The Staff

Dr. Susan Lawrence, Director

Susan 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. 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.

Dr. Courtney Massie, Assistant Director

Courtney comes to Mason from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her PhD in English. Her dissertation focused on late-20th century women’s drama, but her current research explores the impact of writing center employment upon tutors' own writing processes and identities. 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. Outside of work, Courtney can be found exploring DC, playing violin and guitar, and attempting to write songs.

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 turned sixteen. Though Annapolis is very different from Zagreb or Berlin, she managed to adjust. After earning a BS in English from Towson University, she helped run a math tutoring center in Maryland for seven months. Working on topics like fractions, algebra, and geometry with students of all ages helped her realize the importance of instilling confidence in others. When she isn’t blogging about the book she just finished, she enjoys spending time with her two rescue dogs, Männlein and Sisi.

Abi Newhouse, Coordinator of Tutor Education and Development

Abi is a second year MFA student studying creative nonfiction. She received her BS from Utah State University in English with a concentration in creative writing, so she hasn’t spent much time on anything else. Though she lived the majority of her life in Utah, she’d like to claim Oregon as home because she was born there and it’s cooler than Utah. She’s had experience tutoring in writing centers before, and she worked as the lead fiction editor for her university’s literary journal. She loves indoor plants and cats, and hopes one day to have an indoor jungle so her future cat can live a happy life.

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 legitimate seasons as a second year MFA candidate at Mason. She has several years’ experience tutoring young writers and looks forward to leveling up her skills in collaboration with her fellow Patriots. While her main focus lies in the literary and creative genres, being an ex-Digital Media major and the daughter of a language professor has introduced her to the stylings of varied disciplines. Outside of academia, she is a lapsed kendo practitioner, an avid reader, and a fandom lurker. These days you can catch her exploring Northern Virginia, filling her Pokedex along the way.

Blain, Office Assistant

Blain is a junior 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.

Francisca, Office Assistant

Francisca is a Sophomore majoring in Global Affairs with a concentration in International Development. She is an active member of the Black Students Association and African Students Association. She has participated in the GMU HIV/AIDs Awareness fashion show and will be a member of the Black Mamba Afro Dance team on campus. Her dream is to work at the World Bank Organization and start Microloan banks for women living in poverty. Francisca loves dancing, watching history documentaries, learning new languages and exploring different cultures.

Erin, Office Assistant

Erin is a senior here at George Mason. She is a Forensic Science major from Richmond, Virginia. Outside of school she is an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers and Women of Color in STEM. Currently, she serves as the Membership Chair for Women of Color in STEM. She is very passionate about showing young women they have a place in STEM fields. She hopes to attend grad school after completing her Bachelors. When she's not working or studying, she's usually enjoying her "me time", learning new things outside of the classroom, or watching her favorite reality shows.

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