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 Coordinator

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.

Alison Barger

I'm a second year student here at SVSU, majoring in Literature and minoring in Spanish; I am also pursuing a TESOL Certificate (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  I love teaching and traveling, and would love to someday teach English to speakers of other languages outside of the United States. 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 am thrilled to be given this opportunity 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.

I currently live in Frankenmuth, and work at the Frankenmuth Wickson District Library. 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.

Rachael Blaylock

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I'm a senior here at SVSU and am an Art major with a Graphic Design and Creative Writing double minor. I'm from a big family and love it when we are all home talking and laughing over one another in our living room while enjoying some of my mom's home cooked food. My two passions are art and the written word: I'm constantly writing down scraps of poetry or floral doodles onto anything I can find, including my jeans. I became a mentor because of my love of writing and because I wanted to help others see how awesome writing can be!

When my younger sister applied for SVSU and had to write several essays as well as finish a fifty plus page senior literature thesis, I got a little taste of a real mentoring experience. It was so much fun watching as she gained the confidence to eventually write without any of my help. I think that experience was what really got me excited about becoming a Writing Center mentor. I realized that this job could give me those same kind of opportunities to show someone else my passion for the written word. I have always loved to write but now, I also love helping others realize that their ideas are valid and feel empowered to communicate clearly through writing.

Claire Chantiny

I am a second 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 and I am really excited to get more involved in this organization. Once I graduate with my BSN, I would like to continue on 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 go to the “big city” and have fun. One of my favorite things to do on a rainy day, if I don’t decide to nap, 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 am so excited to be a Writing Center tutor! As I mentioned before, I love helping people with their school work and writing is one of my favorite topics. Being able to help a student finally understand what they are writing about is a great feeling. 

Ellissa Cherven

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I am a junior here at SVSU. I just started the nursing program, and I have completed a minor in sociology. After I am done with school, I hope to work in a free clinic or homeless shelter as a nurse. I have a passion for the less-fortunate and for the hurting people around me. 

I am currently involved with His House Christian Fellowship. The people there are like family, and I enjoy the ability to be genuine with people and to live life together, pursuing our passions. In my free time, I love to take nature walks and photograph the beauty I see around me. I also enjoy knitting, reading, and drinking tea. On the miraculous days when I don’t have homework, I love to snuggle up in comfy clothes, drink a cup of coffee, and make crafts, read, or watch a movie. 

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.

Hillary Degner

I'm a fifth year college student, with this being my third year here at SVSU. I'm majoring in Professional and Technical Writing with minors in English and Psychology. I've enjoyed becoming more involved in the SVSU community and I am currently a writer for The Valley Vanguard. I also had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Ireland last spring.

In my free time, I love to read (my favorite book of all time is The Secret Garden) and do anything crafty such as scrapbooking and making jewelry. I also enjoy doing yoga and Pilates.

I look forward to each of my shifts at the Writing Center, because I enjoy helping other students feel more confident about their writing. Writing for my high school newspaper helped me learn valuable skills and meet others who helped me gain confidence in my writing abilities, and I’d like to foster that confidence in others.

Cassidy Florey

I'm a second year student majoring in Biology, although I'm thinking about changing that to Health Science with a Gender Studies minor. Eventually, I want to work in sexual health, bringing resources and knowledge to those who generally go unnoticed by the healthcare system (specifically transgender and other at-risk individuals).

My favorite television show is The Office, although my current obsession is Breaking Bad. I like to take naps, and I can only make food that is microwavable. I love, love, love critters of all sorts, and I want to have a pit bull, a German Shepherd, and a kitty cat. This summer I studied abroad for five weeks in Taiwan, and this Christmas I'll be spending two weeks in Singapore! I know a little bit of Chinese, and my fingers are crossed that SVSU will add a minor for it! 

I'm a very curious individual, and I really enjoy learning about anything and everything. I'm so looking forward to working at the WC; I know it'll be a great experience, and, hopefully, I'll learn some more about myself along the way.

Wren Hayes

I am currently a junior majoring in Business, with a (recently decided) minor in Sociology. I love to talk about culture and society and discover why things are the way they are!

My hope is to eventually move to the West Coast, possibly the Seattle area, and open my own gamer-friendly coffee shop—I'm an avid gamer.  When I'm not playing videogames, I'm usually blogging online or trying to catch a wink of sleep in between 16 credits and 3 jobs. During the summer, I make up for my lost time by swinging in the hammock on sunny days with a good book in my hands and a dog or two in my lap. I love comic books—everything from the 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 and The Hobbit.

I'm excited to be here at SVSU and to work in the Writing Center. I look forward to working with all of you!

Samantha Jackson

I’m a third-year student studying Political Science, History, and Communication. I’m the Global Resident Assistant on-campus and a passionate member of the Moot Court program, Forensics Team, and the Saginaw Valley Student Pantry organization. Though I appreciate the close-knit community atmosphere of my small, rural hometown, Memphis, MI, I love living in Saginaw and being part of a comparatively large and exciting community that is constantly bustling with opportunities and adventures.

I like challenging myself to step outside of my personal comfort zone, whether that be sleeping outside in a snow igloo in the middle of February, being a first-generation college student, or applying to become a mentor at the Writing Center. I’m delighted to be a Writing Center mentor and can't wait to help produce those amazing "ahh!" moments in my peers: that moment when that cartoon light bulb suddenly glows.

Chad Koch

I am currently a second year student at SVSU. I am from Sebewaing, MI, which for those of who don't know its location (probably everyone), it is in the thumb on the Saginaw Bay. My major is Secondary Education, with an English major and a History minor. As a tutor in the Writing Center, I am looking forward to helping other students figuring out how to get their thoughts on paper. Sometimes, just talking through an idea with another person can really help you figure out what it is you are trying to say.


I enjoy reading YA fiction, though more recently I have been reading a lot of classics. My favorite books are probably The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and the Harry Potter series. My favorite ice cream is sea side caramel, which is made by Hudsonville. My ideal rainy day would involve some leisurely reading and watching some Netflix, currently Alias or Psych. My dream place to live would be on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica within driving distance of the local beaches.

Riley Millard

I am a second year student here at SVSU. I began my journey as a History major, but have recently discovered a love for Political Science and Sociology, since I find the structure of society and all the connections we encounter very interesting. Writing is something more than just putting pen to paper to me. I see it as a way to express things that sometimes can’t be expressed by words. I hope to 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 in the Air Force, but lived in Tawas City for the majority of my life. It was here that I found my love for sailing and the outdoors. I work at a local 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!

Allyson Poag

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I am a third year Nursing student, which means I am crazy busy and loving every minute of it. In my few moments of spare time, I enjoy playing tennis, watching movies, blogging, and hanging out with friends and family. I want to be a nurse because I love helping people. This love for helping people, as well as my love for reading and writing, is what drew me to the Writing Center.

I went to a tiny high school, in rural Chesaning. My peers often asked me to help them with their work. They would say 'just fix the grammar, don't worry about the other stuff.' I have a pretty good eye for grammar mistakes, but I wanted to help people with the organization, word choice, and thought process behind the writers' paper. When I first heard of the Writing Center here at SVSU, I immediately knew that I wanted to one day be a tutor here. I love writing, and I love helping people. The Writing Center is where those two loves come together.

Jenni Putz

I am currently a freshman and an applied Mathematics major with minors in Economics and Computer Science. I am from Lapeer, MI, about an hour south of Saginaw. I am excited be a Writing Center tutor, since I love to help other students with their writing and make new friends!

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. I am passionate about running and it's something that I always do to clear my head. I have a love for music and I have played the drums for almost 8 years now. On campus, I belong to two organizations: The Dungeons and Dragons Club and The Optimism Club. My favorite TV show is How I Met Your Mother. My favorite author is George R.R. Martin because I absolutely love the Game of Throne books—definitely worth the read! The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books are also on my list of favorites.

I am excited to be a tutor, since I love to help other students with their writing and make new friends! 

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.

Rachel Stocki

I'm a junior here at SVSU, double-majoring in Political Science and Business. For the time being, I'm working on figuring out where exactly those paths are going to lead. I love being at SVSU because of the opportunities the university has provided me. I'm currently one of the campus section editors for The Valley Vanguard and a member of the Moot Court program, which are the activities I'm most proud of. I'm looking forward to gaining even more new experiences at the Writing Center!

My reading tastes range from fantasy to political commentary to guilty-pleasure young adult romance, but I will read anything and everything having to do with war and its effects. My favorite movie is Fly Away Home, a gorgeous coming-of-age film from the mid-90's. The way to my heart is through instrumental music, but I'm slowly expanding my musical taste. My favorite color is gray—it's calming and goes with everything—and as for ice cream, I'll pretty much always pick chocolate.

I wanted to work in the Writing Center because I love to write and I love to read. I figured joining those two tastes to help others figure out their thought processes and get words down on paper would be a fantastic combination!

Miranda Strasburg

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I am a second year student here at SVSU. I graduated from Mayville High School, so I guess you could say I'm a country girl. I am very friendly and outgoing, and I enjoying talking to almost anyone. I am a Biology major, and a Spanish and Chemistry minor. After I graduate from SVSU, I plan to go to MSU for veterinary school. I love and always have loved animals. If I could have one of every animal in the world on a farm right now, I would, bugs and all.

Here at SVSU, I am a Foundation Scholar, member of NRHH, President of Alpha Mu Gamma, and a participant in the amazing Alternative Breaks Program. I love meeting new people and staying busy. For the past two semesters, I have worked as an English 080 Tutor at the Writing Center, and I have loved every minute of it. I am exited to further my tutoring with a wider range of students in different subjects.

I feel like many students need to feel like they can do it, not that they are in need of special attention. Another reason I tutor is because of the tutoring I have received in the writing center. It is so nice to be able to ask questions and get help with areas that you need help with. I hope that as a tutor that I can help students as much as students have helped me.

Maria Vos

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I am third year student at SVSU, and I am very proud to be a Cardinal! I am studying Secondary Education with a major in English and a minor in History. I am also a Foundation Scholar and had a wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Rome with Professor James Sullivan. Studying abroad was one of the best experiences of my life, and I caught a horrible travel bug! I plan to keep traveling to anywhere and everywhere throughout my life.

I am also a member of the Kantzler Fellowship at SVSU. So far, my group members and I have taken courses in leadership, raised money for a local grief camp for children, and volunteered as “buddies” at the grief camp. We are currently working closely with the Bay County Gardening Club and other members of the community to start beautification projects in Bay City. It is difficult but exciting work!

I was raised in Bay City, and I am still living there today. Though I love to travel, there is certainly “no place like home.” I love spending time with family, especially my little sister who shares my passion for reading and theater. I also love food, talking, Bravo TV, and quoting movies.

Kylie Wojciechowski

I'm a sophomore here at SVSU. My major is Rhetoric and Professional Writing with minors in Philosophy and Psychology. I'm not sure what kind of career that those areas of study will lend themselves to, but I have time to figure it out.

My life revolves, rather simply, around my dog, my circle of friends and family, my work and academics, and the general pursuit of knowledge-based enlightenment. I'm involved in the Kantzler Fellowship, the National Society for Leadership and Success, Living Through Literacy, Cardinals Creativity Camp, The Valley Vanguard, and, outside of campus, HASTAC. I'm never not exhausted at the end of the day, but my labors are of love, especially my work at the Writing Center. Really, besides my coworkers here, I don't think there's any other nineteen-year-old who can honestly say that she loves her job, but I can. 

There is no other place, on- or off-campus, where I can sit down with students from all different concentrations and cultural backgrounds and just spitball ideas about one of my favorite things in the world: writing. I don't mean to sound cheesy - but I really do love working with students and helping them connect and organize their ideas. So come visit us; let's talk!

Catherine Yankley

I am a sophomore here at SVSU, currently majoring in Psychology and minoring in Entrepreneurship.  With this degree, I hope to earn at least a Masters and become a therapist for families and/or married couples. I am part of Cardinal Business Edge and hope to become more involved in the future!

I love The Office, It's Always Sunny in Philadephia, and The League (because I am close with my brother, we watch these shows together). I also play a lot of golf, love photography, and traveling. I have been to Germany, and within the upcoming year, I plan on studying abroad in France, visiting Ecuador, and going on a spring break trip to Ghana in order to obtain business credits. 

If I could describe myself in three words, I would say I am creative, personable, and thoughtful. I am so excited to be a new tutor at the Writing Center!