Meet our Writing Center Staff!
Katie Ratko-Spanish Major
Katie is a fourth-year student at the Fort, working toward a degree in Spanish with a double minor in music and rhetoric of inquiry. She has extensive experience with academic writing and has taken several years of language and composition classes in both English and Spanish.
Katie’s strength is helping students with academic writing, including grammar & mechanics, structuring arguments, and improving the concision and flow of a paper. She can edit papers in both English and Spanish and her background in music allows her to help other music students their writing.
Katie has found a home in Durango because of the positive and creative spirit of the community. Her hobbies include hiking & playing outdoors, snowboarding, making music and boogieing down whenever possible. She looks forward to tutoring not only for the chance to help others with their writing, but also to gain new perspectives in her own writing and about the world in general.
Kylie Santos-Accounting Major
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.
Lara Cladny-English, Writing Major
Lara is an English-writing major with a double minor in Psychology and Rhetoric of Inquiry. Lara believes that learning how to write, and write well, is crucial for any aspiring superhero. Not only does she understand its many values and uses in society, but she also believes that story-telling is an art form that is inherent to the human experience. Words can be used as medicine or as weapons, and rhetoric that is both articulate and engaging can act as a powerful agent of change. As Edward Bulwer-Lytton said, “the pen is mightier than the sword!”
Ardent to learn, teach, and create a positive change in her community, Lara attends FLC with sometimes dauntingly large dreams. She wishes to pursue master’s degrees in creative writing, water law, and mind-body trauma therapy. Lara has helped tutor and edit multitudes of different writing assignments, from scholarship essays, cover letters, and creative pieces to composition, math, biology, or business
When not writing or reading academic papers, Lara enjoys writing poetry and creative non-fiction pieces. As long as she can remember, she has avidly carried a journal with her wherever she goes in order to capture random flashes of inspiration or insight. She also loves teaching and practicing yoga (at The Sweaty Buddha), exploring the natural world, dancing, skiing, sitting in stillness, laughing, crying, and making an adventure out of each day.
Alex Santese-History Major
I’m a history major now, but at one time was an English major, so my knowledge of grammar runs deep, as well as my knowledge of structure and syntax. If you’re looking for help with the more technical side of writing, I’m your guy. I also know my Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) pretty well, as that’s the only one I use for my major, so any history majors, or people just taking history classes, I can help you with formatting and footnotes. While CMS may be my main style for personal writing and college writing, I do know MLA and APA as well. Although, you’ll probably find that there are other tutors who are much more knowledgeable about the subject than me.
If I’m not tutoring, at work, or in class, then I’m probably either at home reading or at Steamworks for happy hour with my friends. Durango has a great many things to offer, but for my money, it’s the litany of microbreweries that make this one of the greatest small towns in America.
Nathan Seaford-History Major
Nathan is a junior at Fort Lewis working on a degree in history with an English-writing minor. He also gets stoked about political science, economics, and literature.
When Nathan isn’t in a classroom or a book, he’s probably out on the roads and trails cycling or running. He also loves to ski and spend time in the mountains.
Regardless of the topic, he is excited to help fellow students improve the organization, flow, sentence structure, and grammar of their papers. Come in to brainstorm with him too!
Emily White-Biology Major
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!
Sean Summers-English, Communication Major
After graduating from a small high school in Colorado Springs, I left my small hometown of Woodland Park, and came to Durango. I joined the Fort Lewis College community in 2012, and have enjoyed it ever since. When I'm not busy attending classes and earning my degree in Communications, I love to pursue outdoor adventures. Climbing, camping, skiing, and backpacking remain my favorite activities, but I'm happy to take on new adventures. In my more docile free time, I have a passion for writing in a variety of capacities. If I'm not busy churning out a story for the Independent News Magazine, I enjoy writing creatively. I am always eager to improve both my writing, and the writing of others.
Emma Smith-English Major
I am an English major with a minor in psychology. As a small liberal arts school, Fort Lewis seemed to be the perfect place to pursue my passion in creative writing. After graduation, I hope to attend Second City College to finish my schooling for comedic screenwriting. I enjoy anything related to reading, writing, and film. However, when I’m not “nerding out” in school, I can most likely be found on a streamside fly-fishing or in the mountains adventuring.
As a tutor, my strengths are centered on organization, flow, and precision. I’m a nerd of all things English; therefore the areas I can offer the most help in are composition and most reading/writing English classes. I am always excited to read other people’s work and help them reach their writing goals.
Rae Kinney-Geology Major
Rae is a senior at FLC and will be receiving a degree in geology as well as her certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She is originally from Chicago, IL and joined the FLC community three years ago after embarking on a summer long trip through Alaska. She hopes to continue her education in a graduate program and focus on geomorphology and planetary surfaces. Rae tutored for two years in the geology department before joining the Writing Center.
Rae excels in writing lab reports, grant proposals, cover letters, resumes, scholarship essays, and has completed her senior thesis. She enjoys reviewing essays and helping students understand and learn the structure of a well-written paper.
When she is not on campus, you can find Rae at the barn with her horse or out “geologizing” with fellow rock nerds. She also likes to ice climb, play board games, and cook.
Anna Amidon-Environmental Studies
Anna is a majoring in Environmental Studies and double minoring in Biology and Rhetoric of Inquiry. She is a senior and has plans to attend graduate school, albeit not before fully pursuing her career as a river runner first. Anna has extensive experience with academic writing for all disciplines. Going into her second year as a tutor with the Writing Center, Anna also works as an embedded tutor with Comp 350 classes and frequently guest lectures for different subjects across campus.
Anna’s motto for peer tutoring: “To make writing less daunting by having real conversations that facilitate an open environment for questions and answers.”
Natalie Joe-Biology Major
My name is Natalie Joe and I am a double major in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. I am currently a senior and have written many laboratory reports, composition papers, scholarship applications, conference applications, graduate school applications, a NSF grand application, and have been rewarded for my writing. I hope to share the tips that I have learned through my collegiate career with students and aid their academic success! I find joy in films, writing, learning, mentoring, and helping whenever possible
Michelle Bonanno, Director
Michelle graduated from Fort Lewis College with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Communications in 2001. She then attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she earned a Master of Arts in Communication in 2004. Beginning with her graduate studies, Michelle became, and continues to be, particularly interested in the rhetorical power of mass media. She wrote her Master's thesis on the role of local newspapers in healing the Littleton, Colorado community after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Michelle began teaching in the Writing Program here at Fort Lewis in 2005. As a student at FLC, Michelle met her future husband, Anthony, and they are now raising their two children, AJ and Mia.
Lindsay Noisom, Administrative Assistant
Lindsay graduated from Fort Lewis in 1982 with a Bachelor's degree in English. She has lived in Durango since 1977, and has raised two daughters to whom she read aloud every night until they started high school. Her oldest daughter, Trista, is a Fort Lewis alumna who graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, and her youngest daughter, Caitlin, is a published author. Lindsay has over 15 years of experience in the book industry, and has served on the editorial board of the Durango Herald Small Press.