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Writing Center

Peer Tutoring

Peer tutoring is the easiest and most immediate way to get help with your writing — just drop by during the hours listed below, no appointment necessary.  We’re available to talk with you about everything from details about grammar, style, or citation to the broadest thinking about what you’re trying to say.  Feel free to bring a draft for us to look over, but don’t feel obliged — if you’re spinning your wheels trying to get something on the page, come by empty-handed just to brainstorm a bit. 

Hours

Sunday-Thursday, 3-10 pm.

NOTE:  The final day of peer tutoring will be Thursday, Dec. 12.  After that, limited appointments with the Director will remain available through finals.

Location 

Writing Center Consultation Office (227B Watzek Library). 

Peer Tutors

Our tutoring staff consists of upperclass students selected from among Lewis & Clark’s most talented and dedicated enthusiasts for the written word.  These are all students with a passion for writing and for ideas, and a special talent for thinking about how writing functions (and why it sometimes doesn’t).  They have all completed an intensive training program to help them prepare to work with you.  Here’s who they are (more profiles coming soon!):

 

Iri Angelova ’20

Majors: Philosophy, Psychology

Dylan Benitez ’20

Major: Biology

Minor: Neuroscience

 

Molly Brown ’20

Major: Sociology and Anthropology

Favorite authors: Zora Neale Hurston, Arundhati Roy, Isabel Allende

Best advice about writing:

Be kind to yourself and take breaks! The first paragraph you write doesn’t have to be perfect, and neither does the last. If you start to get frustrated, walk away from your writing for even five minutes. You’ll come back with fresh eyes and maybe some new ideas. 

 

 

 

 

McKenna Daily ’22

Major: Hispanic Studies

Favorite authors: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Virginia Woolf, Eduardo Galeano, Jorge Luis Borges

Best advice about writing:

Speak your ideas out loud to yourself and focus on how you would try to explain what you’re talking about to a friend who doesn’t know anything about it. This helps me stay true to my voice and have clearer organization! Convince yourself or a friend that the topic is interesting then take that energy into your writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Hanley ’20

Major: English

Favorite authors: Nathanael West, Denis Johnson, Toni Morrison, Sherman Alexie, Ernest Hemingway, Dante Alighieri

Best advice about writing:

There’s no right or wrong way to write: only choices that are more effective and choices that are less effective. Trust your gut, especially on the first draft. Expect to be unsatisfied with it and revel in your dissatisfaction; the urge to refine and improve is evidence that what you’ve written matters.

 

  

Justin Howerton ’21

Majors:  Computer Science/Math, English

Favorite authors: Jack Kerouac, William Faulkner, Franz Kafka, Joan Didion, James Joyce, and Kurt Vonnegut

Best advice about writing:

Start writing. Your sentences don’t have to be lucid, clear, or argumentative. But by setting pen to paper, your mind begins to explore uncharted avenues of thought. Gradually, your prose and ideas will grow tighter and stronger as you begin to articulate your discoveries. You may be surprised at the ideas that can surface from a few provisional lines.

 

Arunima Jamwal ’21

Major: Sociology and Anthropology

Favorite authors: Sankaran Krishna (for his scholarship on coloniality, and why/how we decolonize academia), bell (for teaching us how to radically and lovingly educate generations young and old), Richard Rodriguez (for “The Achievement of Desire” — his profound essay on discipline, education, and race-based familial relationships)

Best advice about writing: 

A fundamental lesson I’ve learned from my career as a peer tutor is to first write, then reform.

I often see students restrict their ideas from forming fully on paper. Sometimes they don’t even let themselves write a complete sentence because they’re dissatisfied with the language or structure of a part of it.
I used to operate in this exact manner until I learned that I don’t need to love the language or structure of an idea I’m developing for the first time. Enforcing my ‘first write, then reform’ rule has not only resulted in more sound grammar and structure. It has in fact made my voice as a writer a lot more clear and powerful, because I then have to leave enough time to revise my words significantly and edit my papers thoroughly.

Jordan McLuckie ’20

Major: Music

Minor:  Environmental Studies

Favorite authors: John Steinbeck, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Khaled Hosseini

Best advice about writing:

Writing is much easier when you take the pressure off and just get something on the page. I like to commit to writing a terrible essay the first time so that I can clearly see what’s wrong with it, and then go back and rewrite it, with a clearer idea in mind for what I want to say. Also, the text-to-speech feature on laptops is really helpful for final edits. When the computer reads your writing back to you, the robotic voice highlights small grammar errors and funky sentence structures that you might not normally catch. 

 

 

Maura Phillips ’20

Major: English

Favorite authors: Miranda July, Ottessa Moshfegh, Eileen Myles

Best advice about writing:

The best writing advice that I can give is to say it out loud! I can get so caught up in wanting my writing to sound professional that I lose sight of what it is that I’m really trying to say and how to say it clearly. I think good writing should sound like a conversation with the reader. When I’m writing, I’m constantly saying lines out loud before I write them down. If I’m stuck on figuring out how to communicate an idea (or I’m not even that clear on what the idea is) I just talk it out, and try to explain it to a friend, or even just out loud to myself. Often, even if I start out by having no idea what it is I’m tying to say, by the end I’ve figured out what I meant all along, and how to communicate it.

Samantha Pratt ’20

Major:  Rhetoric and Media Studies 

Favorite authors: Lynn Flewelling, Leigh Bardugo, Neal Shusterman

Best advice about writing: 

It’s so important to remember that writing doesn’t have to be done alone. Talk your essay over with others. Talk to your friends about it. Talk to your professor about it. Call your mom (though you should do this anyway) and discuss what you’re writing with her. Come talk it over with us; that’s what we’re here for. The more you talk about your writing, the more you’ll understand what it is you’re writing about and what about it really matters to you. I’ve found that my friends are often able to provide me with new insights, and sometimes while explaining my ideas, I come to new epiphanies and connections on my own.

  

 

Salma Preppernau ’21

Major: Political Science

Favorite authors: Salman Rushdie, Graham Greene, Leo Tolstoy, David James Duncan

Best advice about writing:

While you do have to write to your audience to a certain extent, it’s going to be a better paper if you allow a little bit of your voice in than if you strangle that voice and try to write a paper you think sounds academic. We’re here to learn to write formally, but there are plenty of formal papers that take little jabs at other authors or concepts they don’t like very much. So when I write, I try to let myself enjoy the process, and be strong-willed—and if it shows a little bit, I remind myself that it isn’t the end of the world.

  

Georgia Reid ’20

Majors: Environmental Studies, Sociology and Anthropology

Channing Stirrat ’21

Major: Biology

Favorite authors: Michael Pollan, Toni Morrison, Sy Montgomery, Tara Westover

Best advice about writing:

Ask yourself why you wrote what you wrote. How does this word or sentence or paragraph contribute to your argument? Would your argument be weaker if you removed it? Answering, or being unable to answer, similar questions help determine what you really want to say. If you can explain both what you’re trying say AND why you chose to say it that way, your writing will reflect it. 

 

Mary Talamantez ’20

Major: Philosophy

Favorite authors: Leslie Marmon Silko, Toni Morrison and Gloria Anzaldúa

Best advice about writing:  

Do not let yourself get caught up in constructing the perfect sentence the first time, every time. It is okay to leave a sentence incomplete or with a word that you do not like! Just highlight it, move on, and come back to it later. With fresh eyes on your paper, it is much easier to find the right words and to mold the sentences you have into the ones you want.

 

 

 

Paige Underwood ’22

Majors: Computer Science/Math, Political Science

Favorite authors: Harper Lee, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Best advice about writing:

Be patient with yourself! Writing takes time, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Instead of focusing on writing the “perfect” essay or paper the first time, don’t be afraid to develop your ideas in small steps. If you find a process that works for you, your writing skills will naturally improve over time.

 

 

 

Hannah Unkrich ’20

Major: English 

 

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