Writing Consultants

Laura Birdsall
Laura Birdsall is a first-year MFA student in fiction.  She grew up in Los Angeles and went to UCLA.  She likes comic books.



Alicia Brandewie
Alicia Marie Brandewie is a first year MFA candidate in poetry. She grew up in Wyoming, Ohio, and loves the confusion this geography causes. She received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing with a minor in Anthropology from Emory University, where she was on the Poetry Council and served as treasurer for the club equestrian team. When not buried in a book or writing a poem she also enjoys running, racquetball ball, lifting, cooking, mixology, and doing crafts worthy of Pinterest. Not that she has a Pinterest–she’s more of an Imgur girl.

David Brinkman
Dave studies Psychology, Communications and French in the College of Arts and Science (Class of 2014). He is an Eagle Scout and an athlete, enjoys nature, and creates music often, whether as a bass and beatboxer in Vanderbilt Variations a cappella or playing sax in his spare time. As a result of this musical inclination, Dave’s best writing is characterized by a lyrical flow and conversational clarity. As a native of Wheaton, Illinois, he appreciates the temperate “winter” of Nashville and expects to live someplace warm after graduation.

Lesa Brown
Lesa Brown is a fifth-year PhD student in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research has focused on the chemo-mechanical behavior of carbon nanofiber cement composites. She also volunteers as the Outreach Coordinator for the President’s Council of Student Advisors of the American Ceramic Society, supporting the integration of materials science and engineering demo kits into local high schools. This provides her an outlet for ‘creative’ writing and allows procrastination of the ‘technical’ writing required for her dissertation. In her free time (what little she has in the fifth year of a PhD), she enjoys reading, hiking, and shopping.

Anders Carlson-Wee
Anders Carlson-Wee was a professional rollerblader before he studied wilderness survival and started hopping freight trains to see the country. He has traveled through the forests of the South,  the cornfields of the Midwest, the prairies of the West, and the blue-hued mountains of Alaska, eating food out of dumpsters and trash cans to avoid getting a job. Last year he walked on foot across Croatia and Bosnia through the Dinaric Alps, camping in the backyards of the farmers he met. Anders grew up in northern Minnesota and went to Fairhaven College where he designed his own degree entitled “Writing through the Body,” received seven creative writing awards, and taught a class on poetry and the psychology of imagination. You can check out his work at and in Best New Poets 2012.

Anne Charlton
Anne Charlton is a second-year MFA student in poetry at Vanderbilt and serves as the MFA Liaison for the Writing Studio. Born in West Lafayette, Indiana, she spent most of her life growing up in Versailles, a small town in central Kentucky. She graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in English and Creative Writing and was a copy editor for the Purdue Exponent during her senior year. Some of Anne’s favorite poets are Robert Hass, Jack Gilbert and Erin Belieu, because their poems and lives have endlessly influenced her own. She loves basketball, writing letters and watching Gilmore Girls or The Office.

Matt Cutler
Matt is a first year M.Ed student in the department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College. He earned his B.A. in Modern Literary Studies from UC Santa Cruz, and worked as a volunteer tutor in Chicago for the last two years. In his spare time, Matt can usually be found tending a garden, riding a bike, or curled up in a chair with his pet book Kiki, reading a good cat.

Liz DeAngelo
Liz DeAngelo is a senior in the College of Arts and Science, double majoring in Classics and Interdisciplinary English and History. She has been a peer editor for the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal and a past participant in the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Writing Symposium. She will read almost anything and likes to start a book by reading the final sentence.

Kathleen DeGuzman
Kathleen DeGuzman is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Vanderbilt. She is writing a dissertation on the anglophone Caribbean, Victorian Britain, and realism to rethink conceptions of the postcolonial. Originally from Florida, Kathleen enjoys watching movies, keeping up with pro tennis, and yearning to be a contestant on Jeopardy!

Anna Sophia Gayek
Anna Sophia Gayek is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Cell and Developmental Biology. Her research focuses on the movement of chromosomes during cell division. She graduated with a B.S. from the College of William and Mary with a double major in Biology and Latin. In her free time, she runs, bakes, and says “Awee” at every cat she sees.

Lara Giordano
Lara Giordano is a PhD candidate in the department of philosophy. Her theoretical approach is largely informed by the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and it is from this perspective that her dissertation investigates the intertwinement of history, aesthetics, and politics. Lara received her B.A. in philosophy from Whitman College. When not writing or taking about writing, Lara is usual to be found taking in a movie at the Belcourt, shooting pool at the Melrose, or crossword-puzzling on the Bongo Java porch.

Simon Han
Simon Han is a first-year MFA student in Fiction. He was born in China and grew up in Dallas, Texas. A graduate of Northwestern University, he worked the past two years in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he was a product manager of collectible Christmas ornaments. He likes this job better.

Stephanie Higgs
Stephanie is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Vanderbilt English department, studying Victorian and nineteenth-century American literature. Her dissertation explores the intersections between the nineteenth-century transatlantic textile industry, cotton plantation slavery, and the rise of the fashion industry. When not writing or reading, she enjoys cooking, shopping, and binging on bad television programming.

Andrew Hines
Andy is a PhD candidate in the Department of English. His dissertation explores how a newly professionalized literary criticism marginalizes pedagogies and theories of literature generated outside of the mid-twentieth century academy. Between reading, writing and theorizing, he attempts to make Nashville more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly one commute at a time.

Jane Hirtle
Jane Hirtle is a former Vanderbilt undergraduate who earned her B.A. in Psychology and English in 2011. She is now a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Peabody. Her research spans a broad range of topics under the umbrella of infant cognition, including learning from video versus live contexts, problem solving, and help seeking.

Selden Hunnicutt
Selden Hunnicutt is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences hoping to major in Latin American Studies as well as United States History. She is a Delta Delta Delta sister, an Atlanta Falcons fan, and a Southern girl with an ironic lack of domestic ability. After exploring Central Library for the perfect writing spot of the day, Selden enjoys crafting intricate verbiage into the late hours of the night. She cannot wait to meet some of Vanderbilt’s brightest and learn their writing tips and tricks!

Ashwini Joshi
Ashwini Joshi is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Biological Sciences and Anthropology. She has a wide range of interests, from cooking to volleyball to gardening to k-pop. In her spare time, she can be found in one of two places: baking in her kitchen or curled up on her bed with a new book. She uses
brainstorming and outlining to procrastinate on her papers until she finds the inspiration to actually write them. After all, that work will (hopefully) pay off, creating a better paper.

Frances Kolb
Frances Kolb is a PhD candidate in the History Department. She grew up in Texas and received her B.A. in History from Texas A&M University. She is currently studying Early America, and her dissertation work focuses on colonial Louisiana. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading, and working on craft projects.

Dan King
Dan King is a senior English student here at Vanderbilt. He grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and he loves writing, being helpful, and smiling.



Gregory Kyle
Greg is a junior in the College of Arts and Science majoring in English and Neuroscience. He realizes he will most likely graduate into homelessness, but he feels confident in his survival skills after watching several marathons of Man v. Wild. Creative writing and teaching are his passions, but he is also interested in exploring the juncture between the mechanisms of human perception and their impact on reality within the mind. Despite his upbringing in La-wrence-viiiille Georgia, he learned to read and write at the early age of 17, and he hopes to graduate from picture books to chapter books within the next year.

Gabriel Lazarus
Gabriel is a sophomore studying philosophy and economics, thereby ensuring that he will have to attend graduate school to have a career. He enjoys both the science and the art of crafting a solid argument. Although it is hard to pinpoint what type of writing Gabriel prefers most, his favorite writing instrument is, hands down, the fountain pen. In addition to his exposure to academic writing, Gabriel has spent the past five summers writing for a law firm in Washington, D.C.

Spike Logan
Originally from Kansas City, Spike is a senior with a double major in Philosophy and Psychology with a minor in English. His interests include creative writing, basketball, spoken word poetry, fitness, improving his Lulu rating, reading Jack Kerouac on rainy days, cooking you something for dinner, and becoming an authentic self. His most recent academic project is a philosophy research paper concerning the differences between retributive and restorative justice. If he ever grows up, he aspires to be a pirate.

Megan McMurtry
Megan has a BA in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an M.T.S. and Th.M. from Duke University, and an M.A. from Vanderbilt University. She is currently in her seventh year of the Ph.D. program in Hebrew Bible. She is writing on the interaction between the cosmos and prophet in biblical prophetic texts as a means of communication and the function of this interaction in the reception history in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Megan Minarich
Megan Minarich is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at Vanderbilt. She is currently finishing her dissertation on Hollywood contraception and abortion films from the interwar period, which she examines alongside discourses of censorship and women’s reproductive rights. For Megan, one of the hardest aspects of writing is revising; one of her favorite combat tactics is going old school with the cut-and-paste method. (Pro Tip: Do not attempt this near an open window, a fan, or a cat.) Outside of the Writing Studio, Megan can be found tap dancing with VandyTap and keeping it real on accordion/vox in her band, This Old Bear.

Matt Owen
Matt is a graduate student in the history department studying the relationship between energy policy, economic development, consumerism, and the environment in the 20th century.  His dissertation focuses on the Tennessee Valley Authority and its transition to coal-fired power after World War II.  An alumnus of Wake Forest University, Matt believes that this is finally the year that the Demon Deacons will win a championship in basketball, regardless of abundant evidence to the contrary.

Jeff Shenton
Jeff is a PhD candidate in the department of anthropology. He is a cultural anthropologist specializing in cognitive anthropology, which is kind of like being a psychologist except it involves doing fieldwork in remote places at risk of giving you parasites, and kind of like being an anthropologist except it has a few scary numbers in it. He has just returned from long-term fieldwork in the Ecuadorean Amazon among smallholder Kichwa farmers. He is back in Nashville to write his dissertation, which will have to do with changing patterns of biological cognition, land use, and modernization among indigenous farmers in the Napo region of Ecuador. Jeff has worked with the Writing Studio on and off since 2008, and he’s pretty sure that if you have an issue with your writing than he’s had it too, and in spades.

Kara Sherrer
Kara Sherrer is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, pursuing a degree in English and self-designing a major in Corporate Communications. She is also a reporter, columnist and copy editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler and a team lead for the Vanderbilt chapter of Design for America. In her free time, Kara enjoys reading, working out, critiquing films and listening to music that she thinks is obscure. She is passionate about helping other writers express their ideas while maintaining their own voices — and meeting the assignment’s criteria, of course!

David Shuck
Born, raised and chained to Green Bay, Wisconsin, David remains ecstatic to have found a way out to Vanderbilt. A philosophy major aspiring to a professorship, David is rather fond of his school, the Writing Studio, the philosophy department, disc-golfing, the environment, German board games and more! Though a rookie to the studio he looks to quickly become the best adviser of ever. He also loves Wikipedia, and dreams of one day having a page himself at least six full mouse-scrolls long.

Anna Silverstein
Anna Silverstein is a first-year MFA candidate in fiction. She got her B.A. in creative writing from Oberlin College in Ohio. She grew up in Massachusetts—childhood highlights include reading (and rereading) many fantasy novels and winning a contest for growing the largest sunflower in town. She has worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Boston for the last three years and is excited about the intersection of writing and youth development work.

Leah Spann
Leah is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Science, planning to major in English. When she’s not fretting over her own attempts at writing, she can often be found reading, sketching, or singing. She is a member of Vanderbilt Concert Choir and Voce A Cappella, and supports the performing arts through her involvement in the Vanderbilt Performing Arts Council. While she loves the atmosphere of Nashville, she does occasionally miss the sunny warmth of her Florida home.

Rebecca Tuvel
Rebecca Tuvel hails from Toronto, Ontario and earned a B.A. in Philosophy from McGill University. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Philosophy at Vanderbilt. Rebecca works on animal ethics, environmental ethics and feminist philosophy, and is particularly interested in the intersections among these fields. Her current work explores the wrongs associated with using knowledge acquired as a result of oppression. Rebecca thinks often about ways to overcome writing anxiety, and agrees with the claim that “you can fix anything but a blank page.”

Simone Wolff
Simone Wolff is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Vanderbilt. She was raised in Brooklyn and went to Barnard College for a degree Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, during which she worked as an intern for the performance poet Kit Yan. Her sign is Cancer and her passions include gardening, fancy food, and cartoons.

Stacy Yanofsky
Stacy Yanofsky is a senior in the College of Arts and Science with a major in neuroscience and a minor in English. She is an associate editor of the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal and a peer reviewer for the undergraduate neuroscience publication, IMPULSE. She has also worked for the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt, and danced on VIBE hip-hop dance team for 3 years.


Bridgett Green
Bridgett has a B.A. in Psychology from Davidson College and a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Currently, she is a fifth year Ph.D. student in the area of New Testament and Early Christianity with a minor in Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt and a fellow in the Theology and Practice program. In addition to working hard, Bridgett enjoys time hanging out with her friends, running and watching really good television.

Yolanda Norton
Yolanda has a B.A. in Political Science, a M.Div. and a M.T.S. from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Currently, she is a second year Ph.D. student in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel with minors in Ethics and Society and Classics. She is a fellow in the Theology and Practice program and a Fund for Theological Education (FTE) Doctoral Fellow. In her free time Yolanda enjoys travel, theater and cooking.

Paige Regan
Paige is a Coloradan. She loves the mountains, books, bugs and live music. She holds a B.A. in English and Secondary Education and is working on her M.A. at Peabody College in Learning, Diversity and Urban Studies. Paige has taught high school African, British and World Literature courses and most recently spent a year building a computer lab and teaching in Ghana, West Africa.

Administrative Staff

Gary Jaeger, Director
Gary has been teaching writing and consulting writers for over a decade. In addition to being an assistant director at the Writing Studio, he is a senior lecturer in the Philosophy Department where he teaches classes in ethics and political philosophy. His research interests are primarily in moral psychology, metaethics, and the history of early modern philosophy. He is the author of Repression, Integrity and Practical Reasoning (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and has published articles in journals such as the Journal of Value Inquiry and Metaphilosophy. He earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago (2006) and a BA from Johns Hopkins University (1999), where he double majored in philosophy and writing. Before coming to Vanderbilt, he taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

John Bradley , Assistant Director
John is Assistant Director of the Writing Studio as well as Senior Lecturer in the English Department. He earned his PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was introduced to writing center pedagogy and built up his passion for writing instruction and his conviction in the power of talk for the writing process. John’s research interests focus on twentieth-century American poetries, especially those of avant-garde and experimental movements.

Elizabeth Covington, Assistant Director
Elizabeth Covington earned her Ph.D. in English literature from Vanderbilt and is thrilled to take on the roles of Assistant Director of the Writing Studio and Senior Lecturer in English. She has articles forthcoming in Genre and Journal of Modern Literature, and she is currently working on a book about experimental psychological theories of memory and the emergence of modernist literature in Britain.