One full-time English faculty member, Grace Rhodes, is the director of The Writing & Learning Studio. Grace is also professor of the studio credit courses, ENGL 089 and ENGL 099 and the tutor education course, EDULA 199 and acts as the SCC campus coordinator for eTutoring. Grace has a bachelor's degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and a master's degree from Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington. She began working at Shoreline in 1988 as the first director of the studio (formerly called the Reading/Writing Learning Center) and has been developing and directing the program ever since.
In addition to the director, the studio has a staff of learning assistants. During each hour the studio is open, two or three learning assistants are working. Learning assistants have a range of education and experience, the majority having a bachelor's or master's degree, while others may be SCC students working toward their degrees. In addition to their individual educational backgrounds, all studio assistants begin their employment here with an intensive nine-hour orientation to tutoring and participate in ongoing professional development activities throughout each quarter, and if they are SCC students, they must enroll in the tutor education course, EDULA 199, “Tutoring Writing & Learning: Theory & Practice.
All learning assistants are hourly employees with a current top wage of $9.83 per hour. As you'll read below, some of the assistants have worked in the studio over ten years. Each of them has written a paragraph or two about themselves, presented below in order of studio experience:
Jana: I started working in The Writing & Learning Studio in January, 1995. During my high school years and college education at the University of Washington, I always took great pleasure in helping students with reading, writing and math. Over the last 25 years I have enjoyed volunteer hosting international students and encouraging them in learning English. The wide variety of elective classes I have taken and my many years of experience in The Writing & Learning Studio enable me to coach students with writing in different disciplines.
Since graduating from the UW in 1991, with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in mathematics and a minor in English, I have continued to thoroughly enjoy assisting students to build a strong foundation for education and improve their skills for more extensive learning in the future. Reading and writing can be fun, as well as tremendously important life skills.
Margarete: I have enjoyed the privilege of working at TWLS since September of 1996. I earned my B.A. degree in English with a minor in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1995. I continue to be inspired daily, assisting so many dedicated and determined students desiring to improve their English skills.
Melanie: My work as a Learning Assistant here at The Writing and Learning Studio is the most rewarding, inspiring job I've ever had. Not only do I get to support student learning at all levels, but I have the opportunity to facilitate students' expression of their unique ideas, stories, and perspectives. As a lover of literature and language, I feel excited and honored to participate in others' first steps in these academic subjects.
In 2000 I enrolled in SCC's tutor education course and, began tutoring in The Writing and Learning Studio. Four years later I graduated from UW-Bothell with a B.A. in Culture, Literature, and the Arts. I have worked in two college writing centers, taught a community ESL class, and taught reading and writing to young Korean-American students at an after-school learning center. As a fiction writer, I also know how invaluable community and reader feedback is to writing. I belong to a writing group where I receive input from fellow writers; I see my work in TWLS as an extension of this community involvement.
Elizabeth: I received my Bachelor of Arts from Boston University and a Masters Degree in Education from Columbia University Teachers College. Later in life, I obtained an A.A.S. degree in Horticultural Technology in order to pursue a hobby as a career. I have taught elementary school, managed the horticultural department for a garden center and performed customer service duties in the corporate world. I became a learning assistant at The Writing & Learning Studio in 2006 and have enjoyed helping students acquire the writing and learning skills that will assist them in pursuing their academic, professional, and personal goals.
Leslie: Hi! My name is Leslie Jordan, and I am happy to now be a part of The Writing and Learning Studio, which I joined in January 2011. Tutoring is one of my favorite forms of work. It allows me to combine several of my interests"”education, literature, cultures and psychology.
I have enjoyed tutoring English and learning about the cultural experiences of my students since high school when I started tutoring Vietnamese refugees who had been resettled in my home town, Centralia. After I graduated from Centralia College with my A.A., I went to Central Washington University where I took some education courses, but then majored in anthropology because of my interest in people and cultures. At Central I worked my way through college primarily by tutoring Cambodian refugees and other students through the writing center there. Because of my tutoring experience, I was offered the opportunity to pursue a Masters in English Language Learning. I graduated from Central with my M.A. in 1986.
After working a long stint as a legal assistant, a job that used my English skills extensively, I decided to change careers and started taking classes toward that end at Shoreline Community College. While here I have also enjoyed working part-time as a tutor through another program on campus and assisting in the Community Integration Program.
Leighanne: In 2004 I earned my BA in English from Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in Minnesota and was then certified in Teaching English as a Second Language from Via Lingua in Florence, Italy. Before starting at The Writing & Learning Studio (2012 September), I had worked for nearly seven years as an independent bookseller in Northern Michigan, where I'm from, and locally, at The Elliott Bay Book Co. When I moved to Seattle in 2010, I began volunteering at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, interviewing authors, recording audio books, and hosting teen-centered radio programs.
Having built my own life around words and literature, I am delighted to have this opportunity to help students develop their voices and command of the English language. It has been wonderful getting to know the curious and eager minds who come through this studio. I love discovering how individuals learn and what sort of help they need, then finding the best way of offering that assistance. I try to remember Einstein's famous quote, which has become my mantra in teaching and tutoring: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." In 2013 I am hoping to enroll in a Masters in Teaching Program so I might bring my love of language and writing to middle and high school kids in this area.
Eliza: Hi! I'm Eliza and I'm happy to be working here. It is fascinating to meet so many interesting people from so many different backgrounds! I am a fourth-generation Washingtonian. I have lived in Seattle for most of my life, although I did spend three months in a Taiwanese elementary school in fourth grade. (I still remember how to say "Don't hit little sister!" in Mandarin.) I went as far away as I could for college--all the way to Florida! I loved the exotic birds and vegetation, the bizarre insects, and the tropical nights but returned home to our beautiful rain. I now live 15 blocks from my childhood home in one direction and 15 blocks from my parents' childhood homes in the other.
Along with a BA in English Literature, I have a BFA in Painting and an MA in Art History. I have been an artist and illustrator, curator, art critic, and editor. (I'm also a mom!) I have had 15 minutes of fame for a series of funny postcards about slugs, moss, the Emerald City, and other aspects of life in the Pacific Northwest. In the 90's I ran and edited a non-profit regional art magazine. For the last several years I have taught art history, most recently to the honors students at Seattle University. Lately I have been singing and writing music--and, beginning in fall 2012, tutoring at Shoreline Community College!
Larry: I came to The Writing & Learning Studio in the fall of 2012 after many years of writing and editing work. I was a reporter for four daily newspapers, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and also wrote for two websites. I was helped along the way by good examples, great leadership, and by people who provided good help. My father sparked my interest in writing when he bought an antique portable typewriter and let me use it. My fifth-grade teacher gave me time to write and circulate a small school newspaper. Later I learned to appreciate reading and great literature in a large college survey class, where the professor added small discussion groups to help students analyze and better understand what they read.
In all this I followed a path that has lasted most of a lifetime, and along the way I learned the importance of teaching and mentoring. I'm pleased to put that lesson into practice as I try to help others now.