Alex Hack, Consultant

Alex Hack is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California, where she received her Master’s in the same field. Having previously received her B.F.A. from Parsons School of Design, she has a background in communication and UI design. Her dissertation project takes up medicine and its software as fertile ground for humanistic analysis as they force us to consider that racial harm lies too in supposed benevolence, that it has become elemental and rhizomatic, and that its killer instinct doesn’t simply resolve with more training or better data. Alex loves teaching and has experience teaching in both Cinema and Media and Gender Studies, and her writing utilizes both these fields, as well as African American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Environmental Studies, History, and the Medical Humanities. She has experience with short and long-form personal and academic essays, research papers, resumes and C.V.s, script writing, cover letters, personal statements, and more. Alex is a potter in her free time and also enjoys a good period drama. She is available Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

Amelia “Amy” Cruz, Consultant

Amelia “Amy” Cruz (she/they) is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at USC Dornsife. She earned her B.A. in English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Amy’s work sits at the crossroads of literary, disability, neurodivergence, and queer studies. Her dissertation interrogates the “leaky” boundaries of the human/inhuman binary, and the subversive potential of the autistic way of being. Amy served as an Assistant Lecturer in the Writing Program, so she has lots of experience with the ins and outs of Writing 150. Feel free to ask for tips on how to thrive in college or graduate school while neurodivergent (i.e., a person with one or more learning and/or cognitive disabilities, such as autism, ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.)! Amy’s favorite part of teaching is working with students to find solutions that work with their brain, rather than against it. In her free time, Amy enjoys seeing Ghibli movies at the New Beverly Cinema, rewatching Criminal Minds for the fourteenth time, and cross stitching with a fuzzy orange cat on her lap. You can meet with Amy in person or online on Monday and Wednesday mornings.

Brian Arechiga, Consultant

Brian Arechiga (he/him) is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying English Literature at USC Dornsife. Although he researches Mexican-American and post-modern literature, his primary research focuses on conspiracy theories. By studying them through the lens of literary analysis, he hopes to understand how conspiracies pervert traditional storytelling techniques in order to push their twisted narratives. Prior to USC, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a degree in English and minor in History. His undergraduate research thesis focused on a semiotic analysis of the 2016 conspiracy PizzaGate. For the last six years, he has guided high school and college students through their numerous essays, college applications, cover letters, résumés and other miscellaneous writing tasks. Outside of schoolwork, Brian enjoys playing music, creating video games, writing screenplays, and taking care of his cat, Kiwi. In Spring 2024, Brian is available Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings.

Photograph of Brian Arechiga

Camila Reyes, Consultant

Camila Reyes (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the English department and a Wallis Annenberg Endowed Fellow at USC. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellow and won the English Department’s Undergraduate Student Essay Contest Award in 2018. She also previously worked at UC Riverside’s Writing Center. Her research interests lie at the intersections of girlhood studies, queer theory, and early modern English literature. Other research interests include law and literature, and performance studies. Camila served as an instructor for Writing 150 and her main areas of writing experience are in the humanities and social sciences. She also has experience working with first-generation students, English as a second language students, and nontraditional students. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and birdwatching. In Spring 2024, Camila is available on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Carolina Munoz, Consultant

Carolina Muñoz (she/her) is a second-year Ph.D. student studying English Literature at USC Dornsife. She earned her BA in English and minor in Education at the University of California, Riverside. Carolina has served as the Assistant Editor-in-Chief for the UC Riverside Undergraduate Research Journal, where she aided in publishing student research articles from various disciplines. Additionally, she has tutored community college students and taught undergraduate students, helping scholars’s develop reading and writing skills and providing mentorship on topics related to navigating higher education. Through her mentorship, she also has experience building and editing resumes. Carolina’s research lies in the field of Chicanx and Latinx studies. Her interests include hiking, cooking and baking, crocheting, and exploring taco trucks around Los Angeles. Carolina is available Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Celeste Oon, Consultant

Celeste Oon (she/her) is an M.A. student and TA in Cinema and Media Studies. She previously completed her BA in Linguistics and Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research revolves around internet platforms, online communities, and celebrity/fan relations. She’s particularly interested in how power and intimacy are negotiated among individuals in digital spaces. Her main areas of writing experience are in the social sciences and humanities. She also has a passion for helping students with application materials (for schools, scholarships, special programs, etc.) and has worked with many non-native speakers. In the past, she has served as a writing coach, tutor, and editor-in-chief for student publications, and as a translator for unions. Nowadays, you can find her dipping her toes into the podcasting space. Outside of her studies, she enjoys finding good restaurants around L.A., listening to loud music, and wasting time watching Reels and TikToks. In Celeste is available Monday evening and Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Photograph of Celeste Oon

Claire Carcara, Consultant

Claire Carcara (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History and a participant in the Visual Studies Graduate Certificate. Prior to attending USC, Claire earned her M.A. from the University of Chicago and her B.A. from Boston University, where she graduated summa cum laude and with departmental honors (History of Art & Architecture). Claire’s research spans the exploration of alternative exhibition spaces, bookmaking as a form of curation, site-specificity, and (non-traditional) materiality across the 20th century. Her areas of writing expertise are in the humanities, with particular attention to disciplines interested in exploring the visual. She also has experience in helping students with application materials for jobs and academic programs (statements of purpose, cover letters, CVs, resumes) and in working with artists on their written materials (artist statements, exhibition texts). Outside of the classroom, she loves to care for her ever-growing collection of plants (#proudplantmom), wander around art museums, and try out coffee shops around Los Angeles. Claire is available Monday afternoons and Tuesday evenings.


Dan Pecchenino, Faculty Consultant

Dan Pecchenino (he/him) came to USC in 2013 and has taught primarily in the Economics and Human Values thematics of Writing 150. His pedagogical research focuses on student receptiveness to different modes of assessment and feedback, and he also publishes on film and American literature. He has been elected to a range of officer positions in faculty governance bodies at both the school and university levels, and in 2022-2023 he served as President of the Academic Senate. In that role he led efforts to strengthen shared governance via the school Faculty Councils, increase compensation transparency, and improve policies around misconduct investigations. Most recently, he was named Co-Chair of USC’s Student Success Team. Dan is available Monday afternoons and Thursday and Friday midday.

Dan Rosen, Consultant

Dan Lark (he/him) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Division of Cinema and Media Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts. He received his B.A. in Anthropology, with minors in linguistics and classics, from the University at Buffalo and his M.A. in Cinema and Media Studies here at USC. Dan is familiar with the expectations and nuances of writing across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. His areas of writing experience include anthropology, archaeology, film and media studies, gender and sexuality studies, linguistics, critical theory, classics, and game studies. Before returning to graduate school, Dan worked in the non-profit sector and also has experience with résumés, cover letters, graduate school applications, and other forms of professional writing. His research focuses on how social and political ideas and positions are coded into digital media, web platforms, and video games. You can meet with Dan on Monday afternoon or Friday morning.

Photograph of Dan Rosen

Ellie Xu, Consultant

Ellie Xu (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in Clinical Science. Her research focuses on understanding how deficits in emotion regulation contribute to the development, maintenance, and recurrence of affective disorders, such as depression. Ellie received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology from the University of Chicago, and has experience reviewing academic essays in those fields, as well as résumés, CVs, cover letters, graduate school applications, and fellowship applications. Outside of work, Ellie enjoys hiking, reading, and exploring neighborhoods and restaurants in the Los Angeles area. Ellie is available on Wednesday evenings and Thursday afternoons.

Photograph of Ellie Xu

Ifetayo Olutosin, Consultant

Ifetayo Olutosin (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Comparative Studies of Literature and Culture program in the Dornsife School of Arts & Sciences. She has served as a Teaching Assistant and Assistant Lecturer for USC’s Spanish and Comparative Literature departments. She graduated from Grinnell College, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Spanish with a concentration in Latin American Studies. Her areas of writing expertise include sociology, literary analysis, gender and sexuality studies, Spanish grammar, graduate school personal statements, and letters of intent. In her free time, Ifetayo enjoys being out in nature, baking, listening to music, and hanging out with friends. Ifetayo is available on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Photograph of Ifetayo Olutosin

Jacqueline Johnson, Consultant

Jacqueline Johnson (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the Division of Cinema and Media Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts. Prior to coming to USC, she received her B.A. in Sociology and Education from Boston University and her M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin with a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. Jacqueline’s research centers around the connections between race, gender, contemporary television, and new media platforms. Her areas of writing experience are primarily in the humanities and social sciences including cinema and media studies, gender and sexuality studies, American studies, ethnic studies, communication, sociology, and education. Jacqueline also has experience with résumés, cover letters, and graduate school applications. She spends her free time reading celebrity gossip, romance novels, and viral tweets. Jacqeuline is available on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Photograph of Jacqueline Johnson

Jaden Morales, Consultant

Jaden Morales (they/them) is a second-year Ph.D. student and Teaching Assistant in the Department of American Studies & Ethnicity. Prior to USC, Jaden received their B.A. in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration from Yale University. Their graduate research considers the social and political intimacies that link the geographies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to the Pacific vis-á-vis transnational circuits of bodies, capital, commodities, and knowledges to examine the formation of U.S. empire and global colonial-capitalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jaden’s area of writing experience spans the humanities—history, ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies—as well as application materials such as résumés, cover letters, and personal statements. Before graduate school, Jaden worked for two years as a litigation paralegal for an employment and labor law firm in Washington D.C; thus, they’re also apt to assist with legal and business writing. Outside the classroom, Jaden enjoys curating playlists, exploring L.A.’s food scene, and teaching themselves to rollerskate. Jaden is available Tuesday mornings and Monday and Wednesday evenings.

Photograph of Jaden Morales

Jane Kassavin, Consultant

Jane Kassavin (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in the Spanish and Latin American Studies track of USC’s program in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture and a former Fulbright-Hays Fellow in Brazil. She holds an M.A. in Spanish Literature from Middlebury College, a B.A. in Media Studies from Pomona College, and has completed the Translation Studies Certificate at USC. She has served as a Teaching Assistant and Assistant Lecturer for USC’s Spanish and Comparative Literature departments, and has also spent many years teaching ESL and creative writing both in Los Angeles and Madrid, Spain. Her dissertation explores themes of sound, voice and performance in modern and contemporary Latin American poetry, with a specific focus on Argentina and Brazil. She has a wide variety of writing expertise and would love to help with literature and humanities papers, cover letters, graduate school applications, and writing in Spanish. In her free time she enjoys knitting, reading fantasy novels, and making perfumes. Jane is available Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings.

Justine Grabiec, Consultant

Justine (she/her) is a third-year Ph.D. student in the department of Earth Sciences. Prior to coming to USC, she recieved her B.S. in geology with a minor in planetary science from the University of Maryland College Park in 2017 and her M.S. in geological sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019. Most of her fieldwork takes place on Santa Catalina Island, where she uses rocks that were once deep within the Earth to answer questions about how and when Catalina Island formed and how fluids and elements travel through the deep Earth and back to the surface. While a majority of her writing is scientific and technical in nature, she enjoys using her creative side when writing pieces such as personal statements and reflections. Outside of academia, Justine enjoys studio art, hiking, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her cats. In Fall 2023, Justine is available Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.

Katrina Tran, Consultant

Katrina “Kat” Tran (she/her) is a third-year EdD student at the Rossier School of Education, where she researches educational leaders’ development of critical consciousness in pursuit of creating and sustaining equitable learning environments. After earning an M.A. in Elementary Education from LMU and a B.A. in Communication Studies at UCLA, she taught elementary and middle school students for over a decade. Along with working at the Writing Center, she is also a Museum Educator at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. With nearly two decades of writing and editing for various travel and lifestyle publications, colleagues, and student populations, she supports Writing Center students in reviewing personal statements, creative pieces, and research papers. When not reading, watching YouTube, or planning future travels, Kat enjoys trying new restaurants, being outside in nature, and anything Ghibli-related. In Spring 2024, Kat is available both onsite and online from Tuesday to Friday.

Kira Brenner, Consultant

Kira Brenner (she/her) is a Master’s student in Narrative Medicine at Keck School of Medicine. She earned her BA in Neurobiology with a Certificate in Mind Brain Behavior from Harvard. She has conducted research within both Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia and has experience writing and editing scientific abstracts, theses/dissertations, and academic manuscripts for publication. Her writing and advising experience also includes English literature, with a particular interest in close reading analysis. In addition to academic essays, she has expertise with professional writing such as résumés, CVs, cover letters, and fellowship and job applications. She has had the opportunity to work with students in Beijing, China and enjoys helping non-native English speakers communicate their ideas in writing. Kira previously volunteered as a writer for a non-profit podcast, Science Rehashed, aimed at making cutting edge research accessible to a broader audience. Having spent her college years performing improvisational comedy, Kira is particularly excited to explore LA’s performing arts scene. Kira works on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Mahnoor Ali, Consultant

Mahnoor Ali (she/her) is a Ph.D. student studying Comparative Media and Culture at USC Dornsife. Her work operates on the intersection of literary and museum studies and explores themes of spatiality, communal memory, and cultural identity. She is interested in how these themes shape visual and literary narratives of displacement and diaspora. Mahnoor completed her B.A. in Comparative Literature at Harvard with a secondary field in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. She also has an MPhil in English Criticism and Culture from the University of Cambridge. She has done ethnographic research in France and literary research in Turkey and can advise on fellowship and internship application materials (personal statements, cover letters, etc.) in addition to essays across disciplines. She also enjoys writing fiction and would be happy to discuss your creative projects! Outside of the classroom, Mahnoor has made significant progress in her quests to find the best pain au chocolat on the West Coast and to prove that Los Angeles is, contrary to popular opinion, a walkable city.  Mahnoor is available Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings.

Mandy Hobmeier, Faculty Consultant

Mandy Hobmeier (she/her) received her Ph.D. in English from University of Washington in 2014. As an Associate Professor of Teaching in the USC Writing Program, she teaches in both the lower-division and upper-division writing curriculums in the areas of Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Globalization, as well as specialized coursework in Grant Writing.  Mandy has spent time working internationally and her research has focused in cross-cultural perspectives related to educational development, particularly in writing studies. She is an interdisciplinary scholar, and thus enjoys working with students from various backgrounds across writing genres. Mandy has great interest in writing for specific purposes such as fellowships, scholarships, grants, manuscripts, and application dossiers for higher education. She embraces consulting with students at all stages of the writing process, and thrives in collaborative learning environments like writing centers.

Max Berwald, Consultant

Max Berwald (he/him) received his B.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University and is a doctoral student in the School of Cinematic Arts. He has taught English as a second language at a variety of levels, led workshops on screenwriting and memoir, and worked professionally in copywriting and public relations. Areas of writing expertise include literary analysis, film studies, history, professional writing, and creative writing. His fiction has appeared in Blackbird, the Massachusetts ReviewChicago Quarterly Review, as part of Tin House’s online flash fiction series, and elsewhere. Max is available Wednesdays in the afternoon and evening.

Molly Klug, Consultant

Molly Klug (sher/her) is a PhD student in the Integrative and Evolutionary Biology Program. She previously graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, earning a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Psychology. Here at USC Molly works in the lab of Dr. Scott Kanoksi, studying neural circuits underlying ingestive behavior in rodents. She is particularly interested in development and impulsive consumption of palatable foods. Molly’s areas of writing expertise are primarily in scientific writing, though she has extensive experience in philosophical and analytical writing. She is passionate about helping students build confidence in their writing, and has worked with students on fellowship applications, research papers, and personal statements. Molly is available Monday afternoon and Wednesday evening. 

Neud’s Saint-Cyr, Consultant

Neud’s Saint-Cyr (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the American Studies & Ethnicity Department. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with her B.A. in Africana Studies and a minor in Chemistry in 2021. Her research examines Black immigrants’ lived realities, specifically that of Haitian asylum seekers. She has served as a Teaching Assistant for multiple courses in the American Studies & Ethnicity department at USC. Her areas of expertise are in the humanities and social sciences, alongside personal statements/essays for graduate school and fellowships. In her free time, Neud’s enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering, attending church, cooking, and being a background actor in LA. Neud’s is available Monday afternoons and Wednesday mornings.

Nicole Bush, Consultant

Nicole Bush (she/her) is a doctoral candidate at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism who studies Black women’s activism, affective labor, and online social movements. Nicole graduated from Pepperdine University with a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication. Nicole also holds her Master of Communication Management from the University of Southern California (2010) and received her BA in English with a minor in Performance Arts Studies from Georgetown University. Her areas of writing expertise are in the humanities and social sciences, including communication, sociology, gender and media studies, cinema and media studies, and cultural studies. In addition, Nicole also has experience with creative non-fiction, literature reviews, resumes, cover letters, and personal statements. Nicole spends her free time teaching Pilates, hanging out with her two cats, Smokey and Lola, and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. Nicole works Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Robert Waller, Director

Robert Waller (he/him) is Director of the Writing Center and an Associate Professor (Teaching) in the Writing Program. Professor Waller received his bachelor’s degree from Duke University, where he studied oral history and music, and has a degree in creative writing from USC.   Robert has over 20 years of experience teaching writing with a particular focus on using writing as a tool to explore and reveal the creative process. At USC, he developed the popular Special Topics WRIT 340 course, Writing for Visual and Performing Artists, that aims to help students articulate their own aesthetics and through this process expand their understanding both of writing and the meanings and purposes driving their work.  In addition to his work at USC, Waller is also an active performing songwriter and musician who has toured internationally and had his songs appear in TV and film. Robert lives in Highland Park with his wife, three children, and two cats.

Roger Anderson, Assistant Director

Roger Anderson (he/him) earned his Bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, where he studied English Literature and Art History, and his Master’s degree from the English Department at USC in the Film, Literature and Culture program. Prior to joining the Writing Center, Roger taught freshman writing courses in USC’s Writing Program, where he also served as an Instructional Coordinator. Roger has a passion for working with international students, helping them master not only the grammatical and syntactical aspects of writing in English but also the rhetorical and stylistic expectations of the academic discourse community.

Photograph of Roger Anderson

Sean Cosgrove, Faculty Consultant

Sean Cosgrove (he/him) is a faculty member in the Writing Program and a trained historian, having received his PhD in American history from Cornell University. His primary area of expertise lies in the social sciences and the humanities, where he explores the intersections of popular culture, gender and sexuality, violence, and social/spatial theory in the context of the modern United States. Here at USC he primarily teaches WRIT150, approaching it with a commitment to practices of peer collaboration that challenge us to develop our ideas through various forms of dialogue. In past lives he has taught courses in ethnic studies, history, English literature, government, and science and technology studies, supervised undergraduate and graduate research projects, and facilitated workshops for high school and college students to develop personal essays and statements. In Spring 2024, he is usually available Monday mornings and evenings, Thursday evenings, and Friday afternoons.

Skyler Osburn, Consultant

Skyler Osburn (he/him) graduated summa cum laude, with degrees in English and philosophy as well as a minor in French, from Oklahoma State University. He completed his MA in cinema studies here at USC and is now a PhD student in the same discipline. His primary areas of writing proficiency are the formal analysis of film and literature, philosophical history and argumentation, and literary theory and criticism. He has presented his work for the Popular Culture Association and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. His current areas of focus are the Marxian-economic analysis of film history, the political philosophy of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and Buddhist readings of film theory. Skyler is available Monday and Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings.

Photograph of Skyler Osburn

Stephanie Mullings, Consultant

Stephanie Mullings (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing and Literature. She received her B.A. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Michigan and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University. Her main areas of writing expertise include creative writing, social sciences and humanities, history, and academic writing. Stephanie’s fiction writing has appeared in various literary magazines, including BoulevardCatapult, the Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. She is originally from Chicago, an avid WNBA and N.B.A. fan, and a proud sneakerhead. Stephanie is available Thursday evenings and Friday mornings.

Photograph of Stephanie Mullings

Yousef Alghawi, Consultant

Yousef Alghawi (they/them) is a second year Ph.D. in the Division of Cinema and Media Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts. They received their B.A. in Political Science and English, with a minor in philosophy, from the University of Florida and an M.A. in Cinema Studies at New York University. Yousef is a cross-disciplinary writer who works throughout a range of discourses, subjects, and mediums, including political science, literature, film, theory, sociology and anthropology, among others. Yousef has also worked many years in non-profit, political, and activist spaces, with a wealth of experience with CVs, applications and résumés. Yousef’s research revolves around film as philosophy, ethics, postmodernist literature, audio-visual decay, phenomenology, gender, and political ideologies. Yousef is available on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Zaina Ujayli, Consultant

Zaina Ujayli (she/hers) is a Ph.D. student in the American Studies & Ethnicity Department. Her research is currently on the female writers and activists of the twentieth-century Syrian American diaspora. You can read her published work on them in ArabLit Quarterly and American Periodicals. Before she came to Los Angeles, she completed her M.A. in English Literature at the University of Virginia. In the past, she has worked with students on research papers, personal statements, dissertation chapters, cover letters, and fiction. When she is not sifting through archives, she is fighting with other screenwriters over tables at her favorite coffee spots to try to make progress on her own screenplays. Zaina is available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons.

Photograph of Zaina Ujayli