Our Staff

​Administration & Staff

Deborah Escalante

Writing Center Director

Randall Sessler

Writing Center Assistant Director

Lauren Solis

Writing Center Resource Coordinator

​Doctoral Writing Coach​

Tori Dalzell, PhD

Doctoral Writing Coach

dalzell_orig.pngDr. Tori Dalzell holds a PhD in ethnomusicology (UC Riverside) and a BA in Music and English (Hollins University). She has worked with both undergraduate and graduate students in writing centers since 2012. Most of her students have been English language learners, non-traditional students, and involved in the STEM fields. She views writing as an integral part of professional development for any chosen field. Tori conducted her dissertation research in Nepal on a Fulbright IIE grant (2012-2013), and remains involved as an alumna in UC Riverside’s Latin American Music ensemble, which performs folk and popular music from the Andean region of South America.

Specialties & Interests: Music, anthropology, cultural studies, English literature, journal articles, conference papers, abstracts

Professional Writing Coaches

Nicole Dow, MA

Professional Writing Coach

Copy of Nicole KopNicole works as a writing coach/ESL specialist and also teaches ESL here at APU. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts and an M.A. in English, with concentrations in TESL and Rhetoric and Composition. While Nicole’s background is in English, she comes from a medical family and enjoys working with nursing students. She cares deeply for her students and writing center clients and aspires to encourage confidence, authenticity, and success.  When she is not at APU, Nicole is busy raising her two daughters.

Specialties & Interests: Multilingual students, English language learners, nursing, liberal studies, education, social sciences, music

Allie Frazier, MFA

Professional Writing Coach

Copy of Allie FrazierAllie Frazier’s passion for helping others in the writing process started with her first coaching experience as a 3rd grade tutor to 2nd graders in her elementary school. Since then, she has earned her BA in Writing from Point Loma Nazarene University and her MFA in Creative Writing Fiction from Chapman University. Now she uses her past experiences of being a paper editor, writing consultant, and grammar TA to guide APU students through the writing process and develop their writers’ voices.

Specialties & Interests: ​creative writing, fiction, research, literature, business writing, music

Emily Goulding, MPS

Professional Writing Coach

Emily Goulding holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in Modern Literature from UC Santa Cruz. She has published essays and thought pieces in Harvard, NYU, and nationally syndicated publications. Emily is also the author of an educational play seen by 4,000 D.C. public school students. Her favorite part of the writing process is developing a thesis. In her free time, Emily enjoys hiking, biking, and salsa dancing.

Specialties & Interests:

James Hansen, MDiv

Professional Writing Coach

Processed with VSCO with b3 preset

James Hansen holds a Master of Divinity and a BA in Biblical Studies from Azusa Pacific University. James has experience working in various roles in higher education and church ministry. He specializes in the theological fields but is happy to help with all sorts of writing projects. He is also a guitarist and a hobby mechanic.

Specialties & Interests: biblical studies, theology, philosophy, ministry, ethics, church history, Sabbath, ecotheology, CMS, SBL, APA, chips and salsa, camping, vegan ice cream

Mandy Hinkley, MA

Professional Writing Coach

Mandy PhotoFrom the moment she began writing stories at seven years old, Mandy has held a passion for all writing genres. Pursuing that passion, she earned a Bachelor of Science in English Education from the University of Georgia and a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University. Mandy writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenplays in her spare time, believing that writing allows us to explore ideas and experiences without limitations. Mandy also enjoys singing, reading, traveling, attending plays, and enjoying God’s creations on a mountain or at the beach.

Specialties & Interests: Narrative Essays, Application Essays, Cover Letters, Nursing, Biology, Fiction Writing, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Literature, Technical Writing, Business Writing, Grant and Proposal Writing

Joshua Morse

Professional Writing Coach, San Diego Regional Center

Copy of Joshua Morse

Joshua Morse is one of the two writing coaches based at the San Diego Regional Campus. You’ll recognize him based on the Hawaiian shirts he wears every day. He recently graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a degree in Literature & English Education. He enjoys writing, but enjoys helping others achieve writing goals even more. When he’s not writing, you may find him at a Super Smash Bros. tournament, in a library, on the soccer field, or lounging at the beach.

Specialties & Interests:

Ella Preston, MA

Professional Writing Coach, San Diego Regional Center

Copy of Ella Preston

Discovering her love for English and desire to teach during her high school years, Ella Preston graduated from Huntingdon College with her BA in English and vocal minor in 2011. She completed her MA in Secondary English Education at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, where she was a writing consultant. After her teaching internship, she taught four years at Marbury High School. After teaching various classes including English 9 & 10, Pre-AP 10, AP 12, Creative Writing, and more, she feels blessed to return to a college setting. Her husband’s Navy career brought them to San Diego, where she enjoys supporting and encouraging students in their writing process! Ella leads worship at Legacy, playing keyboard and singing. She loves spending time with her husband, Cody, and their fur-baby beagle, Frodo.

Specialties & Interests:

Dan Roberts, MAR

Professional Writing Coach, Inland Empire and High Desert Regional Campuses

dan roberts

Dan received his BA and MAR in Religion. These helped him develop a deep respect for the power of communication through the written word. His academic writings have included studies of the Magical Realism literary genre, films using multiple media, and post-existentialism. He loves to assist students in finding better ways to express their thoughts in a clear and effective style. His key strengths include attention to word choice, structure, and readability. He is comfortable helping students learn the APA Publication Manual’s formatting requirement.

Specialties & Interests: Theology, Christian history, philosophy, neuropsychology, fantasy and science fiction, music, and poetry ​

Jesús Salazar, PhD

Professional Writing Coach

Copy of Jesus Salazar

Jesús Salazar holds a B.A. (Pyschology) from Pitzer College, M.A. from UC Santa Cruz (Social and Development Psychology), and Ph.D. from USC (Educational Research). He taught five years at the USC School of Education, where he read hundreds of term papers. He worked 25 years at the L.A. Unified School District as a report writer, statistician, and database manager. He retired, but chose to work at APU’s Writing Center due to his writing background. His two passions are reading about history, economics, languages, and eschatology; and spending time with his family.

Specialties & Interests: Journalism, screenwriting, journal articles (currently about life from a Christian perspective), and book writing

Graduate Student Writing Coaches

Gabriella Costa de Oliveira

Gabriella Costa de Oliveira

Gabriella is a graduate student in the music department at APU. She loves playing cello and collaborating with musicians from all over the world. Gabriella enjoys writing and her favorite part of the writing process is working on organizational strategies. Ideas should be clear and the purpose of a paper should be easy for the audience to understand. Gabriella was born in Brazil but has been living in the United States for 5 years. She loves traveling and enjoys visiting new places in her free time.

Laura Fiehler

Laura graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in political science, and is now a graduate student in APU’s English program. However, both as a student at Pasadena City College, and after her transfer, she worked as a tutor in the English Division’s Writing Center. She looks forward to working with and helping any APU students with any part of the writing process they need help with.

Jack O’Briant

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetJack O’Briant is currently working toward his M.A. in English at APU. He has earned his B.A. in Christian Studies from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. He also has experience in the publishing and music industries. He currently lives in LA with his wife, and in his spare time he is an avid reader and marathon runner.

Catherine Robbins

Catherine Robbins



Catherine is a graduate student in the TESOL department. She loves working with international students and enjoys the entire writing process, especially idea generation, the research process, and outlining. She grew up on a farm in Virginia, has two younger sisters, and hopes to visit at least 50 countries before she turns 50.

Eva Sebunya


Paul Whalen

Copy of Paul Whalen



Paul graduated from APU in 2015 with a BA in English. After a year break doing missionary work in Spain, he is back and more excited than ever to work with students and writers! Also among his great passions are God, hiking, good books, dead languages, the beach, and Beethoven. He is currently pursuing an English MA with the intention of becoming a teacher.