Writing Center Staff / Tutors

Helen Raica-Klotz

Writing Center Director

I am pleased to be the Writing Center Director at SVSU, working with such talented and dedicated tutors!  I’ve taught freshman composition and general education literature classes at SVSU for over 15 years; during that time, I served for seven years as the Writing Center Coordinator and for two years as the First Year Writing Coordinator.  My writing center research focuses on tutor training, embedded tutoring, and developing self-efficacy in student writers.  I currently serve as the Co-Director for the Saginaw Bay Writing Project, and I am a member of the University Writing Committee and First Year Writing Committee.

My favorite part of the day is anytime I walk out of my office into our writing center filled with students talking, debating, and thinking aloud about their writing—as Beth Boquet says, “It is a cacophony of sound” that I never tire of hearing.

 

Chris Giroux

Writing Center Assistant Director

I’ve worked at SVSU for almost 15 years and most of my time is spent teaching English 111, English 212, and general education literature courses. I take much joy in trying to demystify the writing process for students and teach them the conventions of academia; I love to witness that “ah-ha” moment when things click for students and they challenge themselves to move to the next level. My goal is to help students be conscious about and deliberate in the decisions they make as they engage in the joys (and pains) of writing.

Outside the traditional classroom, I have involved myself in various activities and programs that celebrate and promote good writing at SVSU: I’ve served as the faculty advisor to Cardinal Sins; I’ve been co-editor of Literacy Link; I’ve been involved with the Honors Program and the First Year Writing Committee; and I helped establish the internship program in English.

Other “writerly” aspects of my life? I recently completed my dissertation at Wayne State University, where I specialized in twentieth-century American literature, specifically African-American drama, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have poems published in various venues.

Hillary Degner

Technical Writer

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I graduated from SVSU in May 2015 with my degree in Professional and Technical Writing. As a student, I tutored at the Writing Center for over two years. I loved my time as a tutor and I am very happy to remain with the SVSU community through my technical writing position.

My favorite part about being a tutor was helping students feel more confident about their writing. I also gained confidence and became very involved in the writing center field. I mentored new tutors, conducted research about tutor mental health, presented at four writing center conferences, and received the YWCA Emerging Woman Leader Award for my leadership and contributions to the SVSU and writing center communities.

When I was a student I also wrote for The Valley Vanguard and studied abroad in Ireland and Greece. Currently, I am applying to graduate schools and I hope to someday teach at a university and be a writing center administrator. In my free time I enjoy reading, listening to music (especially from my record player), making jewelry, traveling, and practicing yoga and Pilates.

Maria Vos

Literacy Support Specialist

Hello! I am a recent graduate of SVSU, graduating in December of 2014 with my degree in English Education. I am a certified English teacher with experience in teaching middle school English Language Arts (which I loved). Now, I work for SVSU as both a graduate writing tutor and as the coordinator of the new Saginaw Community Writing Center housed in Saginaw’s Butman-Fish Public Library. I am also involved with the Saginaw Bay Writing Project and the Dr. Deborah Smith’s “Real Writing Cadre” grant project in the College of the Education. I wear a lot of “hats,” but I couldn’t be happier to be working (and learning—I’m working on my Master’s in Administrative Science) at SVSU.

Apart from my many jobs and projects, I am actively involved in the surrounding community; this is something that has been important to me since I was very young and further emphasized during my time as a Kantlzer Fellow, an organization that is still very close to my heart. I also love to spend time with family and friends, read, vacation up north, kayak, and practice yoga.

Josh Atkins

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I'm a junior at SVSU pursuing a degree in English with a minor in Creative Writing. I was born and raised in a small town called Richville (about a half hour from SVSU), so mid-Michigan has always been home for me.

Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and related works will always top the list of my favorite books. I remember staying up late into the night rereading them throughout grade school—while the movies will never do the books justice, I’m also a big fan of those as well. I'm a huge Star Wars nerd and could probably fill an afternoon reciting what I know about that fictional universe. My dream home would be located near a warm coast—California and Florida both sound like they’d make great places to settle down.

I enjoy using my writing skills to help others who may be struggling with any part of the writing process. I learn a lot as a tutor and I know I will carry the skill-set I develop at the Writing Center with me throughout both my academic and professional careers.

Alison Barger

I'm a senior at SVSU, majoring in Literature and double minoring in Creative Writing and Criminal Justice; I am also pursuing a TESOL Certificate (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  I am an Information Management Co-op at The Dow Chemical Company, a Botz fellow, and a member of the 17th Class of Roberts Fellows.

If I could, I would probably live in a library; I will read almost anything I can get my hands on, but my favorite genres are dystopian literature and classics. My favorite books are The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I love watching the sunrises and walking in the woods, swimming in the ocean and exploring new art museums. My favorite color is yellow, and I love it because it reminds me of the sun. Someday I want to live in a place where the sun shines everyday! I love Michigan, but I am not fond of Michigan winters.

For me, writing is a beautiful way to communicate with others, and I love to help people cross communication barriers. Whether it is in a different country and I am trying to cross a language barrier, or I am working with someone who is trying to express their thoughts in writing, I love how language brings people together. I love working in the Writing Center, where I get to help other students expand and improve their use of language in writing; I truly feel that by doing so we as tutors are opening up possibilities for students and putting more of the world in their hands.

Nik Berkobien

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I am currently in my third year at SVSU, and I am double majoring in Biology and Psychology. I plan to continue my schooling at the graduate level and eventually pursue a career in neuroscience research. This field fascinates me, and I look forward to one day obtaining a more thorough understanding of how we function.

Even though neuroscience might seem a bit disconnected from the kind of work done in the Writing Center, writing is integral to the sciences, and I love being a tutor! I enjoy helping others articulate their thoughts and achieve both academic and personal success. Seeing a writer develop, achieve goals, and gain confidence is incredibly gratifying. I also love being a tutor in the Writing Center because I learn, gain, and develop just as much as the students who come in seeking feedback. As tutors, we get to discuss all sorts of interesting topics, ideas, and perspectives with students who are from diverse backgrounds, which is always refreshing. I look forward to learning something from every session!

Tony Betters

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I'm a senior with three semesters remaining at SVSU. I'm majoring in Creative Writing and History. I'm planning on pursuing a Masters in history and eventually a PHD once I graduate. As far as topics in history, I'm very fond of Asian and classical history and I'll talk your ear off about either subject.

I have a lot of favorite books, including Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Someday. I moved a lot growing up, and I think I would like to live in a number of different places in my life. High on the list is Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Japan. In the U.S. I'm fond of the Pacific Northwest. On rainy days I love staying in and I'll usually watch a good movie, play video games or read a good book. I just love how relaxed such days can be. My favorite color is green, and my favorite ice cream flavor is Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy.

I can't wait to start working in the Writing Center with all the wonderful people that I have heard such great things about. I have never had the opportunity to teach, and I look forward to getting my feet wet in this amazing environment!

Claire Chantiny

I am a fourth year student majoring in Nursing. I have a passion for helping people, which is part of the reason why I chose Nursing as my field. I am a member of the Student Nurses’ Association on campus as well as the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Once I graduate with my BSN, I would like to continue with my schooling and become a Nurse Practitioner.

I am from Lambertville, a small town in southern Michigan, about five minutes from Toledo, Ohio. It’s neat being able to have the perks of living in a small town, but still be able to visit the “big city” and have fun. One of my favorite things to do on a rainy day is curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch movies. My weakness is ice cream and my favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip.

I love my job as a Writing Center tutor! I love helping people with their school work and writing is one of my favorite topics. Being able to help a student understand what they are writing about is a great feeling.

Ellissa Cherven

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I am a fifth-year senior in the nursing program, and I am very excited to graduate in December! After graduation, I plan to move to Grand Rapids and work at a hospital there for a few years. After that, I hope to work in public health in an inner-city. I have a passion to bring healing and see broken things restored.

I am currently involved with His House Christian Fellowship. The people involved in the organization are like family, and I enjoy the ability to be genuine with them and to live life together, pursuing our passions. In my free time, I enjoy spending time outdoors, knitting, reading, and drinking tea. When I take time to rest, I enjoy playing games and watching movies with my boyfriend, friends, and family.

I love working at the Writing Center because it gives me the opportunity to help people, and get paid for it! How exciting is that?! I've found that writing helps me understand myself and the world around me in new ways. I want to help others see that writing isn't a chore; it’s a beautiful and meaningful way to communicate.

Kyle Currie

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Fall 2015 will mark my fifth year at SVSU and my third semester as a writing tutor. I am currently working on obtaining my degree in Secondary Education with a major in English and a P.E. minor.

I will read almost anything that is recommended to me, and my favorite book is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My favorite colors are maize and blue, and my favorite kind of ice cream is Moose Tracks.When I have nothing better to do, I prefer to binge on whatever series has my interest on Netflix. Whenever I get bored with the series I am watching, I usually take a break from it by watching as many episodes of The Office as I have time for. If I could choose one place to live, it would be Southern California, close to a beach.

I love motivating students and helping them build confidence in their writing. Not only am I looking forward to doing that as a teacher in the future, but I am lucky enough to give students the tools that they need to become better writers every day at the Writing Center!

Kaylee Davis

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I am a third year student here at SVSU, double majoring in Psychology and Creative Writing. I am part of Active Minds, an organization on campus that encourages students to speak openly and learn more about a variety of mental health issues. I am always searching for new opportunities to grow, and at SVSU, there are some around every corner.

It’s hard to pick my favorite book, but the Harry Potter series is always on my bookshelf no matter where I go. My favorite color is green, and the best ice cream flavor is, of course, Mackinac Island Fudge (but I won't say no to any flavor.) On rainy days, I like to read, write poetry, and watch Netflix. When it's not raining, I like canoeing, walking in the woods, and biking. I love living in Charlevoix (my hometown); however, I want to travel and experience new places.

I love working at the Writing Center! I enjoy helping students communicate their ideas better and learn to love writing. This journey has helped me to become more outgoing and connect to more people around campus, as well.

Cassidy Florey

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I'm a fourth year student majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. After graduating from SVSU, I plan on attending Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine to obtain my Doctor of Veterinary and PhD degrees. When I'm not in class or at the Writing Center, I work as a veterinary assistant at a private practice in Midland, where I get to cuddle with pooches and learn some science and medicine! I have a passion for all critters (even the creepy-crawlies), and I enjoy spending time with my guinea pigs, Nicky and Boomer.

I am currently beginning work on my thesis, which focuses on crayfish behavior. I am also a member of SVSU's Honors Program, and I have been fortunate enough to study abroad in Taiwan. In my free time, I like getting lost in Wikipedia, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and reading.

This is my third year as a Writing Center tutor, and my favorite part about tutoring is helping students grow more confident in their abilities. I love working with students on brainstorming and analyses, because helping students think critically allows them to see that they have great ideas!

Makenzie Frodle

As a Secondary Education student with a major in English and a minor in Biology, I am finishing up my fourth year at SVSU.I know a job in the field of education could push me out of Michigan, but I look forward to seeing where this career takes me!

At any given moment of the day, I can usually be heard singing—at the gym, at track practice, in the car, and of course at rehearsal with my a cappella group, Vocal Noise. When I’m not singing or at track practice, I love to spend my spare time with a good book. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but because I find everything about the Holocaust fascinating, I have to put Mark Zusak’s The Book Thief very close to the top of my list.

As a tutor in the Writing Center, I love to help people become more confident with the writing process so they can come to love and be proud of their skill as writers. As a future English teacher, I want to be able to help inspire confidence in my peers by giving them the tools they need to be able to express their ideas in writing. Working in the Writing Center gives me the chance to develop the skills that will put me on the path to becoming a teacher my students can trust and appreciate.

Wren Hayes

I am a senior majoring in Business, with a double minor in Sociology and Entrepreneurship. Eventually, I want to pursue a Master’s in Environmental Sustainability for Business. I work way too many jobs and enjoy spending my downtime with my dog or playing videogames.

My hope is to finish my degrees and then move to Oregon and open my own gamer-friendly, pop-culture centric coffee shop, featuring items like “A Game of Scones” bakery treats. When I’m ready to retire from the barista life, I plan on becoming a counselor and consultant for other business managers so they can learn how to be environmentally friendly. Besides gaming and eco-consciousness, I also love comic books—everything from my eternal favorite Calvin and Hobbes to Marvel's Deadpool and Cable. And, of course, I would not be the same person I am today without The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and A Song of Ice and Fire.

If I could stay in school forever and major in everything, I would! But as it is, I look forward to finishing my BBA in May 2016. I love working in the Writing Center and seeing life from hundreds of different perspectives every year. Come on in and see me—I look forward to working with you!

Sara Houser

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I am senior at SVSU, but I still have a long way to go as I am double majoring in Elementary Education and English Language Arts. I will be applying to the College of Education in the Fall of 2015 and will hopefully (I have my fingers crossed) be graduating in the Fall of 2017.

I love to read, although I could never single out a book as my favorite. My most recent favorites include Mark Zusak’s The Book Thief and Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke. I am working on finishing The Maze Runner, so that I can watch the movie after I read the book! I love writing, and I was even lucky enough to spend a week helping out at the Cardinal Creative Writing Camp this past summer. I also spend time tutoring local children in reading and writing.

In my free time—if such a thing really exists—I enjoy going on camping trips, kayaking, hosting bonfires, and taking road trips all over the state. I have lived in Saginaw my whole life, but someday I would love to travel outside of the United States and explore cultures that are vastly different from my own.

I am always so excited to tell people about my work at the Writing Center because I believe we really do make a difference in the lives of the students with whom we work. I have spent the past year helping students with their writing, while also improving my own writing and honing my teaching skills, and I look forward to the years to come. It never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn from the students with whom I work and how many opportunities to learn and grow exist on our campus. I like to think that I am lucky to have the chance to work with so many wonderful people and to help the students on our campus to be the best writers they can be.

Chad Koch

I am a fourth-year student at SVSU, majoring in Secondary Education with content areas in English and History. I am from Sebewaing, MI; for those of you who don't know (probably everyone), it is on the east side of the Thumb. As a tutor at the Writing Center, I enjoy helping students get their thoughts down on paper. I have found that simply talking through an idea with a student can help them to focus their thoughts.

I enjoy reading both YA fiction as well as classic novels. My favorite books are The Count of Monte Cristo and the Harry Potter series. My ideal rainy day would involve some leisurely reading, playing a board game or two, and watching a couple of TV episodes on Netflix (currently The Office or Psych). My dream retirement home would be a cottage within driving distance of Lake Michigan.

Madison Martin

Hello, all, I am Madison Martin, a third-year student at SVSU. I am hoping to complete a dual major in Theatre and English, and a minor in Creative Writing. What I'm going to do with these studies, I couldn't tell you. In addition to tutoring, I also work in the Office of Student Life where I coordinate events and book rooms for organizations on campus.

My favorite flavor of ice cream, if I had to choose, would be strawberry, or vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. I love theatre; it is a huge passion of mine, and I’ve been involved in plays since I was in fifth grade. As such, I would really like to live somewhere like New York, Chicago, or London, where there's a vibrant theater community—and night life. I’m also a very crafty person. Whether it’s making my own (awesome) cards, making jewelry, or creating characters out of clay, I love it all. On rainy days, I like to sit down with a book, or watch Netflix (currently binge-watching Supernatural). I am a night owl, do most of my best work at night, and definitely don't like getting up in the mornings.

At the Writing Center I enjoy helping students understand writing and come to love it as much as I do. It's a great way to express yourself, as it's literally your thoughts in words. I like that tutoring allows me to help students develop their written voices, and think of writing less as an obligation, and more as a fun exercise in expression.

Riley Millard

I am a fourth year student at SVSU. I began my college journey as a History major, but soon after my first semester I discovered a love for Political Science, since I find the structure of society and all the connections we encounter very interesting. Someday soon I hope to enter into the National Park Service as an Interpretive Ranger, thus being able to still use my interest in history. To me, writing is something more than just putting pen to paper. I see it as a way to express things that sometimes can’t be expressed while speaking. I use my time at the Writing Center to help others discover this truth. I believe that no one should be afraid of writing.

I grew up an Air Force brat, but have since lived in Tawas City for the majority of my life. It was there that I found my love for sailing and the outdoors. I am the Assistant Harbor Master at a marina in town and dread the day I have to leave. Apart of being outside all day, I love working with the people; I have always tried to be approachable and congenial towards others. I look forward to working with everyone who comes into the Writing Center!

Kimberley Owen

I’m a senior at SVSU, studying Creative Writing and Theatre. My goal after graduation is to continue to refine my skills as a writer, someday breaking into television and film. I may even crank out a book one of these days.

Most of my time is spent writing, watching films, or reading. I love African American literature. Some of my favorite books are Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin, and Kindred by Octavia Butler. It is a goal of mine to transition more African American literature into film. As a Writing Center tutor, I enjoy assisting others in their growth as writers and that this work also provides me the opportunity to grow as a writer. I believe that everyone is a teacher, and although writing is a strength of mine, I am always eager to learn more about it from others.

Allyson Poag

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I am a fourth year Medical Laboratory Sciences major from Chesaning, Michigan. I have been working at the Writing Center for over three years. My scientific mind makes me a very detail-oriented tutor, one who especially enjoys analysis essays and lab reports. I have loved writing since I was a kid, and I look forward to discussing writing with others at the Writing Center.

My parents own a farm outside of Chesaning, and when I’m not helping them out on the farm, I’m probably watching a movie (especially ones involving superheroes), talking to my plants, or maybe playing tennis. I also work at American Eagle and tutor a local high school student.

Cameron Pratt

I am a third-year Accounting major, and as of fall 2015, I will be happily starting my second semester as a tutor at the Writing Center. I am currently the Vice President of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council within the College of Business and Management and will soon become a mentor within the Honors College as well. I will also begin my third season as a trombone player in the Cardinal Marching Band this fall.

Some activities I enjoy include playing Magic: The Gathering, running, exploring new music, and spending time with my friends.

My favorite meal includes any dish that contains rice, my favorite color is blue, my favorite author (subject to change) is Mark Twain, and my ideal vacation activity would be exploring a foreign city with friends.

Jenni Putz

I am a third-year student and an Applied Mathematics and Economics double major. I am also a member of the Honors Program and the Dungeons and Dragons Club. After I graduate, I hope to go to graduate school to be an economics professor.

I am from Lapeer, MI, about an hour south of Saginaw. My favorite color is orange. I enjoy moose tracks and birthday cake ice cream, and I honestly can't choose between the two. I am an avid gamer, playing anything and everything, ranging from PC, to console, to handheld games. My favorite author is George R.R. Martin because I absolutely love the Game of Thrones books—definitely worth the read! The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books are also on my list of favorites. I love working at the Writing Center because it is such a wonderful place where students and tutors share ideas and teach each other new things.

Allison Sterken

I’m a junior double-majoring in Rhetoric and Professional Writing and Creative Writing. After I graduate, I hope to get a job as an editor and/or book designer.

I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter, comic books (especially Marvel superheroes), and anime. My dream job is to become a comic book writer. I spend much of my spare time writing and re-watching my favorite episodes of Psych, and confess to enjoying terrible music and movies. Writing is my lifelong passion, and I love being able to help people enjoy it as much as I do. I’m very excited about working in the Writing Center and being able to show people just how much they can do with writing.

Kylie Wojciechowski

Hi, Cardinals! My name is Kylie Wojciechowski and I'm beginning my senior year at Saginaw Valley. I'm studying technical writing, philosophy, and computer information systems. I serve as editor-in-chief of The Valley Vanguard and am involved with Active Minds, TEDxSVSU, and Campus Cursive. I'm a member of the Leopold J. Kantzler Fellowship and the 16th class of the Donna J. Roberts Fellowship. I don't really know what else to say about myself. Come to the Writing Center and let's work on your writing.

Catherine Yankley

I am a fourth-year student pursuing a major in International Business with a minor in Creative Writing. I hope to connect my passion for writing with my love for traveling. I grew up in Fenton, Michigan, so seeing more of the world has always been of interest to me.

During the summer of 2014, I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, and also had the opportunity to visit four other European nations. I learned a lot about myself while traveling, and I have gained so much confidence since this adventure. This experience has made my “travel bug” expand, resulting in another study abroad trip to Vaxjo, Sweden, during the winter of 2016.

Traveling has made me appreciate writing even more because we tend to take both for granted. I love helping all students during the writing process, but my perspective for tutoring ESL has changed. Culture and writing are very connected, and I feel that my appreciation for both of these things have made me a better tutor.

Centered: Writing Center Tutors Reflect

Centered: Writing Center Tutors Reflect

Centered: Writing Center Tutors Reflect (24,495kB), a collection of stories from SVSU Writing Center tutors about their work.