Major: English & Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Class year: Junior
About me: Hello! My name is Daisah and I am an undergraduate consultant at the Writing Center. I came to VCU because I wanted to get a feel of living in a major city surrounded by people from various places! In my free time I love to explore Richmond and try new things. I also enjoy reading and writing poetry. Poetry is one of my passions and is something that I thoroughly enjoy!
Fun fact: I didn't learn how to snap my fingers until high school!
My favorite book: Citizen by Claudia Rankine. This is my favorite book because it explores so many social issues through beautifully produced poems.
I feel most comfortable writing: Personal statements, creative writing, and anything in the humanities
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: I believe the hardest aspect about the writing process is simply getting started! I always know what I want to discuss, but I struggle with getting something down on paper to begin with.
Madison Corell [View Image]
Major: M.T. Secondary English
Class year: First Year of Grad School
About me: Hello! I recently graduated from VCU undergrad with a major in English and minor in Spanish and I am now in VCU's Master's in Teaching program. When I am not in class or at the Writing Center, I am probably cooking for my friends and family, on a run or working on what will one day become a novel. I also enjoy traveling (when I can) and embarking on new creative endeavors like knitting, learning French and watercoloring.
Fun fact: I have a lemon tree. No lemons yet, but it has blossomed!
My favorite book: Currently: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. My favorite book changes almost every day, but this one I like because it is super meta and philosophical. Kundera utilizes interesting symbolism, crafts very unique characters and its set in Prague, so you can mentally travel around Central Europe while you are quarantined.
I feel most comfortable writing: Research papers, literature reviews, creative fiction, personal statements
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: Getting started! I will spend days, even weeks, dreading getting started. I let the fear of not having much to say or the right words to use keep me from writing. Once I start writing, however, its never as difficult as I built it up to be.
Hope Butler [View Image]
Class year: Junior
About me: I enjoy roller skating on and off campus. I enjoy sitting outside with a cup of coffee or tea before starting my day. I am a laid back person who values the individuality of a student's voice and how they show that through writing!
Fun fact: I have a roller skate tattoo.
My favorite book: The Other Side of Paradise because I enjoy Fitzgerald's style of writing and I am a hopeless romantic.
I feel most comfortable writing: Personal statements, narrative essays, focused inquiry material, short stories, craft fiction
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: Finding your voice! I often feel I am too professional and formal in my papers, but I don't always need to be.
Madison Jarvis [View Image]
Major: English and Creative Advertising
Class year: Junior
About me: I started at VCU as an engineering major, but found my home in the English department at the end of my freshman year. I have since also found a home in the Robertson School of Media and have decided to pursue Creative Advertising as a secondary major. I love using my creative problem solving skills in the Writing Center to help students fine-tune their writing abilities and find a writing process that best suits them.
Fun fact: I'm from Columbus, Ohio!
My favorite book: What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence by Michele Filgate. My favorite essay in the book is "Her Body/My Body" by Nayomi Munaweera. It almost feels wrong to call it a favorite because of the difficult themes throughout the essays, but they are all very powerful.
I feel most comfortable writing: All papers, but I have the most experience working with personal statements, poetry, and narrative essays!
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: To me, the hardest aspect about the writing process is adjusting it to meet the standards of different writing assignments. When I'm used to one particular writing process and style, it can be hard for me to adjust right away.
Meredith Lewanowicz [View Image]
Major: M.A. in English
Class year: First year
About me: I am a first year student in the MA in English program. I graduated from VCU in 2017 with a BA in English. Outside of school, my hobbies are pretty basic: I love drinking more coffee than she needs, traveling, watching Parks and Recreation, and co-leading the high school girls' Bible study at church. After finishing the M.A. program, I hope to pursue a career in publishing.
Fun fact: I spent a semester in Edinburgh, Scotland as an undergraduate student. I was there for school, but most of my time was spent walking around the city, finding good coffee shops, and making great friends.
My favorite book: My favorite book is technically three books. I love the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Not only is it an epic adventure tale, but it also has such compelling, overarching themes of sacrifice, nobility, and redemption.
I feel most comfortable writing: I feel most comfortable with argumentative essays, literary analyses, and personal statements.
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: The hardest part for me is the pre-writing process while I am searching for an answer to my research question. I can get so swamped in sources that I struggle to find and develop a clear claim.
Major: Early Education
About me: I've lived in Virginia for all my life, having transferred to VCU from John Tyler a few years back. My goal is to become a teacher, preferably teaching 2nd grade. Writing is one of my favorite pastimes, and I also like to draw and watch movies (horror movies are my favorite!)
Fun fact: I have one of the rarest blood types in the world.
My favorite book: My favorite book is "The Dark Flight Down" by Marcus Sedgwick. It's the sequel and final part a great series - I love the dark, mysterious atmosphere of the book. The way it's written is very beautiful in an odd, melancholic way. It's an awesome book!
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: For me, the hardest part is getting started. Finding the ideas that I want to incorporate and sorting them out in a way that becomes a unified paper is a little daunting to me. BUT! After getting past that hurdle, things become a little bit easier!
Ainsley Miller [View Image]
Major: Psychology and English
Class year: Sophomore
About me: Hi! My name is Ainsley and I'm an undergraduate consultant. I'm excited to be a part of the Writing Center as I love talking with students about the writing process. I have a variety of interests, from abnormal psychology to politics to media studies, so I find all kinds of writing really exciting to work on. I also really love reading, specifically poetry, and watching movies!
Fun fact: I love logging things I'm watching/reading and I obsessively update both Letterboxd and GoodReads :).
My favorite book: A recent favorite would have to be Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse. I've never been more impressed by an author's ability to convey thoughts and feelings so beautifully in a novel and I am a big fan of long, long sentences.
I feel most comfortable writing: As I write all kinds of paper for my courses, I'm comfortable with papers that might fall into either scientific or humanities categories. Research (for class or labs), literature reviews, creative writing, and creative nonfiction are all familiar to me.
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: The hardest part of the writing process for me is revision. I tend to find the process of rereading and editing my work to be both daunting and tedious, but this is something that I'm working on as I learn to lean into my own process more and more.
Class year: Graduate student
About me: Born in Virginia and raised in Perú, I was privileged enough to experience both cultures. My goal as a writer is to bring them together. I didn’t always want to write, though; I used to hate letters, but it’s funny how one comes to love what they could have once hated. I didn’t immediately fit in when I transferred to a Spanish-speaking school. In fact, my first couple of years were filled with rejection. There was this one time I got into a fight with this kid, Cristobal and we were suspended for a couple of days. Shortly after, we became best friends, even to this day. Although he lives almost four-thousand miles away, he still calls me up every once in a while to tell me about his acting career or how he’s planning to write a script that has to do with time-travel. That’s when I get really excited, rolling up my sleeves and prepping all my notes on how he’s in for a ride. Maybe someday we’ll be able to write something together, I tell him. Until then, here I am.
Fun fact: I have been chased by an alpaca, yes.
My favorite book: I can't really choose favorites. Is that something that happens after you've read a certain amount of books? How many is it? Please somebody let me know!
I feel most comfortable writing: I thought I was a fiction writer, but it turns out I might be more of a poet, but I was nonfiction writer all-along. Which all amounts to writing. Honestly, anything. I enjoy the process.
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: I'd say it depends on the day and topic. Lots of the time I doubt my writing, thinking it's not as good as I want it to be. I'm afraid to take a step back. But in reality, that's exactly what I need to do sometimes: not be afraid to take a step back.
Major: English (but I graduated in the spring!)
Class year: I'm a recent graduate!
About me: I'm a graduate from the English program and am entering my second year with the Writing Center. I mostly produce poetry and essays when I write for myself, but I'm very comfortable with all kinds of work.
Fun fact: I'm left-handed!
My favorite book: The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal. Originally published in 1948, it is one of the seminal pieces in LGBT+ literature and explores some of the earliest published LGBT+ perspectives.
I feel most comfortable writing: Personal statements and argumentative essays
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: The hardest part is starting. Just dumping ideas can be really intimidating.
Shawn Williams [View Image]
Major: English and African-American Studies
Class year: Junior
About me: Hi! I'm Shawn. Coming to VCU and meeting all the great people here has been the best. I love to help others and writing is a deep passion of mine. I love Richmond and all of its residents and try my best to give back to the community as much as I can.
Fun fact: I collect handbags and purses in so many different colors. I try to have one for every outfit.
My favorite book: Right now my favorite book would be Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I really love this book because I'm a sucker for a good YA novel, but its also about wholesome Queer love and coming of age.
I feel most comfortable writing: Definitely the introductions and conclusions. An introduction is hard because it's often the first part of a paper and not easy when you have't got the bulk of the paper yet. A conclusion is also a challenge since I often have trouble wrapping up my thoughts concisely. But in the end I get through it, no matter the struggle.
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: Definitely the introductions and conclusions. An introduction is hard because it's often the first part of a paper and not easy when you have't got the bulk of the paper yet. A conclusion is also a challenge since I often have trouble wrapping up my thoughts concisely. But in the end I get through it, no matter the struggle.
Class year: Class of 2021
About me: I grew up in San Antonio and then Houston, Texas, so I know a lot about the Alamo and humidity. I moved to Virginia for my undergraduate education and have contributed to multiple student publications as a writer, designer and editor. In my free time, I enjoy live music, video games and Tex-Mex. I also identify as both a dog person and cat person; I disagree with the implicit social pressures to choose one or the other.
Fun fact: I once met Waka Flocka Flame. He was buying a new phone charger at an AT&T store.
My favorite book: Right now, it would have to be Maria Dahvana Headley's "Beowulf: A New Translation." It's lyrical, lively and hilarious.
I feel most comfortable writing: Personal statements, scholarship applications and literature analysis essays
I believe the hardest aspect of the writing process is: Getting organized! I enjoy writing, so I sometimes have less patience for other steps like organizing notes and outlining. I've gotten better, but talking out my ideas with another person might still be my favorite way to develop a structure.