Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts
Dr. Lynn Alexander
Chair of the Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages
Professor Jenna Wright
Writing Center Coordinators
Anna Clark and Jenna Wright
Writing Center Consultants
Mary Beard has a B.A. in English and History from Murray State University and an M.Ed with a concentration in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has also had training in teaching English as a second language. Mary has been writing and teaching English in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, and Korea since 1965. She has taught Intensive English and composition courses at UT Martin. In addition to working in the Writing Center, Mary owns a stained glass business, Glass by Mary. Other activities include First United Methodist Church Chancel choir, the Philharmonic Music Guild, and the UTM Rifle Team. One book that Mary likes to use is Fawcett and Sandberg's Grassroots because it explains grammar clearly, shows "how to get started," and provides essays that encourage readers to respond to them in writing.
Mary Lou McCaslin is enjoying her first semester as a writing consultant in the writing center. She graduated from UT Martin with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature in December 2014. In the future, Mary Lou hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in writing to one day become the director of her own writing center. Though now she lives in the small town of Dyer, Tennessee, with her husband and two children, Mary Lou once lived in Washington, DC; Hughesville, PA; and Oxford, England. The diversity of the world and helping others understand English delight her. Mary Lou's favorite book to kickstart the creative process is Arthur Plotnick's Spunk and Bite, followed by the grammar champion it parodies, Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. These two books alone are helpful for writers looking to strengthen and diversify their skills, but in tandem they deliver phenomenal results. In Mary Lou’s free time, she enjoys going on adventures with her family, helping her local high school's yearly musical, running, and playing the piano.
Steve Flowers majored in English with a minor in history at UT Martin. He taught English, history, and communications classes for over thirty years in the Humbolt City School System. He continues to be active in The Tennessee Retired Teachers Association. Steve is married to Patty Flowers, a senior research associate in UT Martin's Office of Research, Grants, and Contracts. Their daughter Stephanie, an English major, graduated from UT Martin in 2004. Their son Will received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2009. Steve says that Elements of Style by Strunk and White has long been a favorite resource while The Lie That Tells a Truth by John Dufresne is a new favorite.
Jannie Reed received a B. A. English and History from UT Martin in May of 2014. When she was a student, she worked as a student assistant in the Writing Center. She is excited to return as a consultant and continue to assist students. She also worked as a student worker in the EMFL department. She was involved in several school groups such as BeanSwitch, and she won awards for some of her essays and short stories. She still enjoys writing as well as watching old movies and cooking. She highly recommends On Writing by Stephen King for those who wish to develop their writing skills. For those looking for a great read, she recommends Homeland by R. A. Salvatore and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Beth Walker has worked in the English Writing Center since 1998 while teaching a variety of writing and literature classes for UT Martin, Dyersburg State, and Jackson State. She graduated from UT Martin with a B.A. in English in 1991, and from UT Knoxville with an M.A. in English with a creative writing emphasis in 1994, and from California State University with an M.A. in the Humanities in 2009. She is a published poet whose works have appeared in numerous books and journals. Beth says, "Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is a brief, easy-to-use classic used by generations of college students and professional writers alike. I re-read this handbook every year and feel strongly that our English majors and minors should do the same. Although it's only eighty pages or so, The Elements of Style can explain almost any grammatical rule or usage problem, and I defer to its wisdom often in the Writing Center. Applying the simple advice from this book will certainly improve your writing. You can access the original 1918 text at bartleby.com/141/, or you can browse our new fourth edition in the Writing Center, but then you will want your own copy, available cheaply at bookstores everywhere." Note: In the photo accompanying this biography, Beth Walker concentrates on a student's essay and questions about writing improvement.
Nicholas (Nick) Wilson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Tennessee at Martin in May of 2012. He is now pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Education, with a concentration towards earning his teaching license. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in teaching at the high school level. He enjoys reading, watching movies, playing sports, and being active at First Baptist Church of Martin. One of his favorite quotes about writing is by C.S. Lewis, who said “[d]on’t use words that are too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise, you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” He recommends The Elements of Style by Strunk and White for those who wish to improve their writing skills, along with C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy series to anyone looking for a good fiction read.
Brianna Foss is a senior Chemistry major and English minor from Paris, Tennessee. She plans to pursue a career in the medical field after graduation. Though she does not yet know what specialized field she wishes to pursue, she does know that she also dreams of becoming a published author. In addition to working in the Writing Center on campus, she is a member of the Student Members of American Chemical Society, the American Chemical Society, the Pre-Med Scholars Program, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Kappa Phi. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and gaming. She has a passion for words and language. Her creative writing holds no specific form. The books she would recommend other students read include J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which also includes The Hobbit, Jonathan Stroud's The Bartimaeus Trilogy, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series, Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera, and any play by Shakespeare.
Cody Jarman is a sophomore pursuing a double major in Theatre and English. After he graduates from UT Martin, Cody hopes to find work as an actor or to attend graduate school for an advanced degree in English. He enjoys his work in the Writing Center, and he is also proud of his work with the Vanguard Theatre and the Alpha Psi Omega theatre society. For additional assistance during academic writing, Cody recommends utilizing the information available at the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
Alexandra Mullins is a sophomore English major with a concentration in writing and a minor in communications. She was born and raised in Portland, Tennessee. After graduation, she hopes either to go into work editing and publishing novels or to obtain a graduate degree in public relations. Outside of the Writing Center, Alexandra is the captain of the color guard of the Skyhawk Marching Band, of which she has been a member for two years. She is also involved in Phi Eta Sigma and the Honors program here on campus. Alexandra’s additional hobbies include reading and writing (mainly young adult fiction), watching YouTube videos, and dancing. Alexandra is in her first semester as a student assistant in the Writing Center as of Spring Semester 2015.
Madilyn Peay is a junior double major in English and Natural Resources Management with concentrations in writing and wildlife biology respectively. She is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She is secretary of the University Scholars Organization and participated in the UT Martin Leaders in Residence program. She is the co-policy chair of the UTM chapter of The Wildlife Society and is also a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Eta Sigma, and Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She enjoys drinking coffee, playing board games, being outside, and reading. She is unsure of her plans after graduation, but her main ideas are becoming a park ranger who moonlights as a novelist or pursuing a graduate degree in English.
Riley Rich is a junior English major with a minor in history. She comes from Nashville, Tennessee, and hopes to teach high school English and perhaps eventually become a college professor. After a recent vacation to Italy, she has also decided to pursue teaching English as a second language there, either to Italian youths or on an American military base. In addition to working in the Writing Center, she is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and also of the University Scholars program, where she serves as senior editor for its publication, The Scholar. In her free time, she loves reading historical fiction, doing yoga, complaining about the appalling popularity of terrible music, and discussing films.
Maya Thornton is a junior English major with a minor in Women's Studies. She comes from Humboldt, Tennessee. After graduation, Maya hopes to either teach overseas or travel. She is also a member of the Women's Association and has served as an officer in another organization. Her hobbies are frequently updating her Tumblr, reading, working out, and discussing sexism and racism in major forms of media but mostly focusing on comics and movies. Maya is also a poet and has written a collection of poetry. She began working in the Writing Center at the beginning of Fall Semester 2014.
Writing Center Coordinators
Anna Clark, who views reading, writing, teaching, and travel as creative acts, is a faculty member in the Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages at The University of Tennessee at Martin where she also serves as co-coordinator of the Hortense Parrish Writing Center, a position she has held since 1986. Anna received an M.A. in English from The University of Missouri and has done additional graduate work at The University of Mississippi. She teaches composition, literature, and advanced grammar courses at UT Martin and has led travel-study experiences to Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, France, and New England. Anna has also traveled throughout Europe and in Asia and South America. Intensely involved in the development of the Writing Center at UT Martin, Anna has given presentations about Writing Center issues at the meetings of the Southeastern Writing Centers Association and the International Writing Centers Association. She is a writer and published poet; she has received several teaching awards, including the 2003 University of Tennessee National Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award. One book she recommends is Reading Culture, a text for composition classes edited by Diana George and John Trimbur.
Jenna Wright, co-coordinator of the Hortense Parrish Writing Center, teaches advanced grammar, fiction workshop, and creative nonfiction workshop at UT Martin. She has a B.A. in English from UTM, an M.S. in Education from UTM, and an MFA from Murray State University. She has received numerous teaching awards and honors including the following: 2009 Smith Professorship; 2007 Reagan Leave Recipient; 2004 UT Martin Coffey Outstanding Teacher Award; 2002 University of Tennessee National Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award; 2005 and 2002 University of Tennessee at Martin Outstanding Educator Award; 2003 Alpha Omicron Pi Teacher of the Year Award; 2002 Kappa Alpha Outstanding Faculty Member Award; 2003 First Annual Apple Award for Motivating Teachers, Phi Delta Kappa; 1999 Excellence in Education Award from the UT Martin Student Government Association; 1998 UT-Martin PACE Program Outstanding Teacher Award; 1992 The Pacer UT Martin Outstanding Teacher Award; and recognition in Who's Who Among America's Teachers for 2006, 2004, 1998, and 1996. She serves as UT Martin's representative on the University of Tennessee Faculty Council (2011-2014) and has served as President of the UT Martin Faculty Senate, President of Phi Kappa Phi, and Secretary of the Southeastern Writing Center Association. Her writings have been featured in several publications, including Tennessee English Journal, Kentucky English Bulletin, Southern Discourse, Poetry Analysis: Understanding and Critiquing Poetry, and Calliope. Wright is chair of the Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages.