Sunday, September 15, 2019

At Trinity and around the world: The Head Writing Associates

Need help on papers, lab reports and other writing assignments? Try visiting the Writing Center for a change. The Writing Center has trained Writing Associates that can help students with every part of the writing process including generating ideas, improving theses and organization. This year, there are three locations where students can receive help from a Writing Associate: the main writing center at 115 Vernon, the library and the NUTT/MCEC center in room 183. The main location is open Monday through Thursday from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm, and 6:30 to 9:30 pm, while the NUTT center is open on Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and the library is open 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Tuesdays. Students can make a 30- minute or hour long appointment online at


Every year, the Director chooses three head Writing Associates who serve as a liaison between the other Writing Associates and the Director. They have monthly meetings with Dir. O’Donnell to discuss operations, improvements and outreach initiatives of the Writing Center. As well, the head Writing Associates co-edit the Writing Associates’ literary journal “115 Vernon,” lead monthly professional development training meetings with 10 to 12 Writing Associates, plan the spring dinner to welcome new Writing Associates and bid farewell to graduating Associates, and make presentations in classrooms about the Writing Center.


Taylor Denson ’13


Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Taylor Denson is a senior President’s Fellow majoring in public policy and law. He has been a Writing Center associate since the fall of his junior year. During his first two years at Trinity, Denson helped many of his peers with writing and always felt that writing came naturally to him, so he applied to the Writing Associates program after seeing an advertisement for it. Denson says that his overall goal when tutoring is to make the student a better writer and not only focus on the paper at hand.

“Looking at a student’s paper helps give the tutor a greater picture of what the student is like as a writer,” says Denson about helping the student grow as a writer. His favorite part about being an associate is the genuine feeling he gets after he has successfully helped a student with an assignment and that the student can now leave the Writing Center confident in their paper.

Denson says that all students, regardless of their age or writing ability, should come to the Writing Center as it is always helpful to have an extra set of eyes read over a paper. The Writing Center is not just for first years. Outside of the Writing Center, Denson serves as the president of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, is a member of the Trinity Sport’s Network and is currently working on his thesis about the Major League Baseball’s anti-trust exemption. He plans to attend law school after graduation.


Emma Sternlof ’13


Serving as a tutor since the fall of her sophomore year, Emma Sternlof is a history major and religion minor from New London, CT. On campus, she is co-president of Trinity’s co-ed feminist sorority Zeta Omega Eta, serves as a global ambassador for the Trinity Rome Campus, and is a member of the Fred Pfeil Community Project. Sternlof became involved in the Writing Associates program because she wanted to improve her writing skills while giving back to the Trinity community. When tutoring a student, her main goal is to help the student produce the best possible writing that they can when working on a given assignment. When they leave the Writing Center, Sternlof hopes that she has given the student tools that they can use in the future for paper writing. Her favorite part about being a tutor is how she feels when a student comes in worried about a paper and then has a successful session with her and leaves the Writing Center feeling confident in their work and ready to revise their paper. Sternlof says that writing tutors are not only available to look over drafts, but can also help students with the whole process of writing including brainstorming, pre-writing, structure and grammar. “It’s great to have another pair of eyes look over a student’s writing, and tutors are trained to be that other pair of eyes,” says Sternlof. While she is unsure of her future career path, she feels that strong writing skills and the ability to synthesize information are important in any career.


Elizabeth Preysner ’13


In between her busy schedule of cross country, playing the flute in the jazz band ensemble and working for the first year program, Elizabeth Preysner, from Wethersfield, CT, is in her second year of tutoring at the Writing Center and is a double major in English Literature and Hispanic Studies. When Preysner became a first year mentor, she decided that it would be good to learn formal writing skills and how to critique papers, so she applied for the Writing Associates program. As well, Preysner has always felt that her writing was strong and she wanted to be in a position where she could help other students improve her papers. “Joining the Writing Center to me was a mix of practicality and interest,” says Presyner. She says that her favorite part about being a tutor is how much she learns by reading a variety of papers and assignments that come to the Writing Center. By seeing so many papers, Presyner says that it is interesting to see how students take different approaches to writing. When tutoring, Presyner has a short term goal of giving the student a concrete way to improve their paper, and a long term goal of teaching the student how to better understand the writing process as a whole.  “Bringing a paper to the Writing Center is a great way for students to get a trained, not biased person to give them feedback,” she says. Presyner hopes to have a career in education, possibly as a professor of English, or in academic administration.


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