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For more information on BMCC’s Writing Across the Curriculum program, e-mail Holly Messitt ( or Rifat Salam (

About Us

WAC Coordinators

Rifat Salam is an Associate Professor of Sociology and a Deputy Chair in the Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice Department. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University.

She joined BMCC in 2005 and was introduced to Writing Across the Curriculum in her first semester at the college. Since then, she has presented conference papers on WAC pedagogy and the teaching of sociology and has developed numerous teaching workshops at the meetings of the Eastern Sociological Society and the American Sociological Association. Prof. Salam is an active member of the CUNY WAC Council and serves on the WAC Fellows Professional Development group. Her primary focus in WAC is leading WAC faculty development, developing and implementing policy and new initiatives.

Prof. Salam’s research interests include family, gender, immigration and she is the author of Negotiating Tradition, Becoming American: Family, Gender and Autonomy for Second Generation South Asians. Her current teaching project is exploring ways to incorporate contemplative practices and pedagogy into her Writing Intensive courses.

Holly Messitt has been a WAC coordinator at BMCC since 2011. She is an Associate Professor in the English department and co-editor of New America: Contemporary Literature for a New Society (Autumn House Press). In addition to her academic work, she is Yoga Alliance-certified vinyasa yoga instructor trained at Prema Yoga in Brooklyn.
(Photo courtesy of Marguerite Rivas.)

Christa Baiada is an associate professor in the English Department. A former Writing Fellow, she has been active in BMCC’s WAC program since her second year at the college and regularly teaches WI courses in addition to composition and intensive writing courses. She has been a co-coordinator of the program, working directly with the Writing Fellows, for three years. With a Pd.D. in Literature from the CUNY Graduate Center, her areas of scholarship and teaching focus on 20th and 21st Century American literature, Comparative Ethnic American Literatures, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her current research project examines representations of mothers and mothering, in particular of breastfeeding as a maternal practice, in 21st Century American literature.

Mary Sepp is an Associate Professor in the Department of Academic Literacy and Linguistics and joined WAC in fall 2014 as the Scheduling Coordinator. She has been a full-time faculty member at BMCC since 2007 and worked as an adjunct for five years prior to that. Prof. Sepp earned a PhD in linguistics from the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches linguistics and ESL.

WAC Fellows

Drew Bucilla is a PhD candidate in the Art History department at The Graduate Center, CUNY, specializing in film projection, performance, and installation in Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, and was previously a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Queens College, CUNY. This is her second year as a BMCC WAC Fellow.

Sant Mukh Khalsa is a PhD candidate in Archaeology at the Graduate Center, CUNY, specializing in craft production in late medieval Iceland. Sant Mukh is also an Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College with courses in Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology. She spends her summers excavating in Iceland and her free time enjoying the great outdoors in a canoe and crafting in various mediums.

Shinae Lee is in the Ph.D. Comparative Literature program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focus is on modern/ contemporary East Asian Literature, human rights, visual studies, and architectural theory. She currently teaches Korean Literature at Queens College, and has also taught World Literature at Baruch College. 

Alana Murphy is a PhD candidate in musicology at the CUNY Graduate Center, specializing in nineteenth-century music and culture. Her dissertation explores the metaphorical applications of lullabies and sleep-music in the Romantic imagination. Alana is also a classical pianist and an assistant editor at RILM, a database of musical scholarship. This is her second year as a WAC fellow at BMCC.

Kelsey Pugh is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focuses on phylogenetic relationships of fossil apes and humans, human origins, and the evolution of hominoid locomotor behaviors. She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College, CUNY.

Vanessa S. Troiano is an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she is pursuing her PhD in Modern and Contemporary Art with a focus on Communist Imagery in Weimar Germany. She holds an MA degree in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, with a specialization in Conceptual Art. She also earned a BA degree from Wellesley College in German Studies and Art History. In addition to holding a WAC fellowship at BMCC this year, Vanessa teaches at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. She has also previously taught in the Art Department at Brooklyn College and with the Fulbright program in Austria.


Former WAC Fellows »