Carolyn Smith

Senior Tutor

  • BA in English, University of Missouri
  • MA in English and American Literature, Washington University in St. Louis

Ms. Smith began teaching writing classes at Washington University in 1981. She has taught Freshman Composition and Writing 1 as well as Fundamentals of Composition and Expository Writing for the Department of English, and from 2000-2005 was assistant director of the Department of English’s creative writing program. For many years Carolyn also taught for the university’s English as a Second Language program and worked on writing assessment projects (the GMAT, the TWE) for Educational Testing Service. She loves to travel and has been able to combine her interests in teaching language and learning about new cultures by studying at TESOL Summer Institutes in Bratislava, Slovakia and in Barcelona, Spain. She has studied German in Goethe Institutes in Germany. During 2006-2007 she lived in China and taught English language classes at Xiamen University in Fujian Province. Carolyn was one of the first tutors in The Writing Center at Washington University when it opened in 1995 and is now a senior tutor.

What brought you to The Writing Center?
My interest in writing brought me to The Writing Center. I’m curious about the process, about how other writers develop their ideas. And I wanted to learn more.

What do you like most about working with writers at The Writing Center?
Writing and reading provide an entrance into a new world, a new way of thinking. Each writer who comes to The Writing Center has unique experiences to tell about, a fresh outlook, and I love hearing those stories and working with writers to help them shape their insights.

What do you find most challenging about writing?
The most challenging part of writing for me is finding the time! Writing needs time – and a quiet space to think about a topic before the words ever touch the page. It’s a bit tough these days to find this quiet time.

What advice do you have for writers?
Plan ahead! I know it’s hard for writers to follow this advice, myself included. But it is so important. Plan some time to let your mind wander. Let curiosity play its part. Ask questions – and wait for the answers to come. Then begin.