Who we are

We are students and writers who share a common passion for excellent communication and student development. Around here, we’re known as consultants. At the Rhetoric Center, we provide helpful feedback for writers, speakers, and artists in their academic and creative endeavors. We also have bright characteristics that make visits to the Rhetoric Center new and dynamic. Meet the 2018-2019 RC staff below!


Jacob Baylor

Mechanical Engineering | Math

Hi there! I’m Jacob, today and yesterday. I’m a senior mechanical engineering major. When I’m not browsing Pinterest, I’m off in the engineering lab or teasing my coworkers. I’m a cartoonist at heart, so any of the random animal drawings you find around the RC tend to be mine. Other than Joel Sprockett, I’m single handedly breaking down the stereotype of unsocial engineers. If you find a time capsule in the RC with my name in it, be sure to add something to it before you put it back.

Abena Oduro

Biology | Chinese

Hello, Akwaaba! I am Abena, a sophomore here at Calvin double majoring biology and Chinese. Though my hometown, Aburi, Ghana is pretty close to the equator (aka winter), I have learned to fall in love with the four seasons here in Michigan. When I’m not in the Rhetoric Center, you may find me in the corner of a room with a bag of corn chips and salsa. If you would like to discuss K-pop or Marble Olympics, feel free to stop by the Rhetoric Center! Of course, if you ever are worried about a paper or anything “rhetoric-related,” feel free to drop by the RC. The other consultants and I would love to help!

Anu Teodorescu

Writing and Spanish | Political Science

Hi friends! My name is Anu, and I love words, people, and Jesus. Though I started Calvin as a pre-med student double majoring in biochem and Spanish, I decided to venture to the dark side to become a writing and Spanish double major with a minor in political science.

Most days, you can find me sitting at the RC desk drinking cheap coffee, fighting my impulse to power nap between classes. I spend money on books, shoes, and artwork, and I have over 300 picture of the sky on my phone. I spent last semester studying in Oviedo, Spain, but I couldn’t stay away from the RC for very long...so here I am, and here I will remain until further notice. I have a thing for magnetic poetry, so I write a poem every day out of mostly breakfast terms. I’m also the only one who is allowed to write the date on the RC board, so if you see an ugly number, just know I played no part in that.

Garrett Strpko

Film & Media, and Philosophy

Hello there! My name is Garrett Strpko (I know there’s no vowels; it’s Slovakian!) and I’m a Junior studying film and philosophy. Besides working at the RC, I often read, discuss, and make films or ramble about Kierkegaard in the Jellema Room. You can also usually spot me playing guitar or bass in Chapel/LOFT or with my group, the Schultze Blues Band. I look forward to working with you!

Diederick Reitsma

French, and English Literature | Latin

I’m a sophomore studying literature and French. I’m from the little town of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania. I like to read European literature (and Russian, if you want to separate them) from the nineteenth and early twentieth century, but I’ll read whatever flows well. Besides literature, I dabble in philosophy, theology, music, physics, painting, language, psychology, and history. Pretty much, if it’s in your paper I’m up to talk about it.

Sophia Morgan

History and Environmental Studies

Aloha kākou! My name is Sophia and I’m a sophomore history and environmental studies double major. Born and raised on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, I came to Michigan in hopes of experiencing a new culture, landscape, and perspective (but seeing snow and squirrels for the first time was a big draw too). I love being outdoors, working at a florist shop back home, binge-reading historical fiction, and making outlines. So if you need to brainstorm a topic, organize your arguments, write a persuasive piece with statistics, or find out what “aloha kākou” means, stop by the Rhetoric Center and look for me!

Megan Sloterbeek

English Secondary Education | Religon

Megan here! I’m a senior pursuing a degree in secondary English education with a minor in religion. I call Grand Rapids home, and I love love love the people that have made it home for me. I watch a lot of sitcoms and movies- but my excuse is that they help me get in touch with my feelings and help me think about life more deeply. I’m quite passionate about the Church and ministry, and I really care about people taking care of their mental and emotional health. If you visit the Rhetoric Center, I’ll probably be wearing a knit sweater, and I’ll gladly accept any gift of chocolate you may want to bring me.

Joel Spriegel

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Hey, I’m Joel. I’m a junior majoring in civil and environmental engineering who hails from Michigan’s southwest and the beautiful country of Kenya. I enjoy long walks with close friends, reading Sherlock Holmes, backpacking, biking, and organizing my room. I identify strongly as a Third Culture Kid, which means many cultures influence who I am. A classic engineering student, I try to word things accurately and concisely; that said, lab reports and technical memos are not the only reading I enjoy. In fact, engaging with people and ideas from a range of disciplines is what makes working at the RC so interesting to me. Finally, I’m a recovering procrastinator, so from one to another, come to the RC at least a day or two before your paper is due :).

Joshua Polanski

Strategic Communication and Religion | Journalism

Hi, I’m Joshua. I’m a junior from Akron, Ohio double-majoring in strategic communication and religion. In my spare time, I enjoy reading (particularly 1960s Latin American literature) and watching movies (normally old and French). I’m a devoted follower of the New Yorker’s Postscript, Ross Douthat’s New York Times column, and America: The Jesuit Review. In addition to working at the Rhetoric Center, I’m the religion editor for Chimes. Also, my car has pink rims.

Alex Johnson

English Secondary Education | Computer Science

Hi, I'm Alex! I'm a senior studying secondary education English with a computer science minor who hails from the other fabulous M-state—Massachusetts. I'm into reading Young Adult novels, playing board games, listening to podcasts, reading poetry, and loving my jobs too much. You can usually find me in the Rhetoric Center even if I’m not working (perhaps especially if I’m not working) or in the English Department. I love hearing all the different subjects that Calvin students write about, so please come in and talk my ear off (or we can swap poems/YA book recs if you are feeling brave).

Karen Saupe

Director of the Rhetoric Center | English Department Chair

I’m Karen Saupe, part-time RC director, full-time English prof and some-time summer camp director. It took me far too long to discover the value of having other people read my work (shaky drafts and masterpieces alike), and I’m still learning about how to write better by eavesdropping on RC sessions. Working with RC staff is my favorite thing about being at Calvin. I like the outdoors, very short bike rides, the non-grading parts of teaching, and leading the Sunday morning preschool jam band/danceathon chaos-fest at my church. I wish I could play the banjo.