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.

Josh Atkins

Josh Atkins 2

I'm a sophomore here at SVSU and currently pursuing a degree in English. I've decided to minor in creative writing over history, but I could easily see myself minoring or majoring in both areas. I grew up in Richville, 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 far past bedtime to reread them throughout grade school. My favorite ice cream flavor has always been blue moon, but superman takes a close second. I'm a huge Star Wars nerd and could probably fill an afternoon reciting what I know about the fictional universe. My dream home would probably be somewhere in the United Kingdom, but I could definitely live with a house on the west coast of the U.S.  And finally, I have no preference on color, although I will say that black is slimming. So there's that.
I look forward to using my skills with writing to help those who feel they need it. I'm sure to learn a lot at the Writing Center and hope that the specific skillset I'll develop here will be carried with me throughout both my academic and professional careers.

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.

Tony Betters

Anthony Betters 2

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!

Nik Berkobien

Nik Berkobien 2

I am a second year here at the university. I am currently majoring in Psychology and hold a minor in Sociology, but I am more than willing to say that this is all subject to change I am a lifelong Saginaw native; I attended Heritage High School, and I live only ten miles away from campus.
It seems that whenever I read a new and interesting book, it becomes my favorite, for the time being at least, so it is hard to pick a favorite. (This is also the case with many of the courses I take here at the university, which makes it extremely difficult to commit to any discipline because I am so interested in many different fields.)  Given the choice, I always choose plain chocolate ice cream. If I could live anywhere, I would choose somewhere in California at this point, preferably San Diego.
I am looking forward to working here at the Writing Center for a number of reasons. First, I am excited to have a truly gratifying job that will allow me to help others accurately articulate their thoughts and achieve academic success. Second, I want to develop my own writing skills, which I think will be possible through assisting others. Third, I wish to further my professional development and enhance my communication skills. I look forward to it all!

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

Ellissa Cherven Image for Writing Center

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.

Kyle Currie

Kyle Currie 2

I am a fourth year student at Saginaw Valley.  I am an English major with a Physical Education minor, and I will be applying for the College of Education this coming winter semester, which I could not be more excited about.
I will read almost anything that is recommended to me, but when it comes to choosing a favorite, I am still very fond of The Chronicles of Narnia. My favorite color is blue (GO BLUE), and my favorite kind of ice cream is Moose Tracks.  Usually my rainy days are filled with homework, but if I had no other responsibilities, I would probably watch as much of The Office as I possibly could.   If I could choose one place to live, and money was not an issue, it would be a beach on my own private island. I know that this is a pipe dream on a teacher's salary, but there is nothing wrong with dreaming, right?
I am looking forward to bettering myself towards my future teaching career while I am employed at the Writing Center, and I couldn't be more excited to get to know everyone and make some great new friends!

Kaylee Davis

Kaylee Davis 2

I am a second 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, 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 a rainy day I like to read, write poetry, and watch Netflix (currently Doctor Who). When it's not raining, I like canoeing and walking in the woods. I love living in Charlevoix (my hometown) however I want to travel and experience new places.
I'm extremely excited to work at the Writing Center! I want to help students communicate their ideas better and learn to love writing. I can't wait to begin this new journey and meet new people.

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.

Makenzie Frodle

As a Secondary Education 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 since 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 am looking forward to the opportunity to help people learn how to love and be comfortable with their writing. 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, and working in the Writing Center is giving 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 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!

Sara Houser

Sara Houser 2

I am a junior. Although I spent my first year of college at GVSU (which I know makes me the biggest traitor in the world), but I have officially made SVSU my home over the past year and a half. I am double majoring in Elementary Education and Language Arts.
I could never pick a favorite book. Each new work I am introduced to seems to have something that appeals to me and makes it a contender for the top spot on my list. Currently, I would have to say that one of my favorite books is Mark Zusak’s The Book Thief. My favorite color has always been green. My favorite ice cream would probably have to be superman, or maybe butter pecan. On nice days, I enjoy going on hikes, kayaking, having bonfires, and taking road trips around the state. I have lived in Saginaw all of my life, but if given the chance I would like to travel outside of Michigan.
My excitement over working at the Writing Center is two-fold. First, I am excited because a tutoring position is a step in the direction of my overall career goals as I am working towards a job in which I would be teaching students every day. Secondly, and perhaps more important than simply being close to my intended career field, I look forward to working at the Writing Center as it is a chance for me to help others with their writing and to improve as a writer myself.

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.

Madison Martin

I am a second year student here at SVSU, hoping to complete a dual major in Theatre and English, and a minor in Creative Writing.  I also work as the Student Leadership Coordinator over at the Student Life office.

My favorite flavor of ice cream, if I had to choose, would be strawberry, or vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. I love all things theatre, especially musicals, and am hoping to someday (fingers crossed) make a living doing it. I would really like to live somewhere like New York, Chicago, or London, where there's a lot of activity and night life. On rainy days, I like to sit down with a book, or watch Netflix (I am currently binge-watching Psych). I am a night owl, and I do most of my best work at night—I definitely don't like getting up in the mornings.

Here at the Writing Center, I'm really hoping to help students understand writing and come to love it as much as I do. I hope I can help students develop their own voices in their papers, and think of writing less as an obligation, but as a fun exercise in self-expression.

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!

Kimberley Owen

I have an Associates of Arts degree from Delta College, and I am studying Creative Writing here at SVSU, with a minor in Theatre. I was born and raised in Saginaw, MI, and I wouldn’t mind staying here if the city were to become more film friendly, since I aspire to be a screenwriter.

I write avidly, and on rainy days I can be found doing just that. If I am not writing, then I am usually 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. Although I write my own projects, it is a goal of mine to transition more African American literature into film.

As a Writing Center tutor, I am looking forward to assisting others in their growth as writers. I also look forward to the opportunity to grow as a writer myself. I believe that everyone is a teacher, and although we have different strengths, I know there is always room to grow. As I tutor, I look forward to what other students can teach me.

Allyson Poag


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.

Cameron Pratt

I am a second-year Accounting Major from Howell, MI. The color which has captivated me the most for nearly two decades is blue. Currently, my two favorite novels are The Mysterious Stranger by Twain and Requiem for a Dream by Selby Jr. On a rainy day when all my work is complete, if I am not watching the rain, I am often found playing PC games until the rain stops. In a perfect world, I would choose to live in Spain near the coast of the Balearic Sea with all of my friends close by.

What I am most looking forward to as I begin working at the Writing Center is strengthening the voices of students here on campus by assisting them in their writing. I see writing as one of the most important forms of communication and, by working as a tutor, I have the opportunity to improve communication and enrich the lives around me.

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.

Miranda Strasburg


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


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! 

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.