I feel very fortunate to be the inaugural director of Student Academic Success Services. I began working at the Writing Centre in 1996 when I was a graduate student at Queen’s; since then, I’ve marked countless student papers, supported students and faculty in writing appointments and workshops, and taught writing courses at Queen’s and the Royal Military College—even one via radio.
I think that what we do at SASS is a really important part of helping students recognize their own abilities, enhance their skills, and move forward academically, professionally, and personally. We are lucky to work with students from a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds as well as partner with so many passionate educators on campus, both faculty and staff.
Communications and Administrative Assistant
Working at the front desk, I am usually the first person students see at SASS. I help them find SASS services and resources that best meet their needs. As Communications Assistant, I also promote SASS events, workshops, services, and resources; it’s important that students know about the many ways SASS can help them succeed.
My background is in marketing and communications. It’s a pleasure to work at SASS, because I like helping people.
Alyssa Foerstner, BA, MA
Academic Skills Support Coordinator (EAL)
My role at SASS is to help students who speak English as an additional language be as successful in their studies as possible. I love working with students from a diversity of cultural backgrounds and feel privileged to play a role in promoting internationalization at Queen’s.
I know first-hand the kinds of challenges that students face when studying in an additional language, and I work to combine this understanding with my knowledge of best practices in internationalization and globalization.
Whether you are an international student here on a short-term exchange, or a domestic student who speaks another language at home, it would be my pleasure to meet with you to work on your language skills together.
I coordinate many of SASS’ outward-facing programs, working closely with peers, student groups, professional staff, and faculty to develop and deliver workshops and programs on academic and writing skills at all levels. After completing my undergraduate education in Russia and England, I completed a PhD at the University of Toronto and taught languages at school and university level. I have published translations and research in various journals and popular publications, and a book manuscript based on my doctoral work is due for release in 2021.
Lindsay Heggie, PhD
Academic Skills Specialist
We know a lot about what helps students to get the most out of their academic experience at university. Whether it’s taking better notes, balancing schoolwork and extracurriculars, or improving your understanding and recall of information, we can help you become a more efficient and effective learner! As part of the academic skills specialists team, I am privileged to help identify the strategies that will make a real impact on students’ learning.
When I’m not meeting with students, I keep up to date on the literature in cognitive psychology, educational psychology, and higher education to ensure that the strategies and resources we recommend to students are consistent with the best evidence available.
Leslie Paterson, BA (Hons), CYW, BEd, MEd
Manager (1:1 Programs)
I manage SASS’ academic skills and professional writing programs. In these programs, our trained staff meet 1:1 with students to work on academic skills, including avoiding procrastination, reducing academic-related stress, and working on all stages of the writing process.
My background is in student accessibility, teaching, and learning strategies. I believe that students have individual, unique strengths and challenges that play into their life as a student, and my hope is to help students see and use their strengths, and view difficulties as an opportunity for growth and development.
Mikayla Sebesta, BA (Hons) MA
Academic Transitions and Peer Programs Coordinator
My role at SASS is to support our Academic Transition and Peer Programs including Peer Writing Assistants, Peer Learning Assistants, Bounce Back Mentors, and the programs they facilitate. As an undergraduate student, I regularly met with Peer Writing Assistants and gained confidence in my academic abilities by attending SASS workshops. I am excited to support the wonderful work that SASS does and the peer volunteers who dedicate their time to helping fellow students.
My background working and as Teaching Assistant and with Queen’s Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources has demonstrated that all students approach and experience university and academics differently. I am privileged to support programs that work to meet students where they are and equip them with the resources to be successful. While working at SASS, I am also completing my Master of Arts in Gender Studies focusing on the practice of surrogacy in Canada.
Lydia Skulstad, BA, MA, TESL Canada Standard Three [Permanent]
Intercultural Academic Support Coordinator
My role supports the academic success of international and EAL students at Queen’s through coordinating programming and resources that meet their needs, and it is a partnership between SASS and QUIC. Before coming to Queen’s, I completed my MA in TESOL and TESL Canada certification, and I have worked as an educator in Korea, Canada, and the United States. My roles have included managing programs and services for international students, teaching and developing curriculum in academic and community-based contexts, and leading workshops and trainings for teachers and volunteers.
Meet our SASS Writing Consultants
Writing Centre staff come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Many are professional writers or editors. Others are teachers, professors, musicians, and graduate students.
Andrea Reid (EAL Program)