Meet the current Officers of the OWCA Executive Board. You can contact the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenelle M. Dembsey, Founding President
Jenelle M. Dembsey (published as J. M. Dembsey) was a co-founder of the Online Writing Centers Community and is now an Incorporator and Founding President of OWCA. She has worked in writing centers since 2010 and been involved in online writing center work since 2012. She has been an undergraduate writing consultant, graduate writing assistant, and online consulting coordinator. She has experience managing the day-to-day operations of online writing centers, designing online consulting programs from scratch, and leading online consultant training. She is currently the Coordinator for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Northcentral University where she initiated an online writing support program for the IRB application. She also studies accessibility and specializes in digital accessibility principles.
Sarah Prince, Founding Vice President
Dr. Sarah Prince was a co-founder of the Online Writing Centers Community and is now an Incorporator and Founding Vice President of OWCA. She is also the Associate Director of Resource Management at Walden University’s Writing Center. She earned a BA in English from Presbyterian College in 2004 and an MA and PhD in Women’s Studies in 2011 from Emory University. Sarah has been engaged in Writing Center work—as a tutor, consultant, graduate fellow, and professional staff member—for over 15 years. Her current professional interests include developing effective online writing center practices for adult learners, establishing course and competency-based writing center initiatives in virtual classrooms, and building a professional community of online writing tutors, consultants, staff, and administrators.
Beth Nastachowski, Founding Secretary
Beth Nastachowski was a co-founder of the Online Writing Centers Community and is now an Incorporator and Founding Secretary of OWCA. She has worked in writing centers since she began tutoring as an undergraduate student. She has worked at the Walden University Writing Center since 2010 and is currently the Associate Director of the Office of Writing Instruction. She has particular experience and interest in how writing centers can support writers through webinars, videos, and interactive instruction; accessibility within the writing center; and how writing centers can engage in social issues.
Elle Tyson, Founding Treasurer
Elle Tyson became a Coordinator for the Online Writing Centers Community in 2020 and is now an Incorporator and Founding Treasurer of OWCA. She worked as both a graduate assistant tutor and a professional tutor while earning an MA in applied linguistics with an emphasis in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) at Old Dominion University (ODU). She is the ePortfolio Student Support Coordinator at ODU’s Center for High Impact Practices, overseeing the daily operations and tutor training for a digital composition tutoring center, ODU’s ePortfolio Studio. Her current research focuses on best practices for online tutoring, specifically asynchronous video/screencast feedback. She is also interested in exploring the online user experience for both the tutors and the students being tutored.
William De Herder, Conference Organizer
Dr. William De Herder is the Conference Organizer of the OWCA. Currently the Assistant Director of the Michigan Technological University Multiliteracies Center, he has also worked as a graduate consultant in the Central Michigan University Writing Center and a paraprofessional tutor in the Ferris State University Writing Center. He earned his BS in English and Psychology, as well as his MA in Creative Writing, from Central Michigan University. He earned his PhD in Rhetoric, Theory, and Culture from Michigan Technological University. His research interests work at the intersections of writing center studies, technical communication, and cultural studies.
Cynthia Pengilly, At-Large Representative
Cynthia Pengilly (Ph.D., Old Dominion University) was a co-founder of the Online Writing Centers Community and is now an At-Large Representative of the OWCA. She is an Assistant Professor of English and Co-Director of the Technical Writing Program at Central Washington University. She teaches courses in technical and professional communication, cultural rhetorics, medical/health rhetoric, and new media. Her research explores rhetoric, technology, and activism with a particular focus on competing representations and articulations of identity in online spaces. She also specializes in digital rhetoric and innovative pedagogical strategies in online writing instruction (OWI) and online tutoring. Dr. Pengilly has several forthcoming articles and book chapters.
Megan Boeshart Burelle, At-Large Representative
Megan Boeshart Burelle is an At-Large Representative of the OWCA. She currently directs the Old Dominion University Writing Center. She began working in writing centers as an undergraduate writing consultant at Ohio State University-Newark in 2010. She is currently working on her PhD in English and working on a dissertation about tutor training for asynchronous screencast tutoring. Her research interests include online tutoring, tutor training, and graduate writing support.
Chet Breaux, At-Large Representative
Dr. Chet Breaux is an At-Large Representative of the OWCA. Dr. Breaux directed the Digital Writing Studio at Florida International University (2015-2017), and he currently serves as the Writing Center Director at Athens State University in Northern Alabama. His recent research has focused on graduate writing support for online students, and using writing centers as sites for cross-disciplinary internships.
Brooke Hessler, At-Large Representative
Dr. Brooke Hessler is an At-Large Representative of the OWCA. Her early work with online writing centers was rooted in community literacy activism. Inspired by pioneering programs that made college mentors accessible to rural and urban youth, she first volunteered as an online tutor in 1997 (Daedalus/UTexas). She’s been an advocate and partner of campus and community writing centers ever since, as well as a professor, faculty mentor, and developer of online and hybrid programs. She currently serves as director of the hybrid Learning Resource Center at California College of the Arts, where she teaches multimodal composition and digital storytelling and supports Universal Design for Learning-informed teaching and learning. Her scholarship centers on multimodal writing pedagogies. She volunteers as an online tutor through Chapter 510/826 Valencia.
Luke Shackelford, Student Representative
Luke Shackelford is a Student Representative of the OWCA and Graduate Graduate Assistant Director of First Year Writing (FYW) at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He is a second-year PhD student in Writing Studies with a background in writing center tutoring and administration and focuses on Propaganda, Queerness in Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, and Multimodality. Luke works to support existing instructors, as well as the FYW Curriculum and training. His approach to support is grounded in empathy and individuality and utilizes writing center practices to help students and instructors set goals, develop novel strategies, and learn new technologies.
Anna Shapland, Student Representative
Anna Shapland is a Student Representative of the OWCA. She is also an MA student in Children’s and Young Adult Literature at Central Michigan University (CMU). She has been involved in writing center work since she first became a consultant in her undergraduate career and is now the Co-Coordinator of CMU’s Online Writing Center as part of her graduate assistantship. Her particular research interests involve creating collaborative writing spaces, focused on purpose-driven and identity-conscious writing, which can more practically customize Center resources to an individual writer’s needs, personal goals, and past experiences. After her PhD program, Anna hopes to focus on creating accessible online writing resources for under-represented groups applying to undergraduate and graduate programs.