About Us

Avra Spector, Program Director

Avra has taught writing at several universities in both New York and California including The Cooper Union, where she frequently teaches both the Freshman Seminar and humanities core capstone course, as well as The New School and Baruch College. Currently completing her PhD in Comparative Literature from CUNY Graduate Center, Avra holds an MA in Philosophy from University College Dublin, an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts and a BA in Comparative Literature from the American University of Paris. In addition to her work one-on-one with students as an associate in the Center for Writing at Cooper, Avra offers writing pedagogy support as a Teaching and Learning Center Fellow at CUNY Graduate Center.

About the Faculty

All Cooper Union Summer Writing Program faculty members have been specifically chosen for their excellence, passion, and ability to communicate with students. This summer's faculty includes:

Anke Geertsma  has taught composition, rhetoric, literature, and cultural studies classes, at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, where she is from, as well as at the City College of New York and New York Institute of Technology. She also has experience teaching college readiness and preparation courses at the high school level through Bronx Community College’s College Now program. In addition to teaching the online course in the Summer Writing Program, Anke is a fellow at the Teaching and Learning Center at CUNY Graduate Center, where she is working toward her PhD in Comparative Literature.

Phillip Griffith teaches French and Comparative Literature at Baruch College, CUNY and holds a PhD in French from the Graduate Center, CUNY. His research focuses on the intersection of writing and the visual and performance arts in twentieth-century avant-gardes. He has been a Writing across the Curriculum Fellow at City College of New York, CUNY and has also taught creative writing courses for high schoolers. In addition to his PhD, he holds an MA in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University and a BA in English and French from the University of Georgia. He is a contributing writer and Managing Editor of Art Books in Review at The Brooklyn Rail.

John Lundberg is the Associate Director of the Center for Writing at Cooper Union and is Cooper's Engineering Writing Fellow. He is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Virginia, an MA in English from Florida State University, and a BA from The College of William and Mary. He’s taught composition at Florida State, creative writing at Stanford and Virginia, and was a lead business and technical writer in the private sector. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, VQR, The Southern Review, and New England Review, among others.

Wendy Tronrud  is a writer and educator who currently teaches in the English department at Queens College, CUNY and is a Writing Associate in the Center for Writing at The Cooper Union. After receiving her Masters in Teaching from Bard College in 2008, she taught Humanities at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx, NY for several years. She now pursues a doctorate degree in nineteenth century American literature at the CUNY Graduate Center while writing about art and education.

About The Cooper Union Center for Writing

The Center for Writing is a primary site of writing instruction at The Cooper Union, available to students for any issues relating to writing, reading, or speaking. Associates work with students at all stages of the writing process-from reading and thinking about an assigned text, to brainstorming ideas, drafting, and revising across a wide range of disciplines and texts. The Center stresses techniques that let students gain control of their material and find ways to get their ideas on the page clearly. Writing Center Associates have extensive experience working with undergraduates pursuing technical and studio-based majors and are familiar with a wide range of learning styles.

About The Cooper Union

Established in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is among the nation's oldest and most distinguished institutions of higher education. Founded by inventor, industrialist, and philanthropist Peter Cooper, it offers an unparalleled education in art, architecture, and engineering.

  • 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.