The Writing Center

The Staff

Dr. Susan Lawrence, Director

Susan teaches in the Writing & Rhetoric program at Mason, focusing on academic writing, professional & technical writing, and research methods including ethnography and discourse analysis. She has published on writing in the disciplines, examining how biology and history students use evidence in different ways, and developing the prototype for an on-line writing tutor for engineering students (she prefers the human kind). She earned her PhD in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon and rows on the Occoquan Reservoir for Prince William Rowing Club and Occoquan Boat Club.

Courtney Massie, Assistant Director

Courtney comes to Mason from the University of Texas at Austin, from which she will graduate with a PhD in English in May 2017. Her dissertation focuses on late-20th century women’s drama, but her more recent research interests include graduate student writing center employment and professionalization. She worked in UT-Austin’s University Writing Center from 2012 through 2016, first as a writing consultant, then as a graduate student administrator. She has also taught numerous undergraduate literature and composition courses. She is excited to join the Mason community and looks forward to exploring the DC area.

Monica Boothe, Coordinator of Scheduling and Projects

Monica is a third-year in the George Mason MFA program, studying fiction and folklore. She serves as the scheduling and projects coordinator at the Writing Center. She has taught high school and middle school English as well as First Year Composition. When she isn’t writing, reading, or toying with the Writing Center schedule, Monica spends her time reading picture books to her two children.

Robbie Maakestad, Coordinator of Campus Outreach

Robbie is pursing an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at GMU. Previously, he received a BA in English from Taylor University and an MA in English from Ball State University. His writing mostly centers on the archaeology, history, and culture of Israel, where he studied abroad for a semester during undergrad, though he also writes about growing up in Indiana. In his free time, Robbie enjoys reading, writing, and exploring new places with his wife, Ashley.

Ryan Macdonald, Coordinator of Tutor Education and Development

Ryan is a 2nd year MFA student studying creative nonfiction writing. Before moving to Fairfax, he grew up in central Massachusetts and attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he got his BA in English. As Coordinator of Tutor Education and Development, Ryan serves as a first source and mentor for tutors to improve their tutoring skills and engage in constructive professional development.

Darcy Gagnon, Coordinator of Writing Center Technology

Darcy is in his second year of studying Creative Nonfiction for his MFA. He received his BA in creative writing from Frostburg State University in 2010. Originally from the DC suburbs, Darcy moved to the mountain side of Maryland after high school until he relocated to Fairfax last year to resume his academic career. Darcy has worked for various colleges over the last decade, primarily assisting in tutoring programs both as a tutor and an administrator. At the George Mason University Writing Center, Darcy handles technology services for students and tutors and manages the center's website, social media, and online writing labs. Darcy also teaches composition and is the coordinator of GMU's graduate student reading series, Loudfire. Outside of school, Darcy is fond of cooking, tea, collecting records, and his handsome cat, François.

Paul Michiels, ESL Opt-In Coordinator

Paul is a first year PhD candidate in the Writing and Rhetoric program. He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from U.C. Berkeley, where he received a BA in Rhetoric. He recently received both an MA in Professional Writing and Rhetoric and a TESL certificate from GMU. During his time in the MA program, Paul worked as an ESL specialist at the Writing Center and taught several courses for INTO Mason. He is researching how to design coursework that will help international students take on the challenges of academic writing in the U.S. When he isn’t studying, he loves exploring every last inch of the Smithsonian Museums.

Holly Mason, Graduate Write-In Coordinator

Holly Mason is in her third year at the Writing Center, where she has enjoyed working with graduate student writers from across the university. She is a 3rd year Poetry candidate in the Creative Writing MFA program here at GMU. After receiving her B.A. in English with a minor in Dance from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she spent one year as an au pair in Australia. She is currently teaching English 101-Composition at GMU and is the Blog Editor of the Feminist Literary & Art Journal "So to Speak."

Alex, Office Assistant

My name is Alexandra Pannell, but I prefer to be called Alex. I am a military brat and have moved all around the country, but lived the longest in Richmond, VA. I am a senior majoring in Biology with a concentration in Biopsychology. I am a proud member of National Society of Black Engineers and am one of the founders of Women of Color in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). My favorite hobbies are going to the gym, reading manga & watching anime, listening to music, and spending quality time with my loved ones. I am a fun, outgoing, and open-minded person; being exposed to new things on a weekly basis is one of the greatest things Mason provides for me.

Stacy, Office Assistant

My name is Stacy Nelson and I hail from good ole’ Richmond, Va! My major is Criminology and I’m double minoring in both Legal Studies and Intelligence Analysis. I’ve been involved in many student leader organizations and departments on campus since my freshmen year. From being a research assistant at the Center for Advanced Correctional Excellence, serving as a Patriot Leader under OFPS, working with Mason Messengers to raise thousands of dollars for our school and being a Student Supervisor at the Mason Global Center... my time here at Mason has been one huge blur of AWESOMENESS! I am now a junior and I feel blessed to have had so many wonderful experiences here. GO PATRIOTS!

Amechi, Office Assistant

Amechi is a 4th year student at George Mason University from Prince George’s County Maryland. He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with hopes to pursue his bachelors and come back from Grad School after getting work experience in his field. He is a proud executive board member of The National Society of Black Engineers GMU chapter, who are regionally ranked. He loves to help and mentor the youth of society. He is involved with many mentorship programs and also teaches STEM courses to elementary/middle school students. He appreciates the many experiences he has gained from George Mason and hopes to give back to the University when he is established.

Blain, Office Assistant

Blain is a sophomore majoring in Community Health. She is an active member of Women of Color in STEM and the Street Team for the Patriots Activity Council here at George Mason. She has held executive board positions like Co-chair of Budget Committee for the Black Excellence Gala and External Affairs Correspondent for Fashion Society. If Blain is not drowning in homework, you can find her sleeping, playing volleyball or hanging out with friends and family.

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