Abby Gibson, Consultant

Abby Gibson (she/her) is a Ph.D. Candidate with the History department at USC and the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW). She earned her B.A. in United States History and Film Studies at Pepperdine University and her M.A. in the history of the American West at the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, she worked as the Book Review Editor for The Western Historical Quarterly, the premier journal in the field published by Oxford University Press. Abby’s research interests lie at the intersection of religious and environmental history in the late 19th century and early 20th century American West. Most recently, her work on spiritual encounters in Los Angeles and the greater West has appeared in The Journal of Alta California and on the ICW blog. Abby has served as a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate US history courses for the past two years and has experience editing and building résumés and other application materials. Helping students think through complex ideas and articulate them effectively in writing has been Abby’s favorite part of teaching at USC. Outside of the classroom, Abby loves to watch bad movies (on purpose), play softball on her community team, and try out coffee shops around L.A. Please ask her for the best study spot recommendations! In Fall 2023, Abby is available Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings.

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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 her 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 Fall 2023, Brian is available Monday afternoon and Wednesday evenings.

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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 Fall 2023, Camila is available on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

Carlos Delgado, Faculty Consultant

Carlos Antonio Delgado (he/him) is an Associate Professor in the Writing Program; he’s taught at USC since 2013. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was the winner the 2008 Turow-Kinder Fiction Award. His writing has appeared in Twelve Stories, The Acentos Review, Pittsburgh Noir, and Catholic Digest, among others. He has taught in widely varied settings, from wealthy universities to underserved public schools. At USC, Carlos works at multiple levels—whether as mentor with first-generation college students, or as a committee member, or as instructor in the classroom—to encourage and cultivate true Belonging in all aspects of university life. In Fall 2023, Carlos is available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and evenings.

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. In Fall 2023, Carolina is available Monday afternoons and Thursday 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 fall 2023, Celeste is available Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Wednesday afternoon.

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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 Friday afternoons or Monday evenings.

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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 Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings.

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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.

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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 Tuesday evenings and Wednesday afternoons in Fall 2023.

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 Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

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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.

Josh Poorman, Consultant

Josh Poorman (he/him) is a Ph.D. Candidate with USC’s Department of History. He earned his B.A. in History at Gettysburg College with a minor in Religious Studies. After graduation, Josh worked for the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial Commission in Washington, D.C., cultivating an interest in the built environment, urban planning, memorialization, and tourism. At USC, his research interests bring together these, any many other, subsets of American history. He is trained as a historian of popular culture. Josh’s work examines the convergence of tourism and deindustrialization in the 1970s. He interrogates working-class community efforts to transform their abandoned industrial sites—coal mines, blast furnaces, flour mills—into tourist attractions. As a cultural historian, Josh is interested in how our collective “image” of industry has changed with the rise of the service economy in the last fifty years. He has served as a Teaching Assistant for U.S. and European history courses since 2019. He also has experience building résumés, drafting cover letters and personal statements, and proofreading other application materials. He is most experienced writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences, but is also versed in creative fiction/non-fiction and screenwriting. While not working, Josh continues his dogged pursuit of the perfect fish taco. One day he will find it. In Fall 2023, Josh works Monday and Wednesday mornings. 

Justin Bibler, Faculty Consultant

Justin is an Assistant Professor in the USC Writing Program, where he has been teaching since 2009. He earned his PhD in English from USC in 2015, and his research focuses on race and citizenship in late 19th and early 20th century American fiction. As a writing instructor, Justin specializes in helping students achieve deep insights and articulate bold arguments. Beyond the classroom, Justin is into swimming, gardening, and playing guitar. Justin is available Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Fridays.

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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 Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

Katrina Tran, Consultant

Katrina “Kat” Tran (she/her) is a third-year EdD student at the Rossier School of Education. Her research examines the development of critical consciousness in educators in order to create and sustain equitable learning environments. She earned her M.A. in Elementary Education from LMU and B.A. in Communication Studies at UCLA. After having taught elementary and middle school students for over a decade, she is now also a Museum Educator at a Los Angeles museum. With nearly two decades of practicing and teaching writing and editing for various travel and lifestyle publications, colleagues, and student populations, she comes to the Writing Center to help students review 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 Fall 2023, Kat works Tuesday through Thursday afternoons.

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. In Fall 2023, Kira works on Wednesdays from the mid-morning through the afternoon.

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. In Fall 2023, Mahnoor is available on Monday and Wednesday mornings.

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 Thursdays in the morning 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 and Tuesday afternoons in Fall 2023. 

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 in Fall 2023 Monday afternoons and Thursday 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. In Fall 2023, Nicole works Tuesday mornings 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.

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Sandra Ross, Faculty Consultant

Sandra Ross is a second generation Trojan and native Angeleno who spends her time away from USC exploring bookshops, theaters, and art galleries from Venice to East LA. She is a fan of punk rock and an avid art collector, with a focus on contemporary Southern California artists. Sandra also collects pulp fiction novels from the 1950s, finding them insightful sociological documents of the time period, as well as examples of overwrought prose. An advocate for social justice and free speech, she draws inspiration from her students. She presented “The Rhetoric of Apology: Or I’m Sorry YOU Feel that Way” at the 2015 CCCC, “The Erasure of Memory in Los Angeles” at the 2016 PAMLA Conference, and “Race, Class, Gender, and Zombies” at the 2018 FWPCA Conference. In addition, she is writing a murder mystery set in Echo Park which focuses on a nefarious cult of vegan hipsters.

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 evenings and Thursday mornings.

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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 Monday evenings and Friday mornings during Fall 2023.

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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 and Wednesday afternoons.

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 afternoons.

Photograph of Zaina Ujayli