The Staff of Writing at Bates


Hillory Oakes (Ph.D., Denver)
Director of Writing and Director of Peer Writing and Speaking Center
786-6160,, Coram Library, Room 228

Oakes Photo 1

With a Ph.D. concentration in Rhetoric, I pursue my interest in pedagogy that makes connections between writing, speaking, and visual media—interests that make it all the more exciting to be part of the collaborations taking place in learning and teaching across Bates.  At Bates, and by invitation at other small colleges, I facilitate faculty development workshops on issues of pedagogy, including but not limited to writing and oral communication best practices, assessment (from the assignment level to the programmatic level), and faculty reflections on their own scholarship and teaching.

My recent publications include an essay in College Composition and Communication, as well as a chapter in 2013’s Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres (University of Pittsburgh Press).

Writing Specialists

Misty Beck (Ph.D., Washington University-St. Louis)
Writing Specialist for the Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies
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
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.



Lauren Vedal (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Writing Specialist for the Humanities

786-6133,, Coram Library, Room 226

What’s a bread baker doing teaching writing? When I graduated from Reed College, I wanted to do and make instead of just think. So, I took two years off to work as an artisan baker. Later, I realized that teaching is doing and writing is, in fact, making something. This understanding led me to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to pursue my Ph.D. in English. I spent five years teaching in the UW Writing Center, where I worked with freshman through graduate students in fields as varied as music and forestry. I have taught composition and literature classes, and I also worked in the Acquisitions Department of the University of Wisconsin Press, learning about the decisions that actually get something published. My own research focuses on the relationships among trauma, national identity, and the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. My dissertation, “National Whiteness/National Witness: Traumatic Narratives by Minorities in the United States and Canada,” examined the mutually reinforcing relationship between national identity and white racial identity, from the perspective of marginalized writers. This project grows out of my larger interest in multiculturalism, trauma, and the possibility of meaningful social change. I believe knowledge is produced collaboratively, through dialogue and questioning. And, this is how I approach teaching writing. I bring this same idea of collaboration to bear on my work with faculty. As a campus community, we have a wealth of pedagogical experience and knowledge, which is even more valuable when shared. Dialogue helps us go beyond what we think we know, benefiting us as individuals and as a learning community.