The Staff

Dr. Susan Lawrence, Director

Susan Lawrence teaches in the Writing & Rhetoric program at Mason, focusing on writing center studies, academic writing, professional & technical writing, and research methods including ethnography and discourse analysis. Her current projects focus on graduate student writers in the disciplines and examine the role of theory in empirical studies of writing. She has also 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. Susan consults with professionals in government, business, and non-profit organizations about communicating with public and congressional audiences. She earned her PhD in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon and rows on the Occoquan Reservoir.

Dr. Courtney Massie, Assistant Director

Dr. Massie joined the Mason community in January 2017 after several years at The University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her PhD in English. She worked in UT-Austin’s University Writing Center from 2012 through 2016, first as a writing consultant, then as a graduate student administrator. Her research interests include anti-racism, critical pedagogy, and empathy in the writing center context; her current project explores the impact of writing center employment upon tutors' own writing processes and identities. Courtney also teaches Advanced Composition at Mason. She spends a lot of time reflecting on how writing centers and composition classrooms can become more just and equitable spaces.

Tanya Bychkovska, ESL Specialist

Tanya received her Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from Ohio University. During her graduate program, she tutored and taught academic writing to multilingual writers, and as the Assistant Coordinator of the writing lab, she trained tutors to work with students whose first language is not English. Before coming to Ohio University, she had tutored and taught English in her home country Ukraine for seven years. Tanya’s research focuses on lexical, grammatical, and stylistic features in second language writing, technology in language teaching, and English for Academic Purposes. Here, at the Mason Writing Center, she provides support for tutors working with multilingual writers and also serves as a Coordinator of the ESL OPT-in program. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, exercising at a gym, and exploring the D.C. area.

Indigo Eriksen, Graduate Writing Coordinator

As a doctoral student in Writing and Rhetoric, Indigo’s work explores critical pedagogy and transformative approaches to teaching writing. After working in Latin America for three years, Indigo completed a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature with a certificate in Immigrant Literacies from San Francisco State University (2012). She also holds an MFA in writing from Mills College (2009) and a BA in Environmental Studies from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon (2003). In addition to her work at GMU, Indigo is an Assistant Professor of English at NVCC Woodbridge. She joins the Writing Center as the Graduate Writing Coordinator. Outside of academia, Indigo is a poet, wanderer, and midnight whiskey drinker.

Jenna Kahn, Coordinator of Campus Outreach

Jenna is a second-year Creative Nonfiction MFA candidate. She was born in Germany and lived in Europe until she moved to Annapolis, Maryland at sixteen. She empathizes with students making the transition to life in the United States, and she especially enjoys collaborating with multilingual writers. At Towson University, she majored in English and minored in German. She also has a background working with young adults on the Autism Spectrum and advocating for students with disabilities. Jenna thinks tutoring is an opportunity to build confidence in writers by highlighting their strengths and making detailed plans for revision. As Outreach Coordinator, she wants all of Mason’s community to have access to the Writing Center’s fantastic resources.

Abi Newhouse, Coordinator of Tutor Education and Development

Abi is a second year MFA candidate studying Creative Nonfiction. Before moving across the country to pursue her MFA, she studied at Utah State University, where she majored in English and minored in Folklore. She’s had the lovely experience of tutoring in both Utah State’s and George Mason’s writing centers. While she is most excited about helping with creative writing projects, she’s found a new love for learning about different writing in different majors and welcomes any student in any discipline to work with her. She tutors because she believes that writing doesn’t have to be a lonely process--collaboration can help introduce ideas and forms that make the writing process more exciting. As Tutor Education Development Coordinator, she also believes tutoring shouldn’t be lonely, and that we can work together to maintain a kind and open work environment.

Sofia Puente-Lay, Coordinator of Writing Center Technology

Born in Kentucky, raised in Ohio, and granted her BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida, Sofia finds herself returning to both Fiction and four actual seasons as a second year MFA candidate at Mason. While her formal writing experience is mainly in the literary and creative fields, being an ex-Digital Media major and the daughter of a language professor has allowed her the opportunity to work with varied styles and disciplines. This flexibility is what she aims to cultivate in each session; through creating an open dialogue, we can give students a space to recognize the skills they bring to the table and how they can develop as writers and agents of their own learning. Her main goal as Technology Coordinator is to offer support, in both the ins-and-outs of Writing Center tech and the tutoring practices beyond.

Aaron, Office Assistant

Aaron is a freshman majoring in accounting. He is an alumni of the nonprofit organization Urban Alliance. He one day wants to be a forensic accountant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In his free time, Aaron likes to play sports, work out, listen to music, and hang out with friends.

Blain, Office Assistant

Blain is a senior 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. If Blain is not drowning in homework, you can find her sleeping, playing volleyball or hanging out with friends and family.

Kaylan, Office Assistant

Kaylan is a sophomore majoring in Information Technology and minoring in Business. She was a member of multiple clubs during her freshman year. She is currently working closely with a friend to create a new club on campus. In her spare time, she loves to create; whether its recording a podcast or coding a webpage, when she is creating she is at ease.

Stephanie, Office Assistant

Stephanie is a junior majoring in Criminology, Law, and Society and minoring in Biology. She is an active member of the Honor Committee and Mason's Spirit Squad as well as a volunteer for Mason Admissions K12 Partnerships program. Her ambition is to one day be able to conduct investigations while working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. When she receives a break from the busy life of a college student, she enjoys to binge watch movies and shows or explore Northern Virginia.