Writing Center

Our Staff

Meet our Writing Center Staff for Fall 2013!


Olga Aksakalova - Director

Bio: Olga Aksakalova received her PhD in English literature from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. Her dissertation focused on post-World War II American autobiography. Prior to coming to Fort Lewis in Fall 2013, Olga taught writing and literature at colleges in New York, New Jersey, and Moscow, Russia. She also founded and directed Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic, Moscow. At Fort Lewis, Olga teaches composition courses and directs the Writing Center.

Olga’s research focuses on the role of audience in autobiographical writing, representations of personal and public memory in autobiographical film, composition studies, writing center pedagogy, and writing across the curriculum.

Alex ThompsonAlex Thompson

Bio: Alex is a second year Psychology major and Rhetoric of Inquiry minor at FLC. He is an avid musician and has been playing guitar, ukulele, and bass for over six years. He will be content with his musical ambitions when he becomes a flamenco virtuoso.

While Alex’s strong background in writing makes him a helpful hand across the academic spectrum, he is a particularly valuable resource for scientific and empirical writing. Alex also has extensive experience and expertise composing strong scholarship and admissions essays and can help incorporate the often elusive stylistic flair these essays demand. Alex truly enjoys all parts of the writing process and loves building better writing skills that last a lifetime. No matter where you are in the writing process, Alex is confident that your session in the Writing Center will be both valuable and rewarding.



Checkers MarshallAlex Thompson

Bio: Checkers is a second year Chemistry major here at the Fort. However, entering the world of hard science was a bit of a leap from passions of creative writing and performance art. She has been writing and performing poetry for three years; she is always happy to talk about and help out with the creative process.

As a science major, Checkers is also familiar with more structured and technical writing. A strength of hers is punctilious care towards grammar and punctuation. When not cooped up in a study room, you can find Checkers practicing yoga, or in town performing circus art, fire spinning, and poetry. As president of The Writer's Block, our creative writing club here on campus, she is always seeking like and bright minds to co-create a community where everyone is open to safely speak their truth.


Kylie Santos
I am an accounting major in my sophomore year here at Fort Lewis. After graduation, my dream is to go to law school, but I am unsure what kind of law I would like to get into. I enjoy reading about anything and enjoy writing about many things too. However, my favorite things to read and write about would have to be business, politics, and history.

My strength as a tutor is helping with the organization and overall flow of a paper, but I am also good with sentence structure and grammar. I would love the chance to read and offer feedback on any types of writing and help others reach their true potential as writers.


Leah Hale
I am a third year Biology major and Rhetoric of Inquiry minor. The life sciences are my passion, but I very much enjoy reading, writing, and debating all subject matters. I love skiing, running, hiking, camping, reading, writing, and talking.

Being a science major, I can be a great resource for constructing your laboratory reports. However, I am confident that I can also help you assemble and deliver a persuasive argument in any discipline. Lastly, I’d like to mention that I love poetry and creative writing, so feel free to bring any type of writing in for some constructive feedback!



 Lara Cladny:
Lara is a Psychology major with minors in English Writing and Adventure Education. Lara is very passionate about writing, and has kept a notebook in her hand since she was twelve. To Lara, words are like Legos; and with imagination, persistence, and guidance, academic essays can become exquisite palaces for knowledge and inspiration. She believes that writing is an art that anyone can be good at, as long as the individual finds joy in the creative process. Lara wants to help you find new routes through which to explore writing, and to offer you useful tricks to develop your writing. Lara specializes in academic papers, as well as creative pieces –in the end, both styles of writing benefit one another. When Lara isn’t writing, she enjoys exploring what it means to be fully alive in a healthy human body through yoga, dancing, exploring the mountains and rivers, cooking, learning, and breathing deeply. “It is important to remember that we all have magic inside us.” –JK Rowling  


Emily White:
Technically, I am a biochemistry major. However, after dabbling in some art, composition, and other random classes, I find myself wanting to switch majors on the daily basis. My ability to relate to the scientific and artistic mind allows me to understand many different writing styles. One of my favorite classes at The Fort is The Rhetoric of Inquiry, which not only expanded my mind philosophically, but immensely improved my technical writing skills. So, if you are looking for someone to help you with a lab write up, revise a paper, or to argue with about your perception of rhetoric, I'm your gal!