About Us

Our Present

The 2019-2020 Writing Center staff members are:


Dr. Jim Purdy, Director

Dr. Purdy, Writing Center Director

Dr. Purdy is an associate professor in the English Department and directs the University Writing Center. He has worked in writing centers since he was an undergraduate at Penn State and previously directed the Writing Center at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. You can hear more about his excitement for and philosophy of writing center work here. He has a chapter on his work as writing center director forthcoming in the collection Writing Program Architecture: Thirty Cases for Reference and Research. At Duquesne, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching and the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016. In addition to writing center theory, his research and teaching interests include digital writing and research, new media technologies, and composition theory. Along with publishing in numerous scholarly journals and edited collections, he has co-edited four books, most recently Making Space: Writing Instruction, Infrastructure, and Multiliteracies with Dànielle Nicole DeVoss (2017).

Graduate Writing Consultants

      Brad Britvich, Graduate Writing Consultant

 Brad Britvich

Brad is a first year graduate student in the English MA program. He received his Bachelor's degree from California University of Pennsylvania where he majored in English with a concentration in journalism. During his time as an undergraduate he presented academic work at many different national conferences. Brad is inspired by his previous writing instructors and looks forward to helping writers of all different levels. He is also interested in all aspects of the writing process and has a particular affinity for journalism, digital media projects, and travel writing. Brad also believes that effective writing can be a means to an end and is interested in helping with application essays, résumés and cover letters. Brad also enjoys reading, traveling, watching movies, and playing guitar in his free time.

Angela Gallagher, Graduate Online Writing Consultant


Angela is a second year MA student in the History program. She earned her BA in History at Mercyhurst University where she was a tutor and peer advocate for students in the Autism Initiative program. During her undergraduate career, Angela took many literature and creative writing courses and hopes to apply those skills with her work and others. Her academic interests include social and gender history of 19th century Europe, American literature and poetry. Her favorite aspect of working with students is comparing original and final drafts realizing with the student how far they have come. She is excited to help students with all aspects in developing their writing; and is looking forward to learning about new topics through doing so.

Kathryn Koller, Graduate Online Writing Consultant

Kathryn is a first year English graduate student in the MA program. Her experience in tutoring and consulting has taken many forms. While an undergraduate at Grove City College, she worked in the college's writing center and tutored students in the humanities. In her publishing career, Kathryn coordinated with a variety authors, taking manuscripts from all genres through the publication process. Due to her own growth as a writer over the years, she identifies with all the steps (sometimes painful!) in the writing process. Ever since trying her hand at consulting as an undergraduate student, Kathryn has always felt excited and energized in talking with students and helping them achieve more than they originally thought they could do.

Lindsay Crowe, Graduate Writing Consultant

Lindsay is a second year Master's student in the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business. She graduated from Duquesne University in May 2018 with a Bachelor's Degree in Corporate Communication and a minor in English. Lindsay has strong skills in writing research papers and business reports. She has written many research papers throughout her time at Duquesne and even presented one of her papers at a research colloquium during her undergraduate studies. Her goal as a consultant at the Writing Center is to help students overcome their difficulties with writing, whether that may be brainstorming, organizing their content, or using citations in APA or MLA style. When she is not busy working at the Writing Center or studying for her classes, Lindsay enjoys spending time with her Golden Retriever, going to country music concerts, and watching Penguins hockey and Steelers football.

Shannon Spies, Graduate Writing Consultant

Shannon Spies is a first year graduate student in the English PhD program. She received her BA in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Idaho. Shannon has taught courses in both Composition/Rhetoric and Poetry Writing, and her reading interests run the gamut from philosophical treatises and memoirs to German poetry and paperback novels. Having years of experience in workshopping scholarly and creative work, she has learned that dialogue can open up new ways for a writer to see their work - and is also a wonderful way to generate new ideas. In addition to chatting about writing, Shannon loves bird watching, composing letters on her typewriters and cooking curries for her friends.

Krystina Primack, Graduate Writing Consultant

Krystina is a second-year graduate MA student in the Department of English and Theater Arts. She received her BA from Duquesne University in the spring of 2019 after working on the first year of her MA during her senior year, which was as much a challenge as it was a privilege. While studying here at Duquesne, she majored in English with a minor in Communication Studies. During her time as an undergraduate she presented at a communication ethics conference, was a staff writer for features in the Duquesne Duke student newspaper, was a student editor at :Lexicon, and worked in the box office for the Red Masquers. This year she is a writing consultant and graduate teaching fellow. Her work academically includes horror and disability studies, as well as consent discourse in 18th century literature. Krystina is excited to be working for the Writing Center, and feels that she can be especially helpful with brainstorming ideas, forming thesis statements and conclusions, and overall paragraph structure for students' assignments.

Jenna Massaro, Graduate Writing Consultant

Jenna Massaro is a first year graduate student in the English MA program. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Slippery Rock University where she majored in English with a concentration in Language and Literature. During her undergraduate career, she presented academic work at many state and national conferences. Jenna overall enjoys helping students of all levels develop their writing and communication skills. She served as an undergraduate tutor throughout all four years of school, as well as a lead tutoring consultant for two years at a local community college. Jenna loves to see students' progress as writers, and she finds both teaching and consulting extremely rewarding. In her free time, Jenna likes gardening, going on hikes, and traveling to new destinations--both local and worldwide!

Alison Moore, Graduate Writing Consultant 

Alison is a first year graduate student in the School of Education studying to earn her Master of Arts in Teaching for Secondary Education in English. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Pittsburgh, where she majored in English Literature and Spanish with a minor in Dance. She also worked at the Pitt Writing Center for three years, where she was an undergraduate tutor. During her undergraduate career, she studied Chemistry as well, and she has extensive experience tutoring science writers. Alison loves to work with students, particularly on brainstorming and the early stages of the writing process, but she is eager to help all writers improve their skills! In her free time, Alison loves to write and spend time outdoors.

Chad Szalkowski-Ference, Graduate Writing Consultant

Chad received an MFA in creative nonfiction from Carlow University and an MA in English from Duquesne. He is currently a first-year PhD student. He has taught first-year composition courses at Carlow University, the Community College of Allegheny County, and Duquesne. His creative work has been published in Fjords Review. Outside of writing and reading, he likes writing and reading.

Adam Ahlgrim, Graduate Writing Consultant

Adam Ahlgrim is a PhD candidate and teaching fellow in the English program. He received his MA in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University. His academic interests include politics, philosophy, and 20th century world literature. Adam is interested in working with fellow writers of all disciplines and levels to argue and communicate effectively.

Kiah Lynch, Graduate Writing Consultant

Kiah is a dual degree English and secondary English education major and in the accelerated English MA program. She plans to continue on at Duquesne after graduation to finish her masters. She works a lot with both MLA and APA format. She loves talking with people about their writing and helping them enjoy it as much as she does. Kiah is president of the Duquesne chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the honors English society, and the social media intern for the English department. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, hiking, and spending time with her dogs.

Nick Beaver, Graduate Writing Consultant

Nick is a first year graduate student in the English department's MA program. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Walsh University where he majored in English and Professional Writing with a minor in Communications. He presented several papers in national conferences during his time as an undergraduate and developed an honors thesis. In addition to his academic work, Nick also captained the Walsh University debate team to the national competition in Atlanta and was the President of the Sigma Tau Delta writing society at Walsh. Nick worked previously as a writing consultant in undergrad and finds the work extremely rewarding. He particularly enjoys helping students grow as writers and develop new strategies to approach difficult concepts. Nick entertains a wide variety of academic interests outside of English including history and sociology that he is happy to address in consulting sessions when applicable. Nick also enjoys strategy and war games, traveling to other countries, and playing the drums.

Cassidee Knott, Social Media Coordinator 

Cassidee is a first year Graduate student in the Public History program. She earned her BA in History at the University of Pittsburgh, along with minors in French Language and English Literature, and two certificates. During her undergraduate career, Cassidee worked in the University's archives researching and writing about various subjects. Her abundance of interests lead her to studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland and multiple research symposiums. Over the course of her work, she has taken interest in the different methods and styles of writing for different topics, including how writing varies internationally. In her free time, Cassidee enjoys reading, traveling, crocheting, and hanging out with her dogs.

Undergraduate Writing Consultants

Sage Mansbarger, Undergraduate Consultant

Sage is a Psychology major and an English minor in her senior year a Duquesne. Reading and writing are some of her favorite things to do, both for class and in her spare time. After graduating, she hopes to receive her Master's degree and eventually receive her Ph.D. Although Sage's strength is in APA format, she is ready to help with any style or format. She understands that taking all the ideas that come to the mind and putting them into a clear and concise set of words on paper can be difficult and is willing to help make this process easier. In her free time, Sage enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and spending time with friends.

Sara Jobes, Undergraduate Consultant


Sara is a double major in English Literature and Communications Studies. The format of writing with which she is most familiar is MLA. However, Sara is excited to help with any format, citation, or style issues. Throughout her time at Duquesne, she has been successful with all of her papers and has been able to help others with their own processes of how to write a successful paper. Through the writing center appointments Sara hopes to aid students in any step of the writing process.

Laura Mudrick, Undergraduate Consultant


Laura is a junior who is double majoring in English and Political Science. Although recently picking up English as a major, she has always enjoyed reading and writing. At the Writing Center, she specifically enjoys helping people brainstorm their ideas and organizing their thoughts. Laura plans on going to law school post-graduation. She hopes that working at the writing center will help to improve her analytical skills, as she will be reading into others' papers quite frequently. These analytical skills will greatly help her as a lawyer, a profession heavy in reading and analyzing.

Christian Campbell, Undergraduate Consultant


Christian Campbell is a psychology major and sociology minor in his junior year at Duquesne. Writing runs in his family as his great-grandfather was a published academic writer and his grandfather wrote many poems in his free time. While writing papers for class can at times be dry and monotonous, Christian sees writing as a form of self-expression and a vessel through which one's thoughts and opinions can be understood. Christian enjoys helping others with creative writing assignments the most but is still well versed at aiding in the strictly academic writing process.

Kihei Staruch-Paikai, Undergraduate Consultant

Kihei is an English and Education double major in her second year here at Duquesne. This year, Kihei is the Associate Poetry Editor for an on-campus art and literary journal :Lexicon. She understands the complexity of the writing process and how difficult it is to shape those messy, crazy, beautiful ideas into words. Kihei is willing to help with any style of writing at all different stages and handle any citation questions. She is excited to work with you! In her free time, Kihei enjoys listening to music, being outdoors, and eating Thai food.

Joining the Staff

Students interested in applying to be a consultant at the Writing Center should submit a cv/résumé, academic research-based writing sample, and application form to the Director. Please contact the Director, Dr. Jim Purdy, at 412-396-1293 or purdyj at duq.edu for more information.


Consultants receive ongoing training and professional development in teaching writing. They have the opportunity to attend writing center conferences (e.g., the Pittsburgh Area Regional Writing Centers Conference, National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, East Central Writing Centers Association Conference).

Past consultants have gone on to work at writing centers at other universities; been accepted to graduate programs at top universities (e.g., Brandeis, Illinois State, Purdue); and pursued successful careers in education at middle, secondary, and postsecondary levels, as well as in business and law.

Our Past

The Writing Center has been a part of Duquesne’s academic life for more than twenty years. Originally housed in the English Department and designed to meet the needs of the Core Curriculum, the Writing Center has grown and expanded its scope of service to address the writing needs of the entire campus community, including students and faculty.