Chris Bickford, STEM Writing Specialist and Lecturer
Ph.D., Biology, University of New Mexico
Chris joined Caltech after teaching plant biology and scientific writing for 10 years at Kenyon College. He invites Caltech students and community members to work with him to develop and refine their scientific writing and communication skills.
Chris earned a B.S. in Botany from the University of Oklahoma, an M.S. in Forestry from Northern Arizona University, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of New Mexico. After postdoctoral work in the field of plant physiological ecology at Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) in Lincoln, New Zealand and the University of New Mexico, Chris joined the faculty at Kenyon College. At Kenyon, where he was an associate professor of biology, his research focused on the role leaf structural traits play in modulating photosynthesis. His pedagogical interests center on facilitating student awareness of their writing process to improve writing and communication skills. He looks forward to working with and learning from members of the Caltech community as they bring their ideas, data, and perspectives into written form.
Erin Burkett, STEM Writing Specialist and Lecturer
Ph.D., Geophysics, UC Davis
Erin welcomes opportunities to collaborate with members of the
Caltech community wishing to become better writers and communicators,
particularly within STEM disciplines.
Erin earned a B.S. in physics and a minor in art from the University of Delaware while also serving as a Writing Fellow tutor for undergraduate peers. In 2010, Erin completed a Ph.D. in Geophysics at the University of California, Davis, where she conducted computer modeling research of plate tectonic processes. Erin continued geodynamic modeling during postdoctoral research at Caltech while exploring a growing interest in outreach and communication. Outreach collaborations led to a Staff Scientist position with the US Geological Survey where she worked to help improve communication of natural hazards science and earthquake early warning technology.
Through her varied background in both research and communication, Erin has acquired insights and skills that are valuable in working with diverse audiences and disciplines.
Nareen Manoukian, Generalist Writing Specialist
Ed.D., University Southern California
M.A., English, California State University, Northridge
As a multilingual writer, Nareen is attuned to the many different ways in which people approach writing. She is committed to supporting writers at all stages of writing development. She has worked with writers both as a lecturer and in writing centers at the University of Southern California, Azusa Pacific University, in the California State University system, and various community colleges, as well as internationally at the American University of Armenia as a summer research associate.
Nareen holds an Ed.D. from USC's Rossier School of Education, an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an M.A. in Literature from California State University, Northridge. Outside of academia, her writing interests include narrative nonfiction and memoir.
Josh Schneiderman, Generalist Writing Specialist
Ph.D. Candidate, English, City University of New YorkJosh is trained as a scholar of literature and the visual culture but looks forward to working with and learning from Caltech writers from across the disciplines. He previously taught writing and American literature at Hunter College, CUNY, where he also served as Assistant Coordinator of English 220, one of Hunter's core first-year writing courses.
M.A., English, University of Georgia
Josh holds an M.A in English from the University of Georgia and is completing a Ph.D. in English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. An archival reassessment of the New York School, his dissertation examine the ways in which post-1945 poets and artists used "old media" to resist the literary, sexual, and economic imperatives of Cold War American culture. Josh edited The Correspondence of Kenneth Koch and Frank O'Hara, 1955-56 (Lost & Found / The Center for the Humanities), and his writing has appeared in Art in America, Contemporary Literature, Journal of Modern Literature, ASAP/J, Public Books, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.
Peer Tutors Our peer tutors are undergraduates who are passionate about the importance of writing and who receive ongoing training in the tutoring of
Nachiket Bhanushali, Venerable
Nachiket is a junior majoring in physics. He currently works in the Caltech Precision Timing Lab and is investigating the light output of certain particle detector modules. As a tutor, he hopes to share his writing experiences so he can support students in achieving their writing goals, while also improving his own skills as a writer. In his free time, he enjoys watching films, hiking, and reading.
Emily Choe, Venerable
Emily is a junior majoring in computation and neural systems. She loves the process of writing, from brainstorming, to writing the first draft, to editing and finalizing the piece. She hopes to be an approachable and resourceful peer tutor. Apart from academics, she likes yoga, earrings, and diving.
Adnan Contractor, Avery House
Adnan is a senior majoring in math. He hopes to get to know students by reflecting on their writing and literary interests. He is drawn to readings of scientific realism and the philosophy of scientific law. Adnan's favorite pastimes are watching basketball and eating medjool dates.
Reggy Granovskiy, Dabney
Reggy is a senior in History and Computer Science with an interest in physics. They believe that a humanistic perspective is vital to working in the sciences, and that writing is particularly essential not only for communicating effectively but also for developing one's ideas and working through complex topics. Being a part of the Hixon Writing Center has been a great opportunity for them to reflect on different writing processes and engage with a variety of interesting ideas. They like to spend their free time playing board games, watching horror movies, and drawing.
Bella Hurvitz, Page
Nico Jimenez-Lozano, Dabney
Shalini Kurinchi-Vendhan, Blacker
Shalini is a senior studying astrophysics. Currently, she is researching how black holes lead to the death of galaxies using cosmological simulations. But she also loves literature and writing, and hopes to share that passion with others at Caltech. Other than exploring her secret door to Narnia, her favorite books are Villette by Charlotte Bronte, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and anything by Lemony Snicket.
Grace Liu, Page (social Avery)
Grace is a senior student majoring in biology and English. She currently does research in the Arnold lab on using machine learning to characterize protein interactions. She believes that all scientists need to also cultivate strong communication skills so that their work can be shared with other scientists and the general public. She enjoys creative writing as a way to relieve stress from academics. She spends her free time reading, listening to music, and learning to become a better cook.
Geoff Pomraning, Ricketts
Geoff is a senior majoring in physics and mathematics, with an emphasis on plasma physics and combinatorics. He thinks that the secret to great science is in becoming a great scientific communicator. His summers researching with the Bellan Plasma Physics Group and the Wisconsin Plasma Physics Lab have instilled an appreciation of technical writing and reporting. He is very excited to be working to support students on their writing journeys.
Daniel Quintana, Lloyd
Daniel is a senior majoring in computer science. he believes that strong communcation and writing skills are critical to every student at Caltech for both their STEM and non-STEM efforts. Through peer tutoring, he hopes to help students hone these skills, as well as improve his own. In his free time, Daniel likes reading, sleeping, and playing video games.
Maggie Sui, Lloyd
Leo Williams, Lloyd
Wentao Zhang, Ricketts
Wentao is a junior majoring in biology with an emphasis in neuroscience. He is currently researching nuclear pole complexes at the Hoelz lab. He hopes that he can help students enjoy writing a little more and better communicate their scientific ideas. He spends his free time swimming and reading high fantasy novels.
Susanne E. Hall, Director
Ph.D., English, UC Irvine
Dr. Hall began her work at Caltech in Fall 2012. At Caltech, in addition to her work directing the Hixon Writing Center, she regularly teaches Introduction to Academic Writing for Multilingual students (Wr 1), Introduction to Academic Writing (Wr 2), Principles and Practices of Academic Writing (Wr 4), and Writing About Science (En 84).
Dr. Hall's research interests are in the field of writing studies.
She is a Co-PI in an NSF-funded study of text recycling in scientific research writing. Her broader interests include learning transfer and
how writing centers can promote it, particularly across the boundaries
between the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields. She has
recently presented her work at the International Writing Center Association Convention, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference. She is an editor of Prompt, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to college writing assignments. You can find links to her published writing via ORCID.
Leslie Rico, Office Administrator
B.A., English, University of LaVerne
Leslie is the Office Administrator for the Hixon Writing Center. She brings to our Center over 25 years of Caltech experience. Leslie has worked for the Caltech Libraries, the Earthquake Engineering Research Library, and the Divisions of Geology and Planetary Science and Engineering and Applied Science. In addition to Leslie's Caltech experience she brings to our office great enthusiasm and a team-building spirit.
Leslie earned a BA from the University of LaVerne in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Leslie enjoys being a part of the Caltech Community and especially being a member of the Hixon Writing Center team.
Robyn Javier, STEM Communication Specialist and Lecturer in Engineering
Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco
M.S., Biomedical Engineering, UCLA
Robyn Javier is a member of the division of Engineering and Applied Science who specializes in spoken communication in STEM. Dr. Javier teaches courses, offers consultations, and presents workshops on topics related to STEM communication. Check out her website to learn more about the support she offers to the Caltech community.