Officers on the Executive Board

Meet the current Officers of the OWCA Executive Board. You can contact the Board at board@onlinewritingcenters.org.


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 currently works as the Manager for Online Learning at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). She has experience managing the day-to-day operations of online writing centers, leading online consultant training, and designing online writing support programs from scratch, including a program for an institutional review board. She also studies digital accessibility and is working towards accessibility certification.


Megan Boeshart Burelle, Vice President and Virtual Events Chair

Length of term:  January 2021 to December 2022, followed by 2-year term as President

Megan BoeshartMegan Boeshart Burelle is the Vice President and 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.


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 worked at the Walden University Writing Center for 12 years and is currently the Director of Training & Development for TIVC. 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.


Heejung (Monica) Kwon, Diversity & Social Justice Co-Chair

Length of term: January 2022 to December 2022, followed by 1-year term as Diversity & Social Justice Chair

Heejung (Monica) Kwon is a co-chair of the Diversity and Social Justice committee at the OWCA. She has taught and tutored students in various capacities as a graduate writing instructor and writing consultant and now is working as a coordinator of the Kanazawa University Writing Center, Japan. She oversees day-to-day operations of the writing center services (both online and face-to-face), as well as organizes events for students and faculty members. Her research focuses on writing studies, applied linguistics, teaching and learning in digital environments, and teaching English in international contexts.


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.


Madelyn Carroll, Accessibility Co-Chair

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

Madelyn Carroll (she/her) is the Co-Chair of the Accessibility Committee. She taught Freshman English and worked as a tutor and tutor coordinator at Rowan University, where she also got her BA and MA in Writing. She is currently working towards her PhD in Composition and Applied Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she also currently tutors in the Jones White Writing Center, is a graduate assistant with the Writing Across the Curriculum program, and severs as the Social Events Coordinator for the Composition and TESOL Association. Her research focuses on equity in the composition classroom and the writing center.


Kim Fahle Peck, Conference Chair

Length of term: March 2022 to December 2023

Kim Fahle Peck

Dr. Kim Fahle Peck is the Conference Chair for the 2023 OWCA Conference. She earned a BA in English and Theatre from Virginia Wesleyan College, an MA in English from University of Delaware and a PhD from Old Dominion University. Kim has been working in writing centers since 2010. Currently, she directs the Writing Center at York College of Pennsylvania (YCP). At YCP she has worked to expand online support options, develop support for multimodal communication, and grow training and professional development opportunities for both peer and professional tutors. In additional to writing center research, Kim also studies online writing instruction in the composition classroom, specifically exploring synchronous video instruction. She is also a co-editor of Young Scholars in Writing, and works to support and promote undergraduate research.


Erika Maikish, Conference Co-Chair

Length of term: May 2022 to September 2024

Erika Maikish

Erika Maikish is the Conference Co-Chair of the OWCA. She earned a M.A. in English alongside a graduate certificate in teaching writing and composition from SUNY Stony Brook. For over ten years, she has worked extensively within writing centers as a peer tutor, faculty specialist, and director in addition to teaching rhetoric and composition to undergraduate and graduate students. Currently, Erika is employed at New York Medical College where she has expanded her repertoire to include STEM writing and tutoring programs. In her free time, Erika snuggles with her rescue dog and teaches aerial hammock/hoop.


 

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 for the OWCA and a member of the Diversity & Social Justice Committee. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Children’s Literature at Illinois State University. Anna has been involved in writing center work since 2016, first as an undergraduate consultant at Central Michigan University (CMU), then as the coordinator of CMU’s Online Writing Center during her Master’s Program. Her current research interests involve representations of student success and academic spaces in contemporary young adult literature, which she hopes to merge with her professional interest in collaborative online writing spaces and identity-conscious writing resources.


Jesse Bair, Student Representative

Length of term: January 2022 to December 2022

Jesse Bair is serving as one of OWCA’s Student Representatives this year and will be working with the Diversity Committee during his tenure. He is currently working on his master’s in Children’s and Young Adult Literature at Central Michigan University, where he is also working as a Graduate Assistant in their Writing Center. Education is his ultimate passion, and he received a bachelor’s in English Education from Montana State University. Fun facts about him include being a frequent volunteer for an Art Co-op named For Arts Sake, and engaging in Social Justice efforts through an internship for the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society, and Social Change at San José State University. He invites any and all student members of OWCA to reach out to him about any concerns or ideas.


Amanda Tomanek, Website Coordinator

Length of term: January 2022 to December 2023 (term can be renewed)

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.


Erin Higgins, Website Coordinator

Length of term: March 2022 to December 2023 (term can be renewed)

Erin HigginsErin Higgins is a website coordinator for the OWCA. She began working in writing centers as a writing tutor at Harper College and is back there again as the assistant manager of the Academic Support Center. In between her time as a tutor and as the assistant manager at Harper, Erin received a master’s degree in English and worked in the University Center for Writing-based Learning at DePaul University and was the coordinator for the Center for Academic Writing at Northeastern Illinois University. Her research interests include tutor training, online writing centers, and collaborations between the writing center and faculty.


Vanessa Armand, Grant Coordinator

Length of term: March 2022 to December 2023 (term can be renewed)

Vanessa ArmandVanessa Armand is the Grant Coordinator for the OWCA. She holds her MA in TESOL from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where the tutor training she received in the writer center intersected with her studies in language learning and sparked her passion and advocacy for writing center work. Over the past decade,  she has taught and tutored academic writing in the US and abroad (Japan) across ages, levels, first languages, and modalities.  She has also worked in administrative roles, advocating for support for students by launching a peer-tutoring program and liaising cross-departmentally regarding program-level literacy needs. She currently teaches Writing & Rhetoric at Columbia College Chicago, with a focus on multimodal writing. Her research is interested in English Medium Instruction trends and the subsequent development of support structures for students and faculty in those contexts.