Who We Are

A&L is staffed largely by peer tutors — undergraduate and graduate students with strong communication skills who also take part in ongoing training in tutoring theory and practice. (Interested in becoming a tutor? See links to undergrad posting and grad assistantship posting.) In the bios below, you’ll learn about each tutor’s major, interests, and focus areas. Most tutors work on writing (W), public speaking (PS), and visual communication (VC), unless otherwise indicated. Keep these codes in mind when making appointments online; they appear next to names of tutors who don’t work across all areas.

Our professional staff members have particular roles and expertise. Maya Krinsky and Peter Carney work with multilingual students or English Language Learners (ELL). Anne West works with graduate students on the written thesis (GWT). Meredith Barrett and Jen Liese consult on all topics; Jen’s special focus is student publications (PUB). Maya, Meredith, and Jen have some availability beyond noted hours on the schedule; e-mail directly for an appointment.

Not sure who to turn to? Call or e-mail our main contacts at the bottom of the page. For more information about English language support for Multilingual Learners, email multilingual@risd.edu

Jennifer Liese

Before coming to RISD, I was an editor at Artforum and Cabinet, wrote about art, and worked in museums and galleries. I recently edited an anthology of artist's writings called Social Medium: Artists Writing, 2000–2015 (Paper Monument, 2016). At RISD, I've taught courses on graduate thesis writing, professional practices, and experimental publishing. Whether working with individual students or on institutional publications, I try to provide tools and inspiration for artists and designers to share their work and perspectives with wide and varied publics.
Meredith Barrett
Assistant Director for Writing
& Related Literacies

My background in literature, education, and writing center theory and practice all contribute to my work here: training and mentoring peer tutors, providing in-class workshops, and tutoring RISD students. I focus tutor education on respecting and appreciating others’ experiences and strengths and on developing tutors as communicators, scholars, and leaders. Tutoring centers are sites of empowering collaboration, a quality I hope to carry into all my work.
Maya Krinsky
Assistant Director for
Multilingual Learning

With a background in both art and language learning, I organize and provide support for multilingual learners. I am trained in communicative and experience-based pedagogy by the International Language Institute of Massachusetts, and have taught English and Spanish for adults in part-time, intensive, workplace and university programs. I engage students with the perspective that relationships are built through language, communication involves cultural awareness, and language is connected to identity. I am available to consult on student learning.
Peter Carney
English Language Learning Specialist

As a lifelong traveler, writer, and ESL teacher — in the US and abroad — my particular fascination with writing is the interplay between words and music. Like music, language has rhythm, inflection, tone, color, flow, themes and variations, punctuation, and … pauses. My goal is to help the student writer bring out the musicality in their writing through such simple devices as inserting transitions and inverting syntax to help one sentence flow to the next. With both language and music, the “how” of expressing an idea or thought is often as important as the “what.”
anne west_bw.jpg
Anne West
Graduate Written Thesis Faculty Mentor

As a faculty member in Graphic Design and the Graduate Commons, A&L faculty mentor, and author of Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work, I support students across disciplines in conceptualizing and writing their Master's thesis. Using a process of appreciative inquiry, we work together to draw out, clarify, and nurture the root of your work, locate and build ideas, develop a voice, and give meaningful form to the thesis document.
Emily Cornell du Houx
Graduate Written Thesis Faculty Mentor (Spring only)

As part of my art/writing practice, this summer I started slowly traveling down the full length of the Mississippi River on a boat that I built. As I move south I work with other artists, writers, musicians, and scientists to transform the vessel into a multimedia portrait of the waterway. I wrote my own thesis as a Sculpture MFA student and have since been teaching writing courses and workshops at RISD. I love seeing artists who think that writing “isn’t their thing” discover that words are an exciting material to add to a creative practice.
Jennifer Martinez
BFA Sculpture
Center Assistant

Since I was a kid, I've had to redirect the language I depend on to survive, from Spanish to English. Translating my thoughts into a foreign language has always been a challenge. Which is why I enjoy working at A&L, where I'm introduced to different ways to strengthen my English language skills and better communicate with others.
Maura Clark
MDes Interior Architecture
Tutor: PS

I’ve always loved to tell stories—it comes from my parents asking at the dinner table each night, “What made you laugh today?” My love of storytelling grew into an appreciation for public speaking. Since 2013, I’ve been tutoring individuals in public speaking and leading workshops on successful brainstorming and group presentations. I love to instill confidence in students' speaking abilities, and in turn empower them to tell their own stories.
Dylan Everett
MFA Photography
Tutor: W, PS, VC

Research, reading, and writing are essential to my studio practice. Writing about your own work can be one of the hardest — but often most rewarding — aspects of being an artist or designer. As a tutor at A&L, I hope to help you write about and analyze your own work, learn how to situate it in an art historical context, and practice advocating for yourself in any sort of professional submission or application.
Wen Zhuang
BFA Photography; LAS Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS, VC

I grew up reading, and a love for writing naturally formed through this habit. As a tutor, I’m particularly excited about helping writers embrace the discomfort and intimidation that writing often brings. My strengths lie in writing for publication, creative non-fiction, and various forms of the essay; additionally, I’m comfortable assisting with cover letters, artist statements, and resumes. I’d love to learn from you, and I welcome all kinds of oddities.
Marsha Niemeijer
BFA Illustration; LAS Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS, VC

I’ve always been passionate about all forms of storytelling and communication, whether through art, film, or the written or spoken word. I believe that everyone has something important to say, and I love the process of bringing that to life. My specialties lie in public speaking, presentations, formal/literary analyses, and creative writing. I am endlessly interested in conversations about literature, art, and film—and I am prepared to enthusiastically listen to every idea!
Olive Godlee
BFA Sculpture; Gender, Race, and Sexuality Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS, VC

As an artist, writer, collector, and empath, I value words and stories greatly. Learning through communication, storytelling,
and conversation is incredibly important for me in my work and life. I love to collaborate, and especially enjoy working with others at the brainstorming and drafting stage. At A&L, I look forward to working with formal and literary analysis, creative writing, and artist bios.
Cat Huang
BFA Illustration, LAS Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS, VC

From a young age, I understood that artists were thinkers who connect intellectually with others. As a visual artist, I find my ability to speak and write knowledgeably is essential in developing and supporting my work. At A&L, my specialties lie in formal analysis, critique, and public speaking, and I am also passionate about fiction writing. I look forward to seeing how different ways of communicating can give form to your thought and creativity.
Shirley Lau
BFA Illustration
Tutor: W, PS, VC

The written word has played
an integral part in my studio practice. From creating animations inspired by literary work to experimenting with typographic imagery, I love exploring language in its many forms. My interests in writing lie in literary and formal analysis, and I particularly enjoy the beginning stages of a writing project that involves research, brainstorming, and organization.
Chloe Wilwerding
MFA Printmaking
Tutor: W, PS, VC

My creative process relies heavily on using text from a variety of disciplines to clarify and complicate my ideas. I am interested in drawing from my liberal arts background to help you develop a writing process that serves as yet another tool for understanding and expanding your creative work. I am most interested in research and exploring written forms that an arts-based research process can take.
Jessina Leonard
MFA Photography
Tutor: W, PS, VC

Writing is how I access ideas and develop opinions and it has always been an integral part of my own studio practice. Like Flannery O’Connor said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” From artist statements to formal analysis and from poetry to research papers, I love brainstorming topics, clarifying content, and helping students find the right structure and organization to communicate their ideas successfully.
Jiaju Ma
BFA Industrial Design
BA Applied Mathematics, Brown
Tutor: W, PS, V

Writing has been an essential part of my academic and creative life. I use it to brainstorm, to express, to record, and more. English itself has its own beauty, and my process of acquiring it through Chinese has been a long but enriching adventure. Thus, I am more than happy to accompany you in your own journey of writing.
Fred Mathelier
BFA Film/Animation/Video
Tutor: W, PS, VC

I believe stories are fantastic machines that generate knowledge, empathy, and insight, given only a modest donation of time and attention. Although I love playing with the pieces that compose stories, the real fun begins when we write about how they work, e.g. in essays. If you need to refine an existing draft of your next persuasive/expository literary analysis, research paper, or class presentation, I’m your man.
Isabel Mattia
MFA Sculpture
Tutor: W, PS, VC

Having worked in a gallery after college, I have lots of experience workshopping other artists' cover letters, résumés, and artist statements, as well as writing curatorial essays and press releases. Now, I use writing to work through ideas for my sculpture practice. I'm especially interested in helping with brainstorming and getting started, using writing to break through creative blocks, writing artist statements, and formal and literary analysis.
Cathryn Jasterzbski
MFA Jewelry & Metalsmithing
Tutor: W, PS, VC

My previous degrees in Fine Arts and Education have provided me with many opportunities to engage with diverse learners and makers. There is nothing that I enjoy more than to support others in reviewing papers and organizing presentations. At A&L, I hope to engage with students in collaborative ways that support their writing and simultaneously allow me to learn more about my community.
Marcus Peabody
MFA Graphic Design
Tutor: VC

I became interested in visual communication at age twelve, when my mother handed me a copy of Müller Brockmann’s The Grid System. I like adapting processes from across disciplines — architecture, painting and everything in between — and putting them to work as graphic design tools. I’m excited to help you create a visual tone that is unique and specific, and reinforces your written and visual work.

Doi Kim

BFA Industrial Design; HPSS Concentrator
Peer Tutor
My love of storytelling stems from my desire to communicate my thoughts and experiences effectively. Writing has always been the medium of choice for me to communicate my voice, and it has been an empowering and enriching learning experience so far. As a tutor at A&L, I aspire to help others express their own unique voice. My interests are in literary/formal analyses, poetry, and philosophical essays.
Laura de Baldeón
MFA Graphic Design
Tutor: W, PS, VC

I have always loved language as an artistic form, a love that led me to Comparative Literature, then to Graphic Design. As a former literature student, I have been trained to find threads within others’ literary and critical texts, putting them in conversation with each other and the culture surrounding them. Now, I truly enjoy helping people to find and follow the internal logic of their work, collaborating with them to articulate ideas that inspire.
Derek Russell
BArch Architecture; Nature/Culture/Sustainability Studies Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS, VC

As someone who grew up in
the Colorado Rocky Mountains, surrounded by nature, I have always had a love for the environment. This passion has seeped into my studio and intellectual practice, inspiring me to tell relevant stories. Whether via history, science, or the social sciences, I enjoy composing the personal narrative apparent in any situation and look forward to helping you do the same.
Everett Epstein
MFA Graphic Design
Tutor: W, PS, VC

Drawing from my background in English, philosophy, and teach-ing, I enjoy helping students refine the messy process of thinking through text. I also love exploring the graphic dimension of writing, treating the written word as an aesthetic form, and coaxing new visual elements out of text. Feel free to bring me your visual communication questions and independent creative pieces—or talk to me about NBA basketball, Jacques Rancière, or Basset Hounds (three of my favorite subjects).
Thomas Wilder
MFA Photography
Tutor: W, PS, VC

Through my engagement with philosophy, theory, and literature, I look to investigate aesthetic values, desire, and the everyday. As someone who has an obsession with conversation, the brainstorming phase interests me most because ideas at this stage are most open to change. Artist statements, academic essays, and theory-driven arguments are my specialty. If you're looking to test for logical consistency, hidden motives, and overall clarity, I'd love to help.
Shelly Nieto
BFA Textiles? (still deciding); CTC Concentrator
Center Assistant

I used to have difficulty explaining myself. I could never seem to say what I wanted, and much less know how to put it on paper. Thankfully, I had teachers who helped me figure out how to present my thoughts coherently—something I believe is crucial. I appreciate working at A&L so I can further develop my writing and public speaking skills, but most importantly, I am excited to represent the front desk.