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.

Andrew Cartwright, Write-In Coordinator

Andrew spent his whole life in Indiana until he traveled to London during his junior year of undergrad. He considered not coming back, but his mother would have missed him, so he ultimately did and earned a B.A. in English from Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN) in 2005, and later an M.A. in American Literature from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2009. At this point, having seen most everything Indiana had to show him and searching for something new and original, he instead decided to do the third most cliché thing possible in that situation and joined the Peace Corps, serving in Ukraine as a university TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) volunteer from 2010-2012. On his way back, Andrew got lost for two years in the mountains of Colorado before finally finding his way to George Mason to write and study nonfiction in the MFA program; he is currently in his third year here. His mother does miss him but says she understands.

Katie Branca, Coordinator of Campus Outreach

Katie, a rare Delawarean, is a first-year graduate student of Creative Nonfiction Writing who is excited to work with students across disciplines. As an undergraduate at the University of Richmond, she studied English, Journalism, Creative Writing, and Dance, writing everything from literary analysis and newspaper articles to personal narrative and performance review. Professionally, Katie has also written technical articles for Environmental Finance Magazine in London as well as proposals, memos, and website content for the corporate sector of a marketing company in Richmond. In her spare time, Katie especially enjoys taking ballet classes, cooking, and eating ice cream.

Ryan McDonald, Coordinator of Tutor Education and Development

Ryan is a 3rd 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 third 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, Francois.

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 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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