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 who understands the larger surround of financial aid. 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.

Center Director and Tutor Bios

Suzanne Smith is the director of the Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas. Her current research pertains to religion, law, poetry, and the visual arts. She also teaches in history and literature, in the fields of European studies, the early modern world, the modern world, and America.

Christopher Brown received his PhD from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, specializing in medieval and Renaissance Italian Studies. His current research examines the convergence and legacy of temporal innovation in Trecento and Quattrocento Italy: from the intersection of mechanical clocks and tower bells, to the ingenious poetic expressions of Dante and Petrarch. In addition to teaching Italian literature and language, Chris has served as the coordinating fellow of Dudley House (now the GSAS Student Center) and as a visiting doctoral fellow at Villa I Tatti in Florence. Other research interests include Renaissance sport and spectacle, the multivalent origins of the "genius" figure, and the avant-garde poetic movements of the 20th century.

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.

Thomas Wisniewski earned a PhD in comparative literature from GSAS in 2019 and is a lecturer in comparative literature at Harvard. His research centers on rhythm, prose, translation, and modernism. A former Jacob K. Javits Fellow, he holds an MFA in fiction from Boston University, an MA in Italian literature from Middlebury, an AM in comparative literature from Dartmouth, and a BMA in saxophone performance and a BA in Italian and English from the University of Michigan. He has taught at Harvard, BU, Dartmouth, and Tufts, and his teaching has thrice been recognized by a certificate of distinction from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. His research has been awarded the Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, the Susan Anthony Potter Prize, and the Luisa Vidal de Villasante Award. His work has also been supported by the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and Villa I Tatti. He has lived in Italy, France, Denmark, Argentina, and Germany, where previously he was appointed as a Global Humanities Junior Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin.


The FWC offers individual consultations (by appointment), 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 make one appointment per week, dependent upon availability. Appointments are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. In your email, describe the piece of writing (or writing-related topic) that you would like to discuss and what your goals are for the meeting. Make an arrangement to send your piece of writing (ideally, double-spaced and at least 12pt font) as an attachment. Be sure to confirm your appointments after a date has been suggested. Students are welcome to submit pieces of writing 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 one hour; shorter appointments are available as well.

What services are available?

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

Individual consultations are frequently geared toward improving the overall argument, structure, and style of your papers or chapters. You can also make an appointment to prepare for oral presentations, or to work on specific writing and speaking skills. Letting your tutor know in advance what you would like to work on is key.

Workshops and other programming (talks, events, etc.) will be announced on the website and elsewhere throughout the academic year.

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