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Notes From a Writer's Desk: Meet the Writing Specialists

The Fellowships & Writing Center is excited to introduce its cohort of writing specialists for the 2023–24 academic year. As the fall term kicks off, we enthusiastically welcome two new and four returning members to our team of specialists from across the disciplinary and geographical landscapes of the University. All recent PhDs, our writing specialists bring a range of research and professional experiences to the FWC, and they are eager to share their expertise with students. The team is ready to lead writing groups, host workshops, read drafts and hold individual consultations, and critique practice presentations.

Mark Babin is a physical chemist who earned his PhD from The University of California, Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. His thesis work focused on the characterization of gaseous small molecules with relevance to catalysis, astrochemistry, and fundamental chemical physics. Beyond this, Mark has spent the better part of the past decade helping graduate students develop their academic writing style, and, in addition to his postdoctoral position in chemistry and chemical biology, he is excited to continue to assist graduate students in communicating their science while working with the FWC this year.
Samantha Jones is a dancer, musician, and ethnomusicologist. She earned her PhD from the Department of Music at Harvard University, where she wrote a dissertation on Irish step dancing in the Boston area. Samantha is excited to return for a second year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Fellowships & Writing Center.
Josephine Reece received her PhD from the Department of English at Harvard University, where she wrote a dissertation on animal anecdotes in the eighteenth century. Having written a large chunk of her dissertation in a writing oasis, Josephine is excited to help graduate students find a structured writing practice that works for them and to provide supportive and thoughtful criticism. Out of the classroom, you can find Josephine knitting, playing video games, and listening to the latest K-pop.
Kiersten Ruda earned her PhD in neurobiology from Duke University, studying visual processing in the retina. As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, she investigates how the brain represents signals from internal organs. She has an interest in science communication and is excited to work with graduate students to develop their skills in science writing. In her free time, Kiersten enjoys hiking in the White Mountains.
Anthony Shannon is a classical archaeologist, cultural historian, and hobbyist woodworker. He earned his PhD from Harvard’s Department of the Classics, with a dissertation on the material performance of citizenship at Lepcis Magna. Anthony has extensive experience helping students at all levels with their writing and looks forward to his second year helping graduate students as they develop and perform their own academic identity through their writing. Away from the desk, you may find Anthony wandering around the Boston area with his brindle pup Fergie.
Will Xiao received his PhD from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University, where he focused on the primate visual cortex using tools from deep learning. An avid reader of popular science since childhood, Will is passionate about scientific writing that resonates with a broad audience. An equally ardent coder, Will believes that clear writing, whether directed to a computer or a reader, has common principles (as in, for example, “The Zen of Python”). In addition to his postdoctoral work in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, Will is excited to help graduate students better communicate their science.

Ready to book an appointment with FWC staff? Access the FWC intake form.

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