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 both writing (W) and public speaking (PS); some also work on visual communication (VC). Keep these codes in mind when making appointments online (each tutor’s name is marked accordingly there, too).

Our professional staff members have particular roles and expertise. Maya and Peter work with multilingual students or English Language Learners (ELL). Emily Cornell du Houx works with graduate students on the written thesis (GWT). Meredith and Jen 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.”
Emily Cornell du Houx
Graduate Written Thesis Faculty Mentor

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.
Rhea Malani
BFA Textiles
Center Assistant

I’ve always loved the George R.R. Martin quote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” Books, in my opinion, are as essential as air, for knowledge will always be our greatest weapon and our best ally. I love being part of A&L because I believe everyone should have access to people who will help them better their knowledge. I work at the front desk every Sunday, so come say “hi.”
Joseph Allegro
BFA Graphic Design,
LAS Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS, VC

Analysis and the communication of ideas are great loves of mine as an artist. It is this very “RISD love” that has brought me to the Center for Arts & Language, where I enjoy collaborating just as I do daily in studio and critique. My strong suits are in structuring and analysis, and I most enjoy writing that is creative and/or analytical. I’m ready and willing to work through anything with you!
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

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.
Chantal Feitosa DeSouza
BFA Film/Animation/Video
Tutor: W, PS

Growing up as a bilingual speaker, I developed a passion for words and communication from early on. Writing has played a crucial role in shaping my personal voice and creative process, and I’m really passionate about bridging the gaps of both cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary learning at A&L. My interests lie in formal/literary analysis and creative writing. I’m also happy to help with any of your research, brainstorming, or proofreading needs.
Sydney Foreman
BFA Textiles, NCSS Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS

I like writing because I like reading. As James Baldwin so eloquently put it, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” I’m an avid reader of memoirs, which is probably why I particularly enjoy learning about others through their nonfiction writing at A&L. I love working on any stage of artist bios, résumés, cover letters, or any other form of personal writing.
Olive Godlee
BFA Sculpture, Gender, Race, and Sexuality Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS

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.
Catherine Huang
BFA Illustration, LAS Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS

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

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.
Rebecca Levitan
MFA Painting
Tutor: W, PS

Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I had the great fortune to interact with many cultures and many Englishes. This experience expanded my world and inspired my studies in foreign languages and linguistics. I found writing to be similarly world expanding, and my interests have prompted me to approach it with an attention to language. As a writer, I have a wide range of experience including academic writing in many subjects, professional applications, and creative writing.
Linda Liu
BFA Illustration
Tutor: W, PS

As a former “awkward quiet kid,” writing has played a pivotal role in building both my academic voice and my personal identity. As I’ve learned ways to make my writing more effectively represent myself and my ideas, I’ve also gained confidence in expressing myself in classes. As a tutor, this experience helps me relate to and assist students currently struggling with those same issues. I most enjoy working with academic writing and personal responses, but above all, I love helping others amplify their voices within and outside the classroom.
Jiaju Ma
BFA Industrial Design
BA Applied Mathematics, Brown
Tutor: W, PS

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

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 Matthia
MFA Sculpture
Tutor: W, PS

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.
Marla Mrowka
MDes Interior Architecture
Tutor: W, PS, VC

I love the organization of a project and how even the roughest outline can drive a paper, a story, or the way a poster reads. It’s amazing how three bullet points pulled out of your tired brain right before bed can focus exactly what you want to accomplish in a project, and why. I joined the Center for Arts & Language to help my peers get from thought to final outcome, and everything in between.
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.
Christina Qi
BFA Illustration
Tutor: W, PS

I am always fascinated by how writing and language can be used to pull apart and better understand the world around us. My interests include literary analysis, poetry, short prose, and formal analysis. I love work from different cultures and will do
my best to help you develop your own fluidity and unique voice. I truly enjoy working collaboratively with other students on their craziest ideas and am open to whatever
stage of the writing process you may be at.
Aaron+Simmons grayscale.jpg
Aaron Simmons
MID Industrial Design
Graduate Thesis Research Assistant & Tutor

My personal practice has spanned the fields of philosophy, poetry, fiction, and graphic novels. Currently, I support the work at the Center for Arts & Language through my investigation of the RISD Graduate Thesis. I am interested in the transformative power of long form writing and research, and how it can lead to deeply informed professional practice.
Greta Skagerlind
BFA Graphic Design,
LAS Concentrator
Tutor: W, PS, VC

Words and the contexts they live in are major forces in my graphic design work thus far at RISD. This, combined with my love of reading, writing, and language (and the many roles they play in art and design) compelled me to work at A&L. I most enjoy working with literary and formal analysis, creative writing, and personal and rhetorical essays, but I always enjoy collaborative conceptualizing and revising.