Director of the Writing Program
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Faculty and Instructors
Writing Instructors make a remarkable contribution to NYUAD's writing culture. Serving as academic support staff, Writing Instructors 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 Asma Noureen
BA, Asian University for Women
Born in a small city of Pakistan and educated in a religious institution early in her life, Asma went to study at Asian University for Women (AUW), Chittagong, Bangladesh and graduated with a major in Asian Studies and minor in Development Studies. Her senior thesis, which she also presented in a Liberal Arts International conference in Doha, Qatar, discussed the prospects of employability for madrassa graduates in Pakistan due to the madrassa curriculum and society’s misconceptions.
As an undergraduate, Asma co-founded a creative writing club and worked as a designer and editor of the yearbook for several years. She also served as a teaching assistant for a writing intensive literature course at AUW. Following her graduation, she taught history and geography to O’levels students in her home town for a year before moving to NYUAD as a Global Academic Fellow (GAF). As a GAF in 2015-2016, she has worked with students in A&E, writing-intensive Core and the Writing Center and she is excited to continue working with students as a writing instructor.
BA, NYU Abu Dhabi
Daniel Gellai holds a BA in Arab Crossroads Studies and Political Science from New York University Abu Dhabi. Prior to becoming a writing instructor he worked as a Senior Global Academic Fellow in statistics at NYU Abu Dhabi for two years.
Besides teaching and tutorials, he has worked on projects to help students transition to university, feel more safe on campus, and he has helped academic support staff develop. He also worked on adult education and Arabic language acquisition. Daniel is passionate about the intersections of transformative learning, writing and self expression, engaged pedagogy, social justice, poetry, healing, and psychology. He aims to empower students through sharing, dialogue, and rigor, to grow as collaborators, learners for learning’s sake, critical thinkers, and empathetic persons who can be transformative in their lives and communities.
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. He looks forward to sharing laughter, musings, and perspectives with you. Since 2013, Joshua has held NYUAD positions with Admissions, Global Education, the Academic Enrichment Program, and the Writing Program.
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 in the fall of 2016, 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.
MA Teachers College, Columbia University
Neelam Hanif has a Masters 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 at 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.
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, www.nkemistry.love, to highlight the self-told narratives of the African diaspora. She is fascinated by all things culture, linguistics, and interpersonal relations.
MA St. Andrew University
Rachel Wobus is a teacher, writer and a student of writing. After graduating with an MA in English Literature and Language from St Andrews University, she lived in Sicily to teach EFL, learn Italian, and eat Italian food. She then completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Bristol University and taught English at secondary level in the UK for 11 years.
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-fictionalised novel based on the life of Emily Bronte.
MA, McGill University
Samia Ahmed graduated from New York University 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.
Samia then swapped in 40 C for -40 C and moved to Montreal, Canada to complete an MA in religious studies from McGill University. Her MA thesis explores the construction of "religious fundamentalism" as a descriptor and category as well as its application to Islamic contexts, and traces the development of "radical" or "fundamentalist" Islamic thought. Samia gets particularly excited about the intersection of religious studies, intellectual history, and modernity — that is, when she's not too busy looking for her next favorite place to eat in AD!
BA, NYU Abu Dhabi
When she’s not agonis/zing 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.
As a Writing Instructor at NYUAD Samia has worked with The Outsider, and Street Food, and facilitated numerous core workshops on both writing and listening and speaking. She also works closely with the peer tutoring program and is excited to continue to do so this year.
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.
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, aka The Young India Fellowship, 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.
BA and MA, Pennsylvania State University
Zak is from Pennsylvania, USA, where he also attended The 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.