The Staff of Writing at Bates

Daniel Sanford

Daniel Sanford (Ph.D., University of New Mexico)
Director, Writing at Bates and the Academic Resource Commons
207-786-6160,, Coram Library, Room 228

I’m honored to serve the college as the Director of Writing at Bates, leading the staff of the program in supporting students in their growth as writers, and faculty in the use of writing in their courses. I’m fascinated by the role that writing plays in the transformative experience of a liberal arts education, and I believe strongly in the power of writing to help individuals to access communities both within the academy and in the world beyond it.

After an undergraduate course of study in Classics and Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin, I completed my PhD in Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. As a Linguist, I’m interested in the way that the structures of language emerge from simple, recurring processes, in the same manner as other naturally occurring complex systems. I love the way that language exemplifies the order that surrounds us in the world, and which can be made accessible through the scientific method.

I became involved in writing center and academic support work while completing my doctoral study, and before coming to Bates served first as head of the Writing Center and then as Director of the Center for Academic Program Support at the University of New Mexico. My background in Linguistics and the cognitive sciences provides the lens through which I approach composition studies, writing center work, and learning support. I’m interested in how higher education writing programs can engage with issues of language rights, and in how our emerging understanding of how information is stored and processed in the mind can be brought to bear on helping students to get the most from their studies.

Every writer has room for continued growth in the effectiveness of their communication; every educator can do more to use writing as a tool for learning. Along with the Writing Specialists, I’m here to serve as a resource for everyone on campus in engaging writing across the curriculum.


Ree RussellRee Russell
Administrative Coordinator, Writing at Bates and the Academic Resource Commons
207-786-6106,, Coram Library, Room 223


 Writing Specialists

151027_Misty_Beck_013Misty Beck (Ph.D., Washington University-St. Louis)
Writing Specialist for the Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies
207-786-8375,, Coram Library, Room 222A

After having traveled the country as a political activist, I began college in northern Illinois with the goal of becoming an environmental lawyer. Then, I discovered literature — its power to tell stories of natural beauty and human consequence. I became an English major and a classical studies minor and went on to graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. There, my interests in literature, politics, and the environment shaped my dissertation, “Enclosure and English Pastoral, 1770-1830.” In it I examine how poets and other writers responded to large-scale enclosures of common lands and to the loss of traditional ways of life. Pastoral images of lost common lands and use rights have often been dismissed as merely nostalgic; I argue that they were a form of political speech that gestured toward environmental as well as social critique. In this way, I continued to follow my passion for how individuals use language and images to engage in the struggles of the world. This passion spurs my ongoing interests in literature, film, and the environment, in laboring-class poetry, and, most importantly, in helping others to become more effective writers themselves. My commitment to the value of writing in shaping our world guides my work as a scholar and writing specialist today.


Louise Brogan (Ph.D., Notre Dame)
Writing Specialist for the Sciences and Quantitative Writing
207-786-6985,, Coram Library, Room 224

I am thrilled to be in a role that enables me to guide the next generation of scientists by sharing what I know about scientific writing. From keeping a good notebook, to presenting weekly updates, to preparing work for publication in scientific journals, I have always appreciated the importance of conveying new information. Being able to articulate scientific progress in spoken or written form requires practice and intention and it is my mission to help students develop their communication skills to help them do well in coursework, in their quest for higher education, or in their workforce endeavors.

I graduated from Colby College with Bachelor degrees in both Mathematics and Biochemistry.  I continued my education at the University of Notre Dame where I completed a Ph.D. in Biochemistry.  During a successful career in biotechnology, I made the decision to leave research to focus on my growing family. I enjoy an active lifestyle and when not busy on the sidelines of my kids’ sporting events, I can be found on the track running, on the road riding or where I am happiest, in the lake, ocean, or pool swimming!

My entrepreneurial spirit combined with a broad range of experience in academic and industrial research in the sciences motivates me to meet each new student and the topics they bring, as opportunities to grow and learn. In my view, scientific writing, like all writing, is a gateway for writers and readers alike: through this form of discourse, connections, which can lead to new directions, are made.


151002_Christopher_Petrella_0004Christopher Petrella (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, in progress)
Writing Specialist in the Social Sciences 
207-786-6133,, Coram Library, Room 226

My scholarly work explores the relationship among race, carcerality, and modern forms of capitalism. That is, I’m interested in the sinuous ways in which the neoliberal racial state pits law against capital and court against corporation in order to broker temporary socio-political balances aimed at maintaining dominant race and class hierarchies.

Specifically, my project challenges the notion that the expansion of the U.S. prison state in the mid-20th century, as well as the emergence of for-profit prison companies beginning in the early 1980s, represents a unidirectional backlash to victories achieved during the modern Civil Rights Movement. Instead, I argue that the emergence of for-profit prison companies, in part, is a consequence of efforts to comply with prison conditions litigation of the 1960s. Further, my work assesses the extent to which for-profit prison companies expand the state’s capacity to regulate social marginality and the ways in which regimes of marginality are tethered to ideologies of racial deservedness.

In my capacity here at Bates I’m committed to helping students and faculty to develop critical aptitudes in written and oral communication in service of furthering the aims of intellectual engagement, social justice, and democratic participation. My pedagogy encourages learners to link personal epistemologies to larger questions of power, agency, and history.

I’m a proud first-generation-to-college graduate of Bates (2006) and Harvard (2008). For a more detailed profile please see