Meet the Staff
Jennifer Holt, Director
Jennifer holds a Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University) and B.A. (Colgate University) in Philosophy. She teaches courses in aesthetics, critical theory, philosophy of literature, and philosophy of history. Her research explores the contributions of Frankfurt School thinkers to debates about the relationship between aesthetics and politics. She is also interested in the influence of critical pedagogies on writing center theory and practice. Jennifer enjoys the privilege of working closely with undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty from across the University.
Gary Jaeger, Assistant 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 excited to join the Vanderbilt community as Assistant Director of the Writing Studio as well as Senior Lecturer in the English Department. He is returning to his home state after a long stint in the Midwest, having earned his PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was there that he was introduced to writing consultation pedagogy and that he 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.
Amanda Middagh , Office Adminstrator
Amanda Middagh is a native of Iowa and moved to Nashville six years ago. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Communications from the University of Northern Iowa. In her spare time she works as box office manager at Street Theatre Company and she loves to read mysteries.
Bridgett has a B.A. in Psychology from Davidson College and a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Currently, she is a third 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 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.
Jenn is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the area of Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East in the Graduate Department of Religion. She is also a fellow in the Theology and Practice Program. Jenn received her M.Div. from Lancaster Theological Seminary and her B.A. in Religion from Southwestern University. If she finds any spare time in the midst of writing her dissertation and keeping up with her two-year-old son, Parker, Jenn enjoys reading good novels, Zumba, watching quality TV (e.g. most shows on AMC), and going to see musicals with her husband.
Jennifer Adler is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Department of Religion, focusing on American religious history. She earned her A.B. in Government at Harvard College. She is currently working on her dissertation on late-nineteenth century Protestant perceptions of place and space. In her spare time, you might find Jennifer wandering the Shelby Bottoms Greenway, usually in the company of her 1 year-old son, her avid runner husband, and her dear dog Doyle.
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.
Anne Charlton is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Vanderbilt University. Born in West Lafayette, Indiana, she has spent most of her life growing up Versailles, a small town in central Kentucky. She graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in English and Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies and was a copy editor for the Purdue Exponent during her senior year. Some of Anne’s favorite poets are Robert Hass, Mary Leader and Erin Belieu, because their poems and lives have endlessly influenced her own. She loves basketball, writing letters and watching Gilmore Girls or the Big Bang Theory (in between revising poems, of course).
Lee Conell is a first-year MFA candidate in fiction at Vanderbilt University. She has worked as a writing instructor, freelance editor, and ghostwriter. A native of New York City, she is happy to discuss the merits and flaws of any book, movie, or metro system.
Hubert Cook, English Writing Fellow
Hubert is a Ph.D. candidate in the English department. His research interests include representations of black sentience and expressions of gender. Lately, outside of school, he has been keen on all matter of cooking shows and on experimenting in the kitchen himself.
Laura is a senior in Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science, studying English literature, French, and sociology. She loves using writing to understand social interactions and cultures. Born in Ohio, Laura has come to love life in the south, though she’ll always be a midwestern girl at heart. When not in class, you can find Laura eating out in East Nashville, grabbing coffee with friends, and adventuring in nature.
Liz DeAngelo is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, double majoring in Classics and English and History (only two majors, she promises!). 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.
Reid Douglass is a first-year MFA candidate in fiction. He grew up in Round Rock, Texas, and graduated with a BA in English from Texas A&M University. After that, he lived and worked in Austin, where he married his best friend. He likes sandwiches.
Matt Duques is currently working on his PhD in English at Vanderbilt University. His dissertation examines the relationship between early U.S. literature and enlightenment theories and practices of education. He received a BA in English from Haverford College and an MA in Cultural Studies from Dartmouth College. He enjoys reading science fiction and detective fiction, cooking, and hanging out with his dogs.
Donna Giver Johnston
Donna Giver Johnston is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has lived in Washington, D.C., on the Jersey Shore and in Findlay, Ohio, before moving to Nashville four years ago. She is married to Brian Johnston and together they have a daughter named Rebecca and a son named Christian. Having completed coursework and exams in homiletics and liturgics, Donna is currently working on her dissertation with the working title of: Call the Question. When not reading or writing, she enjoys yoga, swimming or playing games with her family, and gathering around the table with friends to share some good food and laughs.
James Grady, Philosophy Writing Fellow
James Grady is currently a graduate student in Philosophy, specializing in medieval Jewish thought, and social and political philosophy. His dissertation is focused on the way medieval Jewish philosophers re-conceptualize the exile, both to counter anti-Jewish polemics and to revisit Jewish philosophy of history. He majored in philosophy and religion at Emory University (C'98), and received a Master of Theological Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School (2002). http://people.vanderbilt.edu/~james.a.grady
William Fernandez Hardin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. He is from Newport News, Virginia and attended the University of Virginia majoring in English. After college, he worked as a researcher at The Advisory Board Company, a healthcare consulting firm in Washington, D.C. He received his law degree from the Washington College of Law, American University and is a member of the Tennessee Bar. He is in the final stages of completing his dissertation titled Litigating the Lash: Slavery, Law, and the Pleasants Family in Post-Revolutionary Virginia. He enjoys soccer, playing music, and spending time with his family.
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.
Claire grew up in New York City between Brooklyn and Staten Island where she fell in love with poetry, then went to college in Maine where she studied creative writing with an amazing and kind teacher who taught her to love prose. After college, she spent several years teaching after-school or working retail which helped her understand that she hates selling things, but really likes youth development. Throughout this time, some years she wrote, and some years she didn't. 2010 was a pretty good year; she was able to bully herself into writing everyday. Now, If she gets really frustrated with a story or a poem, she remembers an Adrienne Rich line that another great teacher shared with her in college: "You must write and read as if your life depended on it."
Amanda is a doctoral candidate in the English department at Vanderbilt, writing about Anglo-American identity in the eighteenth century. She holds two M.A. degrees, in eighteenth-century studies and English literature, from the University of York (U.K.) and Vanderbilt University respectively. Before going to graduate school, she worked as an instructor at a private tutoring service, teaching language skills to children K-12 and adult learners. She also holds a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago. In her spare time, she enjoys quirky British comedies and making D.I.Y. items as gifts for her friends.
Ashwini Joshi is a sophomore is the College of Arts and Science, planning to double major in Biological Sciences and Anthropology. In her spare time, Ashwini enjoys reading books, watching movies, gardening at the Vanderbilt Greenhouses, baking sweets, and playing volleyball. Thanks to Strunk and White, she hates the word "utilize" and wonders why people don't just use "use" instead.
Edgar Kunz is a first year MFA candidate in Poetry. He earned his BA in Creative Writing from Goucher College and has since found work as a listings writer/photographer, backcountry trail crew member, ropes course facilitator, food tasting panelist, and, most recently, high school business teacher. He enjoys ultimate frisbee, hot coffee, and the oxford comma.
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.
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, College of Arts & Science Writing Fellow
Megan Minarich is a doctoral candidate in the English Department. She is currently working on a dissertation examining Hollywood contraception and abortion films from the interwar period 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. Outside of the Writing Studio, Megan can be found awkwardly playing adult recreational kickball (yes, that’s a thing), tap dancing with VandyTap, and keeping it real on the accordion in her band, This Old Bear.
Gideon Park is a third year PhD student in Vanderbilt's Graduate Department of Religion. His primary areas of research include New Testament and Hebrew Bible, with secondary interests in Performance Studies, Postcolonial Criticism, and Asian American Studies. Born and raised in SoCal, he's a die-hard Lakers fan and he loves to cook."
Marcus Raimondi is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, (most likely) majoring in Latin American Studies and a created interdisciplinary major that he hopes to call “Contemporary Civilization”. Marcus enjoys writing because of the feeling of catharsis he experiences upon completing a lengthy, well-written paper. He wants to be a peer consultant so he can hear all of the brilliant ideas his peers come up with every day. When he grows up (eventually) he wants to be a lawyer specializing in Latin America. Besides writing, He enjoys exercise, adventurous travel and judging local high school debate. His guiding philosophy is “everything happens for a reason” and he tries to live by that even when setbacks occur."
Jessica Riviere is a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Center for Teaching and a Ph.D. candidate in German literature. Her dissertation focuses on German women's participation in the public sphere through essayistic writing. In her free time she sings in Nashville in Harmony, tries to commute by bike as much as possible, and loves to bake and cook.
Eric Rosenberg is a senior from Fort Lauderdale, Florida majoring in English and History, with a minor in Human and Organizational Development. He is brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and enjoys the Dave Matthews Band, the Miami Heat, and internet blogs. Eric keeps a notepad with him at all times because a great idea can appear anywhere.
Donika Ross is currently a PhD candidate in the English Department, and her research interests include cowboys, white masculinity, feelings. She received an MFA in Writing from the University of Texas in Austin, and has recently discovered that she enjoys writing poems about the desert.
Ben is a sophomore studying philosophy and Chinese--something from the past and something for the future. He enjoys fancy teas, chess, and writing. Often, however, coffee, backflips, and laughing are more fulfilling. The most difficult aspect of writing for him is finishing a story or poem, because he hesitates to pretend to know what's best for the characters or the audience."
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.
Sara Strong is a first year MFA candidate in poetry. She was raised in southwest Missouri and is proud of her Ozarkian heritage (if baffled by it at times). At the University of Missouri, she earned a BA in English with emphasis areas in poetry and linguistics and a minor in history. While in Columbia, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Missouri Review, a librarian, a French tutor, an office assistant, a student conduct clerk, and an ice creamer. In her free time, she enjoys honing her kitchen skills, listening to some fine bluegrass, becoming ever more familiar with pretentious coffee beans, and counting down the days til the magnolias bloom.
Michele (Athay) Tomlinson, Peabody Writing Fellow
Michele Tomlinson (formerly Michele Athay) is in her final year as a Ph.D. student in Psychology & Human Development focusing on quantitative methods and evaluation. In her time at Vanderbilt, she has thoroughly enjoyed being a TA for undergraduate methods courses as well has her role as the Director of Measure Development at the Center for Evaluation and Program Improvement (CEPI). Michele is a firm believer in making time to write every day and has seen great pay-offs with her diligence as she successfully published 12 articles in peer-reviewed journals last year. In her spare time (which is rather elusive in graduate school), she enjoys running, scrapbooking, and cake decorating. Diet coke is always her beverage of choice.
Chris Wells is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Philosophy. His research interests include Social-Political Philosophy, Contemporary Continental Philosophy, and Ethics. Recently his writing has focussed on developing a progressive activist politics through the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas. He is currently developing a dissertation focussing on the normative foundations of human rights and political violence.
Maggie Zebracka is a recent graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts where she received a B.A. in psychology, but now, she mostly stares out windows and tries to do things that frighten her, like writing. Sometimes, she even succeeds.
Diana is a sophomore double majoring in Math and Computer Science, and also minoring in Studio Art. She really hopes to eventually get a job working with both technology and art. She gets really excited about way too many things like graphic novels, beautiful typography, gadgets, Pinterest, painting, Russian literature, yoga, traveling, street fashion, great creative advertising and cool infographics. She uses excessive amounts of outlining, brainstorming and freewriting to procrastinate actually writing her papers (convincing herself that it all makes for better writing when she eventually gets to it).