Writers

Mack Liederman (Founder & Editor-in-Chief) is a rising senior at Vassar who likes to think he knows everything. But he doesn’t. For the topics he actually knows a little something about, he likes to package that knowledge into neat articles for you to read here. He’ll tell you about the fascinating nexus of sports and culture, basketball x’s and o’s, the inner depths of the internet, music, and any wisdom scrounged up from his political science major. For topics he knows nothing about, he has enlisted the help of his friends at The Miscellany News, and is excited to bring them all together for this new project—The Brewer’s Table. Mack loves em dashes, two-point jump shots, penny boarding, his evil cat, quality journalism and writing right up to the deadline.

Jessica Moss (Senior Editor) is a rising junior at Vassar who has waffled between pursuing political science, history, philosophy, psychology, International Studies and Russian Studies majors before ultimately deciding her original instinct is probably the most closely aligned with what she hopes to do with herself in the future. Far more important than these academic trifles, however, is her role as Senior Editor for The Miscellany News and The Brewer’s Table. When she isn’t worrying about whether or not she’s making a terrible mistake, or whether or not her phrasing is overly austere, she is busy caffeinating before worrying about it some more. She enjoys lists, playing classical music, long sentences with archaic language, spending Sunday mornings with The New York Times, intellectual adventures and fluffy, yet sinister, cats. This summer, she’s hoping to insert herself into national debates truly nobody asked her opinion about, with the concluding remark: “but that’s none of my business.”

Frankie Knuckles (Senior Editor) is a rising junior at Vassar, pursuing a double major in English and philosophy and a correlate in Women’s Studies, all while serving as a Senior Editor for The Miscellany News. Frankie runs the Misc’s advice column, Quite Frankly, and enjoys sharing personal woes, as well as philosophical approaches to everyday struggles, so that others can learn from them (or laugh at them). Frankie’s summer base is Boston, where days are filled with an editorial internship in the book publishing industry, wanderings around historical sites and writing without deadlines for once. Inspiration comes from many places, including Lorrie Moore, Sara Ahmed, Rainbow Rowell and many memoirists with varying degrees of popularity who share their unique lived experiences, including the likes of George Watsky, Tan France and Michelle Obama. When not writing for the Misc or its affiliate websites, Frankie can be found drinking entirely too much coffee or knitting seasonally inappropriate garments.

Talya Phelps (Table Writer) graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a film major and a correlate in educational studies. During her four years at The Miscellany News, she served in various roles, including Editor-in-Chief, Contributing Editor and Design Editor, and relished long nights in the newsroom haggling over drop caps and apostrophes. She is now living in New York City and pursuing a career in publishing. Talya enjoys writing cultural commentary, specifically musings on the milieu of Generation Z and the way in which 20-somethings’ distinct frame of reference interprets contemporary books, music and television. Her writerly inspirations include Jia Tolentino, Carrie Battan, Jonathan Franzen and David Sedaris.

Jesser Horowitz (Table Writer) graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a history major, and is spending his summer working in Westchester as he prepares to begin graduate school at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Jesse likes to think he’s an expert on everything, but thrives on personal narratives about disability rights, heavily researched think pieces about foreign policy and bizarre takedowns of random, mostly irrelevant D-list celebrities like David Wolfe and Dr. Phil. Jesse likes to experiment and change up writing styles, but mostly adapts for the material he’s writing about; he often uses quotes to tell the story for him, while interspersing commentary. When not obsessively writing Misc articles, Jesse likes to obsessively watch movies, read books, sing and perform stand-up.

Abby Tarwater (Table Writer) is a chronically late-for-everything rising junior from Pittsburgh, PA. She is an English major who also works at Vassar’s Writing Center and as Arts Editor for The Miscellany News, which means she spends nearly all of her time overanalyzing others’ writing and worrying about senseless grammar rules. Abby primarily enjoys writing about music, but also derives inspiration from her passions for movies, literature, television, environmentalism and social justice. She also likes tarot cards, astrology, semicolons, tea and chocolate.

Jonas Trostle (Table Writer) is a rising junior who is pursuing a major in economics with minors in math and Greek and Roman Studies. He’s currently back home in the middle of the Minnesotan woods, surrounded by his family and working off the chronic sleep debt he’s developed over the past two years. When he is back amongst civilization, Jonas serves as treasurer for Vassar’s Mock Trial team, as well as being the Opinions Editor for The Miscellany News. His writing focuses on the intersection of law and policy, and how simple decisions can have long-term and unforeseen consequences. When he’s not writing, he spends his time basking in the sun, caring for his potted plant (Andi) or listening to ’90s industrial rock.

Duncan Aronson (Table Writer) is a rising junior at Vassar, double majoring in education and political science. This summer, he is participating in an education fellowship in New York City. Teaching, public policy and law are a few life trajectories he has sketched out for himself. It is unfortunate that he could not envision a future based on his love for rubbing his chin and tilting his head in skepticism, leaving unwieldy editing comments, being a perpetual student, playing basketball and volleyball and being a goofball. Duncan has also enjoyed writing and editing for The Miscellany News’ Features section. His articles have given space to Vassar’s professors and numerous student organizations, representing a broad range of interests, from identity to climate change to Quidditch. Narrative-driven pieces are the newest weapons he is trying to add to his personal arsenal.

Taylor Stewart (Table Writer) is a rising sophomore from Tokyo, Japan, who tells people she is an English major. She is also an Assistant Arts Editor for The Miscellany News. This summer she is working as an editorial intern for a culture magazine in Tokyo, teaching English and trying every curry in the city. She believes Mort Garson’s “Plantasia,” an album recorded for the listening pleasure of plants, is one of the best records of all time. She likes drawing, but likes looking at (and writing about) others’ drawings far more. Inspirations include Italo Calvino, Chowder and Garo Magazine.

Dean Kopitsky (Table Writer) is a rising sophomore at Vassar, meaning he doesn’t know what he’s majoring in, but American Studies is what he tells concerned inquirers. At TheMiscellany News, he finagled (favorite word) his way into a position as Assistant Arts Editor next year, and also occasionally writes for the Sports section. While he wants to pursue a career in journalism, his prospects are dim, as he only writes when “inspired.” Outside of school, he appreciates a good trail run followed by mowing down enough hash browns and chocolate chip waffles to sedate a calf. Mostly, his thoughts oscillate between the impending doom of climate change and whether the Atlanta Hawks’ plan to rebuild in the mold of the Golden State Warriors will succeed. These thoughts are associated with his limited power to affect the outcome of either.

Tamika Whitenack (Table Writer) is a rising junior at Vassar College majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus on food systems. She is always happy to discuss big issues facing her generation, such as sustainable agriculture and food security, but she is also prone to effusive outbursts on her favorite obscure flavor combinations and her strong love for vegetables. Tamika enjoys writing about her culinary adventures with excessive use of sensory adjectives, as well as situating our food experiences in the broader context of environmental and social concerns. When she is not cooking, eating, or obsessively poring over cookbooks and food blogs, she enjoys running, hiking and quality conversations with friends and family.

Hikari Tanaka (Table Writer) is a rising junior double majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior and English who tries to stay on top of a thousand different projects while simultaneously procrastinating on YouTube. She likes playing music as well as dabbling in mashing songs, and she finds sounds, as a general concept, to be highly weird. In addition to music, she is interested in all science (including pseudoscience) and stories about people and their impossible lives. She hopes that she can somehow combine her love of science with writing. Inspiration is drawn from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Erin Morgenstern and how the 3 p.m. sky looks down dormitory hallways. This summer, she is working in a neuroscience lab for a research program at Rutgers University.

Abram Gregory (Table Writer) is a rising junior at Vassar College pursuing a double major in philosophy and English, with potential correlates in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Irish language. When he isn’t busy juggling three widely varying essays at once, he writes for The Miscellany News’ Opinions section. Particular areas of interest include applying continental philosophy and themes of medieval literature to everyday life and the proliferation of the Irish language in Ireland. When he is not studying, Abram competes for Vassar’s varsity fencing team, and aspires to participate in a North American Cup or World Cup before graduating. He is also a full-time “gym bro,” working at Vassar’s Athletics and Fitness Center both during the school year and over the summer. Abram draws inspiration largely from Stephen King, G.W.F. Hegel and J.R.R. Tolkien.