Writing Center Staff

The Writing Center's professional staff is here to support you both in specific projects and in your development over time. We have specialists in public speaking, STEM, multilingual writing, and creative writing. But fundamentally, we are generalists. We are all are ready to support and collaborate with you in any field, at any point in the process, during any phase of your development. This page provides information to help you choose an associate to work with. But the best way to find out about us, as a center and as individuals, is to come on in and meet us. We look forward to getting to know you!


Jessica F. Kem

Jessica F. Kem

Director of the Writing Center

As director, Jessica coordinates the programs and operations of the Writing Center. She also consults with students on writing and reading, teaches workshops on writing and research processes, and supports faculty writing pedagogy. She contributes to campus-wide efforts to cultivate justice and equity in teaching, learning, and collaboration. 

Jessica has been holding one-on-one consultations with 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播students since 2008.  She understands writing can be a messy creative process, and also that deadlines are real. In sessions with students, she seeks to strike a balance between exploration, digressions, and rabbit holes on the one hand, and practical strategies for organizing time and ideas so writers know their next steps at the end of a session. She also enjoys supporting students in writing concisely; visual design (of documents, research posters, and slides); blending research and original insights in writing; and citation and formatting. She has master鈥檚 degrees in English and Library Science and loves to make things by hand. Pronouns: she/her. .

Roy H. Andrews

Roy H. Andrews

Writing Associate

Roy received his B.A. from 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播 in English and Economics and earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia. He has been working in writing centers for over thirty years, including more than ten at 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播.  In college, Roy played three varsity sports, and sometimes while doing writing consultations with athletes he shares ways that the act of writing might correlate with practicing a sport. Roy supports students in both academic and creative writing. Roy is known for his gentle humor and kindness. He particularly enjoys helping students fulfill their professors鈥 requests while also putting forth their own voices.   Pronouns: he/him.

Wesley A. Blixt

Wesley A. Blixt

Writing Associate

A longtime news reporter, investigative journalist, and teacher of journalism, Wesley earned an MFA in Fiction at UMass Amherst, and continues to take joy in the sense of discovery that comes with all kinds of writing, including creative non-fiction and more academic genres. Wesley is a member of the faculty of the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College, where he wrote extensively about his experience teaching writing in the prison system. In writing consultations, Wesley aims to build students' confidence and pride in authorship; he is committed to fostering writers' unique voices and their enthusiasm for and engagement in their own work. Pronouns: he/him

Kristen Brookes

Kristen Brookes

Associate Director of the Writing Center

Kristen is a teacher, writer, and improviser who holds a PhD in Literature. Her scholarly interests include race, gender, sexuality, and colonization, and she has supported 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播 writers in all fields for 15 years. Kristen particularly enjoys both sharing strategies for reading and鈥攁s a mostly-reformed anxious writer鈥攈elping students reduce procrastination and writing anxiety. Kristen reads in both English and Spanish. 

As an associate director, Kristen helps lead the department in professional development. She also develops pedagogical materials and supports faculty in the teaching of writing and reading.  Pronouns: she/her. .

Susan G. Daniels

Susan G. Daniels

Associate in Public Speaking

Susan has more than 30 years鈥 experience as a professor, professional actor and public speaking coach.  In her role at Amherst, she works with students, faculty and staff  to become more relaxed, focused and engaged speakers. Her enthusiastic, empathetic and affirming style supports speakers as they plan, revise or rehearse a presentation.  Through in-class workshops, individual appointments, and trainings for speaking events, Susan helps build skills, encourages practice, and celebrates the power of public speaking at 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播. Pronouns: she/her.

Emily T. Merriman

Emily T. Merriman

Associate Director of the Writing Center

Emily, an associate director of the Writing Center,  has been a teacher of writing for over thirty years. She has an academic background in English, French, education, creative writing, multilingual writing, religion, and literature.  Emily offers in-class writing workshops and supports faculty as teachers of writing. She particularly values her engagement with the linguistic diversity on the 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播 campus. Aiming to make sessions relaxed, warm, enjoyable, and productive, Emily encourages a keen focus on the relationship between thinking and writing.  Pronouns: she/her.  

Ethan C. Myers

Ethan C. Myers

Associate in Science Communication

Ethan Myers, associate in science communication, works with all students in any stage in the writing process, and is especially interested in supporting writers in STEM fields. With over 20 years of experience teaching in college and high school classrooms, Ethan has academic backgrounds in Environmental Studies, Geology, American Studies, and English. With a special fondness for brainstorming, he is likely to bring out notecards, sticky notes, and whiteboards during an appointment. Ethan hopes for writers to take ownership of their compositions so that they may use writing as a site for exploration, discovery, and knowledge production. In addition to holding individual consultations, Ethan facilitates writing workshops and frequently consults with faculty on writing activities and assignments. When he's not in the Writing Center, you can find Ethan hiking the woodlands of Western Massachusetts. Pronouns: he/him.

Jade Y. Onn

Jade is a Composition and Rhetoric PhD student and College Writing instructor. She enjoys learning from various fields through her students' unique perspectives while helping them develop transferable critical reading and writing skills, and she is always excited to share new digital literacy tips and tricks. She can converse with students in Mandarin Chinese in addition to English. Pronouns: she/her.

Lydia Peterson

Lydia Peterson

Writing Associate

Lydia has advanced degrees in English and Education and over 25 years of experience as an editor, advisor and teacher at the college and high school levels. She greatly values the multiplicities within languages and endeavors to support students as they work within and outside of writing conventions. She especially welcomes international students and multilingual learners and their capacities to bring a wide range of linguistic proficiencies into their writing. Lydia enjoys sharing reading strategies and is always happy to share a laugh.  Pronouns: she/her.

Levi Pulford

Levi Pulford

Writing Associate

Frost Library Room 210

In addition to his work at 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播, Levi is a lecturer of junior-year writing in the Manning College of Information & Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst. He recently earned his MFA in creative writing from UMass Amherst, while teaching courses in the UMass Writing Program and English Department, and at University Without Walls. As a writing associate and instructor, Levi acknowledges that students already know how to write and that they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their sessions. He strives to help students use writing to learn, often thinking of sentences as stories in and of themselves.  Pronouns: he/they.

Chandler Steckbeck

Supporting all students as they progress towards their writing goals drives Chandler's work in the Writing Center.  As a neurodivergent person, they are especially aware of how difficult it can be to "just write"; as a result, Chandler works to create an open and supportive environment for all writers to explore and find their own strengths. Consultations with Chandler are likely to involve discussions of what does and doesn鈥檛 work for you as a writer, so that we can tailor strategies to your individual process. Chandler has a bachelor鈥檚 and a master鈥檚 in English and is currently working on their PhD in early modern drama. When they aren't reading for their dissertation (or for fun), you can usually find Chandler experimenting in the kitchen. Pronouns: she/they

Thakshala Tissera

Thakshala Tissera

Writing Associate

Frost Library Room 210

Thakshala Tissera is a PhD candidate at UMass Amherst. She has taught courses in writing, literature, and the environmental humanities. As a Writing Associate she enjoys working collaboratively with students on both crafting specific texts as well developing reading and writing skills. Thakshala is competent in English, Sinhalese, and French and stumbles her way through German and Tamil when compelled to do so. She received her MA in English from UMass 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播and her BA from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Pronouns: she/her

Franchesca Viaud

Franchesca Viaud

Writing Associate

Frost Library Room 210

Franchie holds a BA in English literature from Boston University and recently earned her MFA in creative writing from UMass Amherst, where she also teaches critical and creative writing. In addition to her work 澳门六合彩开奖现场直播 and UMass, she鈥檚 an editorial assistant at Guernica Magazine and an assistant editor at The Massachusetts Review. As a writing associate, Franchesca is particularly interested in helping first-time writers expand their perception of what it means to be a "good" writer. She is more than willing to meet you where you are and to tailor each consultation to meet your specific academic needs. Pronouns: she/her.