Susan Lowther

Special Programs Coordinator

  • BA in European Cultural Studies, American University of Paris
  • MA in Studies in Fiction, University of East Anglia
  • MA in English and American Literature, Washington University in St. Louis

Ms. Lowther has been with Washington University since 2000, when she came to the university as a graduate student in English. Prior to her current role in The Writing Center, she was the coordinator for the College Writing Program and the writing programs coordinator at Cornerstone: The Learning Center. Ms. Lowther has taught writing courses for the College Writing Program, the Freshmen Summer Academic Program, University College, and the Department of English. She has received the Chair’s Award for Teaching Excellence, acts as an academic advisor in Arts & Sciences, and is a member of the University Assessment Committee, the PreHealth Advising Committee, and the Women’s Society. A St. Louis local, Ms. Lowther has studied and taught in France, England, and Japan.

What brought you to The Writing Center?
The students.  I love working one-on-one with students and helping them with their writing. At Cornerstone, I got to do that, but it was only part of my job. Here, I have more opportunities for that interaction and opportunities to strengthen and enhance our writing support on campus. It is fun and exciting to work with the tutors to build our writing support, and it is rewarding to see the writers who visit us develop their own skills and voices.

What do you like most about working with writers at The Writing Center?

I love seeing the “lightbulb moment” when a writer realizes he/she/they actually have a lot of interesting things to say about a topic, and that writing is possible. A lot of writers—myself included at times—find the idea of writing to be daunting and scary, which isn’t very nice.  I love seeing the moment where the writer shifts to seeing the possibilities and embracing the process.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

The blank page. Getting started and actually putting words on a page can be really hard; it has taken me a long time to work on getting over that and to just think of them as what they are—words on a page that can be deleted, changed, etc. Once I get going, I tend to be OK. It’s just that initial step that is the biggest for me.

What advice do you have for writers?
Embrace the messiness of the process and the time it takes to write. I firmly believe that thinking and writing go hand-in-hand, and trying to make sure you have all your ideas set before you write can shut down the writing process, leaving little room for flexibility. Using writing as the way to think really opens up exploration through writing and often takes the writer to new ideas and new ways of thinking that are worthwhile. You might find that you actually disagree with your original idea, and that is OK. That is what the “delete” button is for.