Critical Voices Writing Fellowship

In November 2014, The Monterey Institute’s Graduate Writing Center, the Institute’s Digital Learning Commons, and The WIP will team up to pilot our Critical Voices Writing Fellowship. Three to five international writers will be selected to for this initial pilot program.

Selected fellows will be paired with 1-2 Institute graduate writing workshop tutors and offered personalized English language support in the GWC’s structured tutorial approach. Tutorials will be conducted online via web conferencing and an open-source learning platform.

The goal of this collaboration is to develop the publishing potential of international women writers whose voices are underrepresented in online global English-speaking publications. We will accomplish this goal by leveraging the GWC’s pool of graduate student writing workshop tutors and the DLC’s knowledge of instructional design and curricular technology to support online writing and editorial skills development.

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Meet Our Fall 2014 Tutors


Adam Garnica is a student in the MA TESOL program at MIIS. He studied English literature and creative writing for his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Mongolia, where he served from 2012 to 2014. In Mongolia, he worked as an English teacher trainer and language instructor.  Adam has also worked in Thailand and South Korea as an English instructor and with gifted youth in creative writing in the US. He enjoys traveling, running, swimming, playing video and board games, and writing (when he has the chance). He also enjoys wearing ties.


Anita Krishnan is a second-year MA TESOL student, a traveler, a writer, and a musician. She grew up in Australia and Singapore, and has spent her adult life between New York City, Connecticut, and California. Anita studied Journalism and Linguistics at NYU and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay from 2009-2011. She continues to travel the world — driven by a love for people, languages, cultures, and food — and her career plans include promoting language education and effective communication between cultures.


Guadalupe Lopez was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has been a developer of educational materials her whole adult life, working with various educational publishers such as Scott Foresman, Scholastic, McGraw-Hill, Hampton-Brown, and Evan-Moor. Currently, she works as an independent materials developer for a private institute, creating lessons for high school ESL (English as a Second Language). She appreciates the flexibility of this new work schedule, as she is now able to savor the final stretch of the MIIS MA TESOL program, an adventure she started way back in 2009. Lupe is married and has three children. Her two daughters, Julia and Cecilia, both majored in linguistics and are following in their mother’s footsteps. Her son Daniel, who is in high school, prefers numbers.


Danny McCarthy was born and raised in the Monterey area. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Oregon in Linguistics with a minor in Business Administration. During his time as an undergraduate, Danny tutored all steps of the writing process for the College of Education. Additionally, he worked with ESL (English as a Second Language) learners on improving their spoken and written English. In his free, time Danny enjoys playing basketball and baseball recreationally as well as sitting down to read a good book.


Weiwei Xie grew up in Shanghai and came to the US to attend Trinity College in Connecticut. She has always been passionate about the English language and writing. Weiwei worked as a writing tutor at Trinity for three semesters and greatly enjoyed the experience. After college, Weiwei taught Mandarin for two years. She also taught pre-calculus and study skills during that time. Weiwei is currently in her third semester of the Masters of Teaching a Foreign Language program for Spanish.

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Fix Your Grammar…

Because we all need a laugh on Monday:

Fix Your Grammar

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Meet Our Graduate Writing Center Tutors for Spring 2014!


We are happy to announce the opening of the Gradate Writing Center this semester with a set of excellent tutors. Please read on below to learn more about each of our tutors!


Danny McCarthy was born and raised in the Monterey area. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Oregon in Linguistics with a minor in Business Administration. During his time as an undergraduate, Danny tutored all steps of the writing process for the College of Education. Additionally, he worked with ESL (English as a Second Language) learners on improving their spoken and written English. In his free time Danny enjoys playing basketball and baseball recreationally as well as sitting down to read a good book.

Ellie Wolf

Ellie Wolf is an English as a Second Language instructor with five years of experience as a writing tutor. She graduated from the MIIS MATESOL program in summer 2013 and currently teaches Reading and WritingOral Communication, and Active Listening Strategies in the MIIS Intensive English Program. In spring and summer 2013, she was an ESL instructor for the Kanda and Shimane University special English programs, as well as the writing tutor for the English Preparation for Graduate Studies program at MIIS. Writing instruction has been one of Ellie’s primary professional interests since earning a BA in Writing and Spanish at Pitzer College, where she worked for four years as a writing tutor in the Pitzer Writing Center.

Adrienne Matunas

Adrienne Matunas is a MATESOL candidate in the Peace Corps Master’s International program at MIIS.  She earned a B.A. in philosophy and religion at Middlebury College, where she worked as a writing tutor for three years and conducted research on tutoring outcomes at Middlebury’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research.  She also tutored calculus and astronomy, and taught English as a foreign language during a semester abroad in Italy.  This past summer, Adrienne worked as an ESL instructor for international students at Exploration Summer Programs.  Adrienne also has a special interest in writing poetry.  For the time being she is nervously awaiting her Peace Corps placement, where she hopes to teach English as an education volunteer beginning in the summer of 2014.

KaitlynKaitlyn Mearn: I recently graduated from MIIS with a degree in International Policy Studies with a concentration in Conflict Resolution. I began working as a writing tutor in 2012 and have experience teaching English as a foreign language in Spain. I received by bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross.  Following my undergraduate studies, I moved to Taiwan to continue studying Chinese and then worked in Ukraine.  During my free time, I like to read and play sports, especially tennis and volleyball.


David Tasker graduated from the MIIS TESOL program in December of 2013. His bachelor’s degree, from the University of Colorado, is in Italian Studies with a minor in Philosophy. As an undergraduate, David tutored Italian, and, as a MIIS student, taught it to his peers through the BUILD program. He has taught and tutored English for five years, as a volunteer with various local nonprofits, like the Peace Resource Center in Seaside, and professionally, for the Intensive English Programs at MIIS. Aside from tutoring writing at the Graduate Writing Center, David assists TESOL professor Kathleen Bailey to get articles and book chapters publication-ready (and is an expert copy-machine operator), and works with TESOL professor Jean Turner on a needs analysis for a big, important language-learning company. David enjoys working both with writers who are English learners and those who speak English as a first language.

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Milk and Cookies at the GWC

Stop by the Graduate Writing Center to learn about our services and have a morning snack this week from 9am to 12pm! What could be better than that on a rainy morning?


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How to Become a Better Writer

I recently got asked how I became a good writer and why I enjoyed writing so much. For me, writing has just always been a part of my life. So coming up with an answer to this question made me think about what it was about writing that I enjoyed and why I continue to want to write (even those pesky research papers).

Personally, I love the way words flow and how a single thought can be conveyed in such manner that makes people understand, commiserate, and think. But it can be hard to translate this flow when there are requirements, procedures, and restrictions in academic writing. So, I went searching for others opinions (through the magic of Google) and here a few nuggets that I found which may or may not help you write with a little less anxiety.


Reading is so critical when it comes to writing. It gives you a wider vocabulary and if the subject is interesting to you it can spur ideas, theories, or questions which you can begin to incorporate into your writing.

Writing academically means focusing on the most important pieces. A paper that is concise and clear will help convey your message in the best way possible. Additionally, it’s the little things, like correct grammar, that improve writing easily and quickly.

And remember, it is always important to revise, revise, revise! The more you notice your mistakes, the less you will use them.

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Global Styles of Rhetorical Organization

In 1966, Robert B. Kaplan published the following diagram to illustrate what he took to be the preferred or most common ways of organizing written discourse across different cultures:

Kaplan’s schema has been criticized for being overly reductionist, but it does raise some interesting questions about how the value attached to focus and directness in academic writing vary culturally.  Whereas sticking to a tight focus and advancing one’s argument in linear, systematic fashion tend to be thought of as virtues in American academic writing, such characteristics may vary in relative importance in other academic cultures — as compared to, for instance, approaching a topic from many different angles.

Expectations about catering to the reader may also differ by language and culture.  Is it the author’s responsibility to present arguments in a way that is easy for readers to understand?  Or does such reader-centric writing show a lack of esteem for the reader’s intelligence?

When writing a paper for an international audience, then, it is worth reflecting upon the audience’s expectations, to see how well your preferred style of organization matches up with what your readers expect.



Kaplan, R. (1966). Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education. Language Learning 16, 1–20.

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Useful Tip for Identifying Mistakes

Over the course of this semester, professors will require students to write many academic papers from policy memos to research papers to literature reviews and so on. After staring at a computer screen for hours, it is possible that you may overlook some mistakes in your papers, for example, subject-verb agreement, prepositions, and verb tenses.

A great way to identify grammatical mistakes is by reading your paper out loud.  Although it seems time-consuming, you will have a better chance of detecting errors in your paper.

After writing, take a short break and then find a quiet place without distractions where you can read your paper out loud.  This will allow you to focus and will help make sure that your final draft is error-free.

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Policy Writing

For all those students in Policy Analysis looking for help on their policy memos and other related work, it can often be difficult to know where to start. So many policies, so little time!

It is important to remember that many students will go on to use these first pieces of their work here at MIIS as writing samples for their job and internship applications. There are a good brief overview of a person’s ability to communicate a single idea in a concise, yet clear manner.

As a fellow IPS-er. I’ve been there. And while I can’t tell you what to write about or how exactly to convey your message, I do want to give some advice.

First off, remember that this is one of the first pieces of work which demonstrates your abilities and your own personal interests. So choose a policy that intrigues you and is relevant to the direction that you would like to pursue for your career. Papers will always be better if you are invested in the subject matter. And this is your chance to choose that material, so take it!

Secondly, make sure your language is clear and concise. With only two pages to deliver a whole lot of information, it is critical that each and every word is carefully selected. You want to make sure that your audience understands and is not left with any additional questions.

And finally, visit the Graduate Writing Center! Even if you have no clue where to begin, the tutors here can help you develop your ideas and get you started.

Additionally, I’ve included a worksheet that I found online to help structure your thought process. Remember, that the internet is filled with helpful advice on writing policy memos and recommendations, so don’t be afraid to Google in order to jump start your own writing.


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The Top-Down Approach to Revision

Top-Down Approach

What is the most important component of a successful paper? Focus? Cohesion and coherence? Sentence variety? Appropriate Citation? Strong grammar?

Truthfully, they are all crucial aspects to writing. However, in the revision process, some concerns come before others. The writing center takes a top-down approach in our sessions; this means that we deal with higher-level concerns like focus and organization before moving on to grammar and other surface aspects. Why? Well…if your paper needs several revisions to meet assignment guidelines, the grammar of the sentences will also be changing. Why double your efforts? Work smart, not hard. Of course, sometimes we have to work both smart and hard.

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