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Meet Our Consultants


  • Phil Shaw, Writing Commons Coordinator

    Phil Shaw is the Writing Commons Coordinator as well as a full-time lecturer in the University Writing Program. He first became interested in Writing Center work as a peer consultant at the University of Denver and then as a professional consultant here at RIT. His other research interests include metacognition and cognitive studies, student agency, and knowledge transfer between disciplines. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo. He enjoys road trips, vinyl records, cats, effects pedals, his family, and coffee. (Not in that order, necessarily).        


  • Claudia Alant

    Claudia is a Mechanical Engineering major expecting to complete a Mathematics Minor and Bioengineering immersion. She will be working as a peer writing consultant and she is thrilled to learn more about how students across many disciplines use language to bring ideas to fruition. Claudia is a member of Hot Wheelz (a Formula Electric vehicle team comprised completely of females), fluent in Afrikaans, and insatiably curious.


  • Soumya Dayal

    Soumya is a Computer Science major expecting to complete Computing Security and Communications minors. She first became interested in Writing Commons because of the immense help she got as a student to better her writing, and now wishes to do the same for others. Soumya is multi-lingual and has experience in working with people whose first language is not English. In her free time, she works for OASIS (Organization of Alliance of Students of Indian Subcontinent) as the Vice-president and reads a lot. She is currently working on a book she hopes to publish one day. 


  • Ian Effendi

    Ian Effendi is a Game Design & Development major, working as a peer consultant in the Writing Commons. In his spare time, he competes in the poetry slams hosted by Mental Graffiti and runs the International House in his official role as the organization’s President. In his spare time, he studies the craft of graphic design, in hopes of becoming a better artist.


  • Annika Garbers

    Annika is a fifth-year BS/ME student (Industrial and Systems Engineering/Engineering Management). This is her seventh semester as a peer consultant in the Writing Commons, where she enjoys working with students on a variety of interesting projects. On campus, she's involved in Hot Wheelz (all-female Formula Hybrid racing team) and several activism organizations and works as a graduate assistant in the Toyota Production Lab. She's also a part-time product manager for New Relic (San Francisco-based monitoring software company).


  • Geoff Kanteles

    Geoff is a Computing Security major. He has been working in the Writing Commons for four semesters, where he enjoys helping students develop their writing skills. Geoff also works on campus for ITS and has worked as a systems administrator on co-op. Geoff has a passion for gaming, loves to laugh, enjoys reading about space, and likes to meet new people.


  • Roshan Mathew

    Roshan is a fourth-year student majoring in Human-Centered Computing at GCCIS and into his third year as a Writing Consultant. He loves collaborating with writers from various disciplines and enjoys being a part of the process that translates people’s thoughts and ideas into words. Roshan is multi-lingual, has experience working with writers whose first language is not English and is also conversant in basic ASL. In his free time, he helps promotes international student outreach for Global Union, participates in various club activities such as the RIT UX Club, RIT Badminton, and DISA.


  • Betsy Hicks McDonald

    Betsy is an English/ASL linguist.  She enjoys applying her linguistic, cultural, and academic experience to written work of all lengths, genres, and disciplines with undergraduate and graduate students. She is bilingual in ASL and English and is particularly interested in the intersection of confidence and competence in academic writing across genre, discipline and culture.  


  • Ben Padovano

    Ben is an RIT graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Developmental Psychology, starting his 7th semester in the Writing Commons. He works full-time as a Youth Care Professional at a residency center for troubled youth, Hillside Family of Agencies. Motivated by his love of helping others voice their individuality, he strives to provide empathetic support for his clients' academic and emotional needs. In his free time, he enjoys going down nostalgia trips, playing fetch with his cat Sirius, and listening to high fidelity underground music. 


  • Ketaki Tilak

    Ketaki is a fourth-year Computer Science major. In the past, she has been involved with organizations catering to the international student community at RIT, such as International House, Global Union, and OASIS (Organization for the Alliance of Students from the Indian Subcontinent). In her free time, she likes creative writing and having engaging conversations.


  • Anthony Troiano

    Anthony is a Computing Security major. He enjoys the unpredictability of the Writing Commons and is eager to help anyone who comes in. Outside of working in the WC, he also takes part in RIT's Competitive Cybersecurity Club (RC3) as well as hack nights and interest groups pertaining to the field. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games and programming.


  • Kaitie Yague-Spaude

    Kaitie is an RIT graduate with degrees in Journalism and Media Arts and Technology working her seventh semester in the Writing Commons. She works full-time as a copywriter for a marketing company called Accelerate Media by day, is faculty here at RIT during the weeknights, and packs parachutes at WNY Skydiving on the weekends. She loves the entire writing process and enjoys helping students with everything from brainstorming to checking citations. On the off-chance she’s not working, Kaitie enjoys watching movies, avoiding adult responsibilities, and taking naps with her cat.