The Fellowships & Writing Center (FWC) helps GSAS students to heighten the impact of their research. At the FWC, students can meet with a fellowships specialist attuned to the landscape of internal and external awards. They can also work with specialists on their writing and presentational skills, whether in the context of composing a fellowship proposal, working on a dissertation chapter, preparing an article for publication, or refining a conference presentation.

Students can come to the FWC for individual consultations, peer workshops, and other programming, including the Writing Oasis. The FWC will coordinate with GSAS financial aid officers and staff of the Office of Student Affairs, as well as continuing to develop relationships with the Office of Career Services, the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Academic Resource Center.

FWC Executive Director, Director, and Writing Specialists

Christopher Brown received his PhD from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, specializing in medieval and Renaissance Italian Studies. His research focuses on 14th-century poetry and time-consciousness, among other topics, and has been published by such leading journals as Renaissance Quarterly. Prior to joining the FWC, Chris taught Italian language and literature at Harvard, Holy Cross, and elsewhere, and, since his doctoral years, has been actively involved in promoting graduate student wellbeing—serving, for example, as the coordinating fellow of Dudley House (now the GSAS Student Center). In addition, Chris has worked as an English teacher and a journalist, and he believes that all forms of writing have the capacity to be beautiful..

Cynthia Verba advises students on the process of writing fellowship and book proposals. The former director of fellowships for GSAS, she is the author of Scholarly Pursuits: A Guide to Professional Development During the Graduate Years. Scholarly Pursuits contains a chapter on writing fellowship proposals and includes samples of winning proposals from a wide range of fields. Verba has extensive advising experience on major fellowship competitions, such as the National Science Foundation research fellowships, Fulbrights, the Mellon/ Social Science Research Council fellowships supporting field research, and many of the internal fellowships for GSAS students. She is an active musicologist with an interdisciplinary approach to the French musical Enlightenment, having published two books and many articles or book chapters with leading scholarly presses and journals.


The FWC offers individual consultations for fellowships advising and on pieces of writing, peer review groups, dedicated writing space, workshops, and other programming to support registered GSAS students at all stages of their careers. Tutoring support is offered to all GSAS students in any discipline who seek to improve their academic papers, dissertations, and presentations. Overall, the FWC helps GSAS students to heighten the impact of their research by fostering and refining their written and oral communication skills.

GSAS students are eligible to schedule one writing consultation per week, dependent upon availability. Appointments are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To request that a writing specialist meet with you, please complete our FWC intake form, to which you’ll attach your piece of writing. Students are welcome to submit drafts that are at any stage of completeness. Very rough drafts are fine, as are more polished pieces or papers that students are preparing for publication. Appointments generally take 30 minutes for fellowship essays and one hour for other types of writing.

What services are available?

We currently offer individual consultations, peer review groups, dedicated writing space, workshops, and other programming.

Individual consultations are frequently geared toward improving the overall argument, structure, and style of your papers, chapters, or fellowship essays. We do not provide line editing or English language proofreading. You can also make an appointment to prepare for oral presentations, or to work on specific writing and speaking skills. Letting your writing specialist know in advance what you would like to work on is key.

Workshops and other programming (talks, events, etc.) are announced on the website, Engage, our FWC newsletter, and other GSAS publications.

Writing Groups are formed in the fall and spring semesters. For more information, please email