Writing Specialists

Writing Specialists are full-time instructors in the Writing Program who teach writing to first- and second-year undergraduates completing the Humanities Core.

Ted Alexander


Ted Alexander has been working for the Writing Program since 2021. His academic background is in American poetry from modernism to the present. He received his PhD in English literature and critical theory from UC Berkeley and has taught at the City University of New York and NYU. His writing has appeared in Contemporary Literature, The Wallace Stevens Journal and Paideuma.

Will Ardery


Will Ardery received a BA degree in History from Hamilton College in 2017, where he also worked as a peer writing tutor. He completed the University of Chicago’s Masters in the Social Sciences Program (MAPSS) in 2020, and joined the Writing Program the following year. He currently serves as a Writing Specialist for the Humanities Core, where he helps first year students become more confident and proficient writers. Beyond writing pedagogy, Will specializes in Antebellum American political, intellectual, and literary history.

Marshall Cunningham


Marshall Cunningham received his PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2020. He studies the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Middle East, and his research focuses on the construction of Judean identity in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE. In his role as a Divinity School Teaching Fellow (2020–2022), Marshall served as an instructor in the Humanities Core sequence “Human Being and Citizen.” He began working as a Writing Professional for Human Being and Citizen during the 2022–2023 academic year.

Elizabeth Fiedler


Elizabeth started teaching for the Writing Program while completing her PhD in Italian at the University of Chicago. Since then she has worked as a Writing Specialist in the Humanities Core and as a Lector in Little Red Schoolhouse.

Rebecca Himelstein


Rebecca holds a Master of Arts in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. Their scholarly and artistic interests broadly focus on contemporary experimental music, sound, and participatory art. They have performed at venues such as ConstellationElastic Arts, and Experimental Sound Studio, and their scholarly work on noise recently appeared in Liminalities. Rebecca has worked for the Writing Program since 2020 in the Media Aesthetics, Reading Cultures, Human Being and Citizen, and Philosophical Perspectives Cores. They especially enjoy working with college students new to writing about creative works.

Michelle Hoban


Michelle Hoban first joined the Writing Program as a Writing Intern in 2019, after completing an MA at the University of Chicago with a focus on English literature. After leaving for a year to work in marketing for a nonprofit, Michelle returned to the Writing Program as a Writing Specialist in 2021. They now teach academic writing to both undergraduate and graduate students. They also have experience tutoring beginner French and Swedish and have been trained in teaching English as an additional language.

Katie Howe


Katie joined the Writing Program as a Writing Specialist in 2020 after completing her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Chicago in 2019. She currently works in the Philosophical Perspectives Core sequence, teaching first-year students the ins and outs of effective argumentative writing.

John Y. Lawrence


John Y. Lawrence began teaching writing at the University of Chicago in 2022. He completed his PhD in Music History and Theory at UChicago in 2020, and previously taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. His work has been published in the Journal of Music Theory and is forthcoming in Music Theory Spectrum in 2024.

Scott Jung


Scott began teaching as a Writing Intern after he completed his BA in Anthropology and Comparative Human Development and his MA in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) at the University of Chicago in 2017. Before returning as a Writing Specialist in 2022, Scott taught anthropology courses at a local community college and led pedagogy workshops at the University of California, Irvine where he completed an MA in Medicine, Science & Technology Studies as part of his doctoral studies. Scott’s research interests include disability, language, work, care, and psychoanalysis, all of which he enjoys integrating into his first love: teaching.

Rose Malloy


Rose has taught writing at the University of Chicago since 2017. She has taught in both the Humanities and Social Sciences Cores, as well as worked with upper-level undergraduates on writing for research in the History Department and with Mellon Mays fellows. Rose also teaches writing courses for veterans transitioning to university. Rose received an MA in History from UChicago; her research focuses on borders, refugee movement, and nation-state development in central and southeastern Europe in the early twentieth century.

Clara Mitchell


Clara holds an MFA in poetry and an MA in Religion and Literature. She is currently working on a scholarly project considering the poetics of absence and a collection of poetry utilizing two voices. As a Writing Specialist, she works with the College’s linguistics and poetry Cores to develop effective pedagogy for first year seminars. Clara also teaches advanced professional writing to graduate students with Little Red Schoolhouse. This is her fifth year teaching for the Writing Program.

Nick Nurre


Nick started working with the Writing Program as a Writing Intern in 2020 following his graduation from the University of Chicago’s MAPH program in the same year. Nick’s academic work concentrated in contemporary fiction and philosophy, which informs his current work as a Writing Specialist in the Reading Cultures and Philosophical Perspectives Cores. He has also taught academic writing and literary analysis to language learners abroad as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Macau, an experience which still informs his enthusiasm for engaging pedagogy that addresses diverse student needs.

Sarah Osment


Sarah joined the Writing Program as a Writing Specialist in 2021, after many years teaching academic writing, American literature, poetry and poetics, critical theory, film and environmental humanities in New England and Florida. She received her PhD from English at Brown University in 2016, and has been most driven since then by the collaborative and public-facing possibilities of academic writing. She is co-founder and editor of Hyped on Melancholy, an online magazine devoted to academic writing about music, and recently co-edited a Post45 Contemporaries cluster on the legacy of the late poet and musician David Berman.

Mike Ossman


Mike Ossman joined the Writing Program as a Writing Specialist in 2023. He earned a Master’s in the Humanities at the University of Chicago in 2013, and he then spent nine years teaching introductory philosophy courses at community colleges in Chicagoland and Orlando, Florida. His scholarship focuses on ancient Greek philosophy and the history of philosophy, but he is most passionate about teaching and pedagogy. He has also done marketing and grant writing in the nonprofit sector. 

Claire Palo


Claire began working for the Writing Program in 2019, after receiving her MA from the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities at UChicago. Claire’s research interests focus on women writers and natural philosophy in Early Modern English Literature. Since joining the Writing Program, Claire has worked as a Writing Intern, writing tutor, Peer Writing Tutor Mentor, and Lector. After leaving to complete a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program in Romania, Claire returned to the Writing Program in 2022 as a Writing Specialist.

Cameron Powell


Cameron holds a BA in Mathematics and Political Studies from Bard College at Simon’s Rock, plus an MA in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He joined the program in 2020 as a Writing Intern and Lector, and returned as a Writing Specialist in 2022. He has interests in University Studies and the politics of education and pedagogy, which inform his teaching. He has also worked as a Graduate Writing Consultant for UChicagoGRAD.

Thomas C. Sawyer


Tom received his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Washington University in St. Louis in 2021. He joined the Writing Program in the same year. His scholarship operates at the intersections of book history and knowledge-formation in the literatures of medieval Europe. He has published in ELH, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Philological Quarterly, and The Journal of Medieval Latin. He is hard at work on his first book, Recomposing Bodley 851.

Jeremy Schmidt


Jeremy Schmidt is a Writing Specialist and part-time Lecturer in the Humanities Core. Born and raised in Hyde Park, he completed his PhD in the UCLA Department of English in 2020 before returning to Chicago. Jeremy has over fifteen years of experience teaching university courses in composition, literature, and creative writing, and he is particularly dedicated to helping undergraduates write about the questions—and for the disciplines and audiences—that matter to them. His own poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as The Believer, Boston Review, Lana Turner, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Maya Shenoy


Maya first joined the writing program in 2021. She received her MA in history from the University of Chicago in 2023, where she studied American legal history. She has taught in the Humanities core sequence, as a Lector in Little Red Schoolhouse, and tutored at the Writing Program.

Anne Marie Smith


Anne Marie Smith began teaching writing at the University of Chicago in fall of 2022. In addition, she has over ten years of experience as a writing specialist and writing instructor. She has taught Research Writing in the Sciences and Nature Writing to science majors, Scholarly Communication to nursing majors, and Argumentative Writing and Ecology to non-science majors.  She also has extensive experience in effectively helping students write personal statements for graduate and professional schools.

Karen Xu


Karen received her MA from the University of Chicago in 2019 and began teaching with the Writing Program in the same year. She has taught writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences Core sequences, and also has experience with translation, creative nonfiction, and grant writing.

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