Our Team

Devon Mair (Marketing Assistant)
    Marketing Assistant   Devon Mair is a Business student at Athabasca University and Social Media Marketing Assistant at PFAU, who is passionate about marketing and art. Devon has an eclectic educational and career background, previously studying Criminology and working for the Calgary Police Service, as well as serving as a Teaching Assistant in the school system. She eventually combined these two skill sets to help to support the Calgary Police Museum by facilitating public educational programming and improving their community outreach via social media. After a winding journey, Devon has found the perfect place where she can apply her passion for helping others and creative expression - marketing. Devon is a people-person, community-minded spirit, and a social connector. We are very grateful to have her here at PFAU creating social media posts, connecting with our community, and producing our biweekly podcast series. She is an enthusiastic creative and compassionate thinker and maker of all things beautiful. In her spare time she loves to explore the city of Calgary for cool hang outs, take photographs, and cuddle up with her kitty cat.
Adam Kostrich (History)
    Academic Editor & Coach   Adam graduated with an MA in History from the University of Victoria in 2018. He has worked on several community publishing and educational initiatives in the Ottawa area and was a member of Landscapes of Injustice, a nationally funded historical research project. He also won a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in 2016. Adam has been lucky to work with students, writers, and researchers from all over the world since graduating and has helped clients of all ages win grants, gain entrance to university, and get their theses, dissertations, and journal articles published. He also writes and edits fiction and delights in helping clients unlock their creative potential regardless of the piece they are working on. Adam moved from Ontario to British Columbia in 2015 and enjoys the conifers, mountains, and Pacific coast so much he plans to stay there. He often reads or works on his own writing projects when not working, but he also finds time to play sports and board games, go on hikes and travel around BC, and spoil his cats. 
Davood Gozli (Psychology)
    Writing Coach Davood has over seven years of university-level teaching experience. He completed his BSc at Trent University and his PhD in Psychology at University of Toronto. He has published a book and dozens of peer-reviewed academic articles—including several articles co-authored with students—and has helped hundreds of students feel more comfortable about writing. Besides academic and professional writing, he believes in the power of writing as a personal practice that can excite, enliven, and empower us. He has methods for overcoming procrastination, perfectionism, and other psychological obstacles. He also believes in the importance of student-mentor relationship as a resource and a locus of inspiration. Davood was born in Iran, and he has lived for extended periods of time in Turkey, Malaysia, Austria, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Macao. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife and their 10-year-old cat, Bambi. 
Natalia Hunter (English)
    Academic Editor & Coach   Natalia Hunter recently graduated with an MA in English from Wilfrid Laurier University, where she also completed her BA in English with a minor in Medieval Studies. While pursuing graduate studies, Natalia was a teaching assistant for the Laurier English department, leading weekly tutorial groups and working closely with students to assist with their understanding of the course material and help with their essay writing and critical thinking skills. Born in Surrey, England, Natalia has travelled across several countries in Europe, including France, Spain, and Italy, and enjoyed trips to British Columbia and Alberta before moving to Ontario in 2014. Natalia has a deep appreciation for storytelling and the art of writing, and specializes in helping students with English Literature, Film Studies, and History, with a focus on improving essay structure, clarity, and language choice. Outside of work, Natalia enjoys tackling her ever-growing reading list, listening to podcasts on long walks, and discovering new books, shows, and films to analyze and discuss with friends.
Amanda Christie (Gender Studies)
    Academic Editor & Coach   Amanda Christie comes from a family of teachers and professors, and graduated with a BAH in Global Development Studies and Gender Studies from Queen's University in 2012. Since then she has worked on research projects with the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, Newcomer Women's Services, and Singing Out. She also coordinated a youth drop-in centre for several years, which allowed her to present at several conferences throughout Ontario. Amanda has worked with youth and adults, editing essays and assignments, polishing university applications, and assisting with English language skills. From a small town in Ontario, Amanda has enjoyed travelling from a young age, having been throughout Canada and the United States, spending time in the UK and France, visiting Turkey and Morocco, and participating in an exchange trip with the Mushuau Innu First Nation in Natuashish, Newfoundland and Labrador. The place she's enjoyed living in the most was Cape Breton Island. When she isn't working or volunteering, Amanda enjoys gardening, cooking, reading, and playing board games. 
Yiwei Jin (Political Science & Law)
    Writing & Grad School Admissions Coach Yiwei Jin recently graduated with an MA in Political Science from the University of Toronto, specializing in Asian studies and comparative politics. His graduate research involved original field research in Taiwan funded through a grant competition. Since then he has published research on the Taiwan Gazette and presented his findings at UofT’s Asian Institute and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. He is currently working for the Law and Design CoLab, a nonprofit focused on amplifying the efforts of legal advocacy through design methods, as well as interning at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. He will be starting Law School at the University of Toronto in Fall 2020. Born in Guangzhou, China, Yiwei is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Korean, in addition to English. Before attending graduate school, he wrote for a magazine in China and taught English in South Korea. He loves helping people get ahead and cares a great deal about his students. His teaching style revolves around identifying issue areas and building capacity, whether it is in writing skills, research know-how, analytical reasoning, or subject-specific understanding. Outside of academic work, Yiwei enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and wandering down interesting paths outside.
Daina Sparling (Editor)
Academic Editor
Lisa Pfau
    CEO, Founder, and Senior Coach Lisa grew up in rural Alberta, Canada debating politics with her father, writing articles for the school newspaper, and running the students’ council. Determined to make a difference in the world, she headed off to the University of Alberta to study Political Science and History. Over the course of her degree, she became progressively interested in China and eventually traveled abroad in 2004 to teach English and study Chinese. This time abroad opened her eyes to her passion and talent for teaching others. She returned to Canada to pursue her Master of Arts at the University of Toronto, where she assisted Professors in teaching Political Science courses and continued to tutor students on the side, not only in the Social Sciences and Humanities, but her true passions – writing and critical thinking. After graduating in 2007, she worked in public policy and research, including: as a political intern at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing and a Research Coordinator at the University of Toronto. These experiences provided Lisa with the knowledge and networks to help her clients transition from academic to professional life. She published her first short story in 2010 and currently enjoys teaching Creative Writing and Research Essay Writing courses and workshops at PFAU: Academic Writing and upon invitation to other educational institutions, such as the University of Toronto. Over the past 15 years, she has mentored over 100 clients in reading/writing fundamentals, critical thinking, research proficiency, organizational skills, and academic/career goal setting, as well as, research papers, scholarship proposals, and grad/professional school applications. Finally, she has edited numerous graduate theses, dissertations, and publications in all fields - from engineering to literature. Lisa enjoys the continuous learning and refinement involved in the writing process. Mostly though, she enjoys connecting with her students, and helping them to reach their full potential on the page, and in life.  
Christie Wong (Creative Writing)
Creative Writing Instructor and Coach