Writing Support

Graduate students have access to a wide array of services that support all stages of the academic writing and presentation process.

Support for Native Speakers of English

If you are a native speaker of English, please consult one of our graduate peer tutors at The Student Center for Research, Writing, and Information Technology (RWIT).

At RWIT, graduate peer tutors can help you develop more effective strategies for generating and organizing your ideas, finding and evaluating research sources, and presenting and revising compositions in a variety of media. The graduate tutors are available to assist graduate students of any discipline with the academic communication process.

Support for Non-Native Speakers of English

If you are a non-native speaker of English, you can seek help from our mutilingual specialist, Dr. Melina Gehring. 

Graduate students for whom English is not the first language have a unique and valuable resource: the support of a multilingual writing specialist. Melina is available to provide support on:

  • Seminar papers and presentations
  • Articles written for publication
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Conference proposals and presentations
  • Grant applications and application letters

Melina is happy to assist with materials at any stage in the creative process including brainstorming, outlines, proposals, PowerPoint slides, posters, or delivery. Like RWIT, Melina does not offer any copyediting services (i.e. proofread for typos or grammatical correctness), but helps you learn to identify and edit grammatical issues on your own.

To make a 60-minute appointment

Please email Melina. Ideally, your email will mention:

  • whether you are a master’s or PhD student
  • your subject area
  • what kind of writing or presentation project you would like to discuss
  • some dates and times during which you would be available

Melina’s office is located at the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, 37 Dewey Field Road, Suite 6062, Rm. 429.

Writing Conferences

During writing conferences, Melina helps you move through the process of writing, focusing on the your questions and concerns. You may meet with Melina at any point in the writing process — from brainstorming, to drafting, to finalizing a draft.

For writing conferences, be sure to bring:

  • One copy of a current draft of your writing (or email a copy before your meeting so that she can print it). Melina will be reading your draft in the meeting.
  • An assignment description (the instructions your professor gave you for this project)
  • Any feedback your professor has given you to earlier drafts of the same piece of writing or to former assignments (to give Melina a sense of how this professor responds to your writing and what he/she values in writing)

Oral Presentation Conferences

During oral presentation conferences, Melina helps you communicate more effectively to your audience. You may meet with Melina at any point in the process — from preparing a conference proposal, to drafting (whether it be in the form of an outline, a paper, PowerPoint slides, or a poster), to practicing delivery.

For oral presentation conferences, be sure to bring:

  • Either the assignment description or the conference announcement and presentation guidelines
  • Any materials you have prepared for the presentation

Learn more about Melina’s writing support.

Books for the Struggling Dissertation Writer

  • Bolker, Joan. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis (1998) (For great tips on time management and overcoming writer’s block)
  • Feak, Christine, Swales, John M. Academic Writing for Graduate School: Essential Tasks and Skills (Michigan Series in English for Academic & Professional Purposes, 2012) (Provides great input on style and grammar, and offers some good writing exercises)
  • Glasman-Deal, Hilary. Science Research Writing for Non-Native Speakers ofEnglish (2010) (A must-read for any international graduate student in the sciences)
  • Hacker, Diana, Marcy Carbajal Van Horn, and Nancy I. Sommers. A Writer's Reference with Resources for Multilingual Writers and ESL (2011) (Great chapter on ESL grammar issues – indispensable for editing your documents)
  • Williams, Joseph M., and Joseph Bizup. Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace (2015) (Great general handbook on good writing any type of text)

To receive book suggestions tailored to your needs, please send Melina an email and consult the Research Guidelines for your discipline. Also don’t miss out on the opportunity to see your subject librarian for any questions surrounding your research, proper citation, and your discipline’s writing conventions.