4th Year, Gender and Women Studies, LGBT Studies & Creative Writing Minors
Toni Morrison elaborated on the quote “Truth is stranger than fiction” noting that while truth is random, fiction— and by extension, writing— is not. I envision a writing culture focused on being intentional: what is it that you and I want to express? Then all together we hone the skills to master writing as an  art of expression.

Miranda Gonzales - Alumna, Nutritional Science, Chicana/o Studies Minor
For me, writing is a source of pride, a means to convey my ideas and thoughts with confidence. As a tutor my goal is to empower my peers through writing. I am always excited to learn from them about their areas of study, as well as their unique contributions to the world of knowledge.

Monica Gizelle Martinez - 4th Year, English, Creative Writing Minor
Writing is a liberating power, whether it be academic or a mode of creative expression. In any form, writing is the best way to discover yourself and what really matters to you. As someone who has made this journey throughout my life by allowing myself to be myself in writing, I hope to help my fellow writers flourish with this outlet as we grow and learn together.

Morgan Robertson - 4th Year, English
I am a writer who writes, everything from notes to journals to academic papers. Writing can be approached as an obstacle but also as a tool for self development. I, as well as the SLC, believe that we should walk and talk through the writing process together. I look forward to working with my peers on a one on one and making personal connections together as we learn.

Olivia Lewke - 2nd Year, English
I envision a writing culture at Cal that facilitates the exploration of new ways of communicating ideas, in addition to encouraging the sharing of perspectives, and diverse ways in which our minds work. There is an infinite amount of truth that we can learn from one another and our writing provides a connection between us all.

Qingyang Song - 4th Year, Chemistry & History
For me, writing is the most active form of learning across the disciplines. I am excited to support and grow with my fellow writers as we deepen our understanding of texts, process our thoughts, and build compelling arguments through conversation and writing.

Rachel Henry - 4th Year, Public Health
I hope that the writing culture I see at the SLC is a direct reflection of the beauty and diversity that exists at Cal. We as Cal students are not afraid to speak up about the issues and the people that we care about — the writing culture at the SLC should do justice to this unique and unafraid place that we are in. Everyone has a voice that is worth being heard, and I hope that the writing culture at the SLC is an environment that fosters each person’s voice.

Rassidatou (Rassi) Konate - 3rd Year, Public Health
To me, passion is an essential key to success. I also believe that passion is not innate, but rather acquired. I hope to help promote passion for sharing ideas, expressing our thoughts and exploring possibilities as central to building a strong writing culture at Cal. Writing is travelling and I hope to help my peers go on journeys that will open up incredible new doors for them here and beyond.

Taylor Chan - 4th Year, English, Ethnic Studies Minor
While writing can be frustrating and intimidating for many (myself included), it can also be an outlet for transformation, self-expression, and creativity. I strive to work with student writers to discover and develop their own voices, while learning and bettering myself in turn!

Tianyi Dong - 4th Year, Economics & History
The process of asking questions, challenging presumptions, and crystallizing one’s thoughts on paper allows us to see a whole new world. Writing is the most rewarding part of the learning process for me, and I hope to make it the same for you!

Tommy Emick - 4th Year, English & Political Science
I hope to foster a writing culture at Cal that emphasizes and respects the sincere and thoughtful exchange of perspectives through the refined mode of written language. As a tutor, I want to support my peers in cultivating their voice for personal, professional, and political use. 

Tracy Soon - Alumna, Math
For me, writing has been a way to exercise my agency as a thinker. As someone who fell in love with writing rather late, I hope to help fellow student writers discover the joy of writing and appreciate it early in their academic careers.

Wai Ho - 4th Year, English
When I write, I feel like I'm entering a conversation. As a writer, I want to dialogue thoughtfully and critically without silencing other voices. My vision for the writing culture at Cal is for student writers to enter into conversations with other writers and thinkers, and respond to each other across cultures and disciplines with grace.

Yisheng Tang - 3rd Year, Comparative Literature & English
Writing is the most wonderful task, through which the writer creates thousands of worlds, letting the readers visit, edifying them and contributing to the world. Thus, I enjoy the tutoring experience in SLC, which is an equal and mutual one. It is my great fortune to get access to those precious arguments from other great writers, learn from them, and possibly help them achieve more.