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About: Meet Our Staff

Amy Bakke

Amy BakkeWriting Instructor and Coordinator of International and Multilingual Student Writing Support

Amy Bakke joined Walden in August of 2013 after a few enriching years of traveling, working, and learning around the world. Her academic career started out at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she graduated with a BA in Spanish and Business. After working in business for a couple of years, she decided to return to school to pursue an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), which led to multiple opportunities to study and work abroad including two semesters studying and teaching in Chile as well as a year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bulgaria. She thoroughly enjoys opportunities to work with students from diverse language backgrounds and cultures. Teaching and traveling have also given her the opportunity to develop her Spanish skills and understand what it is like to be an adult language learner.

Learn more about Amy B. in our blog spotlight interview.

Angie Drennan

angie drennanDissertation Editor

Angie Drennen holds a BA in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls and an MA in English from the University of St. Thomas. She has over 5 years of tutoring experience in writing, math, and reading. She fell in love with academic editing while reformatting over 300 pages of research on Hemingway. Since then, Angie has edited articles and manuscripts under various research assistant positions. When not editing, she can usually be found working on a sculpture or art piece of some kind.

Carey Little Brown

Carey Little BrownDissertation Editor

Carey Little Brown came to the Writing Center in 2012 with a background in linguistics and more than a decade of experience as the lead editor of an academic editorial firm. Carey has also worked as a research and teaching assistant in linguistics and English, as well as a composition and creative writing tutor. She holds a degree in linguistics from San Jose State University. At Walden, she enjoys helping students master APA style, integrate their sources into original arguments, and produce doctoral writing that they can be proud of as they move forward in their careers.

Cheryl Read

Cheryl ReadWriting Instructor

Cheryl Read joined the Walden Writing Center in 2017. She earned her BA and MA in English from the University of Minnesota Duluth and has taught writing at a variety of institutions since 2009. She loves helping students figure out how they can best convey their ideas to an audience of readers and especially enjoys figuring out the organizational “puzzles” of works in progress.

Cheryl is currently working on a dissertation for her PhD in English at Duquesne University. She lives in St. Paul, MN.

Christina Lundberg

Writing Instructor and Coordinator of Student Communications

Christina received her BA from the University of Minnesota and obtained her MFA from Naropa University. Presenting over 6 years of college level teaching experience at various academic settings (university, community college, and technical college), Christina has taught a wide array of English courses both residential and on-line. Some of the courses she has taught include: business and technical writing, creative writing, composition, and grammar.

Christina is driven by the desire to grow, shape, and develop a page to reach its highest potential. In her position as a Walden Writing Center instructor, she enjoys witnessing the transformations of a good paper grow into greatness.

Originally from Minnesota, Christina, now, resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Claire Helakoski

claire helakoskiWriting Instructor

Claire Helakoski obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from Georgia College in 2015. She also holds a BA in Creative Writing and French from Grand Valley State University. Claire presented on the pedagogy of teaching writing at AWP national writer’s conference in 2015. She has also presented at the Michigan Academy for Science, Arts and Letters conference. Claire has taught English Composition, Literature and Creative Writing courses as well as acted as a writing center tutor, editor for Arts & Letters literary journal and a freelance copy and manuscript editor. In 2013 her work was nominated by Georgia College for the AWP Intro awards competition. She is originally from Michigan and lives in Grand Rapids.

Dan Fleischhacker

dan fleischhackerDissertation Editor

Dan Fleischhacker joined the Writing Center at Walden University as an editor in 2015.  He has a BA in English (emphasis on literature) from the University of Minnesota and a MFA in Creative Writing: Fiction from Hamline University. His thesis, a short story collection titled, “Come Back to You,” was a finalist for the Outstanding Fiction Thesis Award in 2010. He currently is pursuing his MLIS degree at St. Catherine University and is focusing on academic libraries. Prior to joining Walden University, Dan has worked as a graduate writing consultant while a student, and then full-time as the writing consultant supervisor at Hamline University’s Writing Center and as a faculty writing tutor at Metro State. He also taught first-year composition at Hamline University.

Dayna Herrington

dayna herringtonDissertation Editor and Coordinator of Capstone Multilingual Student Writing Support

Dayna Herrington joined the Walden Writing Center in 2014. Dayna earned BAs in English and French from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. She also holds an MA in French and an MA in English, with an emphasis in TESOL, both earned from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. She has over 10 years of full-time experience teaching writing, spoken language, and pedagogy courses to both undergraduate and graduate students. Dayna has also taught English abroad in Brussels, Belgium and Wuhan, China and has studied abroad in France and in Burkina Faso, West Africa. In her free time, she enjoys camping, traveling, competitive swimming, and keeping up with her two children.

Learn more about Dayna in our blog spotlight interview.

Ellen Zamarripa

Ellen ZamarripaWriting Instructor and Coordinator of Residency Planning

Though Ellen was born in south Texas, she grew up in the upper Midwest and has been in love with the scenery, the mild summers, and the people of the Wisconsin/Minnesota area ever since. Ellen earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and an MA in English Studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

During her educational career, Ellen tutored in multicultural centers, academic skills centers, and taught composition for two years to first-year college students. These experiences allowed Ellen to work with students from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and age groups, which fueled her desire to educate using different teaching methods via different mediums. Ellen joined the Walden Writing Center team in July of 2014, and she is thrilled to be helping students from around the world develop their writing skills and reach their educational goals.

Learn more about Ellen in our blog spotlight interview.

James A. Horwitz

James A. HorwitzWriting Instructor

James received his MA and MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having first earned undergraduate degrees in both English and Psychology. James has taught at the college-level for over 13 years and is passionate about: student-learning, mentoring, and helping student writers develop their work.

Jeannie Croichy

jeannie croichyWriting Instructor

Jeannie Croichy received her MEd in English Language Learner from Ashford University and BA in English Writing from William Paterson University of New Jersey. She is currently pursuing her EdD in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education at Concordia University-Portland.

Jeannie is a dedicated and well-rounded writing educator with extensive experience working with students from all over the world. With over ten years of teaching experience, Jeannie has experience in developing unique and innovative writing pedagogies to bring out the highest potential in students. She has taught writing courses in the first-year writing program at Bloomfield College, career development program for New York City’s Workforce1 Career Center, and ESL programs for various English language institutions. In addition to her teaching experience, Jeannie has experience as a college writing consultant as well.

Aside from teaching, Jeannie is a self-published children’s author. She lives in New Jersey.

Jenny Martel

jenny martelDissertation Editor

Jenny Martel joined the Writing Center in 2014 with a master’s degree in art history from the University of St. Thomas, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in English and environmental science, and over 15 years of project management and communications experience. She has studied abroad in both Spain and Venezuela, and has worked as a freelance art curator. Her interests include running long distances, writing and reading science fiction and fantasy, and spending time with her daughter.

Learn more about Jenny in our blog spotlight interview.

Jes Philbrook

Jes PhilbrookWriting Instructor and Coordinator of Doctoral Writing Assessment

Jes Philbrook joined the Walden Writing Center in 2015. She holds a BA in English from Bemidji State University and an MA in English from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Jes is currently working toward the final stages of her PhD in English with a focus in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Missouri. She lives in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with her husband and two cats.

Prior to joining Walden University, Jes worked as a writing tutor for over ten years in four different university writing centers. In addition, Jes has been a writing instructor at three different institutions, teaching courses such as Developmental Writing, Argumentation and Exposition, Intermediate Composition, Professional Writing, and Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies. Jes is passionate about writing instruction and helping students develop their academic voices, and she strives to support students as they become stronger and more confident academic writers.

Joe Gredler

joe gredlerDissertation Editor
Contributing Faculty in the Academic Skills Center

Joe has taught writing and APA courses in Walden’s Center for Academic Excellence since 2005. He currently serves as Lead Faculty in the Academic Skills Center. In addition to his faculty and editing responsibilities at Walden, Joe teaches writing and humanities courses at other universities. His editing background includes 6 years at Meadowbrook Press, where he worked primarily on parenting titles. Joe has a BA in English from Mercyhurst University and an MA in English from the University of Minnesota. He recently completed a PhD in Education at Walden with a specialization in higher education.

Julia Shiota

julia shiota Writing Instructor

Julia Shiota joined the Writing Center in 2015 after completing her Master’s in English at the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s in English from St. Olaf College. She has been interested in education for years and has had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of students. Her background includes teaching literacy skills to elementary school students and high school students, as well as instructing scholarly writing skills at the college and graduate level. Her academic interests include global Anglophone literature, modern Japanese literature, and critical theory.

Kacy Walz

kacy walzWriting Instructor

Kacy joined the Walden Writing Center staff at the end of 2016. She received her undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University where she double majored in English and History, and earned an accidental minor in Philosophy. After a year spent in the AmeriCorps service organization City Year, she completed her MA in English at Boston College in 2011. She is currently working on her dissertation for a PhD in English Literature from the University of Missouri. She lives in Columbia, Missouri but is a Minnesota native at her core.

Katherine McKinney

Katherine McKinneyWriting Instructor

Katherine McKinney has been working with students since joining the Valdosta State University Writing Center as a tutor in 2003. After earning her M.A. in English from Valdosta State University in 2008, she began teaching full time at her alma mater. Over the next decade, Katherine taught and tutored at a variety of institutions, including the Florida Institute of Technology, Valencia College, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center. In 2017, she joined the Walden University Writing Center as a writing instructor. Katherine’s goal as an instructor is to show students that the best writing results from practice, and she aims to provide feedback and resources that will guide students through the invention, composition, and revision process.

Lydia Lunning

Lydia LunningDissertation Editor and Coordinator for Capstone Resources
Contributing Faculty in the Academic Skills Center

Lydia Lunning joined the Writing Center in 2012, with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Minnesota, a bachelor’s from Oberlin College, and years of experience teaching writing at the college level. In addition, she has worked as a freelance editor and as part of the editorial staff at Cricket Magazine Group. Along with conducting form and style reviews as an editor, Lydia oversees the Walden Capstone Writing Community for students writing their proposals and final doctoral capstone studies.

Matt Sharkey-Smith

Matt Sharkey-SmithSenior Writing Instructor
Contributing Faculty in the Academic Skills Center

Matt joined the Writing Center in 2010 with a BA in English from Saint John’s University in Minnesota. He earned an MFA in Writing from Hamline University in Saint Paul in 2011 and has worked outside of Walden as a technical writer, fact-checker, copy editor, tutor, and writing instructor. He lives in Minneapolis.

Max Philbrook

Max PhilbrookWriting Instructor and Coordinator of Social Media Resources

Max Philbrook has worked with graduate and undergraduate writers since 2008 and brought his experience and joy of working with students to the Writing Center here at Walden in 2015. The principle that has guided his work from the beginning is the belief that writing can create positive change in the world. He is a doctoral candidate in rhetoric and composition at the University of Missouri, and prior to his doctoral studies Max received degrees in English from the University of Minnesota Duluth (MA) and Gustavus Adolphus College (BA). Along with working in writing centers at each of these institutions, Max has volunteered in the community as a reading buddy in elementary schools and as a college application tutor for children of first-generation immigrants to the United States. He currently resides in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with his wife and cats.

Meghan Barnes

Meghan barnesWriting Instructor

Meghan K. Barnes joined the writing center in late 2015, after working both as a composition and literature instructor, and an educational project manager. She holds a BFA in Professional Writing & English, an MFA in Nonfiction Literature, and a MAT in Post-Secondary Adult Online Education. These degrees lead to multiple opportunities including a Fulbright Scholarship to study the nonfiction work of Sylvia Plath in England, three Pushcart Prize Nominations and four book publications.

As a writing instructor at Walden, Meghan works to help students master the tools needed to become critically literate citizens. She is excited to watch as her students grow and begin publishing within their fields.

Originally from the North, Meghan now resides in Charleston, South Carolina with her dog, Ziah.

Meghan Irving

Meghan irvingDissertation Editor and Coordinator of Chapter Edit Services

Meghan Irving joined the Writing Center as an editor in 2015. She joined Walden University in 2010 as an Academic Advisor for the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership where she worked with master's-level students until moving to the Writing Center. Meghan also assisted with Walden’s student communications department writing, editing, and distributing communications.

Meghan has a BA in English with a Writing Concentration from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN and an MA in English from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. She taught composition and literature classes at K-State and also worked in their Writing Center.

Melissa Sharpe

melissa sharpeWriting Instructor

Melissa Sharpe earned her BA in English and MA in teaching English from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She has taught first year college composition classes and has worked in writing centers since 2010. Her favorite part of working with college writers is helping facilitate the writing process.

Michael Dusek

michael dusekWriting Instructor

Michael Dusek joined the Walden Writing Center in October of 2015. He holds a BA in English from the University of Minnesota–Duluth and an MA in English Studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Michael has taught composition at Minnesota State University, Mankato as well as University of Wisconsin–Stout. In his professional life, he enjoys working with students and improving their writing. The idea that an essay is expressive as well as formal is a cornerstone of the way he views writing. Michael believes that approaching a writing project as a creative problem-solving activity can alleviate apprehension that students often encounter. In his personal life, he enjoys the outdoors, books, music, and all other types of art.

Michael Miller

michael millerDissertation Editor

Michael joined the writing center with many years of experience working with postsecondary students and academics. He has completed his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree—both in English. Michael has taught courses at the university level for several years, with curriculum focusing on researching in the digital age, forming scholarly arguments, and improving writing skills on technical and substantive levels. He has edited work for students and academics from many disciplines and is always ready to take on new materials and subjects. In his editing, he emphasizes economy of expression, consistency, clarity, organization, and specific requirements and conventions for various writing styles and formats. He works diligently to respect the voice of the author, and he offers careful explanations and rationale with his edits.

Miranda Mattingly

miranda mattinglyWriting Instructor

Miranda Mattingly joined the Writing Center at Walden University in 2016. She earned her MA in English from Florida State University before completing her PhD in English at the University of Missouri. Her academic and research interests include visual culture, periodical studies, Victorian literature, and digital pedagogy.

Miranda has over a decade of experience working in online education and has taught a variety of developmental writing, composition, and literature courses at both public and private universities, community colleges, and in the online environment. When working with students, her primary focus is on encouraging students to have confidence in their skills as writers and to cultivate their voices as critical thinkers in an increasingly global community.

Originally from Kentucky, Miranda currently resides in Columbia, Missouri. When she is not working, Miranda enjoys biking, hiking, traveling abroad, and watching lots of college basketball.

Nathan Sacks

Nathan SacksDissertation Editor

Nathan Sacks joined the Writing Center in October  2012. He received a MA in English Language and Literature from NYU in May 2012. He is originally from Ames, Iowa and currently lives in Minneapolis. As a scholar he is interested in literary analysis, history of genre, and film studies. When not mentoring students he occasionally writes children’s books, plays guitar, and hangs out with cats.

Nicole Townsend

Nicole EvansWriting Instructor

Nicole joined Walden’s Writing Center in 2015. She earned her BA in English, with an emphasis on creative writing, and later focused on writing center theory and practice while attaining her MA in English from St. Cloud State University. Nicole has worked in writing centers since 2007 and has served in positions ranging from undergraduate tutor to center director and now serves Walden students as a writing instructor. Nicole has taught Freshman English, Developmental English, and numerous writing workshops.

Sam Herrington

sam herringtonCapstone Support Editor

Sam Herrington joined the Writing Center’s editing team as a capstone support editor in 2017 after 15 years of teaching academic writing and language skills to graduate and undergraduate students at various institutions. He holds a BA in both History and French, an MA in English (with a specialization in TESL), and an MA in French. When he is not working and/or playing with language, he likes traveling, spending time with his family, immersing himself in nature, and playing his fiddle.

Sara Witty

sara wittyDissertation Editor

Sara Witty joined the Writing Center in 2015 with a PhD in art history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s degree in art history from the University of St. Thomas, and a bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  She was the recipient of numerous fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and a grant from the Mellon Foundation in support of her research on the architecture of American mental hospitals. Her interests include institutional architecture, French critical theorists, and producing a broad range of visual art.

Sarah Matthey

Sarah MattheySenior Dissertation Editor

Sarah Matthey received her bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota in English and her master's degree from the University of St. Thomas, also in English. Sarah received her EdD from Walden University. Her research interests include academic entitlement and writing interventions for remedial writers. As an editor, she focuses on grammar, scholarly voice, APA formatting, and academic arguments.

Steve Lehman

steve lehmanDissertation Editor

Steve Lehman has more than 30 years experience in publishing as a writer and editor, working on projects as diverse as curricula, college textbooks, trade books (fiction and non-fiction), essays, op-eds, and academic articles. He is the coauthor or coeditor of several books. Steve has a degree in English Literature from Macalester College.

Tara Kachgal

tara kachgal

Dissertation Editor

Tara Kachgal joined the Writing Center in 2015, with a PhD in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a MA in telecommunications from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and a BS in advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has extensive experience working as a researcher and faculty member and instructor at U.S. colleges and universities. In her own scholarly and public writing, she focuses on topics related to media criticism, gender and sexuality, and higher education. In her free time, she enjoys running, exploring new cities, and reading detective books.

Tasha Sookochoff

Tasha Sookochoff Writing Instructor

Tasha Sookochoff joined the Writing Center in the fall of 2017. She has a BS in Technical Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and an MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse, with an emphasis on teaching composition, from DePaul University. She also has a graduate certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from DePaul. Tasha is passionate about adult literacy, creating safe communities for women and minorities, and the convergence of education and technology. She has written documentation for the U.S. House of Representatives that increases government transparency, blogged for DePaul University, copy-edited the Journal of Second Language Writing, tutored immigrants and refugees at literacy centers, and taught academic writing to college students.

Tim McIndoo

Tim McIndooSenior Dissertation Editor

Editor Tim McIndoo came to Walden University in 2007 with over 30 years of editorial experience (medicine, science and technology, fiction), including work as translator and photographer (photojournalism and fine art). In 2001 he earned a Master of Liberal Studies (University of Minnesota) with a concentration in medical ethics, followed by a short stint in a doctoral program in the history of medicine. Before entering graduate school, Tim worked as an acquisitions editor for over 6 years at Hazelden Publishing (Center City, MN), where he discovered and developed manuscripts on mental health topics. In 1995 he wrote a meditation book for Hazelden, which has sold over 50,000 copies and has been translated into three languages. Tim lives in Minneapolis with four cats.

Travis Sands

travis sandsDissertation Editor

Travis Sands holds a PhD in English from the University of Washington. His academic interests include queer studies, critical ethnic studies, and political economy. He joined Walden's editorial team after several years of teaching college English, writing, and cultural studies courses in the Pacific Northwest. When not editing, he can be found running the trails and roads in and around the Twin Cities.

Vania Brightman Cox

vania brightman coxCapstone Support Editor

Vania Brightman Cox joined the Walden Writing Center as a capstone support editor in 2017. Dr. Cox earned a BA (University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire) and an MA (Colorado State University) in Political Science, with a focus on international relations. Her PhD (University of Minnesota) is in Sociology with an emphasis on political sociology and qualitative methods. In her current research, she specializes on healthcare policies and cultural discourse.

Veronica Oliver

veronica oliverWriting Instructor

Veronica Oliver received her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition, with an emphasis on community literacy and intersecting rhetorics of identity, from Arizona State University (ASU) in May 2015. Previous to attending ASU, Professor Oliver received a master's degree in rhetoric and composition (Southern Illinois University) and a bachelor's degree in theater (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Born in Minneapolis, Veronica grew up predominantly in Wisconsin, although she has also lived in Los Angeles and Chicago. As a writing instructor, Professor Oliver’s passion is guiding students with developing their ideas on paper.