Tutor Bios

LAS concentrator

RISD Writing Center tutors are your peers—graduate and undergraduate students with both strong writing skills and an ability to read closely, listen carefully, and question effectively. We all participate in ongoing tutor education, including research, discussion, and reflection on writing center practice. Together, we are a community of writers who encourage meaningful expression and appreciate its importance in the context of art and design.

The statements below list some of our specialties and particular interests, but all peer tutors work with all kinds of RISD writers (strong, struggling, and in between), all kinds of writing (academic, professional, personal), and at all stages of the writing process (from brainstorming to drafting to revision). We all work with writing and public speaking, and some of us (all Graphic Design students) also with visual communication (as noted below next to the tutors’ names).

jenJen Liese


Before I became the director of the Writing Center, I was an editor at Artforum and Cabinet magazines, wrote about modern and contemporary art, worked at MoMA, and directed a contemporary art gallery. I recently edited an anthology of contemporary artists’ writings called Social Medium: Artists Writing, 2000–2015) (Paper Monument, 2016). At RISD, I’ve brought my experience in spaces where art meets its publics to teaching courses on graduate thesis writing, professional practices, and writing for publications. My goal in working with RISD writers is to inspire and inform a sense of how writing clarifies ideas for oneself, helps articulate meaning to others, and empowers artists and designers to engage with the world.

meredithMeredith Barrett
Assistant Director

Over my ten-or-so years of writing center experience, my passion and enthusiasm for these sites of empowering collaboration have only grown. I approach tutoring with curiosity and appreciation for others’ experiences and expertise while sharing what I’ve learned from my background in literary analysis, creative writing, and the research process. I most enjoy engaging with students in the early stages of process planning and ideation.

peter1Peter Carney
ELL/EAP Specialist

As a lifelong traveler, writer, and ESL teacher—in the US and abroad—my particular fascination with writing is the interplay between words and music. Like music, language has rhythm, inflection, tone, color, flow, themes and variations, punctuation, and … pauses. My goal is to help the student writer bring out the musicality in their writing through such simple devices as inserting transitions and inverting syntax to help one sentence flow to the next. With both language and music, the “how” of expressing an idea or thought is often as important as the “what.”

anneAnne West
Graduate Liaison

I am a faculty member in Graduate Studies and author of Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work: An Explorative Guide to Making, Thinking, and Writing. I support students across disciplines in conceptualizing and writing their Master’s thesis. As faculty mentor in the Writing Center, I use a process of appreciative inquiry to inspire critical reflection and positive creative direction for the thesis. I’ll draw out, clarify, and nurture the root of your work, at the same time as help you build and locate ideas, develop a voice, and give meaningful form to the thesis document. Students refer to these sessions as “an eye in the thesis storm.”

josephJoseph Allegro (GD undergrad, LAS concentrator; also tutors visual communication)

Analysis and the communication of ideas are great loves of mine as an artist. It is this very “RISD love” that has brought me to the Writing Center, where I am excited to collaborate just as I do daily in studio and critique. My strong suits are in structuring and analysis, and I most enjoy writing that is creative and/or analytical. I’m ready and willing to work through anything with you!

MJ Esquivel (Illustration undergrad)

Growing up, books were my ticket for adventure; friends and mentors, they provided me a means of experiencing the world that allowed for introspection as well as intrapersonal understanding. As a writing tutor, I’m interested in how words, as vehicles of human connection, can be combined, explored, and played with to facilitate emotional and intellectual dialogue. I’m invested in encouraging writers to nurture their individual voices, and in finding the ways they can most effectively convey their thoughts and feelings on both an academic and personal level.

carsonCarson Evans (GD grad; also tutors visual communication)

Communication is a process—one I will continue exploring with zeal as I begin my first year both with the Graphic Design MFA and at the RISD Writing Center. Arriving with a degree in Humanities, I have spent many an hour working with words. As I transition to focusing on visual communication, writing remains central to how I process my ideas, providing structure and flow. My writing practice is likewise enriched through a dialogue with my visual sense.

Georges Fischer (LArch grad)

I became interested in writing through reading about nature and experiencing wilderness; a moment of climbing a big cliff and seeing a mountain across a plain, or that one time I walked really, really far through a burnt forest. I am a second-year graduate student in Landscape Architecture and my background is in political theory and natural resource conservation. Wilderness, writing, and architecture—maybe like a house made of words, or a forest of towers? Behind this facade of logic and reason, I secretly much prefer intuition and instinct. I can help you write analytically and I can help you research.

sydneySydney Foreman (Textiles undergrad, NCSS concentrator)

Bio coming soon.

Bio coming soon.

Bio coming soon.

Bio coming soon.

Bio coming soon.

catherineCatherine Huang (Illustration undergrad, LAS concentrator)

From a young age, I understood that artists were thinkers, ones who connect intellectually with others. As a visual artist, I find my ability to speak and write knowledgeably is essential in developing and supporting my work. At the Writing Center, my specialties lie in formal analysis, critique, and public speaking, and I am also passionate about fictional writing. I look forward to seeing how different ways of communication can give form to your thought and creativity.


sarahSarah (Dahsohl) Im (GD undergrad; also tutors visual communication)

One of my favorite things about the RISD community is its total acceptance of art as a creative process. Talking about art is as important as creating it, and the Writing Center provides a unique and valuable space to do so. As a tutor, I enjoy meeting students across different disciplines to discuss both their artistic and literary interests. I am most interested in the revisionary stage of writing and enjoy working with resumes, literary/formal analyses, and visual communications’ pieces.

shirleyShirley Lau (Illustration undergrad)

The written word has played an integral part in my studio practice. From creating animations inspired by literary work to experimenting with typographic imagery, I love exploring language in its many forms. My interests in writing lie in literary and formal analysis, and I particularly enjoy the beginning stages of a writing project that involves research, brainstorming, and organization.

Elizabeth Leeper (GD grad; also tutors visual communication)

Having studied English and Cultural Studies as an undergrad, I know how essential writing is as a mode of expression, and how frustrating it can be to feel stuck. At the Writing Center, I enjoy generating ideas through conversation and analyzing drafts to refine ideas, distill meaning, and strengthen voice.

yibinYiBin Liang (Illus undergrad)

As an LAS concentrator, my focus is in artists books. I’m interested in the book as interactive art, and how text and form can convey ideas in ways that add meaning to one another. I believe that writing is a way to clarify and critique your personal beliefs, helping you live and create more intentionally. Nothing is too insignificant to write about if it means something to you. My specialties are in literary and formal analysis. I can speak Chinese, and while trained in very organized argumentative writing, am also interested in less traditional essay structures.

ajinAjin Lim (Painting undergrad, LAS concentrator)

Over the past three years at RISD, I have written many artist statements and art historical/ contemporary art papers. Using this experience, I would especially love to help students in formal analysis papers, art reviews, artist statements and also just talking about their work. Before college I was a regular participant in public speech competitions, so I am also excited to work on public speaking of all kinds—critiques, presentations or in-class discussions. I can speak Korean, and I’m also very into poetry!

lindaLinda Liu (Illustration undergrad)

As a former “awkward quiet kid,” writing has played a pivotal role in building both my academic voice and my personal identity. As I’ve learned ways to make my writing more effectively represent myself and my ideas, I’ve also gained confidence in expressing myself in classes. As a tutor, this experience helps me relate to and assist students currently struggling with those same issues. I most enjoy working with academic writing and personal responses, but above all, I love helping others amplify their voices within and outside the classroom.

aninaAnina Major (Ceramics grad)

My sister told me her love for writing derived from her love of art—since she wasn’t the best at drawing, she chose to use words instead. This realization that art and writing are closely related drove me to study Graphic Design, which led me to editing and working with many other forms of communication. As a Writing Center tutor, I look forward to collaborating with my peers across all disciplines to express their creative thoughts in words.

Bio coming soon.

Bio coming soon.


Rhea Malani (Foundations undergrad)
Writing Center Assistant

I’ve always loved the George R.R. Martin quote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” Books, in my opinion, are as essential as air, for knowledge will always be our greatest weapon and our best ally. I love being part of the Writing Center because I believe everyone should have access to people who will help them better their knowledge. I work at the front desk every Sunday, so come say “hi.”

sofiaSofia Ortiz (Painting grad)

Writing is where I figure out what I actually think about the world. It is an active arena, a clarifying tool and oftentimes a wormhole that spits me out somewhere completely new. I have a background in Liberal Arts, and most enjoy working with writing related to studio practice, visual analysis, and academic writing. I am a native Spanish speaker, a moon-in-Gemini Taurus and an enthusiastic brainstormer.

christinaChristina Qi (Illustration undergrad)

I am always fascinated by how writing and language can be used to pull apart and better understand the world around us. My interests include literary analysis, poetry, short prose, and formal analysis. I love work from different cultures and will do my best to help you develop your own fluidity and unique voice. I truly enjoy working collaboratively with other students on their craziest ideas and am open to whatever stage of the writing process you may be at.



zoeZoe Shein (TLAD grad)

For me, writing is an invaluable tool not just for academics, but for studio practice, feelings-processing, love-declaring, memory-assisting, and almost anything else. As a writing center tutor, I’m excited to help students find the writing approach that best suits their goals. I’m very comfortable with creative writing (especially nonfiction and poetry), and academic writing in the humanities and social sciences. I love working through issues of organization and revision. I’m also a cover letter wizard!

natashaNatasha Sharpe (FAV undergrad)

Returning for my second year at the Writing Center, I am excited to continue collaborating with my inspiring peers. As an animator and illustrator, I am fascinated by the ways in which words respond to visuals, and vice versa, in a continuous, fruitful cycle. I enjoy discussing creative writing, formal and literary analysis, graduate theses, artist statements, and how to articulate your ideas and develop your unique personal voice.

Aaron.jpgAaron Simmons (ID grad)

I believe writing is an empowering act. It allows us to express who we are and what we believe about the world. My personal practice has spanned the fields of philosophy, poetry, fiction, and graphic novels. Currently I am exploring writing for design, and expanding my comic and graphic writing aesthetic. At the Writing Center, I love supporting writers to develop their voice, and hone their abilities to express themselves with style and conviction.

lady-gar-garGarcia Sinclair (D+M grad)
Grad Research Assistant

Writing about what you make can be a challenging task at times. How do we choose a format and approach that parallels or compliments the art and design we create? As a maker and writer, I often push the boundaries of what is “expected” to integrate my experience and poetic sense into all facets of my studio practice. I love working with people and engaging the imaginative tools we employ in our physical work to transform the verbal.

gretaGreta Skagerlind (GD undergrad, LAS concentrator)

Words and the contexts they live in are major forces in my graphic design work thus far at RISD. This, combined with my love of reading, writing, and language (and the many roles they play in art and design) compelled me to work at the Writing Center this year. I most enjoy working with literary and formal analysis, creative writing, and personal and rhetorical essays, but I always enjoy collaborative conceptualizing and revising.

shoshanaShoshana Spencer (TLAD grad)

I used to spend hours at the beach carving my name into the sand when I was young; though my tools were simple—a finger, stick, or pebble—words became a means of silently asserting my identity. To this day, if I struggle to verbalize my thoughts, writing is the conduit through which my internal impressions can flourish. As a tutor, I hope to utilize my own love for organization and brainstorming to help bring others’ ideas to fruition.

Bio coming soon.

nafisNafis White (D+M grad)
Grad Research Assistant

Powerful writing stays with you, resonates, asks you to return to it, to consider, to think and act. A person’s conviction, interests and ideas are palpable through their written and verbal communication. I offer my peers my experience and knowledge as a writer, poet and performer. I seek to empower, to generate confidence, agency and to inspire, whether preparing for critiques, papers or presentations.

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