Center for Writing and Learning Staff

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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.

Administration

Director
Kit Nicholls (kit.nicholls@cooper.edu) 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 (john.lundberg@cooper.edu) 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

Mirene Arsanios (mirene.arsanios@cooper.edu) holds an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths College, and an MFA in Writing from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. She has contributed essays and short stories to e-flux journal, Vida, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Rumpus, among others. She is the founding editor of Makhzin, an online English/ Arabic bilingual magazine for innovative writing. Mirene has taught creative writing at the American University of Beirut and currently teaches at Pratt Institute. On Friday nights you can find her at the Poetry Project where she coordinates the Friday Night reading series with Rachel Valinsky.

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 (julia.bosson@cooper.edu) 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.

Stephen Higa (stephen.higa@cooper.edu) 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 (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.

Marie Hubbard (marie.hubbard@cooper.edu) 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.

Alice Jones-Nelson (alice.jones-nelson@cooper.edu) 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.

Tara Menon (tara.menon@cooper.edu) 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. 

Max Schnuer (max.schnuer@cooper.edu) earned his BA in creative writing and education studies from Eugene Lang College and is currently pursuing an MA in Language and Literacy at the City College of New York, where he also teaches writing and composition. He has published translations of curatorial, architectural, political, and literary texts with presses such as Rey Naranjo, Taller Siete, and Ediciones Policéfalo in Colombia. He is also the co-host of The Unseen Book Club, a monthly podcast about novels, poetry, and other narrative works that document or intervene in collective struggles for liberation.

Liza St. James (liza.StJames@cooper.edu) 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 (angela.starita@cooper.edu) 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 (stella.tantorres@cooper.edu) 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 (augusta.thomson@cooper.edu) 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 (alex.verdolini@cooper.edu) 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 (neena.verma@cooper.edu) 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 (buck.wanner@cooper.edu) 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.

Renia White (renia.white@cooper.edu) is a writer and instructor originally from Maryland. She earned her BA (Journalism) from Howard University and her MFA (Creative Writing) from Cornell. She has taught writing/literature to undergraduates at Cornell University, Pratt Institute, and Parsons School of Design. Her first book, Casual Conversation, (BOA Editions, 2022) was named a Blessing the Boats Selection. She is at work on a second book and is based in NYC. 

  • 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.