Writing Center Staff / Tutors

Helen Raica-Klotz

Writing Center Director

I am pleased to be the Writing Center Director at SVSU, working with such talented and dedicated tutors!  I’ve taught freshman composition and general education literature classes at SVSU for over 15 years; during that time, I served for seven years as the Writing Center Coordinator and for two years as the First Year Writing Coordinator.  My writing center research focuses on tutor training, embedded tutoring, and developing self-efficacy in student writers.  I currently serve as the Co-Director for the Saginaw Bay Writing Project, and I am a member of the University Writing Committee and First Year Writing Committee.

My favorite part of the day is anytime I walk out of my office into our writing center filled with students talking, debating, and thinking aloud about their writing—as Beth Boquet says, “It is a cacophony of sound” that I never tire of hearing.


Chris Giroux

Writing Center Assistant Director

I’ve worked at SVSU for almost 15 years and most of my time is spent teaching English 111, English 212, and general education literature courses. I take much joy in trying to demystify the writing process for students and teach them the conventions of academia; I love to witness that “ah-ha” moment when things click for students and they challenge themselves to move to the next level. My goal is to help students be conscious about and deliberate in the decisions they make as they engage in the joys (and pains) of writing.

Outside the traditional classroom, I have involved myself in various activities and programs that celebrate and promote good writing at SVSU: I’ve served as the faculty advisor to Cardinal Sins; I’ve been co-editor of Literacy Link; I’ve been involved with the Honors Program and the First Year Writing Committee; and I helped establish the internship program in English.

Other “writerly” aspects of my life? I recently completed my dissertation at Wayne State University, where I specialized in twentieth-century American literature, specifically African-American drama, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have poems published in various venues.

Josh Atkins

Josh Atkins 2

I'm a sophomore here at SVSU and currently pursuing a degree in English. I've decided to minor in creative writing over history, but I could easily see myself minoring or majoring in both areas. I grew up in Richville, so mid-Michigan has always been home for me.
Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and related works will always top the list of my favorite books. I remember staying up far past bedtime to reread them throughout grade school. My favorite ice cream flavor has always been blue moon, but superman takes a close second. I'm a huge Star Wars nerd and could probably fill an afternoon reciting what I know about the fictional universe. My dream home would probably be somewhere in the United Kingdom, but I could definitely live with a house on the west coast of the U.S.  And finally, I have no preference on color, although I will say that black is slimming. So there's that.
I look forward to using my skills with writing to help those who feel they need it. I'm sure to learn a lot at the Writing Center and hope that the specific skillset I'll develop here will be carried with me throughout both my academic and professional careers.

Alison Barger

I'm a second year student here at SVSU, majoring in Literature and minoring in Spanish; I am also pursuing a TESOL Certificate (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  I love teaching and traveling, and would love to someday teach English to speakers of other languages outside of the United States. For me, writing is a beautiful way to communicate with others, and I love to help people cross communication barriers. Whether it is in a different country and I am trying to cross a language barrier, or I am working with someone who is trying to express their thoughts in writing, I love how language brings people together. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to help other students expand and improve their use of language in writing; I truly feel that by doing so we as tutors are opening up possibilities for students and putting more of the world in their hands.

I currently live in Frankenmuth, and work at the Frankenmuth Wickson District Library. If I could, I would probably live in a library. I will read almost anything I can get my hands on, but my favorite genres are dystopian literature and classics. My favorite books are The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I love watching the sunrises and walking in the woods, swimming in the ocean and exploring new art museums. My favorite color is yellow, and I love it because it reminds me of the sun. Someday I want to live in a place where the sun shines everyday! I love Michigan, but I am not fond of Michigan winters.

Tony Betters

Anthony Betters 2

I'm a senior with three semesters remaining at SVSU. I'm majoring in Creative Writing and History. I'm planning on pursuing a Masters in history and eventually a PHD once I graduate. As far as topics in history, I'm very fond of Asian and classical history and I'll talk your ear off about either subject.
I have a lot of favorite books, including Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Someday. I moved a lot growing up, and I think I would like to live in a number of different places in my life. High on the list is Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Japan. In the U.S. I'm fond of the Pacific Northwest. On rainy days I love staying in and I'll usually watch a good movie, play video games or read a good book. I just love how relaxed such days can be. My favorite color is green, and my favorite ice cream flavor is Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy.
I can't wait to start working in the Writing Center with all the wonderful people that I have heard such great things about. I have never had the opportunity to teach, and I look forward to getting my feet wet in this amazing environment!

Nik Berkobien

Nik Berkobien 2

I am currently in my third year at SVSU, and I am double majoring in Biology and Psychology. I plan to continue my schooling at the graduate level and eventually pursue a career in neuroscience research. This field fascinates me, and I look forward to one day obtaining a more thorough understanding of how we function.
Even though neuroscience might seem a bit disconnected from the kind of work done in the Writing Center, writing is integral to the sciences, and I love being a tutor! I enjoy helping others articulate their thoughts and achieve both academic and personal success. Seeing a writer develop, achieve goals, and gain confidence is incredibly gratifying. I also love being a tutor in the Writing Center because I learn, gain, and develop just as much as the students who come in seeking feedback. As tutors, we get to discuss all sorts of interesting topics, ideas, and perspectives with students who are from diverse backgrounds, which is always refreshing. I look forward to learning something from every session!

Claire Chantiny

I am a second year student majoring in Nursing. I have a passion for helping people, which is part of the reason why I chose Nursing as my field. I am a member of the Student Nurses’ Association on campus and I am really excited to get more involved in this organization. Once I graduate with my BSN, I would like to continue on with my schooling and become a Nurse Practitioner.

I am from Lambertville, a small town in southern Michigan, about five minutes from Toledo, Ohio. It’s neat being able to have the perks of living in a small town, but still be able to go to the “big city” and have fun. One of my favorite things to do on a rainy day, if I don’t decide to nap, is curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch movies. My weakness is ice cream and my favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip.

I am so excited to be a Writing Center tutor! As I mentioned before, I love helping people with their school work and writing is one of my favorite topics. Being able to help a student finally understand what they are writing about is a great feeling. 

Ellissa Cherven

Ellissa Cherven Image for Writing Center

I am a junior here at SVSU. I just started the nursing program, and I have completed a minor in sociology. After I am done with school, I hope to work in a free clinic or homeless shelter as a nurse. I have a passion for the less-fortunate and for the hurting people around me. 

I am currently involved with His House Christian Fellowship. The people there are like family, and I enjoy the ability to be genuine with people and to live life together, pursuing our passions. In my free time, I love to take nature walks and photograph the beauty I see around me. I also enjoy knitting, reading, and drinking tea. On the miraculous days when I don’t have homework, I love to snuggle up in comfy clothes, drink a cup of coffee, and make crafts, read, or watch a movie. 

I love working at the Writing Center because it gives me the opportunity to help people, and get paid for it! How exciting is that?! I've found that writing helps me understand myself and the world around me in new ways. I want to help others see that writing isn't a chore; it’s a beautiful and meaningful way to communicate.

Kyle Currie

Kyle Currie 2

Fall 2015 will mark my fifth year at SVSU and my third semester as a writing tutor. I am currently working on obtaining my degree in Secondary Education with a major in English and a P.E. minor.
I will read almost anything that is recommended to me, and my favorite book is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My favorite colors are maize and blue, and my favorite kind of ice cream is Moose Tracks.When I have nothing better to do, I prefer to binge on whatever series has my interest on Netflix. Whenever I get bored with the series I am watching, I usually take a break from it by watching as many episodes of The Office as I have time for. If I could choose one place to live, it would be Southern California, close to a beach.
I love motivating students and helping them build confidence in their writing. Not only am I looking forward to doing that as a teacher in the future, but I am lucky enough to give students the tools that they need to become better writers every day at the Writing Center!

Kaylee Davis

Kaylee Davis 2

I am a third year student here at SVSU, double majoring in Psychology and Creative Writing. I am part of Active Minds, an organization on campus that encourages students to speak openly and learn more about a variety of mental health issues. I am always searching for new opportunities to grow, and at SVSU, there are some around every corner.
It’s hard to pick my favorite book, but the Harry Potter series is always on my bookshelf no matter where I go. My favorite color is green, and the best ice cream flavor is, of course, Mackinac Island Fudge (but I won't say no to any flavor.) On rainy days, I like to read, write poetry, and watch Netflix. When it's not raining, I like canoeing, walking in the woods, and biking. I love living in Charlevoix (my hometown); however, I want to travel and experience new places.
I love working at the Writing Center! I enjoy helping students communicate their ideas better and learn to love writing. This journey has helped me to become more outgoing and connect to more people around campus, as well.

Makenzie Frodle

As a Secondary Education student with a major in English and a minor in Biology, I am finishing up my fourth year at SVSU.I know a job in the field of education could push me out of Michigan, but I look forward to seeing where this career takes me!
At any given moment of the day, I can usually be heard singing—at the gym, at track practice, in the car, and of course at rehearsal with my a cappella group, Vocal Noise. When I’m not singing or at track practice, I love to spend my spare time with a good book. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but because I find everything about the Holocaust fascinating, I have to put Mark Zusak’s The Book Thief very close to the top of my list.
As a tutor in the Writing Center, I love to help people become more confident with the writing process so they can come to love and be proud of their skill as writers. As a future English teacher, I want to be able to help inspire confidence in my peers by giving them the tools they need to be able to express their ideas in writing. Working in the Writing Center gives me the chance to develop the skills that will put me on the path to becoming a teacher my students can trust and appreciate.

Wren Hayes

I am currently a junior majoring in Business, with a (recently decided) minor in Sociology. I love to talk about culture and society and discover why things are the way they are!

My hope is to eventually move to the West Coast, possibly the Seattle area, and open my own gamer-friendly coffee shop—I'm an avid gamer.  When I'm not playing videogames, I'm usually blogging online or trying to catch a wink of sleep in between 16 credits and 3 jobs. During the summer, I make up for my lost time by swinging in the hammock on sunny days with a good book in my hands and a dog or two in my lap. I love comic books—everything from the eternal favorite Calvin and Hobbes to Marvel's Deadpool and Cable. And, of course, I would not be the same person I am today without The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

I'm excited to be here at SVSU and to work in the Writing Center. I look forward to working with all of you!

Sara Houser

Sara Houser 2

I am a junior. Although I spent my first year of college at GVSU (which I know makes me the biggest traitor in the world), but I have officially made SVSU my home over the past year and a half. I am double majoring in Elementary Education and Language Arts.
I could never pick a favorite book. Each new work I am introduced to seems to have something that appeals to me and makes it a contender for the top spot on my list. Currently, I would have to say that one of my favorite books is Mark Zusak’s The Book Thief. My favorite color has always been green. My favorite ice cream would probably have to be superman, or maybe butter pecan. On nice days, I enjoy going on hikes, kayaking, having bonfires, and taking road trips around the state. I have lived in Saginaw all of my life, but if given the chance I would like to travel outside of Michigan.
My excitement over working at the Writing Center is two-fold. First, I am excited because a tutoring position is a step in the direction of my overall career goals as I am working towards a job in which I would be teaching students every day. Secondly, and perhaps more important than simply being close to my intended career field, I look forward to working at the Writing Center as it is a chance for me to help others with their writing and to improve as a writer myself.

Chad Koch

I am currently a second year student at SVSU. I am from Sebewaing, MI, which for those of who don't know its location (probably everyone), it is in the thumb on the Saginaw Bay. My major is Secondary Education, with an English major and a History minor. As a tutor in the Writing Center, I am looking forward to helping other students figuring out how to get their thoughts on paper. Sometimes, just talking through an idea with another person can really help you figure out what it is you are trying to say.

I enjoy reading YA fiction, though more recently I have been reading a lot of classics. My favorite books are probably The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and the Harry Potter series. My favorite ice cream is sea side caramel, which is made by Hudsonville. My ideal rainy day would involve some leisurely reading and watching some Netflix, currently Alias or Psych. My dream place to live would be on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica within driving distance of the local beaches.

Madison Martin

I am a second year student here at SVSU, hoping to complete a dual major in Theatre and English, and a minor in Creative Writing.  I also work as the Student Leadership Coordinator over at the Student Life office.

My favorite flavor of ice cream, if I had to choose, would be strawberry, or vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. I love all things theatre, especially musicals, and am hoping to someday (fingers crossed) make a living doing it. I would really like to live somewhere like New York, Chicago, or London, where there's a lot of activity and night life. On rainy days, I like to sit down with a book, or watch Netflix (I am currently binge-watching Psych). I am a night owl, and I do most of my best work at night—I definitely don't like getting up in the mornings.

Here at the Writing Center, I'm really hoping to help students understand writing and come to love it as much as I do. I hope I can help students develop their own voices in their papers, and think of writing less as an obligation, but as a fun exercise in self-expression.

Riley Millard

I am a second year student here at SVSU. I began my journey as a History major, but have recently discovered a love for Political Science and Sociology, since I find the structure of society and all the connections we encounter very interesting. Writing is something more than just putting pen to paper to me. I see it as a way to express things that sometimes can’t be expressed by words. I hope to use my time at the Writing Center to help others discover this truth. I believe that no one should be afraid of writing.

I grew up in the Air Force, but lived in Tawas City for the majority of my life. It was here that I found my love for sailing and the outdoors. I work at a local marina in town and dread the day I have to leave. Apart of being outside all day, I love working with the people; I have always tried to be approachable and congenial towards others. I look forward to working with everyone who comes into the Writing Center!

Kimberley Owen

I have an Associates of Arts degree from Delta College, and I am studying Creative Writing here at SVSU, with a minor in Theatre. I was born and raised in Saginaw, MI, and I wouldn’t mind staying here if the city were to become more film friendly, since I aspire to be a screenwriter.

I write avidly, and on rainy days I can be found doing just that. If I am not writing, then I am usually watching films or reading. I love African American literature. Some of my favorite books are Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin, and Kindred by Octavia Butler. Although I write my own projects, it is a goal of mine to transition more African American literature into film.

As a Writing Center tutor, I am looking forward to assisting others in their growth as writers. I also look forward to the opportunity to grow as a writer myself. I believe that everyone is a teacher, and although we have different strengths, I know there is always room to grow. As I tutor, I look forward to what other students can teach me.

Allyson Poag


I am a fourth year Medical Laboratory Sciences major from Chesaning, Michigan. I have been working at the Writing Center for over three years. My scientific mind makes me a very detail-oriented tutor, one who especially enjoys analysis essays and lab reports. I have loved writing since I was a kid, and I look forward to discussing writing with others at the Writing Center.
My parents own a farm outside of Chesaning, and when I’m not helping them out on the farm, I’m probably watching a movie (especially ones involving superheroes), talking to my plants, or maybe playing tennis. I also work at American Eagle and tutor a local high school student.

Cameron Pratt

I am a second-year Accounting Major from Howell, MI. The color which has captivated me the most for nearly two decades is blue. Currently, my two favorite novels are The Mysterious Stranger by Twain and Requiem for a Dream by Selby Jr. On a rainy day when all my work is complete, if I am not watching the rain, I am often found playing PC games until the rain stops. In a perfect world, I would choose to live in Spain near the coast of the Balearic Sea with all of my friends close by.

What I am most looking forward to as I begin working at the Writing Center is strengthening the voices of students here on campus by assisting them in their writing. I see writing as one of the most important forms of communication and, by working as a tutor, I have the opportunity to improve communication and enrich the lives around me.

Jenni Putz

I am currently a freshman and an applied Mathematics major with minors in Economics and Computer Science. I am from Lapeer, MI, about an hour south of Saginaw. I am excited be a Writing Center tutor, since I love to help other students with their writing and make new friends!

My favorite color is orange. I enjoy moose tracks and birthday cake ice cream and I honestly can't choose between the two. I am an avid gamer, playing anything and everything, ranging from PC, to console, to handheld games. I am passionate about running and it's something that I always do to clear my head. I have a love for music and I have played the drums for almost 8 years now. On campus, I belong to two organizations: The Dungeons and Dragons Club and The Optimism Club. My favorite TV show is How I Met Your Mother. My favorite author is George R.R. Martin because I absolutely love the Game of Throne books—definitely worth the read! The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books are also on my list of favorites.

I am excited to be a tutor, since I love to help other students with their writing and make new friends! 

Allison Sterken

I’m a junior double-majoring in Rhetoric and Professional Writing and Creative Writing. After I graduate, I hope to get a job as an editor and/or book designer.

I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter, comic books (especially Marvel superheroes), and anime. My dream job is to become a comic book writer. I spend much of my spare time writing and re-watching my favorite episodes of Psych, and confess to enjoying terrible music and movies. Writing is my lifelong passion, and I love being able to help people enjoy it as much as I do. I’m very excited about working in the Writing Center and being able to show people just how much they can do with writing.

Maria Vos


A recent SVSU alumna. I am a certified English teacher and used this certification as a 6th grade English Language Arts teacher in Winter 2015. I’ve also been a Writing Center tutor for three and a half years and now work for SVSU as a Literacy Support Specialist, coordinating and helping to coordinate various reading and writing projects in the Great Lakes Bay Region (my dream job!). I plan to return, once again, to SVSU as a student Fall 2015, this time pursuing a Master’s Degree in Administrative Science.
My first love will always be teaching reading and writing in some capacity. To me, there is nothing more important than learning how to read and write effectively, and I love being able to give young people the tools necessary to find enjoyment in the language arts.
Apart from teaching, I am actively involved in the surrounding community; this is something that has been important to me since I was very young and further emphasized during my time as a Kantlzer Fellow, an organization that is still very close to my heart. I also love to spend time with family and friends, read, vacation up north, kayak, and practice yoga.

Kylie Wojciechowski

Hi, Cardinals! My name is Kylie Wojciechowski and I'm beginning my senior year at Saginaw Valley. I'm studying technical writing, philosophy, and computer information systems. I serve as editor-in-chief of The Valley Vanguard and am involved with Active Minds, TEDxSVSU, and Campus Cursive. I'm a member of the Leopold J. Kantzler Fellowship and the 16th class of the Donna J. Roberts Fellowship. I don't really know what else to say about myself. Come to the Writing Center and let's work on your writing.

Catherine Yankley

I am a fourth-year student pursuing a major in International Business with a minor in Creative Writing.I hope to connect my passion for writing with my love for traveling.I grew up in Fenton, Michigan, so seeing more of the world has always been of interest to me.
During the summer of 2014, I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, and also had the opportunity to visit four other European nations.I learned a lot about myself while traveling, and I have gained so much confidence since this adventure.This experience has made my “travel bug” expand, resulting in another study abroad trip to Vaxjo, Sweden, during the winter of 2016.
Traveling has made me appreciate writing even more because we tend to take both for granted. I love helping all students during the writing process, but my perspective for tutoring ESL has changed. Culture and writing are very connected, and I feel that my appreciation for both of these things have made me a better tutor.

Centered: Writing Center Tutors Reflect

Centered: Writing Center Tutors Reflect

Centered: Writing Center Tutors Reflect (24,495kB), a collection of stories from SVSU Writing Center tutors about their work.