Meet the Tutors


Joanmarie Bañez

WNAI Liaison

Joanmarie is a second-year master’s student of English with a concentration in literary studies. Her research focuses on how Indigenous critical theory examines relationships between trauma, travel, and identity in contemporary Indigenous literature. Although not a native speaker, Joanmarie also speaks Spanish and enjoys working with L2 students. Her tutoring strengths lie in practical grammar, all things MLA formatting (some APA), poetic analysis, and personal statements. Joanmarie’s favorite sessions include working with tutees on longer projects, such as theses and thesis proposals of various fields, scholarship or application materials, and research-heavy assignments. Once a Welcome Center tour guide and undergraduate at GSU, she encourages students to use her as a resource to explore the hidden gems Georgia State has to offer. Joan also enjoys dank memes and occasionally (spontaneously) cutting her own bangs. Sometimes they look good, sometimes not. Come be the judge and visit her at the Studio! 

As a WNAI liaison, Joanmarie is also trained and prepared to help students who are submitting applications for national scholarships and fellowships.

Tristan Benns

Tristan Benns is a currently a senior majoring in English and minoring in Film. He primarily enjoys working on issues of organization and structure for all types of writing. Brainstorming and topics of grammar also fall into his wheelhouse. He spends his free time by reading comics, playing video games, and treating every pizza like a personal pizza.

  Viktorija Bezbradica

Viktorija Bezbradica received her B.A. in English from Kennesaw State University in 2017, and is now continuing her scholarly pursuits as a second-year M.A. student in English (Literary Studies). Her varied research interests include British folklore and mythology, African literature, semiotics, and trauma studies. As a tutor, Viktorija enjoys working with students on improving structure and form, composing and organizing brainstorming models to spark the writing process, and conducting research. Having had a brief dalliance with the sciences that culminated in an A.S. in Pre-Nursing, she can also offer students guidance on lab reports, research proposals, and data models. Viktorija is Eastern European (hence the unique spelling of her name), and speaks a few different languages, including Spanish and a bit of French. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to podcasts and attempting to bake, and can be most often found at a creperie, reading Keats’ poetry aloud to her puppy, Romeo.

Brittny Byrom

Social Media Chair

Brittny is a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on writing center studies and composition pedagogies. She currently holds an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition from Georgia State University, a B.S. in Communication/Journalism from Kennesaw State University, and an A.A. in English Studies from Young Harris College. She particularly enjoys working with students to brainstorm writing topics and incorporating research into those ideas. Off-campus, Brittny enjoys hiking the many trails around Atlanta and updating her cat’s Instagram feed.

Chazz Chitwood

Chazz Chitwood is a 28-year-old gay writer living in Atlanta. He has his BA and JD from University of Miami, an MFA from Florida International University, and is a current PHD candidate at Georgia State University. 2018’s Reading Queer Writer in Residence and Miami-raised, Chazz is writing poetry, lyric essay, and fiction with an eye towards gender, sexuality, male relationships, hybridism, transhumanism, myth, science, and science fiction.


Chazz has been teaching for five years, and particularly enjoys brainstorming, problem solving, and solving the puzzles of research strategies, whether in an essay writing, creative writing, or legal writing.

Caitlin Creson

Caitlin has a B.A. in English from Augusta University and is now a first-year MFA student studying Creative Writing (Poetry). She has a knack for the art of thesis statements and weaving in secondary sources seamlessly. She particularly loves working with students when their assignment involves literary theory, philosophy, art history, and creative writing. She tends to focus on structure and flow but isn’t above correcting a comma or two. Her dad jokes and puns are sure to get lots of laughs even if the guffaw is her own. When Caitlin isn’t at school or work she enjoys candlelit dinners with her cat, Gus Gus, fighting towards a mosquito-free world, and long, romantic walks to the bookstore.



Mack Curry IV

Social Media Chair

Mack Curry IV is a 3rd year Doctoral student at Georgia State University. He received his Bachelors of Arts in English in 2013 from Hampton University and his Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2016 from Old Dominion University. Mack currently serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, co-Social Media Coordinator for GSU’s Writing Studio, an Adjunct English Instructor at Clark Atlanta University, and a tutor for Now I Get It! Tutoring. His research interest is the use of Black English in Multimodal Composition assignments. .

deanKathryn Dean

Kathryn Dean is a second-year MA student in the Rhetoric and Composition concentration whose current research interests include digital rhetoric, social media, writing center studies, and gender studies. This is her second year tutoring in the Writing Studio. Though she loves to tutor all stages of the writing process, she particularly enjoys brainstorming, organization, and incorporating research. If you have a speech or a presentation coming up, Kathryn also loves tutoring those types of assignments! Outside of school, Kathryn loves exploring new areas of Atlanta, having a good cup of coffee, catching a film at a local theater, and admiring her beautiful cat.

Namrata Dey Roy

I am from India. Right now, I am pursuing my PhD in English literature at English department of GSU. My main research concentration is postcolonial literature and theories. However, I am interested in cultural studies, diaspora, migration, identity, children’s literature and myths. I completed my bachelors (English Honors) from Presidency College, Calcutta and Masters from Calcutta University, Calcutta. I completed my M.Phil from Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta. I presented papers at several national and international conferences.

Lin Dong

Lin Dong is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition whose study focuses on professional and technical communication in transnational contexts. She completed her MA in Applied Linguistics in Beijing Language and Culture University, China, and came to Atlanta in 2012. Traveling transnationally gives Lin an opportunity to appreciate the world diversity. Her academic life in different cultures makes her well know the academic challenges (for example, writing effectively) that many L2 leaners face. With years of English composition teaching experience, Lin views herself as a helpful facilitator to improve students’ writing abilities.

Hannah Doyle

Hannah Doyle is a third-year MFA fiction candidate and a Paul G. Bowles Fellow. This summer, she was a 2018 Hambidge Fellow. She received her B.A. in Literature and Classics (Latin) from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2010. Her writing has appeared in Hobart, The Great Smokies Review, and on the Five Points blog. She is from the Outer Banks of North Carolina and northeast Texas. She enjoys helping tutees with both creative and academic writing from all disciplines.

Shannon Geary

Shannon graduated from University of Missouri–St. Louis in 2016 and is continuing her work in Lit Studies at Georgia State.  Her research interests currently focus on early 20th century detective fiction.  Shannon enjoys looking at all kinds of essays and is especially interested in flow, transitions, brainstorming, and focus although she can be persuaded to check out the grammatical minutia.  When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, Shannon enjoys TV, Diet Coke, hiking, folk music, and her cat.

Stephanie Graves

Stephanie is a graduate teaching assistant in the English PhD program. In addition to teaching composition, she is excited to work with students in a one-on-one environment to improve and refine writing skills. Her varied research interests include horror, the grotesque and the southern gothic, film and television, and queer and feminist studies. She is also a big fan of cats.

Allison Gunn

Allison was a nontraditional student as an undergraduate, returning to GSU in 2014. After over 20 years in the service industry working as a chef, she decided to change careers and finish her B.A. in English. She is now working towards her Master’s in English in the Rhetoric and Composition track here at GSU. She loves brainstorming and inspiring creativity in her students, and she is dedicated to helping people elevate their writing style. She is a big fan of saying more with less by using powerful descriptors and action verbs–bring on problems with passive voice!

Allison is the person to see for help with business and technical writing, as well as more traditional styles of scholarly writing and researching.

When not on the 24th floor of 25 Park Place, she volunteers with several rescue organizations in the metro area and dotes on her own beloved Standard Poodle, Bodhi. Allison is also a yoga teacher, avid sports fan (tennis, anyone?), and a blast to hang out with.


Drew Jordan

Drew Jordan has experience working with both undergraduate and graduate international students. He has spent the last four years teaching composition as well as working in writing centers. He enjoys working with brainstorming and idea generation as well as developing revisions across drafts.


Anastasia Latson

WNAI Liaison

Anastasia received her MA in English from the University of West Georgia. She is currently  a second-year PH.D. student whose research interests are the study of African-American women literature and theory. She loves working one-on-one with students. Her favorite tutoring sessions are those that focus on brainstorming, organization, and grammar.

As a WNAI liaison, Anastasia is also trained and prepared to help students who are submitting applications for national scholarships and fellowships.

Tom Lombardo

Tom Lombardo has been an editor for 44 years. He holds a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering,  M.S. in Journalism, and M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Tom was the founding editor-in-chief of in 1998. He currently selects and edits poetry selections as Poetry Series Editor for Press 53, Winston-Salem, NC. He is also currently a Ph.D. student in English. Tom is a good all-around collaborator with writers, but he specializes in the following topics: health, medicine, science, technology, business, and creative writing.

Bailey McAlister

Bailey holds an M.A. in Professional Writing and is currently studying Rhetoric and Composition in Georgia State’s PhD program. Her research focuses on food and wine rhetoric and the unique discourse and literacy of sommeliers. Bailey has been tutoring writing for four years and especially loves to work with anything pertaining to business or technical communication. Some of her favorite writing sessions are ones that start from scratch – she loves helping students discover their ideas and, more importantly, their ability to produce quality writing.

John McNabb

John McNabb is a second-year M.A student in Literary Studies, specializing in Modernism.  He has previously tutored a wide range of students – from children to adults – in a variety of topics including writing, test preparation, history, and math.  He enjoys teaching writing to all kinds of students: undergraduates who aren’t comfortable with writing, upperclassmen applying to M.A and PhD programs in any field, advanced writers who want a second pair of eyes on their work, foreign students who need help navigating the language, creative writers who need to brainstorm, and everyone in between.  In addition to his studies and tutoring, he likes to write uncanny stories, cook meals for his family, and go to bed with his Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

Wanjiku Ngugi

Wanjiku Ngugi is a doctoral candidate in Creative Writing with an emphasis in fiction. She has a B.A. from New York University and MFA from the University of Houston. She has taught composition and creative writing, as well as Development studies. In a previous life, Wanjiku was the director of the Helsinki African Film Festival and her work (fiction and non-fiction) has been published in several magazines and journals. She enjoys working with both academic as well as creative writing, and when Wanjiku is not in the Writing Studio, she attends art festivals and loves playing tag with her daughter.

Brianny Paulino

Brianny is a first-year M.A student studying Rhetoric and Composition. She recently graduated from Georgia State with her B.A in Applied Linguistics. Brian.ny is fluent in both English and Spanish and enjoys learning about different languages. She is excited to help students improve their writing and especially loves working on personal statements and other application essays. Outside of the Studio, Brianny enjoys going to the movies and spending time with friends and family.

Yeshey Pelzom

My name is Yeshey Pelzom and I am first-year PhD student. I received my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Agnes Scott College, GA and my MA from King’s College London in Medieval English. My specialty is gender and culture studies. I live in Stone Mountain, Georgia. I love to garden and to knit. I have been appreciated by students for my ability to help them with their personal statements.

Alec Prevett

Alec Prevett is pursuing an MFA in fiction (but could defect to poetry at any moment). As a tutor, Alec’s favorite sessions involve brainstorming work, literary analysis (especially when applied to other media, such as film) and, of course, creative writing.

Anna Sandy

Anna Sandy received her BA in English at the University of Memphis before moving to Atlanta, where she is now a fourth-year MFA poet in the Creative Writing program and the Editor in Chief of New South. Her poems and non-fiction can be found in journals such as SFWP The Quarterly, Muse/A, Santa Ana River Review, and others. In addition to creative writing, she teaches English Composition, talks a lot about her three cats, and sings the praises of Revolution Doughnuts. She lives in Cabbagetown with her fiance, the aforementioned cats, and a large supply of coffee and tea.

Shabana Sayeed

Hi! I am Shabana Sayeed and I am from India. I did my BA and MA from India and am currently pursuing my MA in literary studies at GSU. 3rd world literature, with an emphasis on subaltern and post-colonial literature, interests me immensely. I have a great affinity with grammar (including syntactical and structural technicalities) and creative writing. Also, if you’re an international student or L2, struggling to bridge between cultural and lingual dilemmas, come and see me to tear apart any squeamish thoughts and language barriers. Off-campus, I enjoy traveling, talking to my parents for hours, writing and reading novels extensively and dreaming about a utopian society completely free of discrimination!


Eli Schuett

Desk Volunteer Coordinator

Elisha Schuett is a first year MA student in Literary Studies. He loves reading comics and hopes to make them the subject of his thesis work. Elisha enjoys reading theory only slightly less than he enjoys reading fiction, and his favorite authors include Kurt Vonnegut, Shakespeare, Neil Gaiman, Karl Marx, Jean Baudrillard, and Bill Watterson (to name a few). Elisha plans on obtaining his PhD in Literary Studies and teaching at the university level (fingers crossed!).  Elisha feels comfortable helping students with a wide range of assignments, but especially enjoys working on bibliographies and research methods. He also loves basketball (NBA), Dungeons & Dragons, soccer, video games, and movies.


Harlow Shinholser

Harlow Shinholser is an up-and-coming fantasy, science fiction, and horror fiction writer and a doctoral student pursuing a degree in literary studies at Georgia State University. He is a solid conversation partner on the subjects of grammar, code-switching, and subject development. He is also just a super swell guy.


Ahngeli Shivam

WNAI Liaison

Ahngeli is a multilingual dual PhD student in American Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany and in English (concentration in Literary Studies) at GSU, where she also serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. As a humanities scholar with several years of experience in the academic and professional sector, she is passionate about cross-culture communication and research in the field of American Studies (particularly Asian American Studies, Television Studies, Gender Studies, and Life Writing). Furthermore, Ahngeli is highly interested in innovative ideas and startups. She loves to brainstorm, work on applications, personal statements, and working with L2 students. In her free time, Ahngeli likes to travel, eat cheesy fries, watch movies and series, sing along to songs she doesn’t know the lyrics to, and play with her chipmunk, Mangoberry.

As a WNAI liaison, Ahngeli is also trained and prepared to help students who are submitting applications for national scholarships and fellowships.

Valerie Smith

WNAI Liaison

Valerie Smith earned her B.A. in English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and her M.A. in Professional Writing at Kennesaw State University. She is now a PhD student in creative writing who loves grammar and formatting. Her research interests include cultural dialects, literacy, and community engaged writing. Valerie writes poetry to speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice, and she loves meeting new people in the conversational workshop space of the Writing Studio.

As a WNAI liaison, Valerie is also trained and prepared to help students who are submitting applications for national scholarships and fellowships.

Alan Swirsky

Alan Swirsky is a PhD student studying American Literature.  He earned his BA from Florida State University in 2010, his MA from Georgia Southern University in 2015, and has taught composition courses at Tallahassee Community College since 2016.  His Master’s Thesis focused on Modern and contemporary War Poetry, and his current research interests center on violence in American Literature.  This leads to spending quality time with fun afternoon beach reads like Moby Dick, Catch-22, and his personal favorite: Blood Meridian.  Alan enjoys analytical breakdowns of text, comparative literature studies, and exploratory/personal pieces.  He is happy to workshop any creative writing, especially poetry.  As both an instructor and a tutor, Alan sees his most important task as reaching out to those students who struggle with their English courses and establishing strong foundations so that they leave feeling not just capable of doing the work, but confident in their abilities.

Beth Topping

Beth Topping has taught writing to students of all backgrounds at universities and community colleges. She spent eight years teaching academic research and writing to undergraduate and graduate learners of English before joining the doctoral program in Rhetoric and Composition at Georgia State University. She is comfortable using both MLA and APA. She also has a math and science background from her undergraduate degree before joining the English department and has taught a number of classes focusing on writing in the sciences.

Nicole Turner

A born and raised Jersey girl, Nicole Turner is new to the Atlanta area. She received her B.A. in English from Hood College, in Frederick, Maryland, is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, and is currently pursuing her M.A. in English at GSU, with a focus in Literary Studies. While her enthusiasm is 20th century literature, specifically the novel, her indecision and fascination for learning find her enjoying stories and literature from numerous eras and genres. She is passionate about her studies in English and finds her strengths in streamlining arguments and making them more clear and effective, as well as brainstorming ideas and thoughts. When she is not working at the Writing Studio, taking classes, or working as a waitress, she enjoys life with her husband, her cats and dog, and Netflix, as well as spending time outdoors (and, if she is lucky, at Disney World).

Kerry Walsh

Kerry Jessica Walsh has a BA in English from The University of Georgia and an MA in Gothic Studies from St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, London. In her first year at GSU, Kerry is a PhD student and GTA in the English department, focusing on Literary Studies. She has been a tutor and teacher for ten years, specializing in ESL, but has done a little bit of everything! In her free time, Kerry enjoys sleeping and getting claw massages from her four cats.

Meng Yu

Meng is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Composition, focusing on Technical Communication, Digital media and Intercultural Communication. She used to teach Chinese to speakers of other languages and current she serves as a GTA in the English Department. She is interested in how language is used in diffident contexts and would like to help writers from different cultural backgrounds to be successful in writing. She enjoys working with various genres of writing, especially academic writings and documents. When she is outside the writing studio or the classroom, she enjoys reading, swimming and dancing with her cats.