Kate Walker, Writing Associate

Kate Walker You may seethe with envy at your roommate clicking away in the corner, spewing out prose at breakneck speed mere hours before a paper is due while you stare at an empty screen, but good writers are not the ones who pump out a pile of words and move on. Good writers are those who commit to dwelling a little and imagining other ways of seeing. Good writers take the time to wrestle with complexity, and use writing as a tool for intellectual growth. If you feel blank or blocked or, alternatively, overwhelmed by a chaos of ideas when you face an assignment, you are not a "bad writer." You just need to adjust your process. There is no better way to get perspective on that process than to make contact with someone on the outside of it, and that's where the Writing Center comes in. Do you need to know what you're doing before you arrive at your appointment? Absolutely not! Come with whatever you have, even if it's not much. Or, come with a draft that is driving you bananas! You can even come with a "finished" draft, as long as you keep a mind open to revision suggestions. Whatever you bring, I am here to be your sounding board, your coach, and sometimes your devil's advocate! 

I work only on Mondays because I have another full-time job: For the past four years, I've taught a Transition to College program to adults in Holyoke, MA. Though in some ways this is very different from my work at Amherst (like, I have to teach algebra!), there are strong common threads. I talk about writing and study skills and college life all day long, and more than anything else, I emphasize to my students the importance of reaching out and taking full advantage of the resources your educational institution makes available to you. It is my job to be your resource--so use me! I can offer you helpful strategies at every stage of your process, whether you are working on a paper for class, application material for scholarships or jobs, or you just want general advice about writing, reading, or managing your coursework. 

Though I officially received my B.A. in English Literature from Binghamton University, my education is more accurately represented by the conglomeration across a number of years of a wide variety of institutions including Ulster County Community College, the State University of NY at New Paltz, and Mount Holyoke College. Thus, I have a range of personal academic experience to draw upon in addition to my professional expertise. If you are a transfer, non-traditionally-aged, or a first-generation student, I'd especially love to meet with you and offer you support in your adjustment to Amherst. 

My most recent academic experience took place at UMass Amherst, where I  received an M.A. in English Literature with a concentration in American Studies. During and after getting my degree, I taught the first-year composition course at UMass for three years. Before that, I was a barista for many years, a dishwasher, a house cleaner, an assistant manager at a bakery, and in one shadowy era I dressed up in an enormous blue bear costume to advertise for a real estate office. Each of these jobs, and others, has helped  in its own way to hone my communication and mentoring skills. When I'm not working (which is not often), you can find me writing, riding my bicycle on the bike path, and playing my cello in the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra.