Rachel Beckler

Major: Civil Engineering (Civil Practice)

Extracurricular Activities: Clarinet player in the Hawkeye Marching Band, 2019 Midwest Regional Student Conference Coordinator for the American Society of Civil Engineers, Concrete Canoe Coordinator

Interests: I love music, fitness, nutrition, and Stardew Valley (I’m obsessed!). In my minimal free time, I usually research topics related to fitness and nutrition or playing Xbox. Coffee and pre-workout fuels my life, so I also love trying new caffeinated products. You can probably find me in Starbucks once a day, though my record is four times in one day. Someday, I hope to be able to say I have traveled the world, but I haven’t made it very far yet. My biggest travel goal at the moment is to see the Arnold Classic in Ohio next year, so I’ve got some room for improvement!

Jessica Brown

Hi there! My name is Jessica and I am a senior in computer science and engineering. Writing and mathematics have always been the most interesting to me, and my passion is definitely helping others. For this reason and many more, I have loved every minute of my time at the Hanson Center. I truly believe in the importance of written and verbal communication skills in our every day lives, and hope that I can help engineering students understand it as well!

Aside from being a tutor at the HCTC, I am also on the executive board of the IEEE UIowa chapter and a web developer for the Division of Student Life Marketing + Design. On top of that, I do some modeling for a few campus organizations. Peruse the campus interwebs sometime… You’ll definitely see my smiling face here and there!

Elly Martens

Howdy Reader!  My name's Elly and I am currently a fourth-year Biomedical Engineering student, minoring in Spanish and Latin American Studies.  Since I started working at the Hanson Center for Technical Communication, I've gained a much greater appreciation for technical writing skills than I had in the past.  One of my favorite aspects of being a peer consultant at the HCTC is when I get to review someone's resume.  It's always so interesting to see a snapshot of a person's past experiences, personal interests, and future goals and aspirations.  It's also a great way to learn about various student organizations and volunteer opportunities that people are involved in on campus.

Aside from academia and the HCTC, I also work at the Human Performance and Clinical Outcomes lab on the west-side, where I get to analyze how people walk and how their gait affects their body's mechanics. I am also Co-President of the student organization Continental Crossings (SkoHawks!) and I volunteer at the American Prosthetics and Orthotics clinic at the University Hospitals.

And aside from aaaaaall that, I like to write screenplays and photograph in my spare time, travel, and play with the old kitties at the IC Animal Shelter.

Russell Martin

Major: Biomedical Engineering
Minor: Computer Science
Hometown: West Branch, IA
Graduating Class: 2020

Hello! My name is Russell Martin, I’m starting my first year at HCTC. Outside of my coursework, I am involved with Robotics Club, UI Lecture Committee, Hawkeye Service Teams, and am a chemistry workshop leader for the College Transitions program. I also am fascinated by the world of scientific research – at Iowa, I work in a microbiology lab studying the genetics behind Epilepsy; this summer I worked at the University of Delaware studying the biomechanical effects of a torn ACL. After I graduate, I hope to attend graduate school and continue to do research and teach. In my free time, I train for marathons and dabble in piano and guitar.

Feel free to come to me with any sort of writing-related projects! I’d be happy to help you craft a cover letter, put together a resume, draft a grant, or edit a lab report.

Amanda McGee

Hello, everyone! My name is Amanda McGee and I am a sophomore studying Computer Science and Engineering. Since I started working at the Hanson Center for Technical Communications this fall, I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and helping them the best I can. Besides working at the HCTC, I’m currently the vice president of STEM.  In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, quotes, nerdy puns, listening to musical soundtracks, and learning how to say fun phrases and endearments in Spanish, German, Chinese, and Russian.

Allison Rowe

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: English
EFA: Biomechanics and Design
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Year: Junior


This is my second year as a Hanson Center Writing Tutor, and I love that it has allowed me to combine two of my greatest passions: engineering and writing.  Besides working at the HCTC, I also conduct research related to vascular biomechanics and cellular isolation methods as a Grand Challenges Scholar.  

In my remaining free time, I stay involved as the mentoring chair for the Presidential Scholars Program and a member of Alpha Chi Omega. I also love reading (creative nonfiction and short stories are my favorite), hot yoga, black labs, painting, and traveling abroad.  I have participated in two international creative nonfiction writing programs through the University of Iowa, one in Dublin, Ireland and the other in Athens, Greece. 

Naomi Smullen

Hello, friends. 

It's been a year. I am now a fifth year English and creative writing major. I'm still from San Diego, and my hometown is still Las Cruces; yes, I still work here and I love it. However, a few things have changed. My interest in linguistics as moved from a minor at the undergraduate level to a masters (or PhD???) at the graduate level. Please pray for my soul as I have sold it to the Admissions Committee. This past summer, I snagged a certificate to teach English as a second language, during which I rediscovered that the English language just sucks sometimes. We've also developed a habit of speaking with first person plural, and on our behalf, I apologize. We go to a lot of public readings at Prairie Lights or with the IWP residents (shoutout to them, because it's been real), and occasionally a quality movie at FilmScene or play at Hancher. But mostly, we stay home. We are forever grateful to the Hanson Center for being a place of refuge and rejuvenation these past five years, and because it is not over yet, we look forward to your visit. I hope that we brighten your day. 

So it goes. 

Anita Thammavongsa
Hometown: Albertville, MN
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Minor: Physics
Graduating Class: Spring 2019

Anita wants to live in a world filled with wonderful technology that won’t actually take over the world. Anita appreciates the ever-changing field of technology, but the thing about some technical people is that they are not always the best communicators of such amazing tech. Anita loves bridging that connection of clear writing with the engineering field, which is why working in the Hanson Center for Technical Communication is a wonderful place to foster the passions of writing and engineering. When not helping her fellow peers in the HCTC, Anita enjoys writing short stories, reciting poems, drafting letters, and full-stack developing puns. In fact, knowing how to pick locks has really opened a lot of doors for Anita.

Her other campus involvements include being the Director of Education & Advocacy for Student United Way, a Hawkeye Service Team participant, and randomly showing up to student organization meetings for the free learning content and free food. This will be the last academic year that Anita will be working with the HCTC because she will be graduating in May 2019, so feel free to come in the HCTC to ask the big existential life questions about becoming an Adult, with a capital “A.” (Anita wishes people would stop asking her what she sees herself doing in five years. She doesn’t have 20/20 vision.)