Thesis and Dissertation Consultations

Thesis and Dissertation Consultations Image

Graduate students working on their thesis or dissertation proposal, prospectus, or draft, or on an article for publication may schedule sessions with the Writing Center's Thesis and Dissertation consultants. These consultants are PhD students or advanced masters students trained to work with advanced graduate writers.

While thesis/diss consultations are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, the first appointment with the thesis/diss consultant must be in a synchronous format—that is, in person or on Zoom. Your initial conversation allows the consultant to learn about your project. 

Working with a writing consultant can complement the feedback you receive from your faculty advisors and your peers. A writing consultant can

  • Share strategies for planning, organizing, drafting, revising, and editing
  • Share strategies for maximizing writing productivity
  • Help you identify and use the conventions of writing that are specific to your field
  • Provide a sounding board for you to work out your ideas
  • Provide feedback from the perspective of an educated general audience

Unlike other writing center sessions, thesis and dissertation consultations provide time for consultants to read your draft before they meet with you. Writers submit their draft by 9am on the day of the session, direct the consultant's attention to specific elements of the draft, then meet with the consultant for 45 minutes. Consultants can read between 7 and 20 pages, depending on the material and the roughness of the draft. If your draft is lengthy, please indicate the pages you’d like the consultant to prioritize.

To make an appointment, register with the Writing Center, log on to the schedule online, and navigate to the Thesis/Diss schedule. Attach your draft to the appointment form by 9am on the day of your appointment, and tell the consultant which elements of the draft you'd like them to focus on. You may take advantage of one T/D session per week. 

If you have questions about thesis and dissertation consultations, please email Jenny Goransson at

Thesis and Dissertation Consultants

Angela Barajas is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies department. Angela has taught in the Integrative Studies department for four years, focusing primarily on visual culture and society. Her dissertation research involves understanding the intersections of fanship, digital community, and merchandise. She has completed fields (qualifying exams in the form of extensive literature reviews) in culture & political economy and digital communities. Angela holds an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has presented work in the forms of papers and presentations at the Mid-South Sociological Association Annual Meeting and at the Southern Sociological Association Meeting. At the Mason Writing Center, she supports graduate writers working on their thesis, dissertation, and other academic projects. Angela is a tabletop gamer, trained in sword fighting, a violinist, and avid consumer of mass media.

Jenny Goransson is a PhD student in the Writing and Rhetoric program, has taught Composition at Mason for two years, and has worked as the Graduate Writing Coordinator and a thesis/diss consultant since 2021. Her recent research focuses on writing centers expanding into learning centers or merging with learning centers, and her dissertation focuses on mindfulness practices to support teachers as they offer written feedback on student writing. Due to her interest in supporting, mentoring, and learning from future and current K-12 teachers, she often collaborates with faculty in the Secondary Education (SEED) program in the College of Education and Human Development at Mason.

Before coming to Mason, Jenny worked for eleven years as a high school English teacher and writing center director at West Springfield High School (WSHS) -- just down the road from campus. In 2009 she earned her Masters in Secondary Education from the George Washington University and in 2015 became a National Board Certified Teacher.

She currently serves on the board of the Secondary Schools Writing Center Association (SSWCA) and the Editorial Board of the Journal for Peer Tutoring in Secondary Schools (JPTSS). Jenny is also a mother, distance runner, musical theatre nerd, and lover of podcasts and Billy Collins poetry.   

Aleezay Khaliq is a PhD candidate in the Sociology and Anthropology department. Before joining the Writing Center, she taught introductory sociology in the department for four years. Her research focuses on the lived experiences of second-generation young Muslim immigrants living in the DMV area and attempts to develop a deeper understanding of factors impacting their community engagement, and how their community associations impact their sense of belonging to the contemporary American society. Her project also examines how Muslim’s negotiate their identity based on their race, ethnicity, gender, social class and the level of religiosity against the backdrop of polarization taking shape in society as a result of the rise of right-wing politics and islamophobia. In her free time, she loves to paint and do arts and craft projects.  

Lindsay S. Shaffer is a Ph.D. candidate at George Mason University's Department of Psychology and a NSF NRT Fellow through the Center for Adaptive Systems of Brain-Body Interactions (CASBBI). She is also the recipient of the 2023 OSCAR Mentoring Excellence Award. Her research focuses on investigating how brain structures, such as the prefrontal cortex, contribute to decision-making and learning in humans using behavioral and imaging methods. Prior to Mason, Lindsay received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and worked as a research coordinator at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. At the Writing Center, Lindsay is a Thesis/Dissertation Consultant for graduate students. Lindsay has experience reviewing theses, grant applications (NIH, NSF, intramural), manuscripts, and conference submissions (poster, presentation, proceedings).