It was a dark and stormy night... Wait. That's a different story, not mine. I suppose if I were going to write my life history down for you, I'd most likely begin something like this: It was a sunny afternoon in November, a rare sort of day in autumn in Seattle, the day Prairie Brown was born. Then I'd skip a bunch of uninteresting stuff about learning to walk and talk and pick up the story again after I'd become a full-fledged member of society. This societal membership, at least, the membership into the society that interests me, the society of readers and writers, began when I was four years old and noticed that I could read along with my mother as she chanted the words to Fox in Socks. Since that point, hardly a day has passed that reading wasn't a vital part of my life. Of course, the books have changed a bit over the years, from Dr. Seuss to Roald Dahl to L.M. Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott, gradually becoming the novels of the Bronte Sisters and Jane Austin, with some Shakespeare thrown in there for good measure. Lately, I've been finding my reading tastes running a bit toward the weird and macabre. My graduate thesis, written in 2003 at Central Washington University, focuses on the writings of Shirley Jackson, most commonly known for her short story The Lottery, a classic example of American gothic writing. Since graduate school, one of my favorite reading-related activities has been building my Stephen King collection. He's a writer whom I scorned as an undergraduate English major, but for whom I gained admiration when his name came up in my thesis research and I learned that he'd dedicated one of his novels to Shirley Jackson. My professional life for the past seven years has involved teaching reading and writing, starting at CWU and moving to North Seattle Community College and now back again to CWU. I won't bore you with the rather unremarkable details of the rest of my life. If you want to know more, stop by the University Writing Center and ask me in person. We can have a cup of tea and talk.
Diane Setterfield begins The Thirteenth Tale with this confession: "All children mythologize their birth….You want to know someone? Heart, mind, and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won't be the truth; it will be a story." So you want to know a little about me? I was born in Auburn, Washington. Within weeks of my arrival, I was kidnapped by winged monkeys and sold to a traveling circus where I was raised by a snake-charming gypsy and a tattooed sword-swallower who forced me to spend my formative years peddling popcorn out of a camel-drawn cart. Shortly thereafter, I joined the staff at the Central Washington University Writing Center. At least, that's how I remember it. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington in 1999, I was left with the freakish (and non-lucrative) ability to identify more than 500 plants by their Latin genus and species, plus a fascination with literature that incorporates nature as character: Barbara Kingsolver, Annie Dillard, Terry Tempest Williams, and Elizabeth Hay. I'm now a graduate of the M.F.A. Creative Writing program at National University. I’ve published four short stories, and I’m working on a post-thesis novel. I am passionate about writing, and I love to see that passion sparked in my students. I know too well the fear that rears its ugly head when we are faced with the challenges of crafting language, but I also know that the ability to clearly and creatively express our ideas in words can be one of the greatest joys of the human experience. As a writing center consultant, I want to encourage you not to fear writing. Writing can become a lifelong friend if you just give it a little time and attention.
Public Relations/ Sociology
As a young girl, I always helped out my teachers with grading papers. I volunteered at my elementary school every afternoon until I graduated high school because I loved working with students and helping them succeed in understanding and appreciating the English language. This has carried on as I have been a tutor of different subjects which has helped me hone my tutoring skills. Now I have found a home at the Learning Commons as a writing tutor. I transferred to Central Washington University and am a Public Relations and Sociology major. Besides studying, I occupy my time with playing sports, hiking, and anything else that involves being outside; as well as reading a good book once in a while.
Area of Interest: Reading, writing, languages, and baking.
Hi, my name’s Olivia, and I am a tutor for the Writing Center. I got involved here because I have always loved to read and write, and I want to help others do the same. I am also a tour guide here at Central, and I love showing off our school. I speak Spanish and French, and I am fascinated with languages and linguistics. Outside of the classroom, I like going to yoga to relax and feel at peace. I love to bake, and my family and friends are always happy to taste test my latest creations. Some of my favorite recipes include bread pudding, lemon curd jelly roll cake, and classic chocolate chip cookies. In the future, I want to live in a foreign country, get a puppy, and graduate- not necessarily in that order! I decided to become an intern because I have always enjoyed writing, and I especially enjoy exploring the writing process. My dad told me that all writing is re-writing, and I hope to help people understand that re-writing is an important part of the writing process that should be practiced and enjoyed. During my time as an intern, I am happy to be learning all about the Writing Center at Central.
Economics, Natural Resource Management, Political Science
I was born in California, but I have lived my entire life here in Washington. I grew up in Woodinville, but in the middle of 10th grade, my family moved to Roslyn. I hated life at a small high school, so, despite my horrible grades, I was able to argue my way into becoming a full time Running Start student at CWU my senior year. This experience sparked a deep love of education and has led me to where I am now, a third-year graduate student seven years later. While many people change majors, my education addiction led me to just add on majors and minors. So, I ended up graduating in 2010 with a B.S. in Economics, B.A. in Russian Language, and minors in Political Science and Mathematics. During my undergraduate career, I studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia through a CIEE language study program and in Northwestern China in a faculty led research program. Central couldn’t quite get rid of me, so I came back as a graduate student in the Resource and Environmental Management program, which is an interdisciplinary program mainly taught between Anthropology and Geography. My extensive knowledge of campus and nearly all the departments has benefited my ability to relate to students and help them with problems. This passion for helping students led me to work at the Learning Commons as an office assistant, writing consultant, and math tutor. Having been a horrible student before, my strongest guiding philosophy is that you have to work hard to do well in school, and you should major in a subject that doesn’t make you feel like you’re working hard. I hate it when students come in with an attitude that they are just “bad” at math or writing; it’s a skill you need to develop. I love helping students realize that they can work towards being better in a way that works for them. My ideal future would be working as an academic advisor and then eventually, when I “grow up,” working as a natural resource economics professor.
“ Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you.” Zig Zaglar
Since I started my writing career in English 100T, this has been my mantra. I struggled with writing in my early college years, but, because of the help of some amazing tutors, I am a better writer. I used to get my papers back in high school painted red with marks and corrections; this made me think I was a bad writer. So, when Prairie told me I should become a tutor, I was extremely skeptical. However, in spite of my skepticism, I decided to do the internship. I took my rowboat and tartar sauce and threw caution to the wind. I realized writing is more than just grammar and punctuation, which was what I struggled with. Through this internship I learned that I knew more than I thought I did about writing. Once I finish this internship, I will be happy to pass my knowledge onto others.
I think it was Freckle Juice. Insecure about my own freckles, even if the sun had kissed them upon my cheeks (so my mom affectionately told me), I couldn’t fathom anyone trying to get freckles! No matter how many times grandma read me the story, contemplating the “reality” of this childhood drama always kept my attention – or maybe it was grandma’s sweet voice that held me captive. Either way, this book stands out as one of my first experiences with the written word.
Of course, there are many others: Peter Rabbit gorging on food from Mr. McGregor’s garden, followed by the infamous chase scene with rake in hand (if you want to know my most embarrassing moment, ask me how I can relate to this scene!); Tom Thumb and his wife, Hunca Munca, raiding a dollhouse only to find the food inside to be a sham; Little Bear traveling to the moon from his own back yard.
As I got older, my interest turned to the Little House on the Prairie series, followed by my junior high obsession with the Babysitter’s Club, after which I crafted my own short stories of crazed babysitting adventures – my first recollection of creative writing.
During high school, reading for fun took a backseat to required text - To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, Romeo and Juliet, and the like. At the same time, my love of writing developed, though quietly. Too shy to actually share what I wrote with confidence, I spent those years secretly hoping it was okay to love to write.
Then came “life”, and I forgot to write, except for occasional anecdotes about my children, and I forgot to read, except for stories at night as my little ones turned the pages. Then came more “life”, and I found myself a single parent of three children, returning to college in my 30s. My, how life changes!
Back in school, I realized more than ever how much I love learning. I have found the process of reading and analyzing literature, forming a thesis, and proving an argument in writing to be a favorite, in close competition with writing creative non-fiction. While at Central, I have had the opportunity to write for Pulse, CWU’s online student magazine, submit a piece to the Observer, as well as publish a creative non-fiction piece in the Manastash.
Now I’m a senior, graduating in June with a degree in English with a writing specialization, after which I will attend graduate school in pursuit of a career as a secondary language arts teacher.
In the meantime, I continue with classes and work as a writing tutor in the Learning Commons. I love to help students at all stages in the writing process, and I look forward to working with you.
Areas of Interest: Archaeology, Geology
I was born in a tiny little town on the Olympic Peninsula and grew up on twenty acres of forest, complete with chickens, cows, horses, seven dogs, and several fluffy cats. After graduating high school in this tiny town, I spent two years at community college and came to Central to finish my double major in anthropology (emphasis archaeology) and geology. I have wanted to be an archaeologist ever since second grade, and now that I am finally working toward my goal I love it even more than I ever expected to. Last summer I was able to study abroad in Belize, go to an archaeology field school at Mt. Rainier, and participate in a geology field school in California. I am completely passionate about where I am going with my career, and I wouldn’t be able to fully embrace my goals without a proficiency in writing. As a writing tutor at Central, my primary bjective is to instill confidence within students concerning their own abilities to communicate and express ideas. Once students are no longer intimidated by writing, they are able to continuously expand their skill level with every paper they create. Strong writing skills are an incredibly powerful and permanent tool, and they will help you in your success no matter what adventures or adversities you face throughout your life.
Descriptive Writing/Literary Analysis, Musical Theatre
I grew up on the cold rains of the small and supposedly picturesque town of Kelso, Washington, raised on musty books and enthusiastic family sing-a-longs. I idolized my only sibling, a bibliophilic older sister. Perhaps my love of the written word can be blamed on her influence, as I constantly sought to follow in her footsteps, although I like to believe my fanaticism manifested of its own accord. I read voraciously through middle school and high school, toying with the idea of becoming “a world-renowned author” or “a brilliant English teacher who inspired future authors with the depth of her intellect.” With time, I thought better of those notions and decided to become a starving actor instead of a starving author or teacher. After an essay contest in high school granted me a trip to Europe, heightening my awareness of the world, I somehow managed to muster up the courage post-graduation to bid the familiarity of my hometown goodbye in order to broaden my horizons studying musical theatre at Central Washington University. It wasn’t until 2013 that I joined the University Learning Commons as a writing tutor. It could be that I was drawn to tutoring because of the lingering remnants of my desire to teach; however, I feel that my appreciation for verbal and written communication played a key role in my decision to tutor. I have found that I love tutoring because it gives me the chance to serve as a catalyst for change, movement, and growth. Part of my inspiration for both theatre and writing comes from the French acting instructor Jaques Lecoq’s biography, The Moving Body, where Lecoq states that "[e]rror is not just acceptable, it is necessary for the continuation of life, provided it is not too great. A large error is a catastrophe; a small error is essential for enhancing existence. Without error there is no movement. Death follows." From error comes the opportunity for growth: the opportunity to expand our minds and reshape our understanding of humanity. Through writing, we express and explore the world; and, by tutoring and by being tutored, we can help to ensure that we are remaining actively engaged in our environment and that we are moving in the right direction: forward, approaching our best possible futures.
B.A.s in English Writing Specialization & Japanese language June, 2012
TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) Masters student June, 2013
I was born in Seattle, Washington in December of 1987. It wasn’t long after that that I wa kyoshi ni natte hoshii to omotta….sorry…that I wanted to become a teacher. My mother recalls many a time when, as a child, I would frustrate my younger sister by forcing her to be a student, and I the teacher.
In elementary school, I chose the largest book I could find from the school library− Brian Jacques’ Redwall. Three hundred and fifty-one pages of mousey goodness and descriptions of candied nuts so vivid you can almost lift a handful from the pages and munch. I highly recommend this book series.
In junior high, I created several fake languages of my own discretion which, of course, I pressured my younger sibling into learning. However, without any previous linguistic studies, these languages were quite lacking and involved the mere arbitrary mixing up of the English alphabet. “Vhet eb” (vuh-het eh-b) is all that survives of any of my, now extinct, languages.
In college, I lackadaisically attempted a chemistry major which, for lack of a better word, dojichatta (doh-gee-cha-tah: utterly failed). It was after completing my B.A. in English and Japanese that I decided to go for CWU’s TESOL masters degree. My ultimate goal is to land a job teaching English in Japan on as permanent of a basis as physically possible.
In the meantime, I love tutoring at the Learning Commons’ Writing Center. It is wonderful practice for teaching, and I am glad to assist anyone who wants help with their English writing. Be it a draft of a paper, an outline, discussing ideas or even cramming for a grammar quiz, I am here to assist!
My journey towards being a writing tutor at CWU actually begins at least 20 years ago…but maybe you’d rather not read my entire life story right now. Okay, here’s the short and sweet version: I began to develop a love of language and literature almost from the time that I could walk. Of course, my taste in literature has changed slightly since then (can you imagine a 2-year-old quoting Shakespeare or Milton?), but my earliest memories involve my parents reading me books, books, and more books. That became a normal part of my life, a typical daily ritual. My love of literature only continued to grow; I read voraciously throughout high school, and I developed a particular love for the classics: the works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and the Bronte sisters, to name a few.
When the time came to apply to college, there was no doubt in my mind what my major would be. However, my goals were slightly altered when I realized that my dream of sipping tea, reading fantastic literature, and writing novels all day might not be the most reliable or lucrative field. As a result, I majored in English with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language and earned a B.A. from Northwest University.
My life’s journey has since led me to CWU where I’m currently earning an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language. My ultimate goal is to teach ESL in a university setting someday. However, just as we all know, we native English speakers could also use a little bit of help in better understanding our own language. That’s why I applied for a tutoring position at the Learning Commons: to hopefully help students understand the simultaneous beauty and logic of language. Writing a paper doesn’t HAVE to be a chore, but it can be beautifully expressive, as well as a pure delight. But for all you mathematical types, have no fear, for language is also logical! I love the “aha!” moments when I can tell that a student finally understands a confusing concept. Maybe those students even get a glimpse of why I love language so much. We can’t have good reading without good writing, and I hope through my time here to be a part of helping CWU students to become eloquent thinkers that are also devoted writers.
Hello everyone! My name is Alyssa Welch. I am a 4th year student at Central Washington University majoring in English education. Having grown up in California, I developed a love for warm weather, taco trucks, and shopping. I don’t get much of that here in Ellensburg, but the great thing is that I can still write wherever I go. In my spare time, I love writing poetry and short stories. It gives me an opportunity to be reflective and imaginative. As a teacher one day, I plan to help students develop their creativity in writing. I believe that writing is a powerful tool. It enables individuals to communicate effectively in the workforce, in relationships, and in creativity. When you visit the Learning Commons Center, I hope to assist you in furthering your writing skills and help you become a more confident writer. Looking forward to seeing you!
The Des Moines Writing and Math Center will offer Accounting and Finance Tutoring beginning SeptembeWelcome Our New Math Center Coordinator
Anna Jacobs recently joined our staff as the Math Center Coordinator for the Learning Commons!Our Location!
The Ellensburg Learning Commons has moved from Hertz Hall to our new location in the Brooks Library