MEET THE TUTORS

Writing Center Director

Vanessa Flora-Nakoski graduated from UMBC with a BA in American Studies and the University of Iowa with a MA in American Studies. She also earned graduate certificates in TESOL from UMBC and Strategic Management from Harvard’s Extension School. As faculty in McDaniel College’s English department, she teaches a variety of composition and tutor-training courses. She currently serves as Marketing & Communications Chair for the Maryland College Learning Center Association (MDCLCA) and actively participates in several other professional associations related to her work as Writing Center Director. As a Meyers-Briggs INTJ, she loves anything related to patterns — language, math, music, puzzles, etc. And when she needs to get out of her head, she loves working with her hands with crochet, quilting, painting, gardening, or renovating her 50 year old house in Sykesville, MD. You can reach Professor Flora-Nakoski at vflora-nakoski@mcdaniel.edu.


McDaniel College Writing Center recruits peer tutors from across a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. What unites them is a deep love of writing and building a community of writers here at the college. All peer tutors participate in rigorous, ongoing training in accordance with the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession standards. To work at the Writing Center, all peer tutors must complete the requirements for Associate Tutor certification by completing a 2-credit training course. Several tutors also choose to pursue either Advanced Tutor or Master Tutor certification by enrolling in an additional 2-credit course, completing an Independent Study, or participating in Writing Center research. Looking for the Writing Fellows? Click here.

Kady Baker

Kady is a senior Social Work major with a love of writing and drawing. During her free time, she can be found crying over fictional characters, shoving a way too deep analysis of those fictional characters onto her friends, and thinking up ideas for all kinds of stories. She’s a fan of Disney movies, cartoons, and anime. On campus, if she’s not in class and not doing homework, you can find her stuffing her face with food from the Pub or napping in weird places. Learn more about Kady here!

Associate Tutor Level

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Soli Barrera

Soli Barrera

Soli is a junior at McDaniel College and is an English and Spanish major with a Religious Studies Minor. She is also a member of the Honors Program and the Global Fellows Program. She looks forward to possibly becoming an English as a Second Language teacher in the future. She loves talking about Harry Potter, her job at JeannieBird Baking Company, the television show “Friends,” and the Students for Life at McDaniel group of which she is the Vice President. Learn more about Soli here!

Advanced Tutor

Kayla Catlin

Kayla Catlin

Kayla majors in Cinema and English and minors in Writing and Music. She loves creative writing in every form—from short stories, to novels, to screenplays, to poetry—film-making, reading (especially Shakespeare), singing, and watching movies. She also enjoys theatre, art, and soccer. She participates in several student organizations, including Students for Life, InterVarsity (and IV Worship Team), Terror TV, and more. Learn more about Kayla here!

Associate Tutor Level

Emma Carter

Emma is a senior Communication major with a minor in French. She’s also an editor for the McDaniel Free Press, and has loved to write ever since she can remember (starting on the typewriter in her parents’ living room). When she’s not hitting the books, Emma likes running, playing the violin, and re-reading E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View. After college, she hopes to work in the public relations and advertising field, and hopefully travel the globe—anywhere as long as she can watch the Orioles.

Associate Tutor Level

Gavin Gibson

Gavin Gibson

Gavin cultivated his sense of self in the rural-urban fringes of Newark,Delaware, where his love of the mind and living established his interest in Philosophy and Psychology. He hopes to eventually reconcile the differences of religion, philosophy, and psychology to create a more holistic therapeutic practice. He enjoys practicing Hip Hop dance and engaging in the process of ideation. You can find him running around campus, for he is a part of McDaniel’s Cross Country and Track team.

Associate Tutor Level

Deirdre Gallagher

Deirdre Gallagher

Deirdre is a sophomore honors program student; she is currently undecided but leaning towards a major psychology and a minor in ASL. On campus, you can catch her working in the Admissions Office as an Ambassador and in the dance studio as president of the Belly Dance Club! Off campus, she may be playing piano, riding horses, or listening to music! Learn more about Deirdre here!

Associate Tutor Level

Kaylan Hutchison

Kaylan Hutchison

Kaylan is a senior Communication major with Psychology and writing minors from Silver Spring, Maryland. When not working as a Peer Tutor, she works at Admissions, and takes part in McDaniel’s Dance Company, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and Student Alumni Council. Kaylan also likes to think she’s good at Boggle and securing the aux. Come say hi! Ask Kaylan about Budapest! 

Advanced Tutor

Maggie Hart

Maggie Hart

Maggie is a senior majoring in psychology and political science and minoring in philosophy. She plans on pursuing a career in law, perhaps in intellectual property or cyber- security law. She loves rock climbing, ice skating, and playing Ultimate Frisbee. However, she also enjoys just hanging out with friends at Caseys’ Corner or watching a show. Game of Thrones, West World, and The Handmaid’s Tale are probably her top picks, but she’s pretty much opened to trying anything.

Associate Tutor Level

Colin Lyon

Colin Lyon

Colin is a senior pursuing a major in History and minors in Literature and Writing from Frederick, Maryland. When not dredging up finds from Early-English texts, he enjoys hiking, writing, and watching reruns of Galavant. Every year, he spends a month drinking entirely too much coffee to write a novel. He is currently an editor for the McDaniel Free Press, and hopes to become an author after studying for a graduate degree.

Associate Tutor Level

Mikayla Lee

Mikayla Lee

Mikayla is a sophomore at McDaniel studying English and Secondary Education. Her favorite thing to write is argumentative essays and creative pieces, but she loves to learn more about the other departments on campus by helping tutees in the writing center! Beyond working as a peer tutor, she is involved in Black Student Union and is also a First Year Seminar peer mentor. In her free time, Mikayla loves to participate in intramural sports and walk her beautiful dog, Ice, around campus. She also has a special appreciation for coffee, Oreos, and a good binge-worthy Netflix series.

Advanced Tutor

Chris Renda

Chris Renda

Chris is a Sophomore majoring in English, and minoring in Education with Special Education. Chris is involved at McDaniel as President of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and is a part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Alumni Council, and Habitat for Humanity. Anything on the water, playing ukulele, and generally helping others are Chris’s favorite things to do when he’s not Englishing like a madman at the Writing Center. Learn more about Chris here!

Advanced Tutor

Michael Osei

Michael Osei

Michael is a sophomore at McDaniel College and hopes to become a Speech and Language Pathologist. He enjoys music and is a part of three different choirs here at McDaniel College. He is very focused and always strives to learn more. Be sure to find him in the writing center! Learn more about Michael here!

Advanced Tutor

Jackie White

Jackie White

Jackie is a senior majoring in English and Cinema. She’s lived all over the world due to her Air Force upbringing, but she considers Maryland home now. She has a love for languages because of her travels, and she spends a lot of time translating things to German in her head or trying to remember Japanese kana. When she’s not participating in History Club events or writing papers, you can usually find her holed up somewhere consuming concerning amounts of pasta and listening to kpop.

Associate Tutor Level

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Marya Kuratova

Marya Kuratova

Marya is a junior English major with a double minor in writing and journalism. As copy editor of the Free Press and co-editor-in-chief of Contrast, Marya has fully immersed herself in writing. In her free time, Marya enjoys reading and writing poetry, as well as playing badminton, crocheting, baking, and spending time with friends at The Cup. You can find her curled up with her cat, a mug of Earl Grey tea, and her favorite copy of T. S. Eliot’s poems. Learn more about Marya here!

Associate Tutor Level