The Catholic University of America

Who are we? 

The Writing Center is staffed by graduate instructors and undergraduate peer tutors. Our graduate instructors have received highly competitive fellowships and assistantship awards that fund their work in the Center. Our undergraduate peer tutors have been nominated by CUA professors and then selected after a rigorous review and interview process. All Writing Center staff undergo extensive and ongoing training.

Writing Center Instructors


Erik Gravel is a Ph.D. student in the English department with a focus on the British Renaissance, particularly Milton and Spenser. Originally from Rhode Island, Erik received his B.S. in Biology and B.A. in History from Providence College. He has taught college mathematics and anatomy & physiology courses, and has also worked as a professional science tutor. His interests include writing in the sciences (from lab reports to reviews of scientific literature, to research papers), historical, theological, and philosophical writing.

Engineering, Grammar, History, Humanities, Classics, Math, Philosophy, Sciences, Theology, APA Style
Chris Pipkin is a Ph.D. Candidate in English at the Catholic Universityof America. He received his MA in English at Duquesne University in 2010. He specializes in medieval English literature, and his dissertation explores common ground between medieval hagiography and heroic texts featuring monsters. Chris is a fifth-year Teaching Fellow at Catholic University, where he has taught numerous classes in argumentative writing and writing about literature. Chris worked at the Writing Center at Duquesne University as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Specialist in 2008; before graduate school, he taught EFL, first at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia, and afterwards for The Caledonian School, a well-established language school in Prague, CZ.
English as Second Language, Literature, History, Humanities


Justin Keena is an M.A. student in the English Department with a focus on the reception of Classical works, and especially ancient Greek philosophy, in 20th century British literature. Justin received his B.A. in Classics and Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville and his Master of Studies in Ancient Philosophy from the University of Oxford.  He has previously taught Greek, Latin, Philosophy, and the Great Books (Honors) program at Franciscan University and worked with the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project to edit and publish von Hildebrand’s philosophical works. His scholarly interests range from philosophy in literature and religious autobiography to the Inklings and John Henry Newman.
Classics, Philosophy, Humanities



Julia Torres is a M.A student in the English department with interests in Early Modern Literature, especially Shakespeare. Originally from New Jersey, Julia received her B.A in English with minors in History and Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Saint Joseph’s University. She also worked as a peer-tutor in the Saint Joseph’s Writing Center for a year and a half. Avid about writing, she served for two years as editor of her undergraduate literary magazine, and has articles published in The Key Reporter and The Greek Catholic Union Magazine.
Creative Writing, History, Theology, Sciences.


Kristin Backert is a first year M.A. student in the English department with a focus on Renaissance literature, particularly Shakespeare and early modern drama. Originally from New York, Kristin received her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing with a minor in Spanish from Adelphi University. She worked as a peer writing tutor, online writing tutor, and writing assistant for three and a half years during her undergraduate career. Her writing interests include literary criticism, linguistics, gender, and creative writing.

MLA Style, APA Style, Annotated Bibliographies, Humanities, Creative Writing, Literary Criticism


Victoria Scrimer is an M.A. student in the English Department with interests in Modern poetry and Medieval literature. She graduated with her B.A. in English from the University of Mary Washington in 2006. She has several years experience writing and editing materials for international non-profits, and has worked as a literacy tutor for both children and adults. Her interests include literary criticism, education, social and environmental justice, performance art, poetry, and creative writing.

MLA Style, Research, Creative Writing, ESL, Literary Studies, Proposals, Applications, Resumes



Michael Strickland is a second year M.A. student in the English department and has a focus on Old English and Old Norse. Originally from Front Royal, VA, Michael graduated from Christendom College with a triple major in English, Classics, and Philosophy. He has worked as a high school English teacher and as a cataloging assistant in multiple libraries. His interests include classical and scholastic philosophy, literary criticism, popular culture, and linguistics.

Philosophy, Theology, Humanities/Classics, APA Style



Emily Linz is a M.A. student in the English department with a focus on Twentieth Century literature, specifically Southern literature. Originally from Texas, she graduated from University of Dallas with a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature and a concentration in Latin. She has written for the commentary section of University of Dallas’ school newspaper, The University News, transcribed memoirs, and worked as a Latin tutor. She is also interested in creative writing, particularly the short story.
Art History, Classics, Creative Writing, Music, Theology
Bio's and pics coming soon from the following graduate instructors...
Michael Evans
Victoria Scrimer
Robert Sherron
Shaun Stiemsma
Emily McBryan
Ryan Wilson


Undergraduate Peer Tutors

Audra Nakas is a senior Psychology and Politics major from Falls Church, VA. She has worked as a research assistant under two professors in the Psychology Department and has held internships at two Catholic non-profits dedicated to human rights and social justice. Her interests include the social sciences and humanities, especially theology and philosophy. Her writing experience includes research papers, persuasive writing, journalism, editorials, and letters to politicians. On campus, Audra is also a Cardinal Ambassador and is involved in Students for Life.


Psychology, Politics, Theology, Philosophy





Tyler Lomnitzer is a senior English major with particular interests in philosophy and Latin. He thoroughly enjoys close reading exercises and writing about Catholic literature, Catholic authors, and Catholic saints. Writing and the writing process are his favorite part of academia. Around campus, you will see Tyler in a few different capacities: as an RA for Flather Hall, an Operations Assistant for athletic events at the DuFour Center, and an active member in the Knights of Columbus council. Hailing from CT, he enjoys spending his free time out on the Long Island Sound, golfing, and listening to Jack Johnson.

Humanities, History, Theology, Philosophy, Lab Reports


Alex Sniatkowski is a fourth year English major. He likes to write and spends much of his spare time working on his own fiction.  When not representing Catholic University on the rugby field, he reads(mostly modernist and postmodernist authors) and watches movies and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He has written about history and philosophy.

Creative Writing, Philosophy, Literature, History    

Looking for an instructor with a strong interest in writing in a particular subject or genre?
All of our instructors can assist you with any writing project or work with you on issues of grammar and citation, but if you’d like to request an instructor who has experience in a particular subject area or genre, please use the following list as a guide. If you cannot find your subject/genre on the list, but would still prefer a referral, please contact Dr. Kevin Rulo for assistance.

Architecture: Erik
APA Style: Erik, Kristin
Creative Writing: Alex, Kristin, Julia
Drama/Theater: Erik
Engineering: Erik
ESL: Erik
Grammar: Erik
History: Alex, Julia
Humanities/Classics: Erik, Michael S., Tyler, Justin
Math: Erik
Media Studies:
Philosophy: Erik, Michael S., Audra, Sullivan, Tyler, Alex, Justin
Politics: Audra
Psychology: Audra
Sciences: Erik, Tyler, Julia
Theology: Erik, Michael S., Audra, Tyler, Julia

 Peer Tutor Alumni

Sullivan Maciag, '13

Patricia Mars '14

Wesley Cocozello '14

Eva-Maria Ghelardi '14


Grammar Specialists

Erik Gravel


Administrative Staff


Dr. Taryn Okuma, Director of Undergraduate Tutor Program

Dr. Kevin Rulo, Director


Erik Gravel, Assistant Director
Emily Linz, Outreach Coordinator



Location and Hours


The Writing Center's main location is now in the Pryzbyla Center, room 213. Come and check out the new digs!




Wednesdays, 5-8pm