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!
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.
Areas of Interest: Community writing projects, Women’s Studies, Asian women’s literature, classic monster movies.
Before joining the CWE, Alicia enjoyed working for the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Montclair State. She 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.
Mary Kate Schmermund
Areas of Interest: Creative Writing, Qualitative Research, Clinical Social Work, Dance, Music, Reading, Art, and the Ocean
Prior to working at the CWE, Mary Kate earned her BA in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work at Smith College, in addition to joining the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. She has worked with students, teachers, and volunteers at educational non-profit organizations, conducted research on learning and community resilience, taught dance, and choreographed performance pieces. Mary Kate is passionate about the intersections of creativity, writing, and community building. She is committed to ensuring that all writers at Montclair State have access to professional support and encouragement during the writing process. Mary Kate believes that writing is a vital skill and important endeavor and that the view of the New York City skyline is reason enough to visit the CWE!
Subjects/Areas of Expertise: composition writing, creative writing, songwriting, 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.”
Alice Freddi Beresin
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 learning 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.
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 MA in English with a concentration in writing studies and her BA 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 MA 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 presently works in communications in a corporate environment. She is excited to continue working with writers at her alma mater!
Camilla M Finch
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 districts.
Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Psychology, Music, Education, Counseling, Clinical Mental Health
Counseling, Creative Writing, Poetry, and APA Style
Extracurriculars: Loves spending time with family & friends, listening to music, singing, writing song lyrics, playing guitar, watching Netflix, baking goodies, going on nature walks, and meditating!
Jenny graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University in 2019 with a BA in Psychology and double minors in Music and Education. She is currently pursuing her MA in clinical mental health counseling to become a psychotherapist. Jenny comes to the CWE with two years of preschool teaching experience and one year of English tutoring experience that she gained as an undergrad. She has worked with a diverse range of students, including those with
developmental delays, disabilities, and different cultural backgrounds.
Jenny believes that the best teaching approach is a student-centered one, so she tirelessly works and strives to adapt to her students’ needs. She passionately believes in creating an environment centered around empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness for both her clients and students, hoping to help them achieve excellence in their writing and lives. Jenny feels truly fulfilled when she can help people smile, succeed, and enjoy life!
Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Business writing, poetry, Creative writing, storytelling, MLA, International Business, Management, Marketing
Extracurricular: Socializing, massive film geek, singer, dancer, photographer, poet, aspiring DJ, and a person who loves to live life to the fullest!
Justin graduated from Montclair State University in 2019 with a BS in Business Administration and an International Business concentration. He is currently pursuing his MBA with a dual concentration in Management and Marketing. Justin works as a retail supervisor at the Home Depot and participates in numerous events both on and off campus. When not working at the Home Depot, Justin spends time practicing his vocals, dance moves, DJ mixing skills, or watching a movie. As long as he is living a life filled with adventure, that is enough for him. Justin enjoys working with students from across different cultures and backgrounds and strives to change the world with one individual at a time.
Subjects/Areas of Expertise: Second language writing, Praxis test prep, writing for the teacher education program, reading comprehension, impromptu essays
Extracurricular: Taking Portuguese classes, attempting to learn how to dance salsa and bachata, reading about history and education, traveling, writing
After receiving her MAT in Teaching English as a Second Language, Kristine spent several years splitting her time between New Jersey and Rio de Janeiro. While she lived in Brazil, she managed a nonprofit that provided educational services to children in a favela, or slum. She currently serves as its Director of Education and still returns often. She has currently settled in the United States again (for now) where she works as an elementary ESL teacher. She has nine years of experience working with the Center for Writing Excellence and one year of experience as a literacy coach for the Center of Pedagogy. Kristine loves working in the center and has greatly enjoyed watching students strengthen their writing skills over time.
Subjects/Area of Expertise: Psychology writing, literature reviews, creative writing, APA formatting, Deaf Studies, Psychology, Speech Pathology
Extracurricular: Playing softball, socializing with friends, traveling, exercising, spending time with her cat, and cooking/baking.
Marlee graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2020 with a BA in Psychology and minors in Speech Pathology and Deaf Studies. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Marlee believes that writing is a necessary skill that everyone should acquire because it will always be used in some shape or form in the future. She loves working with others, helping those with differing abilities, and making a difference in people’s lives.
Norman C DeFilippo
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 bulldog 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 BA 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 MA thesis on three twentieth-century Irish novels and their depictions of the home, Irishness and their characters’ 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.
Subjects/Area of Expertise: Literature, Creative writing, analytical writing
Extracurricular: writing, reading, watching historical dramas, nature and spoiling her pets.
Purim graduated from Rutgers in 2015 with a BA in English. There she studied literature focusing on the areas of Science Fiction and its intersection with technology and society, English drama from the 1600’s, and the Victorian era.
She has volunteered with the Newark Arts Council, written blog-style articles for a pageant centered on the African diaspora, and worked in retail. She is currently an assistant manager at a stationary store.
Purim is a graduate student studying Social Research and Analysis. She hopes to use the knowledge and skills she acquires to become a Market Analyst and help small businesses compete in an increasingly competitive world.
Subjects/Areas of Expertise: First-year college writing, American literature, creative writing, journalism, and writing in the humanities
Extracurricular: Reading, hiking, learning new things and going on adventures in New York City
Val received her MFA in Creative and Professional Writing in 2018 from William Paterson University, where she currently teaches first-year college writing. She believes writing is an extremely valuable skill no matter one’s life path or career goals, and she enjoys watching writers develop their ideas and become more confident in their writing. In addition to teaching and consulting, she loves working on creative writing projects, especially writing for young adults. In her past experience as a freelance journalist, she wrote features about current events, environmental sustainability, and a wide variety of other topics. She loves working with all kinds of writers on every type of writing!
Head Greeter and Consultant
Subjects/Areas of Expertise: APA style, literature, analytical writing, journalism, creative writing
Extracurricular: Reading, Netflix, working on impulsive creative projects, playing with her dog, playing video games and creating OCs
Alexis graduated from Montclair State University in 2014. She runs a book club with her friends, plays DND, and generally enjoys creating welcoming spaces. She is an avid reader and enjoys writing short stories and creative nonfiction. When not writing, she’s probably thinking about her allergy-ridden pitbull Lulu.
Namrata Nitin Amin
Prior to the CWE, Namrata worked at a non-profit organization that aided survivors of human trafficking where she advocated for victim visa rights. Her time there was spent working with those who spoke little or no English to ensure that their experiences were communicated efficiently and privately to other organizations who could help further. As a multilingual writer herself, Namrata freelances as a translator and is excited about working at the CWE and the resources it provides writers, especially to those whose first language is not English. Outside of professional interests, she is passionate about her Malaysian roots, travel, South Asian Fiction, her attempts at writing a collection of short stories and the New York Yankees.