Staff

  • Lydia McDermott

    Lydia McDermott

    Director of the Center fOr Writing and Speaking

    Olin Hall 185

    Lydia McDermott is the Director of the Center fOr Writing and Speaking, and an Assistant Professor of Composition in General Studies. Her PhD is in Rhetoric and Composition and her MA is in Creative Writing. She loves to write in practically any genre and especially loves helping others find a passion for writing. Aside from writing, she loves watching and playing soccer, hanging out with her three boys, and walking her dog, Sherlock Bones, around Ankeny Field. Previous to coming to Whitman College, she helped to found and direct the Graduate Writing and Research Center at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Please feel free to drop by her office, around the corner from the COWS, or to email her to schedule an appointment. Visit her website for more information on her scholarship.

  • Grace Fritzke

    Grace Fritzke

    Assistant Director of the Center fOr Writing and Speaking


    Grace is a recently-graduated Religion major from Portland, Oregon. She worked in the COWS for three years as a student. Grace always appreciates how many new things she gets to learn about from other people's papers, both in terms of topics and writing styles. Besides making sure the COWS has enough snacks, she is available for recurring, weekly appointments with students. Send her an email to set up a time! Besides writing and tutoring, Grace enjoys dancing, cats, and watermelon.

Student Tutors

  • Yuli Buckley

    Writing Tutor

    Yuli Buckley is a senior from Bellingham, Washington working towards a BBMB/Pre-engineering major and a German minor. In her free time, Yuli can be found tossing a disc on Ankeny, reading Agatha Christie mysteries, or hanging out with her adopted grandmother at Oddfellows.

  • Sean Cummings

    Writing Tutor

    Sean Cummings is a senior environmental humanities major and prospective creative writing minor. He grew up as a child of English teachers at a boarding school on California's central coast and has experience in fiction, creative nonfiction, and journalistic writing as well as the good ol' standard academic essay. When not at the COWS, Sean enjoys running, climbing, practicing the same five songs over and over on guitar, and maintaining general proficiency in a handful of other interests without really mastering any of them...at least, not yet.

  • Erick Franklund

    Writing Tutor

    Erick is a senior majoring in philosophy and German studies, and is currently writing an honors thesis in philosophy. In addition to his work in the COWS, Erick is also a tour guide, an English Language Fellow (ELF), and a member of the Ethics Bowl team. This is his third year at the COWS, and he is comfortable working with students on both written assignments and oral presentations. Erick is excited to take what he has learned from tutoring and apply it to law school next fall!

  • Becca Gainsburg

    Writing Tutor

    Becca Gainsburg is a senior philosophy major. She has previously tutored in Wa-Hi and a primary school in Tanzania. Originally from New York, she spent last spring in Italy!

  • Helena Platt

    Writing Tutor

    Helena is a senior Rhetoric Studies major. They hail from the southern Oregon coast, really miss the ocean, and serve as co-editor of quarterlife- Whitman's littlest, lit-est lit magazine.

  • Esther Ra

    Writing Tutor

    Esther Ra is a senior English major from Seoul, South Korea. She is the author of book of untranslatable things, a collection of poetry, and she is partial to the consolations of philosophy. Other than hugging the stuffed cow at COWS, Esther enjoys gazing at glass objects, oceans, blue linen, and other ordinary and beautiful things.

  • Kenya Schott

    Writing Tutor

    Kenya Schott is a senior economics major from Sun Valley, Idaho. In her free time, Kenya can be found running cross country, bonding with her sisters in Delta Gamma, or discussing stocks in WIC.

  • Izzy Sherwood-Reid

    Writing Tutor

    Hi there! I'm Izzy and I'm a junior religion major from Denver, CO. Chicago style citations are my jam, and I think the semicolon is the best punctuation. I'm UDDERly enthused to start tutoring speaking the year, along with continuing to help you with your humanities papers. When I'm not at the COWS, I aMOOse myself with baking and knitting and do other old lady activities- ask me about my sourdough starter, Joan of Arc!

  • Kate Swisher

    Writing Tutor

    Kate Swisher is a junior English major and creative writing minor from Larkspur, CA. Along with COWS, she also works as a writing fellow. She especially likes to help people develop their thesis statements, and add even more analysis after those quotes! Kate's passions include songwriting, acting, awkward humor, rolling around in sleeping bags on Ankeny, and picking up new hobbies on the weekends (like cooking fancy dinners and fishing!)

  • Natalie Thiel

    Writing Tutor

    Natalie is a senior psychology major from Bellevue, Washington. She has experience in technical forms of writing (literature reviews, lab reports, research papers and proposals) and Encounters (she was a writing fellow), but she is also pushing herself to experiment with creative writing. When she's not working in the COWS, she's usually doing Zumba, shadowing at Providence Hospital, or training for her first half-marathon.

  • Megan Waldau

    Writing Tutor

    Megan is an Art Major from Los Angeles, California. She is currently serving as the Executive Director of Power and Privilege as well as leads Womxn of Color Voices and Mixed Race Club. When she's not running from meeting to meeting, you can find her drawing on her iPad and listening to SZA. She loves being a mentor and a tutor and would love to help you with all of your writing needs!