The Writing Center Consultants
Ms. Helen Storey, Writing Center Coordinator
Helen Storey (B.A. and M.F.A., UVA; Ph.D. candidate, Bath Spa University, U.K.) has been teaching literature and writing for over twenty years while maintaining academic and professional engagement in the visual and decorative arts. Aside from teaching, her background includes technical writing and publishing, copywriting for engineering firms, graphic design for NASA, and the publication of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She is the daughter of a Navy pilot from Idaho and a painter from London, and is particularly interested in the value and dynamics of creativity within the military. She has been lucky enough to teach writing at VMI for the last two years and to serve as editor of Sounding Brass, and is thrilled to be given the opportunity now to continue to serve VMI’s engaging—and always inspiring--Corps of Cadets as Writing Center Coordinator and ERHS Instructor. When not writing, reading, or teaching cadets, CPT Storey fills her time dancing, travelling, and collecting wayward dogs.
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Dr. Jim Adams, Writing Center Consultant
Dr. Jim Adams, Consultant in the Writing Center (B.A., English, VMI ‘7 1; M.A., English Literature, James Madison University; Ed. D, Educational Leadership, University of Tennessee). Starting as the cadet editor-in-chief of the VMI yearbook, Jim Adams worked as an Army magazine editor, as an advertising agency creative director, and as a copy production manager. His higher education public relations and marketing career began in 1977 and in 2009 he retired as CEO of the VMI Foundation. He currently teaches Public Speaking in the VMI English, Rhetoric and Humanistic Studies Department.
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Ms. Nina Salmon, Writing Consultant
Ms. Nina Salmon, Writing Consultant (M.Ed., Lynchburg College), is an assistant professor of English at Lynchburg College, where she serves as assistant director of LCSR and Senior Symposium. She has taught classes in composition, literature, technical writing, and creative writing at Lynchburg College, Central Virginia Community College and the Virginia Military Institute. In addition to teaching, she works as a writing consultant at VMI and Washington and Lee University.
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Mr. George Abry, Writing Consultant
Mr. George Abry, Writing Consultant (M.A., The Johns Hopkins University) is a professional writer whose interests include travel writing and historic preservation. He was a regular contributor to the real estate section of The Times Picayune and Old House Journal magazine, and covered New Orleans tourism for TravelAgeWest, a west coast travel industry publication. In addition to feature writing, he has worked on a number of technical writing and public history projects. He served as historian for the City of Roanoke Residential Pattern Book project, and researched and wrote the historic context for an Architectural Survey of Botetourt County, VA; he co-wrote a handbook of Commercial Design Guidelines for the City of Bluefield, WV.
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Ms. Kristina Newberry, Writing Consultant
Ms. Kristina Newberry, Writing Consultant (M.F.A., Creative Writing, Hollins University), has published a variety of stories and essays. A Russian émigré, Kristina Newberry holds an M.A. in English from Radford University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins University, where she was a teaching fellow for a year. Kristina has published a variety of stories, essays and poetry. Her work has recently appeared in The Southern Review, The Louisville Review,Calyx,Nimrod, Arts & Letters, North Dakota Quarterly, Gulf Stream, Confrontation, and elsewhere. Her short fiction was selected as a finalist for multiple awards, including a Pushcart Prize. Kristina is the winner of the 2013 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction, first prize.
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Ms. Elise Sheffield, Writing Consultant
Ms. Elise Sheffield, Writing Consultant, A.B., Brown University (English) and M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School (Theology) is also Education Director for Boxerwood Nature Center in Lexington. As a skilled grant writer, she has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars for her non-profit’s educational initiatives over the past eight years. Prior to joining the VMI Writing Center in 2010, Ms. Sheffield wrote curriculum for the Marshall Foundation, and worked as an instructor at Southern Virginia University, teaching composition, non-fiction reflective writing, and literature. A Rockbridge native, she is a former Peace Corps volunteer (Lesotho, southern Africa), and published essayist. She is currently pursuing a second master’s in Science Education through Miami University (Ohio).
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Maj. Josh Iddings
Maj. Josh Iddings, assistant professor of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies (B.A. & M.A., English, Marshall University; Ph.D., Purdue University). Maj. Iddings studies writing pedagogy from a functional linguistics perspective as it applies to both first and second language writing and does research in the fields of Linguistics, Rhetoric and Writing, Education and Appalachian Studies. In addition to working as a writing consultant at VMI, Maj. Iddings worked at the Marshall University Writing Center. Aside from his academic work, Maj. Iddings is also a musician, Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals fanatic, and avid disc golfer, playing as often as possible on the Washington and Lee campus course.
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Maj. Heather Branstetter
Heather Branstetter specializes in rhetoric and composition, and especially likes helping students come up with new ideas and think creatively about how to best support an argument. When she isn't at the Institute, Major B can often be found running with her dogs, biking down country roads, paddling down a river in a kayak, reading, or working on her own writing. She also likes to instigate subversive activities. When asked about what it means to be a writing center tutor, she answered, "Writing is like a starting a fire; the words need room to breathe."
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