Meet the Spring 2018 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.
Anthony So - 3rd Year, English
Writing, for me, has been the medium where controversial ideas can be better understood and challenged. I wish to foster a culture where writers can come into conversation with uncomfortable topics, while still feeling comfortable challenging them, so that together we can create new and revolutionary ways of thinking.
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.
Caitlyn Jordan - 2nd Year, English
At its core, writing is an exchange of ideas, experiences, and perspectives. As a tutor, I want to learn new things from each writer and, in exchange, support them as they discover themselves through writing.
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.
Delphina Wedell - 3rd Year, Architecture
At Cal, stress is normalized; however, this should not be the case with writing. Even though it is often seen as a very daunting task, writing should be celebrated because it can be used as a tool to foster well-being.
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.
Elvys Morales - 4th Year, Social Welfare
As a writing tutor, I aspire to contribute to a writing culture that inspires intellectual contributions from both myself and my peers. I hope to participate in fostering a space where writers will improve their skills and gain confidence in their ability to develop and articulate their ideas at Cal and beyond.
Emily McKinney - 2nd Year, French & Near Eastern Studies
Writing is an exceptional tool to process thoughts and knowledge to ultimately create something unique. It is a fundamental part of learning and growing. Therefore, my goal as a tutor is to support writers in expressing themselves and for them to feel empowered in their work in this challenging academic environment.
Emma Hager - 4th Year, English
I think a lot about what words can be and do, especially now, when they seem to carry more weight than ever. Writing is not only a profound joy to read, but an indispensable tool with which we may better understand our existences in the world. It is this conviction that I hope to share with my peers and fellow writers. When we consider writing as both an art and a right, we are better for it; there’s so much necessary empathy we can convey through words.
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.
Hannah Newcombe - 2nd Year, Microbial Biology, Creative Writing & Public Health Minor
Reading and writing have been both an escape from reality and a way for me to make sense of it. Without it, I would be missing a part of myself, and lack an understanding of the world around me. As a writing tutor, I want to support my peers as they develop their skills as writers and readers in order to better appreciate their own identities and the complicated and amazing worlds around them.
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.
Jennifer Jeong - 4th Year, Economics & Media Studies, Art History Minor
The power of words cannot be overstated. They transcend their space on pages and come to life as the most eloquent form of expression. Writing should be an empowering practice for all, and I envision a community of diverse voices that functions as a rich marketplace of ideas.
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.
John Vostmyer - 4th Year, English
For me, writing gives a feeling of empowerment unlike any other form of expression. As a tutor, I aim to create an environment that fosters this empowerment and promotes positive learning about the craft of writing.
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.
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.
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.
Mahira Dayal - 2nd Year, Economics & Media Studies, Journalism Minor
I’ve always been passionate about storytelling. I enjoy writing because it gives me a medium to organize and articulate my thoughts and create a coherent voice to represent my ideas. I hope to promote a writing culture where students are not afraid to discover their own voice, be creative, share opinions, and, in the process, learn more about themselves.
Marc Vasquez - 3rd Year, English
As an endless process of inquiry, experimentation, and (self) discovery, writing facilitates critical conversations on a wide spectrum of topics. As a writing tutor, I hope to empower my peers to own and appreciate this dynamic process. I envision an inclusive writing culture that validates diverse perspectives, relishes intellectual exchange, and allows writers of all backgrounds to strengthen their voice.
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.
Mercedes Tseng - 3rd Year, Chinese & Interdisciplinary Studies Field, Applied Linguistics Minor
Through writing, doors to academia and employment are opened, but more importantly, opportunities for self-discovery and the ability to share your voice become unlocked. As a tutor with the SLC, I strive to support others to unlock not only the doors to their academic pursuits, but also in discovering the keys to their own voices.
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.
Sarah Saeed - 2nd Year, Economics
The consumption and production of words greatly shape how I am able to interact with the world. Writing is a transformative process rooted in discovering one’s voice and using that voice as an uplifting force. Accordingly, I want student writers of all backgrounds to feel at home with writing, and to draw pride from their thoughts and words.
Sannidhi Shulka - 3rd Year, Comparative Literature
Writing has always been one of the most powerful tools of honesty, clarity, and catharsis for me. I would like to see a writing culture at Cal that nurtures all of these qualities without deemphasizing the fact that writing is also a powerful tool for critical dialogue.
Sofia Dirzo - 3rd Year, Political Science
To me, writing is a never-ending thinking process where we’re creating thoughts and reconstructing them with new knowledge and ideas. Every piece of writing demonstrates the individual, their voice, and their perceptions of the world.
Sonnet Phelps - 2nd Year, Linguistics, Political Economy Minor
The exercise of writing requires me to wrestle with my topic until I reach a deeper level of understanding, and then it becomes so empowering to express that learning in my own voice! I think everyone deserves to feel proud, excited, and satisfied when they engage in this most crucial form of communication, and I look forward to developing as a writer myself while I support my peers in this process.
Stephanie Franco - 4th Year, Social Welfare
Writing and journaling on a daily basis has continually contributed to my self-awareness and my understanding of the world. As a writing tutor, I hope to create a safe, affirming, and empowering learning environment where we can come to understand how writing is not only a challenging, but also a beautiful, process that intertwines learning with unlearning. At an institution with high stakes, I want to support my peers in fighting their feelings of inferiority.
Steven 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.
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!
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.
Victor Jeong - 2nd Year, English
Fascinatingly, writing is infinitely malleable as an expressive form, weaving and settling itself into the authentic core of the writer. I hope to support my fellow writers discover the emphatic potential of writing, to realize that they too can break the constricting silence and engage with the difficult and important quandaries of our world. Writing not only allows us to explore the complexity of ourselves, but also everything around us.
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.
Zulaika Zulkephli - 2nd Year, Society & Environment
To me, culture is best when it is both personal and shared. I hope that through increased collaboration, we come to a place where writing culture in or out of academic spheres will be celebrated for its personality as well as its capacity for interconnectedness.