First-Year Writing Program


First-Year Writing Faculty

Anna Bassiri

Anna Bassiri has been teaching at Rowan University since 2008 where she has taught Foundations for College Writing, Intensive College Composition I, Composition I, and English as a Second Language Classes in the Pathways Program. Professor Bassiri holds a Master of Arts Degree in ESL and Bilingual Education from Georgetown University. Her areas of research interests include multilingualism and methodologies for effective writing instruction for ESL students.

Kate Brown

I have been teaching at Rowan for twelve years, primarily in the First-Year Writing Program. My main goal is to help students learn about themselves as individuals and as writers. I seek to help students acquire the skills necessary to be successful and confident in their writing as they move forward beyond our First-Year Writing courses.

Katie Budris

I joined the Rowan Writing Arts department in 2011 and have since taught all levels of First Year Writing, Creative Writing, Writer’s Mind, and Editing the Literary Journal. I’m a Midwesterner at heart, having earned my BA at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and my MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University in Chicago. My primary writing interest is poetry, and my works has appeared in literary magazines such as Philadelphia Stories, Border Crossing, and Temenos. My debut chapbook, Prague in Synthetics, was published in March 2015 by Finishing Line Press. I also serve as the Editor in Chief for Glassworks – the literary magazine produced by Rowan’s Master of Arts in Writing program, which can be read online at: – please sign up for our e-mail newsletter to find out about new content and on campus events!

Robert Burton

I have a diverse background in higher education and public service that provides me a unique perspective on writing and the writing process. I have worked in higher education since 2001, and municipal government since 2012. I was a two term Borough Councilman, and former Mayor of Medford Lakes NJ, where I currently serve as the Borough Manager. I earned a BA in Political Science and MAS in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a Doctorate in Public Administration from West Chester University. My tip: Embrace the process of writing and communicating to an audience as it will pervade every aspect of your education.

Veronica Cappella

I have been teaching at the high school and middle school level for the past thirteen years. Since September of 2015, I have been an adjunct at Rowan University, teaching for the Writing Arts program. Recently, I have begun teaching writing at Atlantic Cape Community College, as well. I am passionate about reading and writing. My hope is to share that passion with my students.

Sheri Chamberlain

I believe that one can learn something new everyday and that everyone brings something to the learning experience, not just the instructor. I strive to instill the love of lifelong learning in each of my students. My background is in Reading/Language Arts education, and I believe this adds another facet to myself as an instructor of college writing. I have been teaching college reading/writing/grammar courses at the community college level since 2009 and have been an instructor in Rowan's FYW Program since 2014, also serving on the portfolio assessment committee since 2014 as well.

Bonny Chezik

My grandfather always taught me, "Whatever job you the best darn one out there!" I will never presume to be the "best" professor in the world, but I will always strive to be the best I can possibly be for my students - through ardent study and perseverance. I strive to encourage a highly engaging, social,fair, inclusive atmosphere in all my classes. This wonderful atmosphere not only teaches and encourages the production of thinking via the written word, but also teaches students to work through intellectual, moral, and academic/work dilemmas. Critical thinking is the key as is a highly group-centered approach to instruction. I have been honing my teaching craft at the collegiate level since since 2007. I have taught/teach at Rowan (since 2007), University of Delaware (since 2015), Camden County Community College (and STEM outreach/21st Century Scholars Program) (since 2008), and Delaware County Community College (2007-2008).

Mary Chrapliwy

I started my career as a registered nurse, but always had a fondness for the written word, so when I decided to further my education I chose to pursue an MA in writing. I've been published in a few outlets, and have a novel in the hands of any agent, but nothing compares to the light I see in some of my students' eyes when they enjoy learning about the thing I love most: writing.

Anthony DeCrosta

I am an award-winning journalist and advertising and public relations writer who spent years in the medical publishing and advertising business. I teach writing and ESL at a number of colleges and universities, where I like to inspire students with a discovery of their own special ability to communicate with clarity and precision.

Robert DeFrank

I obtained my BA & MA from Arizona State University. I have been teaching courses at the college level for the past thirty years. I have taught in the First Year Writing Department at Rowan University for the past 16 years. I teach ICCI, CCI, and CCII. I enjoy helping students grow as writers and as young adults.

Tiffany DeRewal

I joined the Rowan First-Year Writing community in 2015. I've taught Honors CCI and CCII, Sophomore Engineering Clinic, CCII, and Foundations for College Writing. I am currently completing my doctoral dissertation in American literature at Temple University, where I also work as a tutor and workshop coordinator in the University Writing Center. My studies in literature and in composition pedagogy are primarily focused in the fields of cultural studies, film and media studies, and digital and information literacy.

Elizabeth DiPietro

This is my first year teaching writing, but my experience includes years as a Writing Tutor here at Rowan University, running workshops on writing for students from elementary to college age, and working as a Proposal Writer and an Editorial Assistant. My goal as a teacher is to find a way to make writing engaging, no one should have to struggle with communicating. In my free time I maintain a blog, work on my own fiction writing and write for the Round Robin Writes website.

Mandi Dorrell

This is my third year teaching as an adjunct professor at Rowan, and I am so thankful for this wonderful environment! Rowan strives to create an inclusive environment for its students, and I know my assets and background help skyrocket that feeling into the classroom and all of my students. As a full time middle school librarian, a board member for Spread the Love Foundation (a suicide prevention nonprofit), a product consultant for a world-renowned company, head union representative,blog writer and researcher, and National Mental Health First Aid trainer, it is no wonder that I want my students to strive for success in their accomplishments. More importantly, I want them to love the lives they are creating! When I'm not working (rare, as a Capricorn works for a living), I am dancing, doing yoga, eating donuts, loving on my cat Hamilton, and working on my house. Come visit me in my classroom-even if you aren't my student or we don't work together, I love connecting!

Kimberly Erskine

Kimberly Erskine teaches First Year Writing as part of the Teaching Experience Program at Rowan University. In 2015, Kimberly received her first cochlear implant followed by a second one in 2016. Through her cochlear implants, Kimberly was given the gift of hearing for the first time in her life. She is currently in the process of writing a memoir about her experience. Kimberly also works full time at Penn Medicine as a Website/Social Media Monitoring Specialist where her main focuses are on the monthly Health and Wellness newsletter and the Penn Medicine branded social media channels.

Doreen Fera

After more than 25 years as an ad agency creative director and freelance writer, I earned my MFA in creative writing at Rutgers University and fell in love with teaching. In 2013, I began teaching composition and creative writing at local colleges and at the Rutgers Future Scholars Program in Camden. I see myself as a midwife of writing for my students. I shepherd them toward the question that informs all good work —“What does my reader need to know?” — and then help them develop the confidence to truly answer it.

Michael Fisher

Stephen King wrote, "I'm convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing." My goal as a writing instructor, then, is to promote confidence and self-esteem in students as they wade into the waters of academic writing. I've been working with words long enough to know that it takes time and hard work to beat the anxiety of the blank page, but that the skills gained in battle come with great rewards. I've spent the last three years earning my MFA in creative writing at Rosemont College in Lower Merion, PA. For two of those years, I was a frequent theater critic for Phindie, an arts and culture website covering the Philadelphia area. When I'm not teaching, I'm writing - songs, novels, plays, anything I can think of.

Marie Haughton Flocco

Marie Haughton Flocco earned her M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition from Carnegie Mellon University and has been teaching first-year writing and public speaking since 2001. She joined Rowan’s Writing Arts faculty in 2010. Her interests include high school to college transition as well as composition pedagogy for college students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Professor Flocco teaches Intensive College Composition I and serves as the course coordinator. She is the recipient of the 2016 College of Communication and Creative Arts Excellence in Service Award for Writing Arts.

Michael Fotos (They, Them, Their)

After five years of study and extensive writing center work at Rowan, Mike Fotos, Toni Libro Excellence in Writing Arts Medallion recipient teaches First Year Writing emphasizing the importance of advocacy, social awareness, and agency in change. Mike is your LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Committee liaison and is willing to provide curriculum support and professional development regarding social justice and identity studies.

Ai Guo Han

Dr. Ai Guo Han has been a member of the department since 1993. He teaches College Comp I, College Comp. II and Chinese language courses. His research interests include social cognitive learning and rhetorical traditions of philosophical Daoism.

Monica Keenan

Ideas change the world.  They are fleeting, timid, and not always easy to tame or explore.  As a teacher I am passionate about helping students gather, honor, and communicate their ideas. I've taught at the college level for 10 years, composition specifically for 5, and look forward to every new semester.

Cindy Kopp

When I started teaching at Rowan in 2009, I was offered an ESL/Composition class that I taught for one year. Since then I have taught most of the first-year writing classes including Foundations for College Writing as well as Pre-College Writing during the summer for the EOF/MAP program. In addition to FYW, I also teach "new media" classes, such as Writing With Technology, Introduction to Writing Arts (technology module), and Writing, Research, and Technology. Before moving to NJ, I taught FYW classes at the University of Arizona while in graduate school. I received an MA in ESL and I continue work (from afar) in the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Second Language Acquisition. I am currently completing my dissertation and plan to make that monumental move from ABD to PhD in Spring/Summer 2017. Whoot!

Kristine Lafferty

Kristine Annuzzi Lafferty joined Rowan’s Writing Art Department as an instructor in the First Year Writing Program in 2014. She is ecstatic to be teaching at Rowan. Professor Lafferty earned her B.A. in English and her M.A. in Composition and Rhetoric from Rowan University; it’s good to be home again! Professor Lafferty was honored to receive the Outstanding Adjunct Teaching Award in 2015 for her student-oriented teaching.

Mikaela Langdon

I teach First Year Writing as part of the Teaching Experience Program at Rowan. I also serve as the Multi-Modal Tutor Coordinator at the Rowan Writing Center and offer one-on-one tutoring there. I am currently working on a young adult novel for my Master's project and will graduate with my MA in Writing in May 2018.

Mary Langley

I have been a teacher for over 40 years on both the high school and college level.  I received my BS from East Stroudsburg State University and my Masters in Composition and Rhetoric from Rowan University in 2004.  I enjoy teaching creative writing which I do at the art center in my town.  I have also done private tutoring as well as SAT preparation and college application writing.

Julie Malsbury

Julie has been teaching Writing and Literature since 2008 and joined Rowan University in 2014 where she teaches Composition I and Composition II. Her writing interests include poetry; visual rhetoric; digital writing; creative nonfiction, autobiographical, and reflective writing; and the rhetorical uses of clothes, fashion, and nudity.

Nazneen Mandviwalla

I have been teaching College Composition at Rowan University since fall 2013. I started teaching College Composition/English in 2009 at Gloucester County College (now Rowan College at Gloucester County) and continue to teach there as well. My background is in Comparative Literature and I try to incorporate that experience into the college writing experience for my students. Together we explore a diverse variety of sources to help improve their college writing abilities.

Leslie Martinelli

In 2010 I left the practice of law to earn a Master of Arts in Writing from Rowan University. As an adjunct instructor in the First Year Writing program, I draw on my years of experience as a lawyer, whether I am leading discussion or giving feedback. My goal as an instructor is to instill in students an appreciation for writing as a way to communicate their ideas.

Christina Maxwell

My name is Christina Maxwell and I am an Adjunct Professor in the First-Year Writing department at Rowan University. I have taught a variety of composition courses since 2013 including College Composition I, Intensive College Composition I and College Composition II. I hold a M.A in Writing degree from Rowan University. My thesis "Relearning Revision" is a two-part scholarly piece that works to conceptualize the act of revision to first-year students, a concept I often use in the classroom. In addition to my teachings at Rowan, I also teach at Rowan College of Burlington County and substitute at Camden County Technical Schools.

Joe McGee

Joe is the author of Peanut Butter & Brains, Peanut Butter & Aliens, and the forthcoming Peanut Butter & Santa Claus. He writes picture books, middle-grade, and YA, as well as graphic novels and screenplays. He is a former airborne Army officer, a cartoonist, and an avid hiker. He has his MA from Rowan's graduate writing program and his MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is represented by Linda Epstein of the Emerald City Literary Agency. Joe teaches Creative Writing I and II, Writing Fiction, Writing Children's Stories, The Writer's Mind, Writing the Graphic Novel, and Composition II. You can visit him at

Keri Mikulski

Keri Mikulski is the author of the young adult novels Head Games, Stealing Bases, Making Waves, and Fifteen Love. Following and prior to her four-book deal with Razorbill/Penguin, she sold short stories, poetry, and creative nonfiction to Current Health 1 and 2, Highlights for Children, LiveStrong, RWR, Whirlwind Journal, and many other publications. Keri earned a Master of Arts in Fine Arts degree from Rutgers University and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from The College of New Jersey.

At Rowan, Keri teaches Writing Children's Stories, Creative Writing, Situating Writing, Sophomore Engineering, and FYW courses. She also serves as the senior editor of Glassworks. Her interests include fiction, sports and social change, and humor writing.

Jude Miller

Jude has been teaching in Rowan University's Writing Arts Department since 2009. In addition to coordinating CCII, he serves on the steering committee and maintains the website for the New Jersey Writing Alliance (, a volunteer-run, non-profit organization that holds an annual conference for writing teachers across NJ. In 2017 he received the College of Communication and Creative Arts Excellence in Service Award for Writing Arts.

Rebecca Moody

I earned my MA in Writing: Composition and Rhetoric from Rowan University in 2004 and my MA in School Leadership from Wilmington University in 2008. I started teaching Composition I in 2014 and currently teach that course as well as Composition II. I am currently a full-time curriculum director in a local PK-12 school district. I previously taught HS English for fourteen years. I am extremely excited to be teaching writing again. My teacher's soul was craving this.

Anthony Palma

Anthony Palma is a ¾-time instructor here at Rowan University. He also teaches classes at Saint Joseph’s University. As an instructor, Anthony is committed to creating a safe and welcoming space where his students can grow as writers and as people. When not teaching, he writes and performs poetry throughout the Philadelphia area. His poems have appeared in Oddball Magazine, The Mad Poets' Review, Harbinger Asylum, and Whirlwind Magazine, among others. He has also been a featured reader at several events including ones sponsored by the Dead Bards of Philadelphia and Moonstone Poetry. His poems attempt to capture the hardships, despair, and isolation of modern life while showing that at the end of it all, there is always hope for a better world. When not writing or teaching, Anthony enjoys music, painting, martial arts, and spending time with his family. ​

Courtney Polidori

Collaborative learning is emphasized in my writing courses through group projects, TED talks, discussions, and blog posts. For first year college writers, the benefits of collaborative learning extend beyond the writing classroom through learning communities, friendships, professional relationships, and career networks. Since Rowan University hired me in Fall 2014, I have earned the Adjunct Award for Excellence in Teaching, presented at an international prison studies conference in Scotland, and published an article about teaching memoir-writing to incarcerated women. I integrate my experiences teaching in a women’s prison to invite Rowan students to grapple with questions of social justice, mass incarceration, literacy, gender, race, and class through writing.

Olga Polites

I have been teaching English at the high school level since 1982, as well as college composition since 1996. My primary interest is in bringing authentic writing experiences into the classroom.  In that effort, I have had editorials published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, English Journal, and Newsweek, and I maintain a blog.  I also serve on the steering committee for the New Jersey Writing Alliance whose mission is to create conversations between high school and college teachers of writing.

Alexis Rivell

As a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Writing Program at Rowan University, I had the honor of teaching Intensive College Composition One through the Teaching Experience Program. During my first semester teaching, I developed an essay with a colleague that centered around issues of intersectionality and oppression-- an essay indicative of my interest in highlighting and celebrating diversity in the classroom. I have also organized an online teaching circle for instructors in the Teaching Experience Program to further enhance teaching effectiveness, and I have published a flash fiction piece in the online magazine, The City Key, which publishes work from writers in the Philadelphia area.

Cate Romano

I'm a second year graduate student participating in the Teaching Experience Program while pursuing an MA in Writing. There's just about no place I'd rather be than in a classroom. My fondest hopes as a teacher are that my students will find my enthusiasm for learning contagious, will come to appreciate rather than fear being challenged, and will develop the autonomy and desire to challenge themselves in their future classes and throughout their lives.

Stephen A. (Steve) Royek

Professor Royek earned his B.A. in Communications-Journalism and his M.A. in Writing from Rowan University and is the 2015 recipient of the Writing Arts Department's Rowan Medallion Award. He teaches Sophomore Engineering Clinic, Foundations for College Writing, and select courses in the First-Year Writing Program.

Earlier in his career, Professor Royek worked as a reporter and editor at the Courier-Post and USA TODAY, as public relations director at international manufacturer AMETEK, Inc., and as national marketing director at First American Title Insurance Co. Among his professional recognitions are a 2010 Feature Writing Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and a series of publicity writing, advertising, art direction, and design awards from the PRSA, the Business Marketing Association, and the New Jersey Press Association.

Deborah Scott

I am delighted to start teaching at Rowan University this year.  In the past I have taught composition, English, and Intellectual Heritage at other area universities (Temple, St. Joe's, and Drexel).  Earlier, I taught high school English for a year, at the Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy.  An experienced writing center tutor, I now have my own English tutoring practice, the English Clinic, which is geared toward high school and college students.  I am particularly interested in helping students to navigate the transition between high school and college.  For me, the most gratifying part of teaching is guiding students to achieve new insight as thinkers and to discover their unique voices as writers.  When I am not teaching or tutoring I enjoy reading, cooking allergy-free foods, and playing with my young son.

Chris Selko

I have taught remedial writing and college composition for the past twenty years. During this time, I have worked with many students in many different learning environments; however, in each of these circumstances, my objective was the same. I hoped to help my students become clearer thinkers and more confident, effective writers.

Amelia Thatcher

Amelia Thatcher graduated from Rowan University with a bachelor of arts in writing arts in 2009, and completed the master's program in 2014. A tutor in the original Rowan Writing Center in 2010, she incorporates tutoring and situational writing practices into the classroom and in her research. Before returning to Rowan as an adjunct, she tutored and taught at Bloomfield College in northern New Jersey. When not in the classroom, she is a reserve component Army captain and director of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt.

Susan Verrico

I'm an alumni of Rowan with a MA in Writing and a BA in Communication. I teach College Composition and Writing Children's Stories, as well as middle-school English. My debut children's novel, Privateer's Apprentice, was the recipient of the 2013 IRA award for intermediate fiction as well as a finalist for two state awards and two international awards. It was also named an ABC Best Books for Children in 2012.

Andrea Vinci

Along with teaching in the Writing Arts Department, I also teach full-time for the Rowan Choice Program, a partnership in it's third year with Rowan College at Gloucester County. Teaching is my passion; each student represents a chance to exchange ideas, share my love of writing and literature, and leave a small impact on the world. Prior to coming to Rowan, I have taught at Rowan College at Burlington County, La Salle University, the Community College of Philadelphia, Camden County College, and Paul VI High School. Outside of the classroom, I work as the Director of Communications for Bedford and Main Financial Consulting, which allows me to keep my technical writing and marketing skills in-line with current trends and updates. I have also worked as an editor in various capacities for the literary magazine, Philadelphia Stories, and it's affiliates, for the past seven years.

Bruce Walsh

I first started teaching college composition in 2010 while earning my MFA in creative writing and I came to Rowan’s First Year Writing Program in 2013. My experience in creative writing taught me that some of the best writing is both imaginative and deliberate. This has informed how I help students approach composition; I aim to help students develop their unique writing style and write on the topics they find the most compelling. E.B. White wrote in The Elements of Style that there “is no inflexible rule by which writers may shape their course. Writers will often find themselves steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.” When I’m not addressing the simplicity and challenge of writing, I’m dealing with the simplicity and challenge of raising two young children.

Daniel Walsh

In addition to his work in the Writing Arts department at Rowan, Daniel teaches at Rutgers University and Rowan College at Burlington County. Prior, he taught creative writing at Columbia University, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree.

Tim Zatzariny Jr.

Tim Zatzariny Jr. has taught in Rowan's Writing Arts program since 2007. He teaches composition and the Writer's Mind, and has also taught public speaking and journalism. Tim graduated in 1994 from Rowan University (then Rowan College of New Jersey) with a bachelor's degree in journalism/communications. He received his Master's degree in Writing Arts from Rowan in 2007.Tim worked for many years as a reporter and editor for various media outlets in South Jersey, and won four New Jersey Press Association awards. His fiction and essays have appeared in the Best of Philadelphia Stories, Thieves Jargon, Flash Fiction Magazine and Mystery Weekly Magazine. Tim's main area of interest is the history of popular music--specifically, the cultural influence of early rock 'n' roll, Motown and punk music.

Roberta Zehner

An instructor in the department since 1990, Professor Zehner teaches in the First Year Writing Program. Teaching College Composition I and II is the perfect place for her to help ease the transition from high school learning to college learning, one of her areas of interest. Her main goal is for students to learn to be critical thinkers, and her assignments and class discussions are geared to allow students numerous opportunities to develop this ability. Learning to read critically, producing a writing portfolio, and speaking in class are the methods by which this goal is accomplished. In her classes, students are urged to participate and soon realize that there is no such thing as a stupid question or a bad idea, just ideas that need to be explored. The emphasis is on learning: it is a rare student entering the composition classroom who has been trained to think critically. Critical thinking has to begin somewhere and Professor Zehner's CCI and CCII classrooms are a good place to start.

Kaitlin Zeilman

Kaitlin is a second year adjunct instructor at Rowan. She received her BA in Journalism at Rowan in 2010 and her MA in Writing this past May, and was a participant in the Rowan TEP Program. Her favorite projects to work on are Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry. Kaitlin is also a substitute teacher in Camden County, and is working on getting her MFA in Creative Non-Fiction.

Please reload


This icon indicates instructors who are Safe Zone Allies. The Safe Zone Ally Program is a network of Rowan students, faculty, and staff who are visibly supportive of LGBTQIA+ students and of all individuals regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Safe Zone exists to provide LGBTQIA+ students a simple way to identify administrators, faculty, staff, and students who are allies and have been trained to approach concerns in a confidential, non-judgmental, and affirmative manner.