Writing Centre and Academic Communications

Meet the Staff

Brian Hotson, MTS
Director, Academic Learning Services


A professional writer for over twenty-five years, Brian spent ten of these years in educational publishing. With Nelson Canada and Pearson Education, Brian worked as a project manager, developmental editor, and writer, collaborating on the publication of more than thirty titles.

As well, Brian spent ten years as a television producer/director and writer for Ontario’s public educational broadcaster, TVOntario. He also worked as a writer and project manager for the Independent Learning Centre, Ontario’s designated provider of distance education.

He has a BA in History from Lakehead University and a Masters of Theological Studies from Queen’s University (Kingston).

Past-President, Canadian Writing Centres Association (CWCA)
Board Member, International Writing Centres Association
Member, Canadian Writing Centres Association Communications Committee
Member, International Writing Centres Association Mentor Match Special Interest Group
Member, Atlantic Canadian Writing Centres Association (ACWCA)
Editor-in-chief, Writing Lab Newsletter (WLN) Blog
Member, Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing
Member, Inkshed Publications editorial board
Member, National Association for the Teaching of English
Member, Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Reviewer, 2018 Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience (San Antonio)
Reviewer, Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie

Steering Committee Member, 2017 Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education national conference
        Chair, 2017 Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education national conference Communications Committee
Chair, 2016 Academic and English Language Learners conference
Chair, 2014 Academic and English Language Learners conference
Co-Chair, 2014 Canadian Writing Centres Association national conference (Brock U)
        Reviewer, 2014 Canadian Writing Centres Association national conference
Co-Chair, 2013 Canadian Writing Centres Association national conference (U Vic)
        Reviewer, 2013 Canadian Writing Centres Association national conference
Chair, Canadian Writing Centres Association (2013-2014)
Vice-Chair, Canadian Writing Centres Association (2012-2013)
Board Member, Canadian Association for the Study of Language and Learning (CASLL) (2011-2012)

2017 International Writing Centres Association Annual Conference (Chicago, IL)
2017 National Conference on Students in Transition (Costa Mesa, CA)
2016 Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience, reviewer (Atlanta, GA)
2016 Academic Writing and English Language Learners conference (Halifax)
2016 Conference for Peer Tutoring in Writing, presenter (Tacoma, WA)
2015 Conference for Peer Tutoring in Writing (Salt Lake City, UT)
2015 International Writing Centre Association Collaborative (Tampa, FL)
2015 Conference on College Composition and Communications (Tampa, FL)
2015 Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (Ottawa)
2015 Canadian Writing Centres Association national conference, presenter (Ottawa)
2014 Academic Writing and English Language Learners (Halifax)
2014 Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (Brock U)
2014 Canadian Writing Centres Association national conference, presenter (Brock U)
2013 Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (U Vic)
2013 Canadian Writing Centres Association national conference, presenter (U Vic)
2012 Canadian Association for the Study of Language and Learning (Toronto)
2012 Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (U Waterloo)
2012 Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Montreal)
2011 Canadian Association for the Study of Language and Learning (Fredericton)
2011 Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (Fredericton)



Arlene Bell



Writing Tutors



Jodi-Ann Walker, BA, Environmental Science; BEd; MA, Geography

Senior Tutor


Jodi-Ann is a spirited young lady from Jamaica who holds a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies. She has a combination of eight years’ experience in teaching students from the kindergarten to secondary levels. Jodi-Ann is currently pursuing a Master’s in Geography and enjoys having intellectually stimulating (and hilarious) conversations.

She is the author of a very useful guide entitled, “An International Student’s Guide to Attending Canadian Universities,” and is an active blogger, who, in her spare time, engages a diverse audience with her two blogs.

Eric Franklin, MA, English; BA, History; MA, History (in progress)

Senior Tutor


Upon the completion of an MA in English, Eric taught honours and AP literature courses for several years at an independent high school but wanted to learn more about the cultural and political impulses that prompted the literature studied. For that reason, he decided to take a break from teaching high school English to earn a degree in History. Eric is now compelting a Master's degree in History at Saint Mary's.

When school is not in session, he likes to ski in the winter and travel to the British Isles in the summer.




Roberto Montiel, PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies (Dalhousie)

Graduate Tutor

Languages: Spanish

Roberto has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from Dalhousie University. Before coming to Canada, He taught at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He also writes film reviews in his spare time.


Sheelagh Russell-Brown, PhD, English Literature

Senior Tutor

Sheelagh Russell-Brown holds a BA and PhD from the University of New Brunswick, and an MPhil from the University of Waterloo. She has taught literature and composition at a number of universities, community colleges, and language schools in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, and after teaching for seven years at an international university preparatory high school in the Czech Republic, is now a part-timer instructor in the English Department at SMU.

Although her specialty is nineteenth and early twentieth-century British literature, she has presented and published papers on Samuel Beckett and Václav Havel, on the memories of the Holocaust among European Roma, on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and on Dickensian elements in neo-Victorian literature, At present, she is devoting her free time to developing her creative writing.



Amanda Saoud, BSc, Biology; MSc, Science Communications


Tutor, Science


Amanda holds a BSc in Biology from Dalhousie University and a Master's degree in Science Communication from Laurentian University. Her main research focus has been centered on the effectiveness of Canadian mental health campaigns in youth populations. Amanda enjoys traveling to warm places, yoga, and eating pasta. 

Kurtis Anstey, BA, Anthropology; BA, English Literature; BSc, Astrophysics (in progress); TESL/TEFL Certification

Senior Tutor, Science


Kurtis holds a double-major in Anthropology and English from Saint Mary’s. He is also TESL/TEFL certified and spent the last year and a half as an ESL teacher and tutor in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He is currently pursuing a second degree in Astrophysics at Saint Mary’s in anticipation of a graduate degree. He can often be seen carrying a skateboard.




Adrian Knapp, PhD, English Literature (University of Leeds)

Graduate Tutor

Languages: German

Before coming to Saint Mary’s, where he is now an adjunct professor in the English Department and a part-time instructor in the Faculty of Education, Adrian taught in the English Department and the International Language Centre at the University of Innsbruck. His research focuses on early black writing in Britain and the characterisation of black characters in eighteenth-century literature. He co-edited the essay collection (Re)figuring Human Enslavement: Images of Power, Violence and Resistance (Innsbruck University Press, 2009) and is currently working on a monograph that explores the construction of self in eighteenth-century slave narratives and their contemporary rewritings.

Stephen Rankin, BSc, Environmental Studies; BSc Geology (Honours); Masters of Science in Applied Science, Geology (in progress)


Senior Tutor, Science


Before joining the Writing Centre, Stephen spent several years working in environmental consulting with government and private industry. He studied geology and environmental sciences at Saint Mary’s, conducting research on the evolution of the Scotian Margin. Stephen’s experience includes extensive science writing at the academic level, as well as technical writing within the professional consulting industry. He has published several papers and reports relating to seabed mapping.



Fiona Ryan, DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts (Composition)) (U Toronto); MA, Music (Newcastle); BA, Music (Dalhousie)



Fiona studied music at the University of Toronto, Newcastle University, and Dalhousie University, and completed an Advanced University Teaching Preparation program at the University of Toronto.

Fiona’s Doctoral studies in music composition included writing one act operas and researching the experiences of women composing music in Canada. In her creative work, Fiona is particularly interested in exploring relationships between text and music/sound. Fiona has worked as a composer, music director, music instructor, performer, and part time academic at Dalhousie University. Whether she is working with words or with music, Fiona enjoys helping people communicate their ideas.


Annick MacAskill, PhD, French Literature (ABD) (Western); MA, French Literature (U Vic); BA,  French language and Literature




Langauges: French


Currently a PhD Candidate in French Studies, Annick has several years of experience teaching French and writing at the post-secondary level. Her research focuses on polemic and spiritual poetry of the sixteenth-century Wars of Religion, and her articles and reviews have appeared in a number of scholarly journals in North America and in Europe.

In addition to her academic interests, Annick is a professional creative writer, with poems and reviews published in Canadian and international literary journals. Her writing has been longlisted for the CBC’s Canada Writes Poetry Prize, longlisted for The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Prize, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of a chapbook, Brotherly Love (Frog Hollow Press, 2016), as well as a forthcoming full-length début (Gaspereau Press, 2018).


Gregg French, PhD, History (Western)




Languages: Portuguese


Gregg holds a PhD in History from the University of Western Ontario, where he specialized in the study of U.S.-Spanish relations during the long nineteenth century. He is a part-time faculty member at both Mount Saint Vincent University and Saint Mary's University, and is currently preparing his dissertation for publication. In his spare time, Gregg enjoys reading, writing, watching sports, and going on walks with his dog.

Erika Flemming, MA, English Literature; MTS, Theological Studies (U Toronto); BA, English Literautre


Senior Tutor, WHO Coordinator


Erika Flemming has a BA and MA in English Literature (University of Waterloo, University of Toronto), and an MTS in Theological Studies (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto). Erika has worked as a Writing and Language Tutor for over fourteen years in Toronto and Halifax. In her other life, Erika worked for the Presbyterian Church of Canada as a youth and young adult worker. Erika's strengths are in helping students to gain confidence and to navigate the academic setting. 


Sarah Feltham, PhD, Music History and Theory; MA, Music History/Theory; BMus, BA English




Sarah Feltham is a versatile interdisciplinary researcher with specializations in musicology, music theory, and Canadian studies. Her research deals primarily with English-Canadian music and culture in the Cold War period. At present, she is working on a study of keyboard works by Canadian minimalist composer Ann Southam.

Sarah has taught music, writing and rhetoric, and Canadian studies at Dalhousie University, Mount Allison University, and Stony Brook University, where she also worked as a writing tutor. She has additional professional experience in cultural programming, curatorial support, and arts administration.

Sarah believes that writing centres are crucial sites for advancing diversity and inclusion on university campuses. As a tutor, she strives to support students through their writing processes with a warm approach that combines academic rigour, intellectual curiosity, and genuine personal engagement. 


Isalean Phillips, BA, Political Science (Honours); BA, International Development Studies (Honours); MA, Women and Gender Studies (in progress)




Isalean is an emergent scholar. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. (honors) in Political Science and International Development Studies, and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Women & Gender Studies at Saint Mary’s University. She studies intersecting social power relations with particular focus on race, gender, and class inequality. Her research focuses on the politics of representation, institutions and comparative social policy analysis.  

Isalean has over three years of research and teaching experience in both academic and business environments; she has worked in government relations leading policy research, advocacy and lobbying and currently works as a graduate teaching assistant.

She won two writing awards for Best Undergraduate Social Science Paper and was the 2016 recipient of the Atlantic Provinces Political Science Association Larry Collins Prize for Best Undergraduate Political Science Essay. In her spare time she enjoys Netflix, hiking, and cycling.