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Meet the Writing Studio Consultants

Spring 2024 Writing Consultants

Alexander Renkis

Alex is a senior at Vanderbilt pursuing majors in Human & Organizational Development and Spanish & Portuguese with a minor in Business. Besides academics, Alex is a member of Delta Sigma, a volunteer crisis counselor, and a nostalgic McTyiere resident. In his spare time, Alex enjoys meditation, yoga, travel, journaling, and the outdoors.

BeJay Mugo

BeJay (She/Her/Hers) is a sophomore from Austin, TX. She is majoring in MHS and History. In her free time she enjoys indoor climbing, listening to music, watching movies, and going on long walks. After her time at Vanderbilt, she plans on going to law school. She is passionate about writing and excited to work with students from all academic and social backgrounds.

Ben Schwartz

Ben is a doctoral student in the Department of English. He enjoys teaching English to students of all ages, spending time with his cat, exploring food and music in Nashville, and watching his beloved, hapless New York Mets.


Cameron Sheehy

Cameron is an M.Ed. student in the Multilingual Learner Education program at Peabody. Originally from Marlborough, Massachusetts, he is a Double ‘Dore, graduating with the Class of 2022. Cameron enjoys reading, watching anime and YouTube videos, playing Minecraft, going to Dunkin’, and cats. Language fluencies: Japanese, Spanish

Ekta Anand

Ekta is a junior from Atlanta, GA pursuing majors in Neuroscience and CSET. She is interested in science communication and hopes to incorporate this into a career in medicine. On campus, she is involved in the Bhangradores, Hearts 4 Homeless, and End Overdose. In her free time you can find her listening to a good song or going for a run!

Em Palughi

Em Palughi is a poetry MFA student from Alabama. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Creative and Professional Writing from Goucher College where she briefly served as treasurer of the board game club and frequently set off fire alarms making popcorn. In addition to tutoring, she teaches introduction to poetry here at Vanderbilt, and you can find her creative work in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Foglifter, and Black Warrior Review.

Grace Richards

Grace is a second-year doctoral student in the History department studying modern Germany. Her research interests include nineteenth-century social science and cross-cultural encounters, building on previous work at Kenyon College and the University of Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, hiking, playing piano, sci-fi books, and petting dogs (or cats!). Language fluencies: German.

James Bostick

James is a junior at Vanderbilt pursuing a major in Human & Organizational Development with minors in Child Development and Art History. His hobbies include playing tennis as a member of the Vanderbilt club tennis team, writing, drawing, and spending time with friends.

Jessica Peng

Jessica is a senior from central Massachusetts. She is a double major in Psychology and LHS (Law, History, and Society), with minors in Spanish and English Creative Writing (fiction track). She loves arts and crafts, reading, and playing guitar, and can be found competing with the Vanderbilt Mock Trial team or running with friends. If you have trashy reality TV recs, please let her know — she has recently gotten very into Bachelor Nation.

Kelsey Rall

Kelsey is a fifth-year PhD student in the English department. Her research focuses on spinsters and other queer characters in nineteenth-century literature. She is particularly interested in queer temporality and characters who exist on the threshold of gender and time. Kelsey grew up just outside of Philadelphia, and she majored in English at Bryn Mawr College. Before coming to Vanderbilt, she spent two years in Ireland studying Anglo-Irish literature and getting rained on. Outside of academics, Kelsey spends a remarkable amount of time watching television and buying plants.

Lena Kalandjian

Lena (she/her/hers) is a sophomore from Parkland, Florida, studying Human & Organizational Development with minors in Business and Chinese Language & Culture. On campus, Lena is involved in the Peabody Scholars program and the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. You can usually find her sitting out in the sun with a Suzie’s latte in hand.  Her favorite pastimes include listening to a good audio book, traveling with her friends, and picking up her violin for the occasional pit orchestra gig.

Lucia Edafioka

Lucia is a second-year doctoral student in the History department. Her research focuses on the slave trade and the material culture of 18th-century West Africa. Before moving to Vanderbilt, Lucia studied creative writing (fiction) at the University of Arizona MFA program where she also taught First-year English composition and introduction to creative writing classes.

Madison Symonette

Madison is a first year Speech-Language Pathology graduate student from Nassau, The Bahamas. When she is not occupied by her graduate studies, she can be found watching period dramas/historical TV shows, testing recipes from her plethora of pinned baking TikToks, and exploring the city of Nashville. She looks forward to working with new writers and helping them achieve their academic goals.

Max Paul

Max is a senior from Medford, Massachusetts, majoring in Public Policy Studies. His hobbies include asking people about their hometowns, lakes, short stories, feeling deep love for New England, playing wiffleball, and chatting.

Muthoni Kamau

Muthoni is a senior history student from Dallas. She is involved with The Hustler and the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal. Between classes, she can often be found in the BCC looking for snacks and studying. In her free time, she enjoys chilling with some candles, embroidery, and a good movie.

Nathan Frisch

Nathan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. He conducts ethnographic and archival research in highland Bolivia. Before coming to Vanderbilt, he lived in Atlanta and earned degrees from Georgia State University. He enjoys cooking, backpacking, and spending time with his cat.

Neomi Chen

Neomi (she/her/hers) is a junior from Long Island, New York. She is majoring in English with a concentration in Literary Studies and minoring in Communication of Science and Technology. After her time at Vanderbilt, she plans on going to dental school. Some of her hobbies include hiking or going to the beach with her three siblings, rewatching episodes of Gossip Girl, and finding the best burnt basque cheesecake.

Nora Fellas

Nora is a senior from New York, studying English Literature and Chinese. On campus, she writes and edits for the opinion section for The Hustler. In her free time, she can be found reading, listening to music, and spending time with her dog, Maisie. She is so excited to work with writers this year!

Paige Elliott

Paige is a senior from Redondo Beach, California, majoring in English with a concentration in literary studies and minoring in business and Spanish. This year, she’s also on the board of the Vanderbilt Review and an alto in the VUCC. In her free time, she enjoys watching historical dramas on Netflix, eating Sun & Fork brunches with friends, and pretending she remembers the names of the characters in whatever book she’s reading.

Paige Oliver

Paige Oliver (she/her/hers) is a 4th year English PhD student. She studies the long eighteenth century (1660-1820), which is that often-overlooked era of literature sandwiched between Shakespeare and Jane Austen. She has experience working with a variety of writing styles and with writers at any level. In her free time, she enjoys playing overly complicated board games, traveling, or just relaxing.

Samantha Turley

Sam is a fifth-year PhD student in the Anthropology Department. Her research is on architecture, materiality, and skilled labor during the early Colonial period in Peru. Before pivoting to archaeology, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Harp Performance from the Eastman School of Music. Her perfect day would include hiking in the mountains, eating a meal cooked by her family, and reading a book unrelated to her dissertation.

Trisha Mazumdar

Trisha is a junior in the Class of 2025 from Brentwood, Tennessee, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Neuroscience. On campus, she is President of Spectrum A Cappella and Recruitment Chair for Phi Sigma Rho as well as a Copy Editor for VURJ. In her free time, she enjoys singing, playing video games, and reading. This is her second year as an Undergraduate Writing Consultant.

William Krause

William is a third-year PhD student in the History department, focusing on modern American intellectual and cultural history. Before coming to Vanderbilt, he worked as an assistant for the Johns Hopkins University Press, where he helped with their Science and Technology Studies books. When he is not on campus, he is likely laboring on one of his many unfinished knitting projects, watching music videos, attempting to keep his plants alive, or searching for the perfect gazpacho recipe.

Xingzhi Cheng

Xingzhi (he/him/his) is a sophomore from Bengbu, China, majoring in Special Education and Human Organization Development. On campus, he is a member of Biggs lab, and he also works in the Wond’ry for the social innovation program: Map the System. Outside of academics and extracurriculars, Xingzhi enjoys drinking tea, playing video games (League of Legends), and playing basketball and badminton.

Full-Time Staff

John Bradley, Director of the Writing Studio and Tutoring Services

John first came to Vanderbilt to join the Writing Studio team in 2012 and in 2018 stepped into the role of director for the Writing Studio. John earned his PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was introduced to writing center pedagogy. As a writing center professional, he is dedicated to the transformational role one-on-one interactions can play for students as they learn to write and has conducted research into the learning experience of undergraduate and graduate student writing consultants, as well. Prior to becoming director, John also taught in the English Department as a senior lecturer, and his teaching and research interests include twentieth-century and contemporary American poetries, with a particular interest in ecopoetry and ecopoetics alongside other movements that push the boundaries of what we expect from poetry.

Megan Minarich, Associate Director for the Writing Studio and Tutoring Services

Megan earned her Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University in 2014. During her doctoral studies, she was a graduate consultant and Arts and Science Graduate Fellow at the Writing Studio. She completed a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Tennessee State University before joining the administrative team at the Collaborative Learning Suite in 2017. Megan also serves as Affiliated Faculty in Cinema & Media Arts, where she teaches Introduction to CMA and History of the Musical Film, and as Faculty VUceptor for the Vanderbilt Visions program. Megan has been consulting and teaching collegiately for over ten years. She holds Mellon Certificates in Digital Humanities and Humanities Education, and she has taught multimedia courses in composition, literature, and cinema and media arts at Vanderbilt, Tennessee State University, and Watkins College. At the Writing Studio, she is invested in exploring inclusive and effective writing pedagogy as a means of both developing student skills and voice as well as supporting graduate and faculty writing and research. She is currently investigating best practices in helping students write effectively about visual texts, and she facilitates the Teaching Writing Workshop Series and offers writing pedagogy consultations. She also researches the use of drawing as a consultation tool. At Tutoring Services, she explores how narrative and visual texts can bolster effective learning practices in STEM disciplines, and she is collaborating on multi-institutional research projects regarding STEM identity-building and belonging, particularly for students from underrepresented backgrounds, as well as STEM tutors’ use of metacognitive strategies in tutoring sessions. Megan’s disciplinary research centers around feminism, narrative theory, American modernist literature, visual culture, and early through classical Hollywood cinema. Her in-progress book-length manuscript focuses on representations of women’s reproductive choice in Hollywood cinema between 1915 and 1968: she examines how film’s visual rhetoric shapes and is shaped by narrative theory as well as legal, scientific, and feminist discourses. Her research is published in Studies the Novel and Feminist Modernist Studies (as part of the Modernist #MeToo and the Working Woman cluster); most recently, her article on the censorship history of the 1945 film Leave Her to Heaven appears in the Embodiment II: Habitation special issue of Feminist Media Histories, guest edited by Shelleen Greene and Ellen C. Scott. Megan holds a B.A. in English and French from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an M.A. in English from Stanford University, and an M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University.

Miriam Erickson, Assistant Director for Tutoring Services

Miriam earned her PhD in History from Vanderbilt University in 2015 where she also worked as a graduate consultant in the Writing Studio. She spent three years as a CASPAR advisor for the Arts & Science College and joins our team to help facilitate Tutoring Services. Miriam’s research examines the Haitian Revolution and a particular group of black militiamen and their families as they navigate the political waters among France, Spain, and Central America. She loves the historiography of rebellion and revolution, and she would be happy to help think through your historical arguments. Miriam has been advising and consulting with students for over ten years, and she believes strongly that the best way to becoming a better writer is working with other writers. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature from David Lipscomb University and the American University of Paris (2002) and a Masters in Classics from St. John’s College (2007).

Beth Estes, Assistant Director for Writing Studio

Beth earned her PhD in Political Science from Vanderbilt University in 2017. During the final year of her doctoral program, she served as the College of Arts and Science Graduate Fellow at the Writing Studio and developed a passion for writing pedagogy. She is particularly interested in helping science and social science writers craft compelling narratives and harnessing her social science background to contribute to research on writing assessment. Her other research interests include political psychology and intergroup relations.

Drew Shipley, Academic Support Coordinator

Drew (he/him/his) joined the Writing Studio and Tutoring Services staff in 2022 after earning his PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine. During his time in California, he worked as a tutor and faculty coordinator at Orange Coast College’s writing center and taught writing courses at UCI focusing on mass incarceration, internet subcultures, and political extremism. Drew’s research concerns allegory and metalepsis in Victorian fiction as well as the history and practice of literary criticism. He holds a BA in English from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in English from UCI.

Lucy Kim, Academic Support Coordinator

Lucy Kim earned her Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University, where she also worked as a graduate consultant in the Writing Studio. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, she worked as a writing consultant and taught writing and English major courses at Ewha University in Seoul, South Korea. Her academic career and intellectual journey, which are inseparable from thinking about the writing process alongside writers of all levels and backgrounds as well as across the curriculum, have strongly shaped her philosophy of writing pedagogy as a collaborative endeavor. Lucy’s research interests include 18th– and 19th-century British literature, novel studies, urban cultural studies, and political philosophy. She holds a B.A. in International Studies and English as well as an M.A. in English from Ewha University and an M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University.