Chessie Alberti: Encouraging expression, community at LBCC Writing Center
"Most of what I’m doing as an educator in writing is helping people capture their thoughts,” said Chessie Alberti, LBCC instructional specialist and Writing Center coordinator.
Alberti spends anywhere from 25-75% of her time working one-on-one with students. In her remaining hours she trains, leads, and mentors a team of seven other writing assistants, and serves on the leadership team for the Learning Center, among other duties.
Hearing other people’s stories is her favorite part of the job. “There is something really wonderful about getting to read student essays all day,” she described. “You get to hear what they’re thinking about.”
Alberti started her path at Linn-Benton Community College as a student. She had moved to Corvallis from Los Angeles and was hired at the Writing Center while she was still an LB student. She worked there for several years before landing in her current position.
Alberti had done what many students at LB do – she completed her generals at Linn-Benton Community College then transferred to Oregon State University to complete a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree soon followed.
“I’m a good example of how LBCC invests in its former students,” she said.
Alberti’s roommate, LB’s first poet laureate Kaedence Eaton, introduced her to the Writing Center and helped her figure out how to apply there. After six years on staff—with a one-year break during her master’s studies at OSU—one of the faculty members who started the Center encouraged Alberti to apply as its coordinator when the job came open.
“I get to work alongside some of the teachers that I had,” she said, “and I have so much reverence for them! My experience as a student was amazing and I feel very lucky.”
Alberti was quick to add that it wasn’t always easy.
“I was homeschooled so coming into college was really overwhelming for me,” she described. “I love talking with people about that and validating that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed … it’s okay to feel out of place and to not really understand what you’re doing. College has a lot of rules and expectations. If you’re not familiar with higher ed, you just don’t know.”
Alberti’s goal to ensure that students don’t feel intimidated about approaching the team for help is apparent. To serve each student in the best way possible, the Writing Center has several ways for students to get help either virtually, in-person, or in written form*. Students who would benefit from a conversation or brainstorming can do that through an appointment. Those who might prefer written comments on a final draft have that option as well.
“We are not there to mark up a paper and send it back. We’re there to help you figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it,” she said. “We look at a lot more than grammar. We look at the structure of the ideas. Are the ideas transitioning? Are your thoughts coming through clearly?”
Each team member approaches the work by first establishing a rapport with the student to help them feel comfortable. “Before we begin, we always ask them how they’re doing. We check the emotional tenor. If they are really stressed out, then we figure out how we can take a breath together before we begin,” said Alberti.
She described the Writing Center team as “a bunch of compassionate and goofy humans who love Marvel movies and animals”.
“LBCC is really an interesting place to work. There is a quirky culture … in a fully wonderful way. It feels like a community, and I feel like I belong here.”
Students may get assistance from the Writing Center in the following ways:
- Zoom drop-in sessions
- In-person and virtual appointments scheduled via TutorTrac
- Written feedback via the Online Writing Lab, which guarantees a response within 48-72 hours
Visit the Writing Center webpage for more information.