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Warren Writing Program Staff

  • Dr. Jeff Gagnon

    Dr. Jeff Gagnon

    Program Director
    EBU3B 1122, 858-534-1700

    Dr. Jeff Gagnon holds a doctorate in literature from UC San Diego and a Master of Education from Harvard University. Most recently he was the assistant director of the Dimensions of Culture First-Year Writing Program at UCSD, where he taught interdisciplinary writing and research courses on topics such as justice, popular culture, and the histories of social movements in U.S. culture. In his teaching career he has taught nearly every grade from 7th to the college-level, and feels most at home in college classes focused on reading, writing and critical thinking. His research interests include first-year writing pedagogy, ethics in STEM education, public writing, civic-minded education and sports and social justice movements. Originally from Massachusetts, he is an avid follower of Boston sports teams, especially the Red Sox.

  • Dr. Haleema Welji

    Dr. Haleema Welji

    Associate Director
    EBU3B 1110

    Dr. Haleema Welji earned her doctorate in anthropology from UC San Diego, and holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative human development from the University of Chicago and a Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to returning to UCSD, she taught cultural and linguistic anthropology courses in the Duke Thompson Writing Program. She received the 2020 Award for Excellence in Teaching Writing from Trinity College of Arts & Science at Duke University. Her current research focuses on social justice activism amongst young Muslim-Americans, for which she was invited into the Social Science Research Council’s Religion and the Public Sphere Summer Institute. Dr. Welji also conducts research on writing pedagogy related to themes of social justice including teaching about Islamophobia.

  • Ishika Rathi

    Ishika Rathi

    Program Coordinator
    EBU3B 1108, 858-534-3068

    Ishika Rathi recently graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Cognitive Science - Neuroscience and a B.A. in Literature/Writing. Her firsthand experience as a Warren Writing undergraduate student instilled in her a deep appreciation for the program's impact on students. Outside of this role, she is a cross-genre writer and a researcher in Cognitive Science labs. Her research currently focuses on neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Tourette's Syndrome, the brain's mechanisms for creating and navigating language, and Large Language Models.

Warren Writing Faculty

  • Niall Twohig

    Niall Twohig

    Lecturer - WCWP 100
    EBU3B 1107, 858-534-4352

    Niall Twohig has an M.A. in English from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Literature from UC San Diego. He is a yoga instructor and published poet whose first book of poetry, Cosmic Dustbowl, is published through Charybdis Press. He writes and teaches to bring a lineage of systemic critique and ethical praxis to his students.

  • Keith McCleary

    Keith McCleary

    Lecturer - WCWP 100
    EBU3B 1112, 858-534-4351

    Keith McCleary holds an M.F.A. in Writing from UC San Diego, and a B.F.A. in Film & Television from New York University. He has taught at UCSD since 2011 in Warren College, Sixth College, and the International Triton Transition Program. Keith's research deals with pedagogy, writing, and multimedia, and he is an author and/or contributing editor for a variety of comic books, graphic novels, journals, and anthologies. 

  • Mark Young

    Mark Young

    Lecturer - WCWP 100
    EBU3B 1112, 858-534-4351

    Mark Young earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside, with emphases in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature and media. As a writer and researcher, his interests include the roles of music, nostalgia, and the fantastic in the processes of artistic creation and public remembering. As a teacher, he has worked at all levels of California’s higher education system and shares a particular interest in how mentorship drives academic innovation and the success of first-generation college students.

  • Tricia Ornelas

    Tricia Ornelas

    Lecturer - WCWP 10A/B
    EBU3B 1114

    Tricia Ornelas earned a master's degree in English literature from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from San Diego State University. With her thesis and master’s emphasis on African American women’s literature, other areas of literature interest are the genre of magical realism, Hispanic literature, The Zora Canon, and anything ever written by Toni Morrison or Haruki Murakami. She is a San Diego native and with over fifteen years' experience, she has taught on several campuses throughout the city. She reaches for progressive andragogy to engage student experience and question antiquated hierarchical foundations of higher education. She enjoys live music, writing poetry, and building community. 


  • Natalie Susi

    Natalie Susi

    Lecturer - WCWP 10A/B
    EBU3B 1109

    Natalie Susi received a bachelor’s degree in English education from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in English literature from San Diego State University. She has been teaching at UC San Diego for 6 years. She also has more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur. She founded and grew a beverage company called Bare Organic Mixers, and sold the company in 2014. Currently, outside of teaching at Warren Writing, Natalie provides conscious communication coaching to executives, entrepreneurs, and global business leaders.

  • Walter Merryman

    Walter Merryman

    Lecturer - WCWP 10A/B
    EBU3B 1120

    Walter Merryman earned his Ph.D in Comparative Literature from University of California, Riverside, focusing on comparative readings of concepts of community and human rights in twenty-first century Anglophone Literature and Continental Philosophy. He is originally from Ohio and earned a BA and MA in English from Bowling Green State University. His past teaching experience includes teaching First-Year Writing and Writing Across the Curriculum at UC Riverside, World Literature at Moreno Valley College, and Technical Communication at University of Michigan. Having taught writing and communication in a variety of disciplinary settings, Walter teaches with an emphasis on writing as a transferable and adaptable skill useful in academic research, professional settings, and communication in general. Walter plays the drums, and from that he has learned that learning should be unafraid of failure and fun.

  • Emma Uriarte

    Emma Uriarte

    Lecturer - WCWP 10A/B
    EBU3B 1109

    Emma Uriarte holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Oregon State University, where she taught undergraduate composition and fiction writing. She earned her B.A. in English from the University of San Diego before spending three years teaching ESL in Madrid, Spain. Her current teaching interests range from alternative narrative craft to analyzing the rhetoric of discourse communities. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction MagazineSLAB, and X-R-A-Y. When she isn’t teaching or working on creative projects, she enjoys walking around her neighborhood, befriending local cats, and doing yoga.

  • Simrita Dhir

    Simrita Dhir

    Lecturer - WCWP 10A/B
    EBU3B 1109

    Simrita Dhir holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Panjab University, India. Later she studied Advanced Rhetoric at the Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies, San Diego State University, where she explored written, spoken, and visual language and its relationship to knowledge and culture. Her research interests include American Fiction, South Asian Studies, Colonial Novel, Diaspora Studies, Post-Colonial Novel, and Subaltern Narratives. She is the author of acclaimed novels The Rainbow Acres (2018) and The Song of Distant Bulbuls (2023). She has extensive experience teaching Literature, Writing and Critical Thinking in the United States and abroad. Through all her courses, she seeks to create an equitable, inclusive and antiracist classroom environment, so that all students have the resources and support to reach their full learning potential. She enjoys gardening, swimming, poetry, and coffee.

  • Julia Hagedorn

    Julia Hagedorn

    TA - WCWP 10B 
    EBU3B 1111

    Julia Hagedorn has a B.S. in Microbiology from San Francisco State University and is currently a graduate student at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego. She is researching coral restoration techniques that can hopefully combat the effects of climate change. In her free time, she likes to stay active, read, crochet, and scuba dive!

  • Simar Sharma

    Simar Sharma

    TA - WCWP 10B 
    EBU3B 1111

    Simar is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Bioengineering from the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego and holds a B.Tech in Biotechnology from Manipal Institute of Technology, India. From a very young age, she immersed herself in reading—from the classics of Enid Blyton and Jane Austen to the modernist feminist prose of Virginia Woolf. She has delved into multiple genres, including mystery, fantasy, romance, and even non-fiction, and now she finds herself exploring post-independence Indian English Writing more and more—her favorite authors being Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, to name a few. Beyond books, Simar is also deeply interested in history, politics, and its intersection with industrialization. She enjoys writing of any form—from novels to songs to screenplays. In the Warren Writing Program, she aims to shape (and learn from) multiple (and often conflicting) viewpoints. She believes writing is a powerful tool, and an even more powerful skill, to express one's thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. This is no surprise, but in her free time, you can find her reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching a TV show.

  • Ganesh Swaminathan

    Ganesh Swaminathan

    TA - WCWP 10B 
    EBU3B 1111

    Ganesh is a final year Master's student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego and earned his Bachelors' from Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, India. He had been part of a comprehensive 2-year Technical, Creative and Reflective writing program during his undergrad and values writing as a powerful means of communication across any discipline. He is an avid reader of pieces on Sustainable Development, World Civilization, Socio-Economics and Scientific Advancements. Outside academics, he enjoys going on hikes, playing soccer, trying new cuisine and exploring various genres of music.

  • Danielle Groper

    Danielle Groper

    TA - WCWP 10B
    EBU3B 1111

    Danielle is a graduate student who is studying International Relations at UC San Diego GPS. She has bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Social Behavior and International Studies from UC Irvine. She hopes to use her education to pursue a career related to disinformation and the spread of extremism through social media. She likes to draw, watch anime, and play with her dog when she has time. 

  • Tharun Suresh

    Tharun Suresh

    TA - WCWP 10B
    EBU3B 1111

    Tharun Suresh, currently pursuing Business Analytics at Rady School of Management, UC San Diego, holds a Masters in Computer Science from IIIT-Delhi and completed his bachelors at the College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University, Chennai. He has an extensive research background in the field of Natural Language Processing where he has published numerous papers in top conferences, simplifying intricate concepts for academic readers. Beyond academia, Tharun finds joy in swimming, UCSD REC activities, and cooking during his free time.

  • Erick Calderon

    Erick Calderon

    TA - WCWP 10B 
    EBU3B 1111

    Erick Calderon holds an A.A. in Criminal Justice from Santa Ana College, and a B.S. in Latin American Studies and Sociology from Brigham Young University. He is currently a second-year master's student in the Latin American Studies program. His research focuses on how the Mexican/Mexican American diaspora in the US create and magnify their identity through soccer. In his free time, he loves to watch movies, run, watch/play soccer, and hear some good poetry slam.

  • Hadley Clark

    Hadley Clark

    TA - WCWP 10B
    EBU3B 1111

    Hadley Clark is a Master's student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She earned her B.S. in Marine Science at California State University Monterey Bay. She then worked as a Research Assistant in a Remote Sensing Lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for 3.5 years. There she studied the spatial correlation between dimethyl sulfide (DMS) concentrations in relation to the highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whale abundance to eventually provide real-time location information to proximate ships to decrease right whale ship-strike fatalities. Her research at Scripps focuses on using passive acoustic technology to understand the interaction between Hawaii’s endangered false killer whale population and the local fisheries for conservation and management implementation strategies. In her free time, Hadley enjoys running, sailing and spending time with friends.

  • Sevin Sagnic

    Sevin Sagnic

    TA - WCWP 10B
    EBU3B 1111

    Sevin Sagnic is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology and a graduate student researcher at the Comparative Center for Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She specializes in forced migration and political sociology and has a professional background in civil society organizations.  Sevin also has two M.A. degrees, one in International Migration from the University of Kent-BSIS and another in International Relations from Bogazici University.