Tucked away in the back corner of the learning center with the faint the sound of students studying and conversing, Chessie Alberti sits quietly at her desk, ready to greet any student who walks in looking for help with a smile.
Alberti is the new Writing Center Coordinator at LBCC. She is an LB alumna and OSU graduate who is currently working towards earning her master’s degree in English Rhetoric and Composition at OSU.
Originally from the Los Angeles area, Alberti moved to Corvallis nine years ago when her parents were able to move their figurine manufacturing business, Windstone Editions, to Corvallis.
She was homeschooled throughout middle school and high school and began attending LBCC after she graduated in 2008. Alberti didn’t know exactly what she wanted to study, but after the multitude of english and writing courses she had taken at LB, the road became obvious. She had always held a passion for writing so she pursued a degree in English, but when she wanted to apply that love to a lasting career she wasn’t sure where to go.
She began working for the LBCC writing center in September 2010 and said when previous Writing Center Coordinator Victoria Fridley told her she should seriously consider pursuing a career in writing advising, she felt elated.
“As soon as I realized that a writing center job could be a career, the lightbulb kind of went off,” said Alberti.
“I love working here as a writing assistant and it’s basically my dream job just to talk to people about writing all day, that sounds fantastic.”
Alberti graduated summa cum laude from OSU in 2013, earning her bachelor’s in English with a minor in writing. She continued to work as a writing center assistant at LBCC until June 2016. She then worked as the lead writing assistant at OSU’s writing center for the 2016-17 school year and helped facilitate over 300 writing sessions with students at OSU. Alberti was then brought back to LBCC in September as the new Writing Center Coordinator.
“She has familiarity with the values and operations of the Writing Center due to her experience,” said Faculty Learning Center Coordinator Chareane Wimbley-Gouveia, who was on the hiring committee responsible for bringing Alberti on as the new Writing Center Coordinator.
On top of her job at the writing center and working on her Master’s degree, Alberti is also teaching Writing 121 at OSU. She wanted to express how excited she is to get hands-on teaching experience.
“Doing something with writing or teaching is something I really wanted to do for a long time but it took a while for everything to fall into place and for me to really figure out what I wanted to do,” said Alberti.
Alberti shared her philosophy on the Writing Center’s importance in the writing process.
“We have this trend in higher education to treat writing as something that happens in private, like it’s sort of a solo act. That’s not how writing really happens in reality, because authors always have editors and a variety of people looking over their work,” said Alberti.
“We are really working to situate feedback into the writing process in a realistic way, so I don’t want people to think of the writing center as something that just happens in academia. The process of feedback is pretty realistic to the overall writing process.”
One of the big issues Alberti wanted to address was students who might be nervous or anxious about sharing their work with writing assistants in the writing center.
“I worked in the writing center for three years before I brought my own work in. I was absolutely terrified, but halfway through my first session I transitioned from being anxious to being excited about what we were working on,” said Alberti.
“The content and the material just took over and I forgot about my nerves and I had a really productive session. It was not as scary as I initially thought it would be.”
Wimbley-Gouveia feels the same as Alberti, mentioning that many students are afraid to come in because they might have had a bad experiences with their writing being dissected in the past.
“Their natural reaction is to think that they are going to be judged, not only by their writing but judged on their thinking because writing is a reflection of how we think,” said Wimbley-Gouveia.
“What Chessie brings is a full understanding that we are not just trying to assist students writing a paper for a class. But we are, in that process, also developing their confidence. To let them know that what they have to say is a good thing to say.”
Alberti is excited about the coming year for the writing center. She mentioned her enthusiasm for new additions like the English Language learner nook, with staff members that offer in-depth support to students that are learning english as a second language. Alberti also mentioned her admiration for the writing center staff as a whole.
“The writing assistants that we have this term are all returning after working here for a very long time. So the amount of experience that we have here is pretty spectacular and they are all fantastic people.”
Story and Photo by Joshua Stickrod