Writing Mentors

Meet your writing mentors here at The Writing Center!

Mentor: Spencer Gregory Armada


Pronouns: he/him/his 




Spencer Gregory Armada


Writing Mentor




Bio: Spencer is a 4th-year PhD student in the Department of Literature where he specializes in 18th-Century British Literature, namely the history of the novel, narrative theory, ethics, and the history of individualism. His current research focuses on narrative representation of catastrophe and the lesser senses in the long 18th-century.

Mentoring Specialties: Grant and scholarship writing; transfer and graduate school application essays; expository writing and research papers; Humanities and Social Science writing-- especially in “qualitative” fields.

I am extensively trained in classroom writing pedagogy and therefore also able to provide assistance with writing fundamentals like close reading, brainstorming, outlining for suitable structure, and the revision process, including grammatical revision.

Mentor: Conner Dylan Bassett


Pronouns: he/him/his






Conner Dylan Bassett

Writing Mentor
Bio: Conner holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a PhD candidate in Creative/Critical Writing at UCSC. He is the author of one full-length poetry collection, three poetry chapbooks, and one translated book from Russian. His collection, Invention of Monsters (2015), received a nomination for the Lambda Literary Prize. His writing has been recognized by fellowships and awards from the University of Iowa, the University of California, the Academy of American Poets, the Sewanee Writers Conference, the Stadler Center for Poetry, and the Catamaran Literary Reader; and his poetry and fiction has appeared in Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, Iowa Review, Seattle Review, and others. He has taught creative writing in all its genres (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting) as well as courses in literary theory and interpretation. 
Mentoring Specialties: Literature; Critical Theory; Media and Film Studies; Political Theory; Science Writing; Rhetoric and Composition; grant writing, personal statements, applications, and citation formatting (MLA, APA, Chicago)
Mentor: Rachel Bonner
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Rachel Bonner

Writing Mentor
Bio: Rachel Bonner is a Ph.D. student in the history of art and visual culture department at UCSC, where she has served as a teaching assistant and an instructor. She is also the managing editor of the interdisciplinary academic journal Refract. Prior to beginning graduate studies, she worked as a literacy enrichment instructor, and she loves helping students connect with texts and articulate their ideas. 
Mentor: Arielle Burgdorf

Arielle Burgdorf

Writing Mentor
Bio: Arielle Burgdorf is a 2nd year PhD student in the Literature Department. Their research concerns queer, feminist, and collective translation in French-Canadian literature from the 1980s and 90s. They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University where they taught in the Words Without Walls program at Allegheny County Jail and were awarded Best Fiction Thesis and the Creative Excellence Award. Their writing has appeared in Tasteful Rude, Full Stop, Maximum Rocknroll, Crab Fat Magazine, X-Ray Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. They were nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and most recently were a Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Fellow for 2021.
Mentor: David Duncan
Pronouns: he/him/his








David Duncan


Writing Mentor


Bio: I am a history PhD student that focuses on oral history and school desegregation in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in the East Bay and spent 8 years working as an EMT on an ambulance, in the hospital, and as a volunteer firefighter until I decided I wanted to pursue a career in history. 

I started my college career at Las Positas Community College where I got my certificate in Fire Science Technology and then transferred to CSU East Bay where I received my BA in History. I was accepted into the History Master’s program at UCSC in 2018 and reapplied to be accepted into the PhD program in 2020. 

Mentoring Specialties: Historical papers/analysis, brainstorming, proofreading, resumes, applications, and cover letters, (I did a lot of hiring when I was an EMT supervisor).

One of my favorite aspects of working at The Writing Center is helping students who are not history majors so feel free to reach out for help with anything!

Mentor: Daniel Joesten
Pronouns: he/him/his


Daniel Joesten


Writing Mentor







Bio: I am a PhD student in the History Department at UCSC, where I am researching and writing about the experiences of Irish migrants to the United Kingdom in the 1920s and 1930s. Originally from Campbell, CA, I spent a few years as a child in Phoenix, AZ, before moving back to Northern California. As an undergraduate, I switched majors several times because so many things interested me. I was an English major, a film major, and a music major before finally settling on my passion for history. I graduated with a B.A. in History from San Jose State in 2012 and an M.A. in European History from the University of Utah in 2014.

I have taught Writing 2: Rhetoric and Inquiry at UCSC for the past four years. I have extensive experience helping students from various disciplines through all the stages of the writing process, from inception to revision. I love teaching writing and seeing students continue to grow as confident and agile writers.

Mentoring Specialties: Rhetoric and Composition, Papers/Essays from different academic disciplines, analysis, brainstorming, revision, thesis development, grants, graduate school applications, cover letters, resumes/CVs.

Mentor: Chacko Kuruvilla
Pronouns: he/him/his


Chacko Kuruvilla


Writing Mentor







Bio: Chacko has a BE in Electrical Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology, India; a BA in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota; an MA in Liberal Arts from St John's College (Annapolis and Santa Fe); an MBA from Carlson School, University of Minnesota; and an MFA in Literary Non-Fiction from Columbia University. He is currently a fifth-year, PhD candidate in literature here at UCSC, where he teaches creative writing and American literature. He is working on a semi-autobiographical novel set in his native city, Bombay, India, and on a collection of essays on Emersonianism and nineteenth-century American literature.

Interests: Emersonianism and Aestheticism in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American Literature. 

Mentoring Specialties: International student writing support; feedback for outlining, brainstorming, formulating thesis/argument, grammar, structure; editing/proofreading academic essays in literature, creative writing, philosophy, and film.  Statements of purpose for transfer applications (STEM and humanities), statements of purpose for MBA, humanities/Liberal Arts graduate programs. 

Mentor: Katie Ligmond
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Katie Ligmond


Writing Mentor


Bio: Hello! My name is Katie Ligmond and I am a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate of Visual Studies in HAVC. I work mostly on empires in the Andes, using textile iconography as a way to understand Indigenous governments. I have a lot of experience working with students on developing their writing skills and am excited to be able to work with you one-on-one! While my focus is art history and archaeology, I have training in teaching writing across disciplines.
Mentor: Katie Ligmond
Pronouns: he/they/his/

Elliot Richardson


Writing Mentor


Bio: Elliot Richardson is a PhD student in the History department studying transgender history, US/Mexico borderlands and public history. He previously worked for the National Parks Conservation Association where he published multiple articles on LGBTQ history in national parks. He has experience teaching both academic writing, blog post and article writing, and mentorship on creating materials for the job market such as cover letters, graduate school application statements, resumes, and CVs. 
Mentor: Linda Ulbrich
Pronouns: she/her/hers


Linda Ulbrich


Writing Mentor 


Bio: I’m originally from Germany but grew up in Wisconsin, California, and Nevada and I came back to California for grad school. I received my BA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and recently received my MA here at UCSC. I am a PhD student in the History Department researching the experiences of British nurses stationed overseas during the First World War as recorded in their diaries. I’m especially interested in understanding nurses’ emotional experiences of the war and how those emotional experiences affected their understanding of the war itself and their role within it.

Research Interests: First World War History, The History of Emotions, History of Gender,  Modern British History.  

Tutoring Specialities: History papers/analysis, primary source analysis, brainstorming, proofreading, applications, cover letters (I’ve mentored an undergrad in applying to grad school with the MINT program through the Women’s Center).