Graduate teaching assistants

= Audio Available Online
Dr. Alicia Brazeau earned her MA (2007) and PhD (2012) in the English department at UofL. As an MA Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) from 2005-2007, she held the position of writing consultant at the University Writing Center (UWC) under the guidance of former Director Carol Mattingly. Brazeau then returned to the UWC, where she served as Assistant Director from 2008-2012, while pursuing her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition. In her Assistant Director role, she was also responsible for running the Virtual Writing Center. She recalls the leadership challenges that occurred in the wake of Mattingly’s departure from the UWC, and how utilizing Mattingly’s approach toward constant reevaluation of practices contributed to her success. These leadership experiences also inform her current work at The College of Wooster, where she has served as Writing Center Director since 2012. She discusses the problems faced by having an entirely new staff when taking on this role, and how her reliance on the mentorship she received at the UWC allowed her to learn from her mistakes and create a strong foundation for her current program. Brazeau then discusses how she leans in on the interdisciplinary experiences she had at the UWC to inform how she assists writers and consultants from a variety of backgrounds. Finally, she describes the reward of learning from the students she tutored, and how those interactions helped her become a better instructor.
Dr. Smitherman Clark earned her PhD in the English department in 2007, where she held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) from 1998-2003. As a GTA, Smitherman Clark was hired as one of the first Assistant Directors. She describes the early formation of the University Writing Center by Carol Mattingly, Ruth Miller, and English department PhD GTAs. Smitherman Clark was highly involved with the Writing Center Research Project (WCRP), particularly conducting oral histories of founding writing center scholars and promoting the WCRP at conferences. She discusses the writing center's space on Ekstrom's third floor and the technology used in the center, such as Google, transcription machines, and AccuTrack. She also talks about her experience in the PhD program with a focus on rhetoric and composition. Finally she discusses her current role as the Writing and Communication Center Director at the University of Central Arkansas.
Dr. Jamila Kareem earned her PhD in the English department at UofL in 2017, where she held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) from 2013-2017. As a GTA, she served as a writing consultant and, later, as Assistant Director of the Virtual Writing Center (2015-2016). She also served as Assistant Director of Composition from 2016-2017. Kareem recalls her experiences working with Director Bronwyn Williams and former Associate Directors Adam Robinson and Cassie Book. This includes Kareem’s recounting of the technical hurdles faced during her time in the University Writing Center’s (UWC) original third floor location in Ekstrom library. Kareem illustrates the benefits of using tools like WC Online, which allowed her to assist writers by easily accessing documents during video appointments and maintaining detailed records of each appointment. She then describes the emotional and intellectual reward of consulting in the UWC, especially when she was able to help writers alleviate anxiety and achieve their writing goals. By looking beyond the writing and working with the writer as an individual, Kareem was able to effectively help writers grapple with difficult topics. Finally, she fondly recalls the level of comfort and safety she felt while consulting under the guidance of Bronwyn, Adam, and Cassie.
Dr. Jennifer Marciniak earned her PhD in the English department in 2019, where she also held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). As a GTA, Marciniak served as an Assistant Director of the Virtual Writing Center (VWC) for two years (2012-2014). In her role, she tutored distance education students, conducted the first virtual dissertation writing retreat, and reached out to faculty. In this interview, Marciniak mentions several formative examples of her tutoring, including working with personal statements, students with disabilities, and nontraditional learners. She describes vivid memories of the consultants' office at the Ekstrom Library 3rd floor location. She also mentions the technologies used for virtual and in-person tutoring including Tutor Track, iPads, and Google Hangouts. Finally, Marciniak reflects on the impact of the UWC in her professional trajectory.
Dr. Rebecca Hallman Martini worked in the UofL Writing Center from 2010 to 2012 while earning her M.A. In this interview, she reflects on a wide range of topics, such as starting the satellite writing center on the Health Science Campus, learning best practices under the direction of Dr. Bronwyn Williams, and cultivating a welcoming environment for visitors to the writing center. She discusses the communal nature of the writing center space and how it changed with developments like the introduction of student artwork. Dr. Hallman Martini also addresses how her time at UofL influenced her eventual dissertation, an ethnographic study of a writing center, citing her experience as the reason she chose to pursue a PhD. Finally, she talks about how she entered the writing center early in its relationship with technology, so she shares how the center handled asynchronous sessions through TutorTrac and material from the Purdue OWL before developing its own in-house handouts and resources.
Dr. Amy McLeese Nichols earned her MA and PhD in the English department (graduated in 2019), where she held a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) from 2012-2017. As a GTA, she served as the Assistant Director of the University Writing Center (UWC) from 2015-2017. In this interview, she describes how, through her Assistant Director role, she worked with Bronwyn Williams (UWC) and Brian McAdams (Family Scholar House [FSH]) to connect the UWC and FSH. She initiated and facilitated both writing tutoring and workshops at FSH. McLeese Nichols describes the intentionality behind this community partnership, including prioritizing sustainability, going slowly, identifying and working with the partner's needs, and developing trust. She discusses how her experience and knowledge with the UWC and community literacy informs her current work as the Writing Center Director at Berea College. At Berea, she applies her knowledge of community literacy through offering onsite tutoring "identity-based" centers on Berea's Campus and draws on the UWC's value making the writing center a welcoming and hospitable place. Finally, she compares the UWC's third and first floor location, noting the benefits of the first floor's ability to foster interactions between consultants and administrators.
Dr. Brice Nordquist was a PhD student working in the Writing Center at UofL from 2009-2014. After working as a consultant, he held an Assistant Director position in the Writing Center and was the first Assistant Director of the Virtual Writing Center. As the first Assistant Director of the Virtual Writing Center, he discusses the implementation of digital consultations in the facility and the learning experience that came with it. He also describes the original software the Writing Center used for its virtual consultations and its limitations compared to current options. Nordquist emphasizes the significance of building relationships among consultants as well as students in the Writing Center and details how the facility enables relationships between graduate students at all levels of their education. Nordquist also mentions that the communal environment of the Writing Center created reoccurring conversations between consultants and students, allowing consultants to have profound conversations with writers about what they want to gain from their work and time in college. He discusses the impact that long -term, ongoing relationships with writers had on his career path and current academic work as a composition instructor who specializes in community writing because the relationships that he built in the Writing Center helped him image the possibility of community learning programs that blur the lines between academic and personal writing.
Dr. Barrie Olson earned her PhD in the English department (2012-2014), where she served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and held the role of Assistant Director of the Writing Center from 2010-2012). During these two years, Olson worked with both Writing Center Directors Drs. Mary Rosner and Bronwyn Williams. She discusses the transition between directors. One of Olson's projects, under Bronwyn's direction, was to help design the first dissertation writing retreat, which she calls "a labor of love," which she later attended as a participant. Olsen also describes her motivation to help create a blog for the writing center, with the goal of making the writing center more visible and approachable. In reminiscing about her experiences, she cites the Ekstrom Library third floor space as being called the "tree house," and formative professional relationships with other Assistant Directors Laura Detmering and Ashly Bender. In Olson's current role, as a director of an educational non-profit, she draws on her writing center work in understanding disciplinary genres to translate expectations for K-12 literacy educators.
Dr. Susan Popham was a PhD student working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) in the Writing Center at UofL from 1999 into the early 2000’s. In addition to being a consultant in the Writing Center, she also held the position of Assistant Director. She worked under Dr. Carol Maddingly, who was the Director of the Writing Center at the time and talks fondly of her relationship and learning experiences with her supervisor. Popham discusses her interactions with other consultants at the Writing Center and the community that they built together to help students. During the time of the interview, she was teaching composition at another college and describes how her experiences in the Writing Center at UofL prepared her for her current role as a teacher of college writing. Popham had a unique experience as a graduate student at UofL because she witnessed large developments and evolutions in the Writing Center, which included the relocation of the facility from the upstairs portion of the library to its current location on the first floor. Moreover, during her time at UofL, she observed the revamp of the composition program and the creation of specialized courses on tutoring and methods for working with students in writing centers.
Dr. Kelli Prejean earned her PhD in English at UofL in 2005. She was a GTA was an Assistant Director and Writing Center Research Project Assistant Director.