I Write. I Teach.
I’m a teaching writer. A writer who teaches. And I love helping young people figure out and express in writing who they are—what moves, motivates, and makes them—and where to go from there.
I currently offer three writing workshops. Each workshop series consists of five 2-hr. writing sessions and is limited to six students to ensure lots of personal attention from me and ample opportunity for each student to share insights and work.
Who I Am: The Personal Narrative Essay
During this series, students will read others’ writing, respond to others’ writing, and, of course, craft their own personal narratives.
As I See It: The Expository Essay
During this series, students will respond to writing, videos and other media that expound on current events. Students will craft an expository essay in response to an issue presented in class.
The College Application Essay
During this series, students will read successful college application essays from students I know or have taught, respond to student writing, and create a college application essay as a response to a current Common Application prompt or one of their own choosing.
More about my philosophy on the College Application Essay.
Focus on the journey, not the destination
I believe that by viewing this essay less as a way to get into a particular school, but more as a journey of self-discovery, this writing process becomes a transformative experience for young people. I ask students to do the hard work of figuring out who they are by asking questions like: “What experiences formed you—your personality, your perspectives, your passion?” “How will you use your unique gifts to contribute to your community?” And I work with them to communicate their answers in their own words to the best of their abilities in the form of a unique personal essay that tells their story.
This process leads students on a journey into themselves to find their own personal treasure that they then share in writing, perhaps for the first time, with the world.
And guess what? Helping students craft a personal essay that is genuine and authentic, revelatory and meaningful not only helps them gain the attention and respect of any reader, including deluged admissions officers, but also gives them a clearer understanding about where they truly want to go in life and why. The real goal is helping young people first figure out they are. Getting into a college or university is a bonus.
To be a guide and facilitator on that journey is my passion.
Experience in education as a communicator and teacher
I was assistant director of publications at Rice University, where I wrote and edited undergraduate admission materials, and assistant director of student activities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. At Rice, I was also assistant director of minority community affairs, where I orchestrated workshops and tours, educating parents of K-12 students about how to gain admission into highly selective colleges. I’ve taught freshman and sophomore English at Lonestar College and been a marketing writer for Texas State University. And I’ve taught 11th and 12th grade AP-Dual credit English at Atascocita High School.
Last summer, my colleagues at Rice brought me back to teach a week-long college admissions essay writing course to 9th-12th graders. This year, I’m a writer with Writers in the Schools, and I currently write blog and magazine articles for the Jones School of Business at the university.
Join me for a class
Check out Hal Bowman’s interview of me.