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About Us

WCC Lecturers

Elena Kallestinova / Director / ek007@mit.edu

Elena Kallestinova is Director of the Writing and Communication Center at MIT, who enjoys working with her WCC team, developing communication programs and resources, collaborating with colleague inside and outside MIT, and teaching communication classes. She came to MIT after working for twelve years at Yale University, where she founded and expanded the Graduate Writing Center and served as Assistant Dean for Writing and Communication in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She has trained, taught, and mentored diverse student populations for more than twenty-five years and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Consortium on Graduate Communication. With a Ph.D. in Linguistics and an M.A. in TESOL and an M.A./B.A. in Computational Linguistics, Elena has significant experience working with international and multilingual students and scholars. She seeks to promote written and oral communication programming to the MIT academic community.

Thalia Rubio / Assistant Director and Lecturer II / trubio@mit.edu

Thalia Rubio is Assistant Director of the Writing and Communication Center and a Lecturer II in Comparative Media Studies/Writing. Before coming to MIT, she worked as a freelance technical writer and taught technical writing at Northeastern University. She is also the author of an advanced ESL textbook, Slices of Life: Writing from North America (Regents/Prentice Hall).

Amy Cheung / Lecturer / acheungq@mit.edu

Amy Cheung is a Lecturer in the Writing and Communication Center. Her research examines identity development and the relation of identity(ies) to the experience of education and civic inclusion. She has taught in courses and workshops on qualitative research methods, qualitative data analysis, and reflective professional practice. Previously, Amy served as a Co-chair and Editor of the Harvard Educational Review. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Amherst College, M.Ed in International Educational Development, and Graduate Certificate in TESOL from Boston University, and Ed.D in Culture, Communities, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Outside of the university, Amy is an advocate for Boston’s Chinatown, having variously served as a non-profit professional, board member, and volunteer in the community.

Betsy Fox / Lecturer / emfox@mit.edu

Betsy works in MIT’s Writing and Communication Center, in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program, and as a freelance editor. She teaches Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies and has been a Writing Advisor for Introduction to Western Music, among others. She is on the Board of Directors of PsyArt, a foundation that supports the psychological study of the arts and holds annual international conferences; she has been President and Secretary of the D. H. Lawrence Society of North America. She publishes on feminism, psychoanalysis, Lawrence, and related topics. Betsy holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature, Boston University; M.Ed., Boston University; B.A. in English with pre-med, Wellesley College. She enjoys working with clients on cover letters, CVs/resumes, and applications as well as dissertations, theses, and articles.

Bob Irwin / Lecturer / irw@mit.edu

Robert A. Irwin studied philosophy at Princeton University and Antioch College and earned a Ph.D. in sociology at Brandeis University. He has taught at Tufts, Brandeis, and Holy Cross and, for twenty years, at MIT’s Writing and Communication Center. His book Building a Peace System was praised for its scope and clarity. “If it stimulates thought and action, the possibilities for human survival will be enhanced” (Noam Chomsky).

Chris Featherman / Lecturer / cmf28@mit.edu

Chris Featherman is a Lecturer in the Writing and Communication Center. An applied linguist, he earned his Ph.D. in Language and Rhetoric at the University of Washington in Seattle. Before joining MIT, he taught writing, research, and communication at Northeastern University. His teaching interests include genre, visual communication, and second language acquisition, and his research focuses on language, power, and ideology in the public sphere. In his book Discourses of Ideology and Identity: Social Media and the Iranian Election Protests (Routledge, 2015), he examines the circulation of political ideologies and global English in digital and legacy media.

Irene Maksymjuk / Lecturer / imaksym@mit.edu

Irene Maksymjuk is a Lecturer in the Writing and Communication Center, English Language Studies, and the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program. She combines theoretical interests with a practical commitment to facilitating clear academic and professional communication, particularly across disciplinary, organizational, and cultural boundaries. She grew up bilingual and bicultural and has taught writing as well as English as an Additional Language for a variety of (usually specialized) purposes, trained teachers, and developed orientation and training programs in academic and professional settings. Irene has a Bachelor’s in History from Georgetown, a Master’s in Applied Linguistics/TESOL from UPenn (where she also completed all but thesis in the Annenberg Master’s program in Communication), and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Communication from Boston University. She is a faithful (though often chagrined) follower of current events, and a fan of movies on the big screen. Irene especially looks forward to working with MIT’s multilingual students and researchers.

Megan McNamara / Lecturer / megmac@mit.edu

Megan McNamara (also published under M. M. Dawley) teaches in the Writing and Communication Center and the Writing, Rhetoric and Professional Communication Program at MIT in Cambridge. She earned her doctorate from the American & New England Studies program at Boston University. Her work focuses on the literary history of the Gilded Age in the United States with an emphasis on satire. She was named to the inaugural cohort of Affiliated Faculty at BU’s Center for Antiracist Research and collaborated with Gene Andrew Jarrett on the creation of the African American Studies module for Oxford Bibliographies Online. Her writing appears in American Literary Realism and the Edith Wharton Review and she is the book review editor for The Mark Twain Annual. Megan has been teaching writing for nineteen years and would be happy to work with you on all different types of writing at any stage of the process, from brainstorming to drafting to revision to proofreading.

Pamela Siska / Lecturer / pjsiska@mit.edu

Pamela Siska has been with MIT’s Writing and Communication Center since 1993, and she was a contributor to the MIT-authored The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing. Since 2015 she has taught graduate writing classes for MIT’s Supply Chain Management program. Pamela holds an MA in English from Boston University (where she taught writing and literature courses before coming to MIT) and is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on Percy Shelley. She has published articles on medieval, Romantic, and Victorian literature as well a chapter on Mary Shelley in Material Women, 1750–1950: Consuming Desires and Collecting Practices.

Susan Spilecki / Lecturer / spilecki@mit.edu

Susan Spilecki teaches writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University. She has an MFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and an MA in Theological Studies. Her work has been published in Potomac Review, Ekphrasis, Princetown Arts Review, Quarterly West and Frontiers. As a prolific writer, she is fascinated by helping people, as the writer David Huddle says, “achieve a circumstance of ongoing work, the serenity to carry out the daily writing and revising of what… [works] are given one to write.”

Zuhra Faizi / Lecturer / faizi@mit.edu

Zuhra Faizi is a lecturer in the Writing and Communication Center. Her research examines community-based education in settings of conflict and displacement with a focus on Afghanistan. She is passionate about culturally-informed and sustainable educational opportunities for marginalized children. Prior to working at MIT, Zuhra was an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and served as an Editor of the Harvard Educational Review. Currently, she is an affiliate at the Refugee REACH Initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She holds a BA in Linguistics from University of Colorado Boulder, MA in International Political Economy from Colorado School of Mines, MA in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and EdD in Culture, Communities, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

WCC Fellows

Talia Zheng / WCC Fellow /taliaz@mit.edu

Talia is a graduate student at the Department of Chemical Engineering in Doyle Research Group. She graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Her research is broadly situated in the field of pharmaceutical formulation, hydrogels, nanoemulsions. In the past, she’s worked at Procter & Gamble as an Intern.

Roxanne Bess Goldberg / WCC Fellow / roxanneg@mit.edu

Roxanne Goldberg is a PhD candidate in History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture in the Department of Architecture. Her research investigates how discourses about race and religion are negotiated through collections and displays of material culture in the United States from the nineteenth century through the present. Roxanne also works as an academic editor.

Chelsea Anne Spencer / WCC Fellow / cspence@mit.edu

Shawn Hu / WCC Fellow / shawnhu@mit.edu

Shawn, CFA, is a current MSRED candidate at MIT DUSP and a candidate for Business Analytics Certificate at MIT Sloan. He is also a research fellow at the MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, a teaching assistant at Sloan and Harvard Business School, and an Etkin Scholar at Urban Land Institute. He was also one of the MIT campus-wide Fall Career Fair student directors and a Career Exploration Ambassador. He has extensive experience in real estate investment, securitization, sustainable development. Prior to joining MIT, he worked for the top independent real estate private equity in Asia, the largest investment bank in the region, a visionary real estate developer, and Deloitte. One of his professional achievements was featured in Wall Street Journal and Reuters. He has outstanding multitasking skills, time management skills, quantitative and data analytical skills. As a self-motivator and quick learner, he thrives under pressure and never stop pushing his limits.

Max Jahns / WCC Fellow / mjahns@mit.edu

Max (they/them) is a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Applied Ocean Science studying the ecological and biogeochemical dynamics of marine microbial communities. Max studies mixotrophic organisms from a variety of interdisciplinary angles straddling multiple departments. Max is a current WCC fellow, serves on the board of the peer-to-peer graduate application mentoring program JP-ASK, is an organizer for the WHOI Student Union, and likes to play ukulele in their free time.