The Staff

Susan Lawrence

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 discourse analysis. Her recent collection Re/Writing the Center: Approaches to Supporting Graduate Students in the Writing Center, co-edited with Terry Myers Zawacki, makes the case for writing centers' intentional, tailored support for advanced graduate student writers. In current projects, Susan is examining the role of theory in empirical studies of writing and exploring the synergies among writing centers, communication centers, and research centers. 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. 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.

Courtney Massie

Dr. Courtney Massie, Assistant Director

Courtney manages the writing center's operations, supervises and mentors the center's staff, and teaches Advanced Composition at Mason. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin, where she worked as a writing center consultant and graduate student administrator for several years. Her research revolves around anti-oppressive and care-based writing center pedagogy, mentorship, and administration; her current project explores what writing center supervisors can learn from anarchist and abolitionist organizers. In the other parts of her life, she's a community organizer, animal rescue volunteer, musician, and hiker.

Idée Edalatishams

Dr. Idée Edalatishams, ESL Specialist

Idée supports multilingual students as they advance their academic communication skills. She does so by providing individual consultations, offering workshops, leadings graduate peer feedback groups, training consultants, and coordinating/developing ESOL programs. She conducts research in corpus linguistics, pronunciation, and identity, focusing on various aspects of multilingual graduate students' oral/written communication. She received her PhD in Applied Linguistics and Technology from Iowa State University, where she taught composition and ESL courses in the English Department and was a graduate communication consultant at the Writing and Media Center as well as the Center for Communication Excellence. Back in her home country, Iran, she was an English Translation major as an undergraduate, earned a Master’s in English Language Teaching, and taught EFL at several language institutes and Sharif University of Technology.

Jenny Goransson

Jenny Goransson, Graduate Writing Coordinator

A PhD student in the Writing and Rhetoric program, Jenny has taught Composition at Mason for two years. Her recent research focuses on writing centers expanding into learning centers or merging with learning centers. Other research interests include community literacy, antiracist pedagogy, and the use of yoga and mindfulness strategies in writing instruction. She also serves as an adjunct instructor in the MA in Teaching Writing program at Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to Mason, Jenny worked for eleven years as a high school English teacher at West Springfield High School (WSHS) -- just down the road from campus. At WSHS she founded and directed the writing center for eight years, and has played an active role in the secondary school writing center movement. Here at the Mason Writing Center, she provides support for graduate writers working on thesis, dissertation, and academic projects and develops workshops for graduate writers. Jenny is also a mother, distance runner, musical theatre nerd, and lover of podcasts.

Sophia Ross

Sophia Ross, Coordinator of Consultant Education and Development

Sophia is a third-year MFA candidate with a concentration in fiction. After graduating with a BA in English and Writing, she moved to Seattle where she worked for a literary arts nonprofit, and later in higher education. As the Coordinator of Consultant Education and Development, she ensures that all consultants have access to the pedagogical tools and training they need to succeed in sessions. When she isn’t in the Writing Center, Sophia serves as managing editor for the literary journal, phoebe, and takes her corgi, Winona, for walks in the woods.

Josie McKenzie, Coordinator of Technology and Accessibility

Josie is a second-year MFA Creative Writing (fiction concentration) student. She received her BFA in Creative Writing at Pratt Institute, where she won a thesis award for her short story collection. Post-graduation, she held several education-related positions, including long-term substitute teaching 9th & 10th Grade English and Oral Communication and elementary school literacy tutoring. As the Coordinator of Technology and Accessibility, she ensures that the Writing Center's online resources stay current and accessible. She also oversees the Disability Services Opt-in program, which pairs DS-registered writers with consultants. On an ideal evening, Josie watches at least one movie (preferably a musical) and plays an endless game of fetch with her cat, Theo.

Connor Harding, Coordinator of Outreach

Connor is a second year MFA candidate studying creative writing with a concentration in fiction. He received BAs in English and Communications from the Ohio State University in 2021. After graduation he was employed as a proofreader, working with legal documents such as contracts, memos, transcriptions, and other essay-adjacent writings. Since moving from Ohio and settling near DC, he has spent most of his time trying to figure out how to drive through roundabouts. As the Coordinator of Outreach, Connor believes that all writers should be able to benefit from the Writing Center’s resources and looks forward to bringing Writing Center materials and strategies to classes across Mason. While not in the Writing Center, he loves to bake sweets and spend time in the gym.


Farhan, Office Assistant

Farhan is a junior currently majoring in Computer Engineering. A local resident of Northern Virginia most of his life, he enjoys football, playing games, and talking with others. Being an Office Assistant, Farhan can be easily found at the front desk to greet those who walk in and help when asked questions.

                   Komal, Office Assistant

Komal is a junior majoring in IT with a concentration in cyber security. Her family is from Pakistan, but she was born and raised in Woodbridge, VA. Before the front desk, she worked as a research assistant and a peer mentor for off-campus and transfer students. In her free time, Komal enjoys shopping, reading, and going out to cafes with friends. If you have any general questions, or even if you just want to chat, don't be afraid to come up and ask!


Mark, Office Assistant

Mark is a freshman currently majoring in Film and Video Studies. He is a resident of Southern Virginia, more specifically the Virginia Beach area. In his free time, he enjoys catching up on his movie watchlist, taking pictures, and playing games. If you have any questions, related to the Lab or not, don’t be afraid to ask!