Our Tutors

Theresa Blackman

School of Social Work

I'm a graduate student in the Social Work program. I finished my undergraduate degree as a Dix Scholar at Simmons (Women's and Gender Studies/Political Science). As an adult student, I know a lot about the anxiety that can come with writing a paper and love helping students work through their doubts. Outside of school, I'm a volunteer with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and an avid consumer of popular culture. I also dabble in cross-stitching and quilting.


Leyla Derbali

School of Social Work

I am a graduate student in the Social Work program. After a previous Masters degree in a different field, I worked, traveled and lived abroad. Because of my time away from school, I understand what it is like coming back after a number of years. In the little free time that I have, I enjoy reading, traveling, and volunteering. 


Alexa Higbee

Children's Literature

I am a graduate student at Simmons in the Children's Literature MA program. I am also a member of our Children's Literature Advisory Committee, and upon graduation I hope to enter the wonderful world of publishing. I completed my undergraduate studies at Virginia Wesleyan College as a double major in English and Criminal Justice. Throughout those four years I was a Teaching Assistant in two English classes, working one on one with students on their writing journeys, and loving the opportunity to help students become stronger writers. When I'm not camped out in the Library or working in the Writing Center, I love going on adventures, seeing new places, and trying new things!


Jessica Jones

School of Library and Information Science / Children's Literature

I'm a graduate student in the Library Science and Children's Literature dual degree program.  Originally from Maryland, I studied comparative literature at Smith College. As a tutor, I understand the feeling of getting bogged down and stuck on a paper. I am always happy to talk through writing issues and enjoy the outlining process. Outside of school, I'm completely addicted to tea and find that a good book and the perfect sweater makes everything better.


Julia Newman

School of Library and Information Science / History

I am a graduate student at Simmons in the Library and Information Science Archives and History dual program. I worked as a writing center tutor for two years at Connecticut College, where I graduated with a double major in Religious Studies and History. I enjoy supporting students at all stages of their writing process from brainstorming to organization to the final edits. I understand all the anxiety that can surround writing and look forward to helping students conquer such worries. Beyond school, I love to cook and bake, watch funny TV, listen to music, play board games and do yoga.


Tara Pealer

School of Library and Information Science

I'm a graduate student from Connecticut, and a recent graduate of UCONN's English Honors and American Studies undergraduate program. I tutored writing for three years while at UCONN, with another two semesters experience as a writing fellow for freshman classes. I'm passionate about writing too much, saying too little, and those cute little boxes of stationary you find at T J Maxx for five dollars. I'm new to Boston, but I'm not new to the crushing doubt and anxiety of writing, so if you're worried or nervous, trust me: I know those feels. I'm excited to be a part of the Simmons Writing Center and to engage with the Simmons writing community!


Molly Saunders

School of Library and Information Science / Children's Literature

I am a graduate student at Simmons, pursuing a MA/MS in Children's Literature and Library Services to Children. Before coming to Simmons, I worked for three years in the Writing Center at my undergraduate institution (Agnes Scott College), where I double majored in English Literature and Classical Civilizations. Outside of school, I love traveling, learning new languages, and thrift store shopping. As a tutor, I especially enjoy working with ESL students, and I think my greatest strength is making students feel relaxed and comfortable as we work together on their writing.


Monty Sherwood

School of Nursing and Health Science

I am a graduate student pursuing a Masters in Nursing at Simmons. I have a bachelor's degree in International Studies and Modern Languages from Kenyon College, where I also enjoyed a number of English courses. Before enrolling at Simmons, I taught English and coached soccer and lacrosse at a high school on the North Shore. My favorite part of writing is playing around with different word combinations to make a sentence feel just right. As a tutor, I hope to help make the writing process a gratifying and confidence-building experience.


Laney Zuerlein

Children's Literature / English

I'm a graduate student in the Children's Literature and English dual program. I claim both Florida and North Carolina as home, I have a B.A. in English and History, and I love all things bookish, old, and involving coffee. I've worked as a writing tutor for the past three years, and I can't wait to get to know the Simmons community more this year!