Meet the Staff

Writing Assistants

Carolyn Durcan holds a MA in English Education from New York University, a certificate in TESOL from Columbia University, and a BA from Kenyon College. In addition to being a staff member of the BMCC Writing Center, she is also on staff at the BMCC ESL Lab. She has taught ESL at SUNY Purchase.

Roger Franz holds a BA in French from the University of Lynchburg and an English Language Teaching Certificate from The New School. He is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center and an ESOL Instructor with the 1199SEIU. He is adept at working with a diverse group of students helping them transition to higher education and the NYC workforce.

Mary Giancoli holds a BA from Wellesley College, and an MFA in Photography from Hunter College, CUNY. She grew up in Berkeley, California and lived in Florence, Italy for two years. In addition to working with the Writing Center, she is a tutor at BMCC’s ESL Lab. Her focuses include ESOL, English 101, literature, film and media, art, and Italian language. Outside of work, Mary dances with and enjoys hiking and biking. You can find her fine art photographs on She speaks Italian and Spanish fluently.

Cole Highnam is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, musician, and educator. He studied Studio Art and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa and holds a MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College. He has taught essay composition at BMCC. He especially enjoys thinking and writing about how the arts relate to society at large.

Molly Keisman is a graduate of Denison University where she studied communication and narrative journalism. Her writing has been published in CityLab Bloomberg, CBR, and Longreads. She worked at Denison University’s Writing Center for three years and, more recently, taught English in Mozambique as a Peace Corps volunteer. She’s a globetrotter, animal lover, language enthusiast, and film/television aficionado who appreciates any opportunity to practice her Spanish, Portuguese, and ASL.

Costa Koutsoutis is a graduate of CUNY Hunter and holds a MA in English. He teaches composition and English at Monroe College and political science at Vaughn College. His academic interests include analysis of genre fiction and critical understandings of classic canon. A former cartoonist, active home cook, fountain pen enthusiast, and writer, his work has appeared in Razorcake Magazine, The Alexandria Archives podcast, Akashic Book’s MONDAYS ARE MURDER short fiction series, and more.

Victoria Lau is currently pursuing her MFA at Lindenwood University, studying Creative Writing with an emphasis on poetry. She holds a BA from CUNY Hunter College, where she majored in English with a Creative Writing concentration and was a Thomas Hunter Honors student. She was one of the five valedictorians in her graduating class. She was 3rd place in the Random House Creative Writing Competition for poetry in 2013. Her work has also been published in The Olivetree Review and appeared in Equity Library Theater of New York. She was the 1st place winner for the Nancy Dean Medieval Prize in 2020. She writes poems about the objectification of women’s bodies and other topics. She has taught poetry and English Language Arts to students of varying ages and grades.

Michael Montlack teaches at BMCC and New Jersey City University. He holds a BA from Hofstra, MA from San Francisco State University, and MFA from The New School—all in Creative Writing. He is the author of two books of poetry Cool Limbo (NYQ Books) and Daddy (NYQ Books). He is also the editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva (University of Wisconsin Press).

Philipp Rassmann holds a BA from Connecticut College and an MA from Stony Brook University. Currently he is writing his doctoral thesis in Archaeology at the University of Washington. He is a life-long New Yorker and 10+ year veteran of the BMCC Writing Center. He taught at William Paterson University and SUNY, Farmingdale. He enjoys working with students on all writing projects and hearing students’ point of view on current events, history, and culture, from the arts to everyday life. In his free time, Philipp enjoys photography, film, art, literature, urban exploring, cycling, and social justice.


Igwe J. Williams, Director, is a creative writer, CUNY alumni, and former student organizer. He has 10+ years of experience working at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Over the course of his ten years, he has been a faculty member of the English department and a student support services coordinator for the Learning Resource Center. He is an advocate for supporting educational equity.

Marcel Hidalgo, Coordinator, holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in Language and Literacy from City College of New York, CUNY. He has 6+ years of experience working at Borough of Manhattan Community College in both academic support and administrative capacities. His academic interests include creative writing, rhetoric, and sociolinguistics. His writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, Entropy, and Prefix Magazine. His essay, “Toward Homeostasis in Digital Transition: A Community College Writing Center,” is forthcoming in Literacy and Learning in Times of Crisis (Peter Lang, 2022). Prior to becoming the coordinator of the BMCC Writing Center, he worked at City College of New York as a Writing Consultant and Adjunct Instructor of the College’s English department.

Nicollette Barsamian, Supervisor, holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. She graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University with a BA in English Literature and minors in Modern Greek and Art History. She also graduated from Stuyvesant High School and is from NYC. Nicollette is a copyeditor and writer for the Queens Gazette. She also has extensive experience as a freelance copywriter and editor, having worked for The Source among other publications. Some of her haikus can be found in SCHLAG Magazine.

Ramy Tadros, Administrative Assistant, holds a BA in Operations Management from Baruch College. Prior to his time at Baruch, he received an AA in Business Administration from Borough of Manhattan Community College. He started working at the Writing Center as a federal work study employee in 2019. He was promoted to front desk supervisor in January 2020. Ramy is studying towards a MS in Project Management at New York University. His hobbies include reading and soccer.