Global Writing & Speaking Fellows


Global Writing & Speaking Fellows

NYU Shanghai Global Writing & Speaking Fellows provide academic support and enrichment for the students at NYU Shanghai. Fellows provide support in writing, speaking, and general academic skills. They work closely with faculty, and they tutor, teach, and collaborate with different university departments to spearhead projects and initiatives that enrich the student academic experience and university community at large. Fellows also have the opportunity to work on their own writing and research projects over the course of the academic year. Find out more about how to apply to be a Global Writing & Speaking Fellow



Porter Yelton

Porter Yelton - Lead Senior Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

New York University, BA - English & American Literature



Porter grew up in North Carolina and graduated from New York University with a degree in English and American Literature. In 2018 he received the William Bush Baer Memorial Prize from the NYU English Department. During the past two years, Porter has enjoyed his time at NYU Shanghai tutoring in the ARC, developing the Writing Partners Program for multilingual speakers, training the ARC's student tutors (LAs), and completing both a novel and a part-research, part-memoir scholarship project that explores China's Socialist Core Values in an age of global pandemic. He is thrilled to return for a third year and to continue for a second year in his role as the Lead Senior Writing & Speaking Fellow.

Murong Xu

Xu Murong – Senior Global Writing & Speaking Fellow, ARC Coordinator

Teachers College, Columbia University, MA – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Communication University of China, BA – English Broadcasting and Anchoring

Murong began her EFL (English as a Foreign Language) instruction experience teaching teenagers in China and has since expanded to adult learners. During her years as a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University, she worked as an EFL instructor for multiple organizations in NYC. Her research interests include second language acquisition and intercultural citizenship education. During her first two years at NYUSH, she worked closely with EAP (English for Academic Purposes) students in weekly workshops and offered regular writing support for graduate school applications.

Leigh Johnston 

Leigh Johnston - Senior Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Smith College, BA – Sociology, Environmental Science & Policy

Leigh graduated from Smith College, where she studied Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy. After graduating, Leigh moved from her home in Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean to work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at an elementary school in Taitung, Taiwan. As a Writing and Speaking Fellow last year, she worked closely with the Career Development Center, and especially enjoys working with students on personal statements, cover letters, and interview and public speaking preparation.


Zixia Liu

Liu Zixia - Senior Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Wellesley College, BA – English

Zixia was born and raised in Beijing before she left for college. During her time at Wellesley, she volunteered at an afterschool for elementary students in Boston's Chinatown, served as the Editor-in-Chief for a magazine devoted to Asian and Asian American issues, interned with the Paulson Ecology of Place Initiative to create and lead Literary Guided Walks, and tutored writing at the Teaching and Learning Center. In her first year at NYU Shanghai, she had the pleasure to work with the Committee for Critical Inquiry, facilitate student-faculty discussions, and organize panels on critical thinking. Her scholarship project explored the bicultural population of Chinese returnees from America. Outside of work, Zixia enjoys reading, writing, and spending time outdoors.


Ellen Schoder

Ellen Schoder - Senior Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Haverford College, BA – History

Ellen graduated from Haverford College, where she was a History major. At Haverford, Ellen worked as a peer tutor at the Writing Center for three years and served as Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper. At NYU Shanghai, Ellen has enjoyed working in higher education, mentoring students, and having an opportunity to do her own research and writing. Last year, Ellen especially enjoyed working with students in the ARC and creating new resources in her role as the Accessibility Specialist. Ellen is thrilled to return as a Senior Writing and Speaking Fellow.


Isabelle St. Clair

Isabelle St. Clair - Senior Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Wellesley College, BA - Peace and Justice Studies, Asian American Studies

Isabelle graduated from Wellesley College in 2017 with a degree in Peace and Justice Studies and Asian American Studies. At Wellesley, Isabelle worked as a writing tutor at the Writing Center and as an assistant for the Writing Program Department. She also served as a First-Year Mentor for incoming college students and as a tutor for elementary school students in Boston's Chinatown. Her senior thesis explored topics of race, gender, and class in the Asian American adoptee community. After graduating, Isabelle moved from New York City, her hometown, to Hualien, Taiwan, where she taught for two years as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Now based in Shanghai, Isabelle has loved tutoring in the ARC. Last year she enjoyed working with EAP (English for Academic Purposes) students and writing her children's novel. In her free time, Isabelle likes to read, rock climb, and cook.


Reilly Torres

Reilly Torres - Senior Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Occidental College, BA - American Studies, Black Studies

Reilly graduated from Occidental College with a degree in American Studies and Black Studies. During her time at Occidental, Reilly worked as a peer writing tutor for three years. Her research interests revolve around African American cultural expressions; she has conducted research on blues music, Black death in literature, and, most recently, the intersections between African American memoirs and geography. Along with completing this project, Reilly spent her first year at NYU Shanghai supporting the first-year course "Global Perspectives on Society." She is excited to return this year to continue supporting students and engaging in the NYU community. In her free time, Reilly enjoys reading, exploring nature, and taking city walks.


Cian Dinan

Cian Dinan - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

New York University Abu Dhabi, BA - Literature and History


Cian graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi in 2016 with a joint BA in Literature and History and a minor in Art History. His thesis examined violence, memory, and definitions of “civilization” in Belgium’s first Congo colony. Since graduating, he has worked at the Office of International Relations of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and in the U.S. publishing industry—first at the New York office of the Frankfurt Book Fair and then at Archipelago Books, a nonprofit press for literature in translation. Cian was born in Belgium and has lived in nine countries.


Isabel Floyd

Isabel Floyd - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Haverford College, BA - Philosophy 


Isabel grew up in Maine and graduated from Haverford College with a Philosophy major and a Computer Science minor. While at Haverford, Isabel worked as a peer tutor at the Writing Center and also served as a philosophy teaching assistant. Her senior thesis examined different readings of Nietzsche’s views on the nature of the self. In philosophy, she is particularly drawn to continentalism and to thinkers who write in terms of action and movement rather than in terms of objects and continuity. She is thrilled to join the NYU Shanghai community and looks forward to working with students in all stages of the writing process. Outside of academic interests, Isabel loves cooking up crazy new recipes, spending too much money out to eat, and attending performance art events.


Jennifer Guan

Jennifer Guan - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs, Masters in International Public Management

University of Cambridge, BA - Human Social and Political Sciences

Jennifer graduated from the University of Cambridge with a B.A. in Human Social and Political Sciences specializing in Social Anthropology. For her final year dissertation, she researched the paradoxical processes of conservatism and globalization in China and explored the appropriation of Western etiquette in the (re)production of elite Chinese-ness. Spending the next two years as a graduate student in Paris at Sciences Po, Jennifer focused on how Chinese -Singaporean, -French, and -American young adults articulate their hybridity throughout different discourses of Chinese-ness. She is excited to join her third academic community and to continue broadening her horizons at NYU Shanghai. Outside of work, Jennifer will be toddling around the streets of Shanghai to deepen her current interests in urbanism.



Chrystal Ho

Chrystal Ho - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Yale-NUS College, BA - Literature

Chrystal graduated from Yale-NUS College, with a BA in Literature and a minor in Arts & Humanities (Creative Writing). Part of the inaugural batch of tutors at the Yale-NUS Writers’ Centre, she has three years of tutoring experience across genres and disciplines. She has also collaborated with faculty to design resources in creative writing and art history. As the senior writing tutor, she pioneered tutor training programs in resource development and capstone support. Her capstone thesis, which analyzed Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad through the lens of Attic tragedy, won the Outstanding Capstone in Literature Prize in 2019. Chrystal also writes poetry and nonfiction. Her writing meditates on the intersections between place histories and womanhood, and how communities negotiate human connection in the face of environmental disaster.


Daria Howell

Darla Howell - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Occidental College, BA - Chinese Studies and Linguistics

Darla graduated from Occidental College, majoring in Chinese Studies and Linguistics. Originally from Los Angeles, California, her exposure to the linguistic and cultural diversity of LA inspired her pursuit of language studies. During her time in college, Darla traveled to China twice--once during a 5-month language immersion program in Nanjing. Darla has volunteered at local elementary schools and worked on arts and crafts projects with students with special needs. She has also worked in the admissions office at her college, interviewing both international and domestic prospective students. Outside of her academic interests, Darla enjoys performing spoken word poetry, participating in theater, and playing the piano.


Daniel Huang

Daniel Huang - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

New York University Shanghai, BA - Humanities

Daniel was born and raised in Shanghai, where he attended NYU Shanghai with a major in Humanities and a minor in Social Science. His research interests include modern jurisprudence, moral epistemology, and philosophy of mind. As a student, he has twice received Deans’ Undergraduate Research Grants to conduct his independent research on bioethics and moral realism. His senior thesis on value metaphysics and emotional justifications earned him department awards and a major honor. Outside his academic duties, he was a research assistant on Chinese legislative history at National People’s Congress Observer. He assisted multiple professors with projects on military disobedience, child sexual abuse, and early-20th -century immigrants in New York City. Daniel is well-acquainted with a diverse array of academic writings and analytical approaches, and he looks forward to helping students develop their interdisciplinary thinking and advance their skills in argumentative writing.


Kan Renjie

Kan Renjie - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Yale-NUS College, BA - Literature 

Ren Jie graduated from Yale-NUS College with a major in Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. While apprehensive about writing in college at first, he made progress through the encouragement of supportive tutors and professors, and now strongly believes that students can grow as writers, too. In his Literature capstone project, Ren Jie examined the works of Virginia Woolf and Ling Shu Hua, and was recently awarded the Tan Sing Meng Prize in Chinese Studies, for a project with “exceptional quality in academic rigor and originality.” At Yale-NUS, Ren Jie worked at the Yale-NUS Writers’ Centre as a peer writing tutor, where he enjoyed working with students from different cultural backgrounds in various genres of writing. He is passionate about building stronger writing communities, having overseen and participated in various creative writing workshops, readings, and student publications. Outside of work, Ren Jie writes poetry and fiction, where he hopes to explore the experience of faith, religiosity, familial history, and larger historical narratives. He is thrilled at the prospect of interacting with the community at NYU Shanghai and especially looks forward to growing with students.


Ethan Kostishak

Ethan Kostishak - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Pomona College, BA - Anthropology and French

Ethan graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Anthropology, a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies, and a minor in French. He is particularly interested in material and discursive transnational dynamics and wrote his thesis on how grassroots movements in the Middle East are affected by international NGOs. At Pomona, Ethan worked as a head peer tutor at the Writing Center for three years and was selected to write the Writing Center tutoring handbook, incorporating literature on Writing Center pedagogy as well as quantitative and qualitative data. As an academic researcher and a participant in several fellowships, he enjoys working with applications, social science writing, and speaking projects. During his free time, one can find Ethan practicing French, Spanish, and Arabic, reading speculative fiction, or planning his next travel adventure.


Sabrina Marie Vera

Sabrina Marie Vera - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Pomona College, BA - Politics

Sabrina graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Politics as a proud Gates Millennium, Chicago Posse, HSF, NLLSA, Sidley, Coca-Cola scholar and first-generation Puerto Rican woman. At Pomona, Sabrina served as a Head Writing Partner at the Writing Center, a tutor for Upward Bound, Vice President of the Mock Trial team, and an editor for the Claremont Journal of Law. For her senior project, “How the Marginalized Mobilize,” Sabrina was awarded the Fred Krinsky Prize for most exemplary student in international and comparative politics. Sabrina also received the Ted Gleason Award, awarded to a senior who exhibited kindness and leadership in the Pomona community while persevering through hardships like illness. Sabrina is a survivor of the rare blood disease HHT, which has fostered her passion for disability rights advocacy. She plans to go to law school and devote herself to a legal and political career to empower those suffering from disabilities such as chronic and rare diseases. Having traveled to 26 countries and living in Germany as a Gilman Scholar, Sabrina is extremely excited to join the diverse, international community at NYU Shanghai. With her love for editing, writing, and public speaking, Sabrina is grateful to expand her passions and skills as a Global Writing and Speaking Fellow.


Fiona Xu

Fiona Xu - Global Writing & Speaking Fellow

Barnard College, BA - Art History

Fiona grew up in Hangzhou, a city south of Shanghai. After high school, she studied at Barnard College and graduated with a major in Art History and a minor in English. Academically, Fiona is interested in postmodern art and writings, especially those from the late-twentieth century. Her senior thesis focused on Nam June Paik, the founder of television and video art, and interpreted some of his works as possible fetishization of the female body. In college, Fiona also developed a passion for teaching. In addition to two years of working as a Writing Fellow at the Barnard Writing Center, she also served as a teaching assistant for courses on art history at the Jinan University Summer Session. Outside of her academic interests, Fiona loves Korean food and culture, and is currently in her fifth year of learning Korean.