Consultant Bios

Writing Studio Staff 18-19

H. Bondurant

I’m interested in ways that people work - our minds, our relationships, how we construct social reality. When I’m not writing, I am doing yoga, going on hikes, planning events, or binge-watching some cheesy TV show. My favorite thing about writing is being able to share my perspective and ideas in a clear and compelling way. There’s something special about re-reading something you wrote awhile back and connecting with your past self. When I’m trying to avoid writing, I tend to find things to clean and organize or, my favorite, sleep.

Emily Brockman

I like hiking, baking, collecting mugs, running, and beachcombing. What I love most about writing is the power it has to communicate in a way that allows readers to view the world from perspectives wildly different from their own. Despite our differences, writing allows people to see each other's humanness in it’s purest form and serves as a bridge between each individual’s unique experience. When I’m trying to avoid writing I fidget and engage in other activities I feel like I can control such as working out, cleaning, or making lists.

Jamie Browne 

Jamie doesn't really differentiate between life and hobbies. Some of the things I like to do but don't usually get paid for are reading and watching science fiction, cooking Southern, Mexican, or African food, hanging out under the full moon, and wandering around in swamps. My favorite thing about writing is when I can surprise my audience. I also love that feeling of finally getting something down on paper that's been banging around inside my head for days. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I usually clean something. 

Rene Caputo

My favorite pastimes include traveling, listening to live music, and walking in tranquil settings. You might also find me reading, playing with a cat, or learning a bit of a new language. My favorite thing about writing is how it allows me to crystallize incompletely-formed thoughts. Walking away from a text helps give me needed perspective about what revisions might come next.

Hugh Esterson

When I’m not writing, I’m most likely watching or obsessively following motorsports, from Formula One’s narrow streets of Monaco to NASCAR’s high banks of Talladega. In addition to racing, I am a diehard sports fan, cheering on the New York Yankees, Washington Redskins, and St. Louis Blues. But when I am focused on writing, I think of it as the art of expressing something meaningful in a powerful, yet creative way. I especially enjoy the interdisciplinary aspect of writing, as well as the thoughtful and balanced escape it provides me from my hectic hometown of New York City.

Kristiana Gambuti

I’m an avid lover of writing, reading, coffee, podcasts, the beach, baking cookies and fuzzy socks. I also enjoy hanging out with friends and engaging in meaningful conversations. My favorite part of writing is the beautiful and delicate power it has. I can write anytime, anywhere and feel as though I am conversing with something much deeper and greater than myself. Writing is so multi-faceted and every author brings something different to the page. When I am trying to avoid writing (or am having trouble getting my ideas down), I usually go on a walk or a run to clear my mind.

Lydia Goff  

I’m interested in how to communicate science effectively especially through creative genres. When I am not writing, I love reading (almost) everything, experimenting with allergen-friendly recipes, playing with puppies, doodling, and wandering around new places on the verge of being lost (which my horrible sense of direction makes very easy). My favorite part of writing is when I can surprise the people who know me best. When writing becomes more of a headache than a hobby, I tend to either go on walks outside or make tea. 

Sinan Goknur

I am interested in the interplay between the collective and solitary natures of writing.  When I’m not writing, I am making art, socializing, spending time with my dog, hiking at a nearby forest, or catching up with domestic chores.  My favorite thing about writing is when a pen befriends me and takes me on a wild delivery ride of previously unaddressed packages.  

Chris Huebner 

When I’m not writing, I like to hike and camp or try cooking a new recipe. My favorite thing about writing is being creative with words. I like to spend time thinking about the best way that I can craft my sentences. When I’m trying to avoid writing, I go for a run, turn on an episode of Nathan for You, or maybe watch a baseball or football game.

Shirley Li

When I’m not writing, I'm cooking up something scrumptious, learning languages (and actively forgetting them), and trying to become an person who regularly goes to the gym. My favorite thing about writing is the learning and thinking that it inspires: words to articulate something about me, my words to articulate someone else's ideas. When I’m trying to avoid writing, I scour food blogs and Durham weekend happenings and world news: in short, everything irrelevant to my topic.

Malini Mehta

I'm currently a teacher-in-training of sorts, working towards becoming a science teacher! I'm a huge fan of fantasy and realistic fiction works, and miss when I used to have whole days to keep my nose in a book. Besides that, I have a bunch of random hobbies and skills, like knitting, Dungeons & Dragons, and most things Nintendo. My favorite thing about writing is seeing my jumbled thoughts going in 20 different directions finally have some kind of order (I'm a huge outliner, though I never thought I would be a few years ago). When I'm trying to avoid writing, I'm usually playing video games or laying in bed.

Rebecca Melaku

When I’m not writing, I enjoy going to the gardens, exploring Durham with friends, and listening to music. My favorite thing about writing is the way it allows me to express my thoughts in ways that are more creative and tangible than simply speaking. Most of all, my love for writing stems from my love for reading. Reading opened the world to me in so many ways, and now writing is my way of sharing my story with the world. When I’m trying to avoid writing, I’ll listen to music really loudly so that it fills my head with lyrics instead of the words that won’t come out.

Brennen Neeley

During my free time, I read (specifically, I binge read, then binge re-read). I also enjoy watching movies, eating, and having conversations so long the day changes before the topic does. My favorite thing about writing is my close connection with every phrase, punctuation mark, sentence--writing is distinctly mine in a way other things aren't. That connection--the authority my words give me--is, I suppose, why I like writing so much. When I take this thought to heart and become too neurotic to write, you'll find me pacing around campus.

Joe Nelson

When I'm not writing, I like to waste time reading about obscure topics online. My favorite thing about writing is the way it can help to clarify my thoughts. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I pick up my guitar and cycle through the same riffs I've been playing since I was 14.

Yair Rubinstein

When I’m not writing I enjoy hanging out with my dog Rosa. My favorite thing about writing is constantly surprising myself with new ideas and rhetorical styles I never knew I was capable of.  When I’m trying to avoid writing I re-read my old writing, walk my dog, watch Netflix and eventually find a way to trick myself into start writing again!

Jacob Soule

When I'm not writing I enjoy playing and watching soccer, reading about things related or not related to my writing (depending on how I'm feeling about my writing) and going to the movies. My favourite thing about writing is starting a new project (so much hope and optimism!) and finishing an old project (so much relief!) When I'm trying to avoid writing I will enthusiastically do just about anything that isn't writing, including cleaning, cooking elaborate meals, or just taking a nap."

Margaret Swezey

Some things I enjoy are reading (especially fiction and history), walking (especially in the woods), cooking and eating Indian food, and spending time in the mountains or with my wonderful cat. My favorite thing about writing is using visual techniques, such as concept mapping and color. Laying things out visually really helps me with all kinds of writing process and problems, including brainstorming and organization. When I'm trying to avoid writing, decluttering my apartment suddenly becomes appealing. If I'm avoiding writing, it usually means I'm feeling stuck, so I try breaking the writing task into smaller parts and do one of them, and that usually solves the problem.

Matthew Taft

What I enjoy about writing is the way in which it allows me to slowly, very slowly, crystalize my thoughts. This, unfortunately, is also what I dislike about writing, the slow discovery that my thoughts are no good. When I’m not writing, I try not to feel guilty about not writing. When I’m trying to avoid writing, I usually read and convince myself that this counts as work.

Matthew Valnes

Matthew's hobbies include listening to music, reading, and running. I also enjoy watching sports on TV. My favorite thing about writing is when I finally find the perfect way to express an idea that I've been working through in my head. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I'll usually clean something, read, or binge watch TV.