WSU Libraries, Writing Center collaborate on tutorial sessions

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

Bakken-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University students who come to the Terrell Library reference area for answers now have another service available to them: consultations with Writing Center tutors for help with research papers.

The new service runs 1-3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays in the Terrell reference area next to the group study rooms.

Tutors from the WSU Writing Center have begun offering consultations in the Terrell Library reference area for students needing help with research papers. Pictured (clockwise from top) are Adam Bakken, Brooklyn Walter and Hailey Roemer.

Government information librarian Marilyn Von Seggern and Writing Center director Brooklyn Walter started the sessions as a way for students to find reference sources and writing help in one place.

“It’s becoming really popular for academic libraries to combine student services with the library space,” Von Seggern said, citing the examples of Central Washington University and Western Washington University libraries. “If students can find immediate help in the most convenient place, they’re more likely to follow through on getting that help.”

“A writing center and libraries are two resources that should be intertwined,” Walter said. “We teach students the mechanics of writing, and they teach us about their research topics. It’s a cool exchange of ideas.”

What’s a coleoptile?

Adam Bakken and Hailey Roemer have tutored fellow students through the Writing Center for two years. Both say they’ve learned about fascinating subjects through their work – economics, aerospace engineering, pine beetles and even a coleoptile (a botany term, fitting for this time of year, defined as the first leaf above the ground that forms a sheath around the stem tip in grasses).

WSU Writing Center tutor Adam Bakken, right, and a WSU student at Terrell Library. (Photos by Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries)

“I learn something new every day when I’m tutoring,” said Bakken, a senior majoring in elementary education and linguistics. “My favorite was an economics paper about being frugal in daily life. Halfway through the paper, I started taking notes because I wanted to apply the concepts I was reading about to my life.”

Roemer, a junior double-majoring in international business and political science, said she enjoys the opportunity to meet many people to talk about ideas face to face.

“It’s never boring. Not once,” she said. “One paper I really enjoyed was on agricultural systems. The student made the potentially complex topic completely relatable. It was a beautiful piece of writing in its simplicity, and I understood everything that was being described.”

Getting in on the ground floor

Bakken and Roemer like working with students on their papers from the beginning and brainstorming possible research topics.

“I always feel so privileged to be part of their creative process from the start,” Bakken said. “Often, the students come back with drafts as they’re developing them. We’re not just interested in their finished project.”

Walk-ins for the Terrell tutoring sessions are encouraged. Regular tutoring consultations and hours at the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education will continue to be offered. For details, visit


Marilyn Von Seggern, WSU Libraries, 509-335-8859,
Brooklyn Walter, WSU Writing Center, 509-335-1323,
Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries public relations/communication coordinator, 509-335-6744,