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Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

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WriteCast Episode 45: Meet Your Reviewer, Katherine McKinney

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In our latest podcast episode of WriteCast: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers, we welcome one of our newest Writing Instructors, Katherine McKinney. As a member of the Walden University Writing Center Instructor team, Katherine will be providing support to students in coursework and working on the early-parts of their capstone projects. Katherine brings great experience working with students to the Walden Writing Center, and you can learn more about:

  • How Katherine approaches Paper Reviews and what you can expect if you work together
  • Katherine's favorite Walden writing assignments
  • The greatest piece of writing advice Katherine ever received

Listen to the conversation by clicking "Play" in the player below. You can also read the transcript for this episode (and all our episodes) by following this link to our WriteCast transcripts page



You can also join in on the WriteCast conversation by commenting on this blog post. Do you have questions for Katherine? Would you like to propose a topic for a future episode of WriteCast? Would you like to respectfully disagree with something we said in a past episode? We may respond to your question in a future installment of WriteCast! 



WriteCast Logo: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers

The WriteCast Podcast is published by the members of the Walden University Writing Center, Anne Shiell is our producer. Come back soon, Anne. We miss you. WriteCast exists thanks, in part, to a Social Media Research Grant from Global Products and Services, Laureate Education, Inc. We welcome comments and questions in all their forms. Please comment in the space below and listen monthly to see if your comment is mentioned on air.  


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AWA Student Spotlight: Valamere Mikle

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The Writing Center’s Administrative Writing Assistants (AWAs) are at the front line of the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox, performing necessary tasks to make the Writing Center run smoothly. Writing Center AWAs are an integral part of the Writing Center as they communicate regularly with students. But, the AWAs are also Walden students, and thus integral to Walden University itself. That’s why we’d like to share some of their stories of academic success, professional accomplishment, social change work, and advice for other Walden students. In this spotlight series, we show our appreciation for all their hard work so that others can be inspired by their stories as well.   

Today's spotlight is on Valamere Mikler, a student in 
the College of Social and Behavior Sciences
AWA Spotlight Series

Residing in Florida, Valamere is a PhD student in the Organizational Diversity and Social Change specialization of the Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program who began her dissertation during the fall quarter in 2017. Valamere advocates for social change in her community by serving on the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation’s Community Advisory Board and Citizen’s Advocacy Group where she strives to ensure people in urban areas, such as youth in Miami-Dade County, Florida, have access to quality job placement, education, and training opportunities. She chose Walden because of Walden’s social change mission. Specifically, she believes that her degree will support her as a candidate to continue addressing challenges in her profession, where she lives, and in the world around her.

We asked Valamere to share Writing Center resources she values, writing- and student-related struggles she faces, and her career plans after Walden. 

Photograph of Valamere Mikle
Valamere Mikle
Walden University Writing Center (WUWC): What are the most common questions you find in the writing support inbox and what feedback do you provide?

Valamere Mikler (VM): The most common questions I find in the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox are APA citations, reference list entries, and questions about paper review services. For APA citations, I like to provide students with a link to the In-Text & Parenthetical Citations page, and for reference list formatting questions, I like to provide the link for the page on Common Reference List Examples. If a student is interested in paper review services, I provide the myPass website and encourage the student to make an appointment as well as view the videos and tutorials to walk them through the process. 

WUWC:  How have you struggled as a writer and how have you overcome that struggle? 

VM: I have always had a passion for writing; however, I struggle with grammatical errors and sentence structure. It is a paradox that English is my favorite subject, but I have trouble with the mechanics of writing; however, that did not discourage me from trying to seek ways to improve my writing skills. Over time, my writing skills developed because I used the feedback and support received from paper reviews and continued to practice writing skills

WUWC:  As a Walden student yourself, what academic advice would you give other Walden students? 

VM: Take full advantage of all the writing resources, such as paper reviews and webinars, to help you achieve your writing goals.

WUWC:  What challenge have you faced as a student and how did you face that challenge?

VM: During my master’s program, it was difficult to excel when my mother became ill and I had to take care of her while also working full-time. Overwhelmed with personal responsibilities, my grades suffered. However, I did not allow this to deter my desire to obtain my masters degree and move on to a PhD program. To overcome challenges, I manage time by goal setting and planning my schedule, and allowing time for writing, researching, and personal responsibilities. I also take advantage of Walden University’s support services and resources, such as the library and the Center for Research Quality. I don’t quit, regardless of personal crisis, problem, or frustration may occur.

WUWC:  What work do you plan to do after you graduate from Walden?

VM: I plan to provide consulting services for organizations regarding best practices for measuring human behavior to improve employees' work satisfaction and employers’ ability to select and promote the best people within firms, leadership centers, corporations, universities, and companies. I also plan to facilitate workshops on corporate social responsibility, diversity initiatives, and how to make the workplace better employees.

Thanks, Valamere! We at the Writing Center appreciate your dedication to and support of students—you are a true asset to us as part of our support team, and we know that students appreciate your work as well.  



Walden Writing Center Logo
 The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work. Students can email WritingSupport@waldenu.edu and expect a reply from one of our expert AWAs. 


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Dig into Development with our New Module!

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The Walden University Writing Center has some exciting news to share! We recently released a new module: Introduction to Paragraph Development. This module will join our existing modules related to grammar, plagiarism, and APA style.

What can you expect to learn in the Introduction to Paragraph Development module? Throughout the tutorials, students can learn:

  • What makes an academic paragraph
  • How to use topic sentences
  • The importance of sticking to one idea per paragraph
  • Ways to wrap up paragraphs


Modules: multimodal, self-paced, interactive

All of our modules are fully-interactive and self-paced. After you take the pre-test, you will have access to all of the tutorials. This means you can work on them as you wish. After you finish a module and take the post-test, you will earn a certificate of completion.

If our paragraphing module sounds like something you are interested in, you can access the Introduction to Paragraph Development module here.

Also feel free to explore:


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The Walden University Writing Center is committed to helping students develop as writers. Our staff of dedicated professionals supports students in building and applying their writing skills as scholars, practitioners, and agents of positive social change.

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AWA Student Spotlight: Sohna Shook

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The Writing Center’s Administrative Writing Assistants (AWAs) are at the front line of the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox, performing necessary tasks to make the Writing Center run smoothly. Writing Center AWAs are an integral part of the Writing Center as they communicate regularly with students. But, the AWAs are also Walden students, and thus integral to Walden University itself. That’s why we’d like to share some of their stories of academic success, professional accomplishment, social change work, and advice for other Walden students. In this spotlight series, we show our appreciation for all their hard work so that others can be inspired by their stories as well.  

Today's spotlight is on Sohna Shook, a student in the College of Social and Behavior Sciences 

AWA spotlight series


We asked Sohna to share Writing Center resources she values, writing- and student-related struggles she faced, inspiration that keeps her on track of her goals, and how her Walden degree connects with her social change mission. 



Photograph of Sohna Shook
Walden University Writing Center (WUWC): What are the most common questions you find in the writing support inbox and how do you provide feedback?

SS: During my shift, the most common questions I find are usually regarding assistance with in-text citations.  I usually respond to questions by providing an example of, for instance, a citation or reference list entry, then I provide additional resources from the Writing Center website

WUWC: What Writing Center sources have you used that you found helpful?


SS: I love the Writing Center website which provides resources for APA, such as citation and reference list examples. I have attended webinars which are helpful for a bit more hands-on training. As well, I have enjoyed using the paper review service which provides writing feedback.  

WUWC: How have you struggled as a writer and how have you overcome that struggle? 

SS: My biggest struggles as a writer have been sentence structure and the fact that what I am thinking and what I write down on paper tend to be two different things. I have successfully been able to work with writing instructors on forging the two.

WUWC: What other challenge have you faced as a student and how did you face that challenge?

SS: I am used to the "brick and mortar" college and face-to-face setting, so the challenge I faced as a student has been attending an online school. It has been a challenge for me to not having someone to talk to; however, I have been able to develop friendships at Walden residencies and in the classroom which helped establish a support system for me.

WUWC: Whose story inspires you to keep reaching for your goals?  

SS: Both my parents are immigrants from Gambia, West Africa, and came to the U.S. to obtain their education. They divorced when I was 13 years old and my mother raised all 5 of us by herself. She did not obtain her college degree, but rather worked 2-3 jobs to make sure we had our basic needs met. Her hard work has inspired me to continue working on obtaining my degrees as a testimony to her hard work raising us.

WUWC: How does your degree at Walden connect with your social change mission? 

SS: After graduation, I plan to utilize my professional experience along with my doctorate degree to collaborate with schools in developing stronger programs that work for students with behavior issues and/or mental health diagnoses to include helping teachers develop curriculum to better accommodate these students. I would also like to strengthen counseling programs in higher education.   

Thanks, Sohna! We at the Writing Center are glad to have a colleague such as you and appreciate your dedication to supporting students by providing resources and responding to student questions, and we know students appreciate your support as well! 



Walden U Writing Center logoThe Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work. Students can email WritingSupport@waldenu.edu and expect a reply from one of our expert AWAs.


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Thursday Thoughts: Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

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One of the most frustrating elements of writing is when the words just aren't coming. You've done the reading, you know the assignment, and yet you still just can't make those ideas swirling around in your mind come out onto the page. Writer's Block can be a serious issue for Walden University writers who are asked to produce a great deal of writing in a short amount of time. Since we regularly get questions about overcoming Writer's Block, today's Thursday Thoughts post is dedicated to sharing the Writing Center's top resources to help you Break the Block

Break the Block: Smash through the wall of writer's block


Here's a list of resources you can consult if you ever find yourself standing behind a wall, looking through a glass, or trying to draw water from the well that's gone dry:

The Writing Center's Website Overview of Overcoming Writer's Block: Check out this compendium of strategies you can employ in your writing process to develop a well-rounded writing process that contains safeguards against Writer's Block. 

Break the Block: A Three-Strategy Series on Writer's Block: This blog series dives deep into three strategies for overcoming Writer's Block. In this series, our helpful Writing Instructors have shared their best-practices for ensuring that you never get trapped in an avoidable situation. 

Writing Center Live Webinar Recording on "Developing a Paper From Discussion Post to Course Paper": This overview-look at the writing process of a Walden  writer can be helpful if you'd like to develop skills to make the transition between types of assignments smoother. 

We hope you use and enjoy these resources. 

Walden University Writing Center logo

The Walden Writing Center is comprised of professional Writing Instructors and Dissertation Editors who would love to share their strategies for overcoming Writer's Block with you. We'd also love to hear from you. Post your questions, comments, and strategies for overcoming Writer's Block in the comments below. 



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