Faculty and Instructors

Faculty

Ken Nielsen

Senior Lecturer and Associate Director for the Writing Program; Director of the Writing Center

Writing Instructors

Writing instructors make a remarkable contribution to NYUAD's writing culture. Serving as academic support staff, they provide targeted, tailor-made writing support for NYUAD students across their four years of study and across all disciplines. Writing instructors work as course fellows for First-Year Writing Seminars and staff the NYUAD Writing Center.

Name Description
Samia Ahmed

MA, McGill University

Samia Ahmed graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi, where she majored in political science and minored in religious studies and history. Her senior Capstone brought these fields together by identifying several factors that might lead to radicalization in American Muslim youth, including religiosity, social isolation, and experiences of discrimination.

A research project looking at the link between poetry and academic writing: how the practical application of poetic techniques and methodology can enhance and improve academic writing, particularly in the First Year Writing Seminar at NYUAD.

Aieshah Arif

Aieshah has been in a diverse range of roles — marketing manager, French language lecturer, higher education administrator, research assistant, and, more recently, founder of a small concrete design business. Yet, her heart has always been in writing, language and language acquisition.

With a background in communications and new media, Aieshah has worked for various magazines and publications as a journalist, translator, and editor. She has also worked extensively with students on their writing through the Writers’ Centre at Yale-NUS College, and the National University of Singapore.

Apart from her love for writing and language, Aieshah has too many hobbies. She spends infinite hours drawing, dancing, reading, making handmade items, and watching horror movies.

Nkem Chukwumerije

Nkem is a Nigerian-American, born and raised partially in New Jersey and partially in Southern California, USA. While studying fashion business management at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, she worked as a peer writing instructor at the college's Writing Studio. There, she was introduced to writing pedagogy and multilingualism, along with other facets of writing instruction.

After an appointment as a native English language teacher in South Korea, Nkem became most interested in multilingual versus monolingual learning and their academic and extracurricular implications. Along with this, Nkem has begun a feature series on her blog to highlight the self-told narratives of the African diaspora. She is fascinated by all things culture, linguistics, and interpersonal relations.

Neelam Hanif

MA Teachers College, Columbia University

Neelam Hanif has a Master's in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Hunter College, City University of New York. She taught ESL in the United States for several years and was an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Developmental Skills at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, USA. Her most recent assignment was at Forman Christian College (a chartered university) in Lahore, Pakistan where she established a writing center at the institution and was a faculty member in the Department of English. Her areas of interest include: L2 Reading and Writing, the relationship of language, ethnicity, and identity, sociolinguistics including varieties of English: Pakistani English, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Language Education and Policy.

Ayan Ibrahim

Ayan Ibrahim is a Somali-American born in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's in Journalism, a concentration on public relations and a minor in psychology. After graduating, she worked for a year in The Hands On Atlanta AmeriCorps program, based in Atlanta, which is designed to help elementary and middle school students improve their academic performance in reading and math by closing the achievement gap. This opportunity led her to discover her love for teaching and helping students. Driven to continue working with students, she returned to her Alma Mater to pursue a Master's of Art in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, concentrating on reading/language and literacy education. 

Since graduating in 2012, Ayan has worked with students of various backgrounds ranging from elementary to adult language learners. Her most profound experience derives from her time at Mercer University’s English Language Institute as an adjunct professor instructing adult language learners on developing their English through speaking, writing, listening and reading interactive activities and assignments. Throughout her six years of experience as an educator, one thing has always remained consistent; her passion and drive for seeing students succeed has never wavered.  Ayan is thrilled to work with the bright and sharp students of the First Year Writing Seminar at NYU Abu Dhabi and is committed to giving 100 percent of her time, encouragement, and resources to ensure the ultimate success of the community of learners here at the NYUAD Writing Center. 

Sweta Kumari

Sweta Kumari calls herself a storyteller. She immensely enjoys sharing and listening to personal stories for she believes stories help you appreciate the uniqueness of human beings.

She grew up in a small village of Jharkhand, India in a family of progressive parents and loving brothers. However, girls in her community were not encouraged to have higher education or dream of a career. She defied norms by not only finishing high school, but moving to Bangladesh on a full scholarship to attend college. Asian University for Women became her stepping stone and she never looked back. Post her Bachelors in Liberal Arts, Sweta moved to pursue a PG Diploma in Liberal Studies at Ashoka University, India. She worked briefly as a teaching assistant at Ashoka University and thoroughly enjoyed teaching. Her passion for liberal arts, writing, and academia brought her to NYUAD. As an assistant instructor of writing, she looks forward to adding new dimensions to her teaching and learning experiences.

Sweta majored in politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) and her academic interests vary from gender and sexuality studies, literature and cultural studies to study of religions, international relations, migration, and diaspora.

Sanna McGregor

MLitt, University of Glasgow

Sanna is an Anglo-Dutch writer, dramaturg, and educator with a mild tea-drinking habit and an insatiable itch to travel. After three years of multi-tasking wildly at Amsterdam University College she completed a degree in film and literature, minoring in political thought and history. She dabbled in cultural events programming and then tutored writing at Yale-NUS College, Singapore, before returning to Europe to complete an MLitt in Playwriting and Dramaturgy. Her dissertation was an interrogation of the politics of narrative ownership in participatory performance that drew on her interests in adaptation, storytelling, multilingualism, and political film and theater.

Samia Meziane

BA, NYU Abu Dhabi

When she’s not agonizing over the differences between British and American spelling and grammar, Samia might be found hidden behind a graphic novel or cooking up an experiment in the kitchen. While at college, she majored in literature and used her Capstone as an opportunity to study literary education in her home country. In unwitting preparation for both her Capstone and role as a writing instructor at NYUAD, Samia spent many years close to the fields of writing and teaching with experience in proofreading, tutoring, editing, student advising, and even covert satirical journalism. After graduating, she honed her skills as a writing tutor by spending a year working as a Writing and Speaking Fellow at NYU Shanghai. While in Shanghai, she was also a staff leader for a year-long service learning program, which meant designing and running fortnightly workshops for her students.

At NYUAD, Samia has worked with The Outsider, and Street Food, and facilitated numerous core workshops on writing, listening, and speaking. She also works closely with the peer tutoring program.

Joshua Mussa

BA, Haverford College

Joshua is committed to the interdependent work of teaching students to communicate creatively, critically, and ethically. The challenges in this century known and yet to be known need persons capable of imagining, re-visioning, and communicating about how to sustain communities, ecosystems, and the planet home we share. Allured by the worlds and words that writers weave, Joshua delights in aiding students to embrace bewilderment, wonder, and ambiguity in their English language learning pursuits. Joshua pursues lifelong learning and unlearning to practice lifework in more equitable and inclusive ways. Joshua has held NYUAD positions with Admissions, Global Education, the Academic Enrichment Program, and the Writing Program.

Zachary Shellenberger

BA and MA, Pennsylvania State University

Zak is from Pennsylvania, USA, where he also attended Pennsylvania State University. He currently holds a BA in German Language and Area Studies, a BA in Russian Language and Literature, and a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics with a specialization in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Zak's research interests include discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, and sociolinguistics, among others, and he plans to pursue a PhD in applied linguistics in the future. In his free time, Zak likes to dance, cook, and travel, especially to Berlin, and lives to make people laugh.

Kimberly Specht

BM and BA Northwestern University, MA University of Eastern Michigan

A violinist in her past life, Kimberly Specht is a reader, writer, and lover of languages with a penchant for organization. Prior to joining NYUAD, she worked as a second language teacher and teacher trainer in a variety of contexts within the United States and Germany. Her experiences have included work in adult education centers, private language schools and businesses, and with international speakers of English in intensive English programs at the university level.

She has presented her work at state and international TESOL conferences, and was awarded the Mary Finocciaro Award for Excellence in Unpublished Pedagogical Materials in 2015. Her research interests include translingualism in the writing classroom, transparent pedagogy, and questions of language identity and language politics. When not dorking out over any of the above, Kim can be found running too far, engaging in high contact baking, furtively practicing an instrument, or playing outside.

Rachel Wobus

MA St. Andrew University

Rachel Wobus is student of creative writing as much as she is an instructor of writing. She is about to start her second year of a Creative Writing MA and loves to write poetry and short stories. Her research interests are centered on the intersection between creative writing and academic writing and she is currently planning a book on the practical uses of poetry to improve essay writing in academia. She is also working on a collection of poems about the experience of having children and being a mother.

Rachel has also been a food blogger, restaurant critic, travel writer, editor, and copywriter. She is currently studying for an MA in creative writing with the Open University and her current interests include poetry, in particular, the frank representation of motherhood, and a semi-fictionalized novel based on the life of Emily Bronte.