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

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 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 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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