Officers on the Executive Board

Meet the current Officers of the OWCA Executive Board. You can contact the Board at

Jenelle M. Dembsey, Founding President

Length of term: October 2020 to December 2022, followed by 1-year term as Immediate Past President

Jenelle DembseyJenelle 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 writing support programs from scratch (including a program for an institutional review board), and leading online consultant training. She also studies digital accessibility.

Sarah Prince, Founding Vice President

Length of term: October 2020 to December 2022, followed by 2-year term as President

picture of Sarah PrinceDr. 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

Length of term: October 2020 to December 2023

picture of Beth NastachowskiBeth 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

Length of term: October 2020 to December 2023

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 working on a PhD in English and is the ePortfolio Student Support Coordinator at ODU, 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.

Paula Rawlins, Diversity & Social Justice Chair

Length of term: January 2021 to December 2022

Paula RawlinsDr. Paula Rawlins is the Diversity & Social Justice Chair of the OWCA. She first became interested in writing center work as an undergraduate at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Since then, she has served as a graduate writing consultant, English instructor, and writing center administrator at various institutions over the last decade. While earning her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, she served as the Assistant Director of the University’s Writing Center for three years. Currently, she works in Yale University’s Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, helping to supervise and train the Writing Partners who staff Yale College’s Writing Center. At Yale, she works to expand and refine writing support for undergraduates, including online access to consultations and other resources. Her published research focuses on issues of interdisciplinary collaboration and linguistic diversity; she is a co-author of respective scholarship appearing in College Composition and Communication and the edited collection Building a More Linguistically Just Campus: Theory, Pedagogy, and Advocacy (Multilingual Matters). In addition to writing center work, Paula has published several pieces on Southern literature, which have appeared in South Atlantic ReviewLabel Me Latina/o, and North Carolina Literary Review.

Brooke Hessler, Accessibility Chair

Length of term: January 2021 to December 2022

Brooke HesslerDr. Brooke Hessler is the Accessibility Chair 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.

Megan Boeshart Burelle, Virtual Events Chair

Length of term: January 2021 to December 2022

Megan BoeshartMegan Boeshart Burelle is the Virtual Events Chair 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.

Bri Lafond, Virtual Events Co-Chair

Length of term: January 2022 to December 2022, followed by 1-year term as Virtual Events Chair

Bri LafondBri Lafond (she/her) is the Virtual Events Co-Chair of the OWCA. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she is affiliated with the Center for Writing Studies and the campus writing center, the Writers Workshop. Her research interests include online writing centers, social media platforms, video essays, and multimodality.


Anna Shapland, Student Representative

Length of term: January 2022 to December 2022

Anna ShaplandAnna 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.

Amanda Tomanek, Website Coordinator

Length of term: January 2022 to December 2023

Amanda Tomanek (she/they) is a website coordinator for the OWCA. She began working as a student assistant in an ESL computer lab on her undergraduate campus, where her love for peer tutoring began. Amanda received a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Teachers College, Columbia University, and spent nearly 5 years teaching EFL and academic literacy at universities in Japan. She is currently the Academic English Language Specialist at the California State University San Marcos Writing Center, which has provided online tutoring since fall 2019. Her research interests include equitable practices for multilingual, undocumented, and first-generation college students.