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Writing Consultants

The writing consultants at UMC are experienced writers who understand the requirements of the writing process, but also the joy in striving for excellence.  They are here to ask questions and provide feedback that will help writers move forward on their projects. Our consultants collectively have experience writing in many different fields and for varied subjects. Both professional staff and peer student consultants have a veritable plethora of strengths and experiences that guide their dedicated work in assisting the UMC community with their writing concerns.

Linnea Barton - Writing Center Coordinator:

It is my privilege to welcome you to the UMC Writing Center. Teaching and learning is my passion, and it is a joy to work with people from all over the world to help them achieve their writing goals every day. I grew up in Montana riding horses and came to the University of North Dakota to study aerospace engineering. Half way through my degree, I did an about-face and ended up graduating with a B.A. in English and Honors. I went on to get an EFL certificate and taught EFL and TESOL in China, Thailand, and the US. I am currently finishing my M.A. thesis in Linguistics. When I’m not in the Writing Center I work as the Assistive Technology Specialist for the Office for Students with Disabilities. Besides ESL, I have also taught Composition on campus. I would love to help you brainstorm or plan your project. I have a specialist interest in poetry, foreign languages, and creativity. Many students bring me their personal statements and cover letters to discuss ideas for improvement. Please feel free to stop by any time with questions or send me an email at

Lynne Mickelson - Professional Consultant:

Hello, I’m Lynne Mickelson. I am very excited to be on staff at the UMC Writing Center. We are here to serve you by assisting with the writing process. I am looking forward to working with you.

It is my passion to help students reach their goals and achieve their potential.  My interest in working with students was inspired by my first grade teacher. I grew up on the North Dakota prairie; fishing and hunting were favorite family activities. I enjoyed literature and math – an odd combination! Following high school, I attended Concordia College in St. Paul, MN, graduating with a major in Education and concentrations in Communications and Math.  I have had the opportunity to teach language arts and math to students of many ages. Our family has recently moved to Crookston. In addition to teaching, I enjoy reading, family activities, and cooking. I also like to write.

Writing can be a challenging and rewarding exercise. Often we need the support of others to produce a piece of writing that is satisfying and communicates clearly. Just as an athlete trains, straining muscles and focusing his/her mind, a writer must hone his/her skills. “The muscles of writing are not so visible, but they are just as powerful: determination, attention, curiosity, a passionate heart.”~ Natalie Goldberg.  I really appreciate Natalie’s words. Writing is hard work, but it is also very satisfying when done well.  We at the Writing Center would enjoy coaching you through the writing process. Come by or make an appointment as you tackle your writing projects.

Jennifer Dillard - Professional Consultant:

My love of reading and writing began formally in elementary school when I came in third place in a school book writing contest for my first (and only) novel entitled The Adventures of Charlie the Monster.  You would be hard pressed to find a copy of this “novel” in your local library because it was a book destined only for my mother’s bookshelf.  This lack of notoriety couldn’t sway me as a young writer, instead it marked the beginning of a lifelong journey of discovery through writing.  Writing in my personal and professional life has taken many forms including: nature journaling, newsletters, interpretive panel text, research papers, a master’s thesis in natural resource management, cover letters, resumes, grants, business letters, website development etc.  Each of these writing opportunities inspired me to find my own voice and writing style.  A work in progress, I continue to hone my writing skills along with you through each tutoring session.  I have found that there is no better way to grow as a writer than to work alongside someone else as we explore the writing process together.

I have enjoyed working with young writers in diverse and unique environments.  I spent over two years living in a village in Madagascar helping community youth learn English as a Second Language.  Additionally, I saw excitement flood through a classroom of learners at a juvenile detention center when some of the young men learned how to write a complete sentence for the first time.  I am thrilled to bring my enthusiasm, passion for learning, and commitment to helping you succeed as a writer to the University of Minnesota Crookston campus.  Please stop by and see me for any and all support you might need throughout the writing process.

Stephanie O'Connell - Peer Consultant:

Hello! My name is Steph O’Connell and I am very excited to start another year of tutoring at the Writing Center. I am currently a junior at UMC, and I have always had a love for writing. From personal experience with friends and other students, I know writing is not for everyone and because of this I love to share my excitement. For me personally, gratification is achieved when a student is able to take what I have taught them, and apply it to their writings with little to no assistance. No matter the type of writing assignment or type of class, I take pride in being able to assist in all areas and hopefully even learn some from those that I tutor!

Within the subject of writing, there are so many different variables that play a significant role; I know it can get frustrating for students to even know where to begin. I try to make things just a little simpler when it comes to grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, or formulating concepts and ideas by explaining thoroughly. No aspect of writing is too small to conquer, and any student is able to achieve it if they put their mind to it. When I’m tutoring, I like to make sure the student understands how I arrive at my conclusions within writing, so they too can better themselves as we go. I may not be able to provide the exact answer in every situation, but I’m willing to provide all the help I can to make the writing process just a little smoother overall!

Kalli Peterson - Peer Consultant:

Hello! My name is Kalli Peterson. I am a junior here at UMC and this is my fsecond semester working in the Writing Center. I believe working here will strengthen my teaching skills, which I will need for my future endeavors as I am double majoring in Early Childhood and Elementary Education! I simply cannot wait to be a teacher!

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to write. I decided to become a tutor because I want to help others learn to love writing, too! Writing has always come easy to me (mostly, I think, because I am such an avid reader) but I know that it doesn’t for everyone. I want those I help to embrace what a gift the ability to write well is; writing can be such a wonderful form of self-expression! I know it can be overwhelming and frustrating, but I intend to fully support anyone who needs a little (or a lot of) help overcoming the obstacles involved in becoming a fluent writer. You can do it! I’m here for you!