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

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.


Assistant Director

‌ Alicia Yi Remolde
CWE Assistant Director

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.


Program Coordinator

Nikki Bosca
CWE Program Coordinator

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 and the Program Coordinator 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 eighth year working with writers in a writing center, and she just can’t seem to get enough!



Alan Smith
Senior Consultant

MA - Montclair State University, English/Writing Studies concentration

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.”


Alexis Antico ... coming soon







Alice Freddi Beresin headshotAlice Freddi Beresin
Senior Consultant

Graduate Certificate in Teaching Writing - Montclair State University

MFA - Tyler School of Art

BA - Sarah Lawrence College

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.


Alison Nolan

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: First-year and developmental writing; business writing; creative non-fiction writing; writing through technology; the transition from high school to college; proofreading and editing; 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 completed an appointment as a Graduate Assistant for the CWE. Upon receipt of her M.A., she continued at the CWE as a consultant. She returns after completing an appointment as the Writing and Learning Strategies Specialist at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Freshman Intensive Studies Learning Support Program. She has previously taught first-year writing at Montclair State as well as developmental reading and writing at Union County College. Alison has additional experience teaching high-school English. She is excited to return to her alma mater and to be working with writers at the CWE!


Ann McKinstry Micou

D. Litt, Drew University

MPS, The New School

BA, Mills College

Area of interest: 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.


Camilla Finch

BA in English at Barnard College

Area/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.


Christie Calandrillo

Major: MA in 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!


Claire Davanzo ... coming soon







Emily Lagg

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.


Deanna Mattia ... coming soon







Emily Stypolkowski

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

BA: Boston University, English/Journalism

Subjects/Area 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.


Gloria Lugo

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.


Julie Candio Sekel

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.


Kim Silvia-Martinez ... coming soon







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.


Laura Lubrano
Senior Consultant

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

Subject/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!


Lauren Schmidt ... coming soon







Meagan DeJong

Major/Concentration: MA – Montclair State University, English/Writing Studies concentration

Areas of Interest: Composition writing in process and practice, British Literature, Ancient Literature, Shakespeare, Business writing and editing

Extracurricular: music, reading and writing (of course), annoyingly editing friend's text messages, building blocks and racing Matchbox cars with my son, Jack, the Zen-ness of chopping veggies and creating meals, and that thing I sometimes (not often) do called "sleeping in on Sundays".

Meagan received her B.A. in English Literature in 2007 from Centenary College in Hackettstown, graduating summa cum laude.  For the past 7 years, Meagan has been employed in the field of business writing and editing, both freelance and professionally.  Meagan has also spent much of her time volunteering, for various causes ranging from domestic abuse to homelessness.  Meagan has now returned to her passion of studying English Literature, and is delighted to be both engaged and learning while also having the opportunity to help others.

Meagan is very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to consult at the Center for Writing Excellence as a Graduate Assistant.  She hopes that her knowledge and empathy will help writers to grow and feel more confident.


Nancy Mendez-Booth ... coming soon







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 now 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. 





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.


Cassie Sardo

Cassie is an English major in her junior year at Montclair State University. She is enthusiastic about learning and she always strives to get the best out of her education. In her free time, Cassie loves reading Chinese historical fiction novels, sketching, and doing crossword puzzles. As a frequent traveler, she loves exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. Some of her other interests include psychology, music, and Disney movies.



Taylor Randolph

Taylor is a sophomore 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.