Center for Writing and Learning Staff

Kit Nichols and John Lundberg

Kit Nichols, director, and John Lundberg, associate director of the Center

The Center’s success depends on the talent and commitment of our Writing Fellows and Writing Associates. Our staff is diverse in terms of backgrounds, areas of expertise, and teaching styles, and they are all excellent and committed teachers.


Kit Nicholls ( received a Ph.D. in English at New York University and a B.A. in creative writing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of Syllabus: The Remarkable, Unremarkable Document That Changes Everything, co-authored with William Germano (Princeton University Press, 2020). His essays have appeared in venues such as European Romantic Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Psyche.

Associate Director
John Lundberg ( is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University who holds a BA in English from The College of William and Mary, an MA in English from FSU, and an MFA in creative writing from The University of Virginia. He has extensive experience teaching composition, creative writing, and business writing.

Writing Associates and Fellows

Hicham Awad (hicham.awad@cooper.eduholds an MA in Film and Visual Studies from Harvard University and has taught courses in film/media history and studio art at Harvard and the American University of Beirut. His writing explores subjects such as the British films of Jerzy Skolimowski; music and sex; and cinema and/against television in the work of French film critics Serge Daney and Louis Skorecki.

Julia Bosson ( received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing and M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from Columbia University. Her writing has been featured in publications such as BOMB, VICE, Guernica, and the Believer Logger, among others, and she has taught writing at Columbia University and Baruch College. She currently resides in Berlin, Germany, where she was a 2019 - 2020 Fulbright Scholar and is working on a book on the life and journalism of the writer Joseph Roth.

Jesse Chevan ( is a musician, student worker, and PhD candidate in ethnomusicology based in New York City. His dissertation fieldwork with the trombone shout bands of the United House of Prayer for All People, a US-based Black church, grapples with religious marginality, the peculiarity of instrumental worship music, and the ways in which musical sound can facilitate direct encounters with the divine. Jesse also works as a professional drummer and percussionist on the NYC music scene and internationally, touring with the Lucky Chops Brass Band and Nava Tehila, as well as freelancing in a wide range of music styles.

Stephen Higa ( earned a Ph.D. in history from Brown University and a BA in history from UC Berkeley. He studies medieval religion and has taught courses in history, religion, theology, gender, sexuality, music, and performance. He currently teaches high school world history and is a performer of medieval music.

Karen Holmberg ( is an archaeologist and volcanologist who looks at radical climate changes of the past to determine what they can or cannot tell us about our environmental present and future. She holds an MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University and a BA from the University of Virginia. Her research has been funded by Fulbright, Mellon, Wenner-Gren, National Geographic, and Make Our Planet Great Again awards. She has taught at Brown and Stanford Universities.  In addition to serving as the Engineering Writing Fellow at Cooper Union, she is a Research Scientist at NYU, Director of the NYU-Gallatin WetLab, and member of the *This is Not a Drill* working group on technology, the climate emergency, equity, and creative practice through the Future Imagination Fund at NYU-Tisch. She is deeply interested in how creative outreach of science and engineering insights can contribute to more sustainable and equitable societies.

Sophia Holtz ( earned her BA from Hampshire College, and an MFA from NYU, where she was a Goldwater Writing Fellow. She is also an alum of TENT: Creative Writing at the National Yiddish Book Center. Her poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Bennington Review, and elsewhere. Sophia has worked as an educator for many years, supporting learners at all levels with the writing process.

Marie Hubbard ( is a Ph.D. candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. and M.Phil. from Columbia University. She studies and writes about the history of anglophone literature in British colonial settings, as well as U.S. involvement in Third World literary production during the Cold War. She has several years’ experience as a writing instructor and consultant at the high school and undergraduate level. In addition to her role as a writing associate at Cooper Union, Marie is currently an instructor of first-year academic writing in the General Studies program at Columbia University.

Vijay Masharani (vijay.masharani@cooper.eduis an artist and writer. He received his MA in Race, Ethnicity, Postcolonial Studies from University College London in 2022, completing a dissertation on the last works of W. E. B Du Bois. His critical writing has appeared in BOMB, artforum, ARTnews, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. He is represented by Clima in Milan.

Tara Menon ( focuses, in her research and teaching, on problems of religion, experience, and secularization in the European and Indian traditions. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University and has held fellowships at many institutions, including Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. 

Alice Jones-Nelson ( earned the Ph.D. in History and the M. S. in Journalism at the University of Illinois. With college teaching experience in global, African, and U. S. histories and in writing across the disciplines, she mentors information literacy enthusiasts in community settings as well. To foster student creativity, critical thinking, goal setting, problem solving, and empowerment through effective communication, the Stanford Publishing Course alum also draws upon extensive background in editing and collaborating with artists for book, magazine, and digital media corporations.

Meriam Soltan ( is writer and researcher interested in the design of fictions and how they are manifested in various contexts politically, culturally, and otherwise. She received her Master of Science in Architecture Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2022 and her Bachelor of Architecture from The American University of Beirut in 2019. She is a recipient of the MIT Architecture Thesis Award and the Berkeley Essay Prize, and her writing has been featured in PostmedievalThe FunambulistRusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal, MIT’s Thresholds, and ETH Zurich’s Trans Magazin. She is the author of Lebanon and The Split of Life: Bearing Witness Through the Art of Nabil Kanso, forthcoming with Anthem Press in 2024.

Liza St. James ( earned her BA in comparative literature and literary theory from the University of Pennsylvania and her MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow in the Undergraduate Writing Program. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Collagist, BOMB, The Believer, The Paris Review Daily, and other publications. She is editor-at-large for Transit Books and a senior editor of the literary annual NOON.

Angela Starita ( is senior writer in The Cooper Union’s Office of Communications. Before coming to Cooper, she was a freelance writer with articles in a wide range of publications including Salon, Print, The Believer, and The New York Times. She has a Ph. D. in architecture history and continues to write about urbanism and the built environment.

Stella Tan-Torres ( earned her BA in Anthropology and English Literature from Brown University, and her MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University. She worked for several years in Student Services and Admissions at NYU and Columbia University. Her primary focus was on international student communities and career counseling, having trained at NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development. With over a decade of editing experience, Stella has taught students at all levels of higher education and professional backgrounds to improve their writing and communication skills and has provided career counseling for people across a diverse range of industries.

Augusta X. Thomson ( earned her BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from Oxford University. She is currently a PhD student and Teaching Fellow in Anthropology at New York University, where her research meanders between mobility studies, ecology, theories of place and space, memory, digital media, visual culture, video ethnography, personhood, material culture, art, religion, and pilgrimage. Trained in NYU’s Graduate Certificate Program in Culture and Media, Augusta makes (often) abstract and experimental films that reflect on the natural world. She is the director and DP of Nine-Story Mountain, a feature film about the pilgrimage around Mount Kailash; the director, DP, and editor of flotsam, a short film about Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay; and is currently working on Crossings, a multi-media, interactive documentary and mapping project, inspired by the Camino de Santiago, her ethnographic field site.

Alex Verdolini ( is an adjunct assistant professor at the Cooper Union and a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at Yale University. He is also active as a literary translator, most often of Latin American poetry. 

Neena Verma ( is an architect, teacher, and theorist. Her office pursues small-scale, forward-thinking projects. Neena's current research and writing focus on the intersection of architectural practice with society; she aims to challenge norms of perception and beauty. Neena has published in Architectural Research Quarterly and is currently working on a book about immigrants finding place. Her collaborative design work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale. A former attorney, she has experience in complex civil litigation and real estate transactional law.

Buck Wanner ( studies Dance History and completed his PhD in Theatre and Performance at Columbia University. He performs, choreographs, and writes about contemporary experimental dance, and has previously edited Movement Research Performance Journal, Culturebot, and the American Realness catalog READING.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.