"Margy's keen eye always goes straight to the core of my argument, and she then proceeds to ask me the tough questions that I really need." (TT humanities professor)
"I was impressed with Margy's ability to quickly hone in on my key concerns and provide solutions." (STEM doctoral student)
"Margy has a remarkable knack for helping writers identify conceptual problems that cause basic hangups." (Graduate School Dean)
"She gave me a fresh perspective and reinvigorated my writing." (TT humanities professor)
"A year after working with Margy, I can tell that my writing is much more organized." (Science post-doc)
Dissertation Institute Evaluations
Twice per year, Margy spends a week at North Carolina State University serving as the official Writing Consultant. Margy meets with each participant via Skype for a pre-consultation, then meets with each participant 2 - 3 times during the Institute itself.
- Read about the first Dissertation Institute (May 2014) here.
- Read about the second Dissertation Institute (December 2014) here.
- Read about the third Dissertation Institute (May 2015) here.
- Read about the fourth Dissertation Institute (December 2015) here.
Read about participants' experiences with Margy below.
"She is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Easy to talk to and professional, without being intimidating."
"Margy was a great listener, willing to explore my topic in depth and also provide great insight on additional approaches to make my work that much more compelling."
"My experience with Dr. Thomas has been incredible. We made the most of our scheduled time and her insight on academic writing was very helpful. She helped me with the parts I was struggling with and helped me restructure my dissertation to make more sense/flow."
"Margy was very helpful. I appreciated her insights, her ability to grasp my project and offer practical solutions to my questions. I only wish I could have had more time with her!"
"I was impressed that Margy could keep up with the details of my dissertation especially since she was meeting with so many others. I also appreciated the concrete resources and suggested such as the synthesis map and type of claims."
"I was impressed with Margy's ability to quickly hone in on my key concerns and to provide solutions. My dissertation is better organized than before the institute, and I believe that the techniques and advice offered by Margy will make the rest of my dissertation writing process significantly easier."
"Margy's expertise was exceptional. She is very knowledgeable about writing dissertations and organization and she gave me some powerful advice that changed how I organized my writing. This was definitely the most beneficial part of the institute."
"She is very helpful. While she is helping, she is also teaching. Maybe this is not her intention, but it helped me a lot to understand how I can organize my paper."
"Margy was essential in helping me craft a writing strategy, and making sense of the existing content that needed to be incorporated. I wish we had more time with her!"
"My time with Margy was productive; she caught on to what I was trying to do quickly and was able to provide direct and specific feedback for structuring sections; she asked questions that helped me think through problems and unresolved issues/questions."
"She is extremely helpful. She has amazing skills and is not afraid to use them."
"Margy was fantastic. She had a very good method to help me through the vagaries and ambiguous swill that my dissertation had been immersed in. Her enumerated lists, while at first unsettling, were just what I needed."
"Margy is an excellent writing coach. That's why, when we started Baylor's Graduate Writing Center, we selected her as our first Writing Consultant. She offers relevant and valuable feedback, is able to work with a wide variety of projects and authors, and has a remarkable knack for helping writers identify conceptual problems that cause basic hangups. During her time with us, she worked with students on projects ranging from dissertations to grant proposals. All clients said they'd recommend Margy's services to a friend."
Larry Lyon, Ph.D., Dean of Baylor Graduate School
"I have always been grateful for Margy's help with my essays. When she reads my work, she doesn't just fix grammar and call it good; her keen eye always goes straight to the core of my argument, and she then proceeds to ask me the tough questions that I really need. Conversations with Margy lead to a sharper thesis, clearer organization, and more lucid prose."
J.B., Ph.D., currently a TT assistant prof. (consultation)
"As an aficionado of the arts, I always appreciate a performance that strives for and achieves a high level of perfection. I was privileged to witness that same standard of excellence in my experience with Margy. I found Margy very generous with her close reading and critical commentary of my text prior to our meeting. However, it was in our face-to-face meeting that she really shone. The subject of my article was complex and my own ideas about it not yet fully formed; nevertheless, her questions elicited responses that not only clarified my own thoughts but provided the basis for a more fully developed structure as well. Margy was able to understand quickly and in detail a complex subject matter that was foreign to her, simultaneously listen, process and type notes on my responses to her questions, develop an outline for the article that would effectively hook the reader from beginning to end, and highlight the key areas to concentrate on in the exposition of my theme to enable my article to stand out from the crowd. All in all, a beautiful performance. I highly recommend Margy as the editor for your project."
K.G., Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill (consultation)
"After working for so long on my dissertation, I got buried in my own writing and couldn't see it clearly anymore. Margy helped me see holes in my argument, showed me where to clarify my sentences, and pointed out where I needed to define my terms more precisely. She gave me a fresh perspective and reinvigorated my writing. After her critique and our conversations, I was better able, in the future, to spot problems and to think through some of the larger questions of my dissertation. She even asked many of the same questions my committee asked in my defense, so I felt much more prepared to address them. Lastly, even though I received my PhD in English, I struggle to edit my own writing, and Margy gave me helpful stylistic tips and caught several typos and other embarrassing problems in my work."
L. Davis, Ph.D., now TT assistant prof. (consultation, line editing)
"My work with Margy Thomas was invaluable in the process of shaping my dissertation project. When I first met with her, I had a jumble of ideas that swirled around in the eddying currents of my own chaotic thought processes; however, Margy was able to sit me down and think through what is doable within the scope of a dissertation. Her clear questions and patience gave me insight on what someone who is unfamiliar with my project would think, thus giving me a clear audience for whom to write. Working with someone who has gone through the process herself and done extremely well allowed me to tame the dissertation dragon!"
Nathan K., Ph.D., currently a TT assistant prof. (consultation)
Messages from Clients
"I just wanted to send a note to say how grateful I am to have you on my side. Your help, kindness, and patience have been so amazing. Please know you have made a difference. If the measure of a life is the lives we touch, you have lived beyond measure!"
C.L., doctoral student (coaching, consultation, editing)
"You’re a genius—you have such a talent for reorganizing my thoughts and flavoring sentences with my voice."
J.W., tenure-track professor (developmental editing)
"You're an excellent editor, and your suggestions are making me a better writer and thinker."
Recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (line editing)
"I liked how Margy was active in asking me questions relevant to my discipline so that she could truly understand my writing and give me the best advice for improvement. Today, a year after working with Margy, I can tell that my writing is much more organized. I am much more thoughtful about my sentences, and I spend more time thinking of the worth of each sentence in contributing to my overall meaning. She did a great job in helping me, and I'm sure many others as well."
Chelsea B., predoctoral intern (consultation)
"I am delighted to recommend Margy Thomas as an excellent writing consultant. Not only does her warm and energetic personality make her fun to work with, but she also has the rare talent of expressing complex ideas in simple language and making overwhelming projects manageable. My sessions with her led to several successful conference presentations. Working with Margy contributed significantly to my development as a writer."
Ingrid P., doctoral student (consultation)
"My writing improved after just one session with Margy! We met to discuss one chapter of my thesis, but the suggestions she made to improve that one chapter were applicable to my entire thesis. In particular, Margy helped me to improve my paragraph structure, which made my argument more convincing. It was great to get such friendly, helpful advice from a writing professional."
Rachel S., master's student (consultation)
"Margy is a very attentive reader, and she knows academic writing. She's good at helping her clients flesh out the 'big picture' thesis of the writing project and then connect that thesis to all the specific claims made within individual paragraphs. We worked a lot on the first few pages of my article, which helped me establish a solid framework for the argument. I ended up with a revise-and-resubmit from a reputable journal and was invited to present my work on a panel with several of the top scholars in my field."
Rachel P., doctoral student (consultation)