Staff

Program Director | Assistant Director | Program Coordinator | Consultants | Greeters

The staff of the Center for Writing Excellence are dedicated to making your visit to the CWE a positive experience.

We welcome you and look forward to working with you!

Program Director

Dr. Melinda Knight
Professor and Director of the Center for Writing Excellence
knightm@mail.montclair.edu

PhD, New York University
MA, New York University
BA, Cornell University

Research/Interests: Rhetorical Theory and Practice, Writing Centers, Writing in the Disciplines, Computers and Composition, American Cultural Studies.

A scholar and practitioner, Professor Knight brings expertise in rhetorical theory and practice, business and professional communication, writing across the curriculum, and American cultural studies. She conducts undergraduate and graduate courses at Montclair State University and supervises student teachers. Additionally, she advises educational and governmental organizations on corporate communications topics and develops professional communication programs for a broad spectrum of clients in business, not-for-profit and governmental organizations. Professor Knight has been awarded grants from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Wallerstein Foundation, among others. She has also been the Editor of Business and Professional Communication Quarterly since 2010.

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Assistant Director

‌ Alicia Yi Remolde
CWE Assistant Director
remoldea@mail.montclair.edu

MA in English/Writing Studies concentration

Areas of Interest: Community writing projects, Women’s Studies, Korean and Japanese women’s literature, classic monster movies.

Before joining the CWE, Alicia enjoyed working for the Women's and Gender Studies Program. She always likes meeting students, faculty, and staff from across campus and learning about their interests. Alicia thinks stories and storytelling are a fascinating and powerful part of our lives, both in their hearing and telling. She encourages writers at all levels to make use of the CWE, for all kinds of writing. Alicia really likes Korean food, good books on rainy days, and spending time near the ocean.

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Program Coordinator

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Consultants

Alan Smith
Senior Consultant

MA - Montclair State University, English/Writing Studies concentration

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: composition writing, creative writing, song writing, creative arts

Extracurricular:  Music, Natural Building, visual arts, carpentry, organic farming, cooking

Alan is in The Porchistas, a very busy, Montclair-based, independent rock band. He spends several months of each year at Rancho Mastatal in a remote, old growth rain forest, teaching people how to build earthen structures and live sustainably.  

Alan enjoys being able to help students make their papers better while simultaneously improving their overall writing ability which is why he works in The Center for Writing Excellence.  He says, “The challenge of guiding writers to a better place, a more confident and empowered place in their writing is as rewarding today as it was when I first started. I thoroughly enjoy my job.”

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Alexis Antico
Consultant

Major: MA - English, American Literature Concentration
BA - Montclair State University, English; Journalism minor

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: American Gothic, Women’s Studies, and women writers

Extracurricular: Playing with her pittie Lulu, binge-watching TV shows, and gaming

Alexis received her BA in English with a minor in Journalism in 2014. She is currently working towards a MA in English, with a concentration in American Literature. As an undergraduate Alexis was published in MSU's literary magazine, The Normal Review, for poetry and creative nonfiction. In her spare time, Alexis writes for an online gaming magazine and runs a semi-active personal blog. She is excited to work with writers on improving their skills and confidence.

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Alice Freddi Beresin headshotAlice Freddi Beresin
Senior Consultant

MFA - Tyler School of Art
BA - Sarah Lawrence College
Graduate Certificate in Teaching Writing - Montclair State University

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: American and French Literature, Art and Art History, and Learning Disabilities

Extracurricular: Drawing, travel, reading, gardening and going to the theater

This is Alice's fourth year working at The CWE. Alice also tutors middle school, high school, and college students in composition, research, and study skills. She has worked with students on the Reading and Writing sections of the SAT and has helped high school seniors on college essays and applications. A number of Alice’s private clients have leaning differences. Alice currently freelances as an illustrator for private clients and has illustrated books for Prentice Hall, Inc., Jossey-Bass, and John Wiley & Sons. Additionally, Alice is on the board of directors of the off-Broadway theater company, VOICETheatre, where one of her duties is editing grants and promotional material.

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Alison Nolan
Consultant

MA - Montclair State University, English, Writing-Studies Concentration
BA - Montclair State University, English; Minor in Business
Certifications: Graduate Certificate in Teaching Writing, Montclair State University
Certificate of Eligibility: Teacher of English, State of New Jersey

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Business writing; creative non-fiction writing; writing through technology; writing through literature; grammar, proofreading and editing; MLA, APA, and Chicago styles; first-year and developmental writing; transitioning from high school to college; career writing and academic advising; reading, writing, and learning strategies across the curriculum

Extracurricular: Karaoke, yoga, cooking

Alison received her M.A. in English with a concentration in writing studies and her B.A. in English with a minor in Business from Montclair State. During her graduate career, Alison was a graduate assistant for the CWE and upon receipt of her M.A., she continued as a consultant. She returns after completing an appointment at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Alison has previously taught first-year writing at Montclair State, developmental reading and writing at Union County College, and English/Language Arts at the high-school level. In addition to the CWE, Alison also works in corporate education and training. She is excited to continue working with writers at her alma mater!

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Ann McKinstry Micou
Consultant

D. Litt - Drew University
MPS - The New School
BA - Mills College

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: American Literature

Ann’s work experience includes high-school English teacher; teacher of American lit at Pars College in Tehran, Iran; director of communications for two international nonprofit organizations in New York; and director of the South African Information Exchange at the Institute of International Education, also in New York. She has published three literary guides to fiction set in Vermont and two scholarly articles for Scribner’s American Writers series. Her dissertation topic is the relationship between place and destiny in the New Jersey-based fiction of Philip Roth, Richard Ford, and Junot Díaz.

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Camilla Finch
Consultant

BA - English at Barnard College

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: News writing for television, newspapers and magazines. Expertise in economic and business journalism.

Camilla has worked professionally as a journalist in both the television and print fields for 25 years.  She rose through the ranks to become a producer at ABC Network News working on the programs, “20/20”, “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” and “Business World”.  She specializes in writing about business and economic issues for both television and print. She is also a founding member of the Lydia Johnson Dance Company as well as a founding member of Youthnet, the after school program that serves the South Orange and Maplewood school district.

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Christie Calandrillo
Consultant

Major: MA - Clinical Psychology/School Psychology Certification

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Writing in Psychology, APA format/citations

Extracurricular: Spending time with family and friends, playing soccer, hiking, traveling, going to concerts, running 5ks for charity and eating delicious foods

Christie received her BA in Psychology from Felician College, where she played on the women's soccer team and served as a student ambassador.  During her graduate work, she is interested in researching the effects of anxiety on academic performance, as well as the intervention practices related to anxiety.  As an aspiring school psychologist, Christie has a passion for helping others succeed academically and looks forward to carrying this over into her work at the CWE.  Christie also enjoys the simple things in life--like making people smile and laugh whenever she can!

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Claire Davanzo
Consultant

Major: MA - English Literature, Concentration in British Literature
BA: University of Delaware, Secondary English Education
BA: University of Delaware, Music, Concentration in Voice

Certificates: Grades 7-12 English, New Jersey

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: British literature, fantasy and science fiction, grammar

Interests: Shakespeare, Austen, romantic comedies, choral music, Hamilton: An American Musical, iced coffees, chocolate, the New York Yankees, succulent cacti.

Claire graduated cum laude from the University of Delaware in 2015 with BAs in Secondary English Education and Music, and as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Fraternity. She began her pursuit of her MA in English Literature at Montclair State University in Fall 2015, and will graduate in Spring 2017. Recently, she finalized her first academic publication, titled "Indifference, Neglect, and Outright Dislike: Examining Sources of and Responses to Institutionalized Oppression in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," in the collection Fantasy Literature: Challenging Genres (Sense Publishers). When free time allows, Claire enjoys participating in choral ensembles, reading for pleasure, binge-watching just about anything, and spending too much time on Twitter. She is thrilled to begin working with the writers of the CWE.

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Emily Lagg
Consultant

MA – Montclair State University, English/American Literature concentration

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: American literature, cinema studies

Extracurricular: Emily enjoys old movies, loud music, traveling, and reading.

Emily is an adjunct professor at Montclair State University, where she teaches in the First Year Writing Program. She has taught both traditional and hybrid studio courses. With the CWE, she also facilitates community writing groups with senior citizens and teenagers, and presented on her findings recently at the Conference on Community Writing at University of Colorado, Boulder. She received her MA in English from Montclair State, and her undergraduate degree in Literature from American University.

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Deanna Mattia
Consultant

Major: MA - English
BA - Montclair State University, English; Creative Writing minor

Subject/Areas of Expertise: Creative Writing, Secondary English Education, and American
Literature

Extracurricular: Listening to country music in the car, long nights binge-watching all things Bon Jovi related on the I-pad, Saturday mornings drinking coffee and watching Food Network, cooking and baking (chocolate is the solution to everything), traveling and taking nature photos, and writing short stories on rainy days.

Deanna followed her dream of attending Montclair State University where she graduated with a BA in English and a minor in Creative Writing. She also spent time in the Education program, but is currently exploring the vast career opportunities English has to offer. Deanna is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and published a short story in their literary magazine. She dreams of one day publishing a novel, and exploring the beauty of Ireland. Deanna is excited to continue being a part of the Red Hawk community as she pursues an M.A in English. She is passionate about a career in writing and helping writers improve in the CWE.

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Emily Stypolkowski
Consultant

Major: MAT - Montclair State University, Certifications in English/Special Education
BA - Boston University, English/Journalism

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: News writing, feature writing, British literature

Extracurricular: Reading cheesy romance novels, jamming to One Direction in my Honda Civic, playing Lego Marvel and/or Batman on the WiiU with my right-hand man Liam, tweeting nonsense, falling in love with foreign soccer players, and living it up with friends and family

Emily earned her B.A. in English and B.S. in Journalism from Boston University in 2012. Since then, she has spent the past three years working as a nanny for three wonderful, soccer-crazed boys. In January 2014, she was accepted into the Teacher Education program at Montclair State and hopes to find herself teaching high school English sometime in the near future. Writing has always been a passion for Emily, and she is excited to begin working as a consultant at the CWE. She hopes to instill confidence in writers and help make writing a positive and fulfilling experience for all.

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Gloria Lugo
Consultant

MA – Montclair State University, English/American Literature

Subjects/Areas of Expertise:  American/Cultural Studies, Writing/Revision, Editing, Presentation/Layout

Extracurricular: Reading, writing, exercising, attending theater (dramas not musicals), traveling, and scavenging for chocolate

Gloria received her BA in English from Montclair State University, graduating summa cum laude and earning an honors distinction in English for a research thesis in American Studies. Before transferring to MSU, she earned an AA in Fine Arts/Graphic Design. She is currently working toward an MA in English, concentrating in American Literature and Writing Studies. Gloria is also a proposal manager who leads multidisciplinary teams in working collaboratively to write cohesive, focused, and persuasive proposals and business development materials.

Gloria is excited to begin her third year as a consultant with the Center for Writing Excellence and looks forward to working with all writers across the MSU community.

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Julie Candio Sekel
Consultant

MA – Montclair State University, English/Writing Studies concentration

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: first-year composition, application essays, scholarship essays, professional writing, MLA/APA citations

Extracurricular: spending time with family and friends, exercising, consuming loads of candy (to balance out the exercise), taking long drives, and singing loudly and poorly in the car

Julie received her BA in Communication Arts with a Writing concentration and Literature minor from Ramapo College of NJ and her MA in English from Montclair State University in 2013. She worked in the Center for Reading and Writing at Ramapo College for five years, and has worked in the CWE for the past three years. Currently, Julie holds a full-time position as an assistant development editor in the Digital Custom Solutions group at John Wiley & Sons, where she manages curriculum development projects. She also teaches Critical Reading and Writing 102 at Ramapo College and serves as the editorial assistant for Business and Professional Communication Quarterly.

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Kim Silva-Martinez
Consultant

Major: MA - English
BA - Montclair State University, English

 

 

 

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Kristine Witko headshotKristine Witko
Senior Consultant

MAT – Montclair State University, Teaching English as a Second Language

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Working with multilingual writers, creative writing

Extracurricular: Traveling whenever possible, weekends in NYC/Philly, reading, writing, volunteering, language exchanges

As an undergrad, Kristine was an English major at La Salle University. She originally planned on becoming an author or going into journalism until she started tutoring adult ESL students. The experience was so fulfilling that she decided to teach ESL instead. After receiving her Bachelor's degree, Kristine went on to Montclair State University, where she received her MAT in Teaching English as a Second Language. After graduating, she spent 7 months in South America improving her Spanish and Portuguese and volunteering as an ESL teacher in Rio de Janeiro. She has been working at the CWE for over 5 years.

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Laura Lubrano
Senior Consultant

MA - Montclair State University, English/Writing Studies concentration
BA - Rutgers University

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Secondary English Education, Creative Writing and First-Year College Writing. More recently, Laura has been interested in examining the transition students make from high school to college writing and how teachers can help facilitate this process.

Extracurricular: Traveling to new places, baking, reading, learning how to garden, shopping and, of course, writing.

Laura began her English studies at Rutgers University where she graduated with a double major in English and History. While the focus of her study as an undergraduate was Renaissance literature and history, this interest shifted after working as a Graduate Assistant at Montclair State University. After tutoring her first students in 2002, Laura knew that teaching and working with student writers was her passion. Since her time as a graduate student at Montclair State, Laura has taught in several high schools and colleges. She enjoys consulting at the CWE because she has the opportunity to discuss literature and help students develop as writers without grading papers!

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Nancy Mendez-Booth
Consultant

MFA - Fiction, Rutgers University
MA - English Critical Theory, Rutgers University
BA - English, Amherst College

Nancy enjoys helping writers grow in confidence, independence, and clarity. She is a fiction writer, and teaches writing and Latina/o literature and culture at colleges and universities in New York and New Jersey. Nancy’s work has appeared in print and online, including Latina, Poets & Writers, Salon, The Jet Fuel Review, KGB Bar Literary Magazine, Philadelphia Stories, and Wordrunner eBooks. Nancy has read and performed at various Northeast venues including Cornelia Street Cafe, The Moth, and The Midtown International Theatre Festival. She posts regularly on her blog.
Nancy enjoys athletic pursuits, the NYT Sunday crossword, hot coffee, all varieties of rice, peanut M&Ms, Roz Chast, and Morrissey.

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‌Nikki Bosca
Senior Consultant

MA - Montclair State University, English with American Literature concentration
BA - Rider University, English with Creative Writing concentration

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Environmental Literature/Ecocriticism, Creative writing, 19th century American Nature Writing

Extracurricular: Reading, writing, yoga, cooking & baking, hiking, and spending time with her cat.

In addition to her work as a writing consultant for the Center for Writing Excellence, Nikki also teaches college writing in the First-Year Writing Program here at Montclair State University. After receiving her MA in American Literature from Montclair State University, Nikki has worked as an Assistant Instructor for the university’s EOF program and taught College Writing at Pace University in NY. She also presented at the 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication with fellow CWE colleagues. Previously, she worked at Rider University’s Writing Lab for two years as a Student Writing Tutor, and is certified with the College Reading and Learning Association. While pursuing her Masters at Montclair State, Nikki was lucky enough to be a Graduate Assistant and began working as a writing consultant in the CWE at the start of her program. Combining those experiences, this is her ninth year working with writers in a writing center, and she just can’t seem to get enough!

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Norman DeFilippo headshotNorman DeFilippo
Senior Consultant

MA - Montclair State University, English with British Literature concentration
BA - Boston College

Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Poetry, Samuel Beckett

Extracurricular: Listening to all sorts of music while sitting in traffic, sitting in traffic, complaining about sitting in traffic, reminiscing about having time to play guitar and bass, walking Molly, his American Bull Dog Terrier, while avoiding bears, watching the night sky sink into the soil from behind a desk, breaking things, and fixing things that break.

Norman began his undergraduate studies at William Paterson University, where he was Editor-In-Chief of the college newspaper and the literary magazine. After two years at William Paterson, Norman transferred to Boston College where he spent most of his time reading poetry and waiting for the T to take him someplace warm. In 2001 he graduated with a B.A. in English literature.

During the fall 2009 and spring 2010 semesters Norman was a graduate assistant at Montclair State University. He aided four professors with three projects. He spent half of his time conducting research at the New York Public Library and the other half of his time performing online research. In the spring of 2012, Norman completed his M.A. thesis on three, twentieth-century, Irish novels and their depictions of the home, Irishness, and their characters’s descents into various underworlds.

In addition to his work at the writing center, Norman is also an Adjunct Professor at Essex County Community College where he teaches a variety of writing and literature courses. Norman enjoys working in the writing center and loves working with students on their writing. 

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Greeters

Jamie Abarca
Head Greeter

Jamie’s warm and familiar face has been part of the CWE team since the summer of 2010. As an undergraduate, Jamie worked for the English Department and the Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education. She graduated in January of 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. She’s still deciding on the lifelong course as either a coffee lover or tea drinker; she hopes this will be the defining tool in choosing a career path. Jamie loves to spark conversation wherever she goes. In her spare time, she enjoys reading pop literature and baking. Jamie hopes to join the CWE team as a consultant during her graduate studies.

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Cassie Sardo
Greeter

Cassie is an English major in her senior year at Montclair State University. She is enthusiastic about learning and always strives to get the best out of her education. Cassie is also a student assistant at the ADP Center for Learning Technologies and the chief copy editor of The Montclarion. In her free time, she loves watching films, reading novels, and solving crossword puzzles. Some of her other interests include psychology, music, and coffee.

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Taylor Randolph
Greeter

Taylor is a junior at Montclair and a BFA Acting major. She is an out-of-state student, hailing from northeastern Connecticut. When she's not pouring over plays by Ibsen, Beckett, Chekhov and the like, she can be found with a coffee and any of the seven Harry Potter books. Taylor also likes playing ukulele, doing improv comedy, watching movies, and working out. 
              
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Brittany Aponte
Greeter

Brittany is a sophmore at MSU majoring in sociology with the hopes of entering the teachers education program. She enjoys doing DIY projects from Pinterest, reading, and indulging in Netflix shows. In addition to working with the CWE, Brittany is a student host for the Red Hawk for a Day and Overnight experience with the admissions department. She is extremely involved in social justice issues and hopes to make a change in the world.

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Kelsea Rowan
Greeter

Kelsea is a senior English major with a passion for books, learning, and helping others. She is minoring in LGBTQ Studies and has a special love for American literature. Kelsea is a makeup enthusiast and an avid fan of '80s movies and music. She is a proud part of Montclair State's Greek life and is a Peer Educator in the LGBTQ Center. When she is not tending to her busy schedule, she can be found napping or drinking coffee by the gallon.

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