Kate Harnish

Senior Tutor

  • BA in Psychology and Art, Goshen College
  • MA in Art History, Indiana University
  • PhD in Art History, Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Harnish began tutoring at The Writing Center as a graduate fellow and was invited to return for a second year as our senior graduate fellow during which time she led the development and pilot of our e-tutoring service. Her teaching experience is in art history courses, for which she received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. After finishing her PhD, she worked at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation where she supported the writing and editing of a peer-reviewed book, wrote the scripts for educational videos, did some grant writing, and researched best practices for writing about art for the general public. Dr. Harnish is thrilled to bring these new writing experiences back to her work at The Writing Center.

What brought you to The Writing Center?
Initially, I wanted to learn more about resources for my students, so I went to a panel where The Writing Center director was one of the speakers. At one point during his presentation, the director said that grad students who work with The Writing Center finish their degrees. This caught my attention. I decided to get more involved. In my first session, it became clear to me that I could learn so much here—about the writing process, of course, but also about teaching and mentoring.

What do you like most about working with writers at The Writing Center?
I love getting to know the writers and figuring out how to help them find their own way forward. Each writer, each project, each session is different. This means I have to be creative and improvisational, and I find that really exhilarating.

What do you find most challenging about writing?
You know when you’ve been working on a piece of writing for so long that you have no idea if what you’re saying makes any sense? And you’re mad at yourself because if you had started sooner then there would be time to ask someone else to look at it? And it feels like your eyes are going to fall out? That part.

What advice do you have for writers?
Find ways to take the pressure off. You are (I assume) a human being, so you’re going to make mistakes. Give yourself the space and grace to do so. Start early. Let yourself write a VERY rough draft where it’s okay to use the wrong words and clunky sentences and just figure out your ideas. And talk to people. Writing is about communicating, usually with other people, so it really helps to get different perspectives.