Carol Severino, Director

As a writing center director, my goals are to reach more student and community populations with our services, and with the message about the value of planning and revision in the writing process. I love learning from the students I tutor about the topics they are writing about.  In my leisure time, I like to keep up with my twin sons and my two granddaughters, learn new languages, play the drums, swim, and in the summer, grill and eat outdoors.  I research and write about second language writing and writers in the Writing Center. I also like to write creative non-fiction, especially about travel and family.

Deirdre Egan, Associate Director

DeirdreThe Writing Center is a great place to work. In non-pandemic times, it’s busy, friendly and lively, with good conversation and (usually) good coffee. My job is to manage the day to day operations of the Writing Center and to give feedback on work sent to us through our document review system. I was born and raised in Ireland and have an electic but occasionally useful background in the health sciences, political science and feminist theory. I also do research with Director Carol Severino and teach (once in a while) for the Departments of Anthropology and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies. When I’m not here, I’m at home reading or walking my dog. 


BelaI am Soviet-American writer, translator and visual artist currently studying for an MFA in Nonfiction Writing. My latest book-length translation is journalist Elena Kostyuchenko's I Love Russia. My writing has appeared in n+1, Jewish Currents, Harper's, and The Nation. 




Conor HiltonI’m a PhD student in the English Department focusing on 19th-century British literature and the postsecular. I love (and hate!) writing, but always appreciate opportunities to talk about writing with other people, particularly talking through ideas with folks and how to bring those ideas to life on the page. I taught first year writing during my MA program at Brigham Young University, where I also worked in various capacities with the Writing Fellows program. I also love watching (and talking about!) movies, listening to third-wave ska, and cooking (and eating!) delicious food.


Darius StewartI am a PhD student in English with a Graduate Certificate in African American Studies and a Lulu “Merle” Johnson Fellow. I specialize in African American Literature and forms of the essay while also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies. I am also the author of a book of poems, Intimacies in Borrowed Light, and Be Not Afraid of My Body: A Lyrical Memoir. 



Elizbeth ZakI am from Germantown, Tennessee and attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa where I studied in the Departments of Computer Science and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies. I am currently a PhD candidate in the Informatics Department studying information literacy, misinformation and information visualization at the University of Iowa. I'm excited to help writers develop their skills and deepen their ideas. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing and running! 


IvoI am an English Ph.D. candidate and General Education Literature (GEL) instructor at the University of Iowa, where I study Victorian and British modernist fiction. Before joining the University of Iowa’s English Department, I earned a B. A. in English and a B. A. in German at Ohio State University. I have taught undergraduates courses in English literature and Rhetoric. Currently I teach Interpretation of Literature and serve as a tutor at the Writing Center at The University of Iowa.


Jessica FrenchI am a Master of Music Therapy graduate student here at Iowa with a degree in music composition from Eastern Illinois University. I currently teach piano lessons at Coralville West Music, and work part time at the Stead Family Children's hospital as a pharmacy technician. I strive to be flexible and open to new ideas, both as a writing tutor and a piano teacher. I welcome suggestions and new perspectives on writing and helping students establishing their own voice as they improve their writing.


Jonny MeyerI studied Music at Iowa State University (no sports allegiance) before beginning the MA Music Education program with teaching certification program. My research interests involve queer theory, gender, popular music pedagogy, and education policy. My teaching philosophy is grounded in student empowerment, which informs the work I do in the Writing Center. One of the greatest pleasures in life is to help our fellow human beings and I am honored to take part in developing my students’ personal and professional writing skills.



Kathleen ShaughnessyI am a sixth-year PhD student in English whose work focuses on late nineteenth-century imperial Gothic fiction. Before joining the University of Iowa, I got my BA in English at the University of Pittsburgh and my MA in English at the University of New Hampshire. I’ve previously taught Rhetoric and am currently teaching Interpretation of Literature. My hobbies include knitting, crochet, and embroidery. My favorite part about working in the Writing Center is getting to know a variety of students over the course of the semester and help them to bring their projects to fruition.


KatieI’m from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, and attended the College of Wooster, where I got a Bachelor of Art in Literature, Culture, and Digital Media Studies with a minor in French (d’accord!). I’m currently a graduate student in the University of Iowa’s English PhD program. My research specializes in intersections between fandom studies, feminist & queer studies, graphic narratives (games, anime, manga, comics, film, TV, etc.), and genre fiction (especially SF, melodrama, and romance). I love working in the Writing Center and as a Rhetoric instructor to help students hone their writing to be the best it can be! Outside of academics, I write, sing, and hang out at the local library.


Laura CarpenterI am a fourth-year PhD candidate in American Studies studying the history of hoboing and rail riding culture. I have a B.A. in history and political science and a M.A. in public history with an interest in digital humanities and community engaged research. My current project, Hobo Archive, focuses on collecting stories and artifacts from the U.S. hoboing community. I teach Rhetoric and I encourage my students to find joy in their writing. As a Writing Center tutor, I love helping students discover happiness and fun in their writing lives while encouraging them to be the best writers they can be.


Matt HelmI am a PhD candidate in English at the University of Iowa. My dissertation explores questions related to media technology and the archive in LGBT+ literature. In addition to my research, I have taught in the Department of Rhetoric and am currently an Interpretation of Literature instructor. The Writing Center is one of my favorite places on campus – mostly because it is nice and cozy, but also because I enjoy working with students through all steps of the writing process, from brainstorming to revision. When I’m not writing, thinking about writing, or helping others with their writing, I can be found in front of my laptop binging mind-numbing reality TV


SarahI am a DMA Candidate in Cello Performance and Pedagogy with a secondary focus in Musicology. Much of my time is spent playing and teaching the cello, but I've also found a passion for music history and writing. My research and dissertation work is on the composer Ernest Bloch and his time living and writing music in Agate Beach, Oregon. I love helping students find their own voice in their writing and gaining confidence through the process. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, gardening, and hanging out with my pup, Carver.


Trudy JacobsI am a graduate student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). I am originally from Houston, and I received my bachelor’s degree from Rockhurst University in Kansas City. I have worked as a teaching assistant within the CSD department for two years and am now a writing tutor for the writing center. I love tutoring because I enjoy helping students succeed in any and every way that they can. Outside of academics, I enjoy cooking, hammocking, and hanging out at any local coffee shop.