Alyssa J. O'Brien, Ph.D.
Stanford University

Teaching in Wallenberg Hall




Research and Publications


C.V. and Contact


Alyssa J. O'Brien, Ph.D. is a lecturer at Stanford University, where she teaches writing, public speaking, and cross-cultural communication in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric. She also teaches graduate students in the Public Policy Program, and she has been a frequent instructor of communication courses in Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program.  Alyssa has also taught creative writing for many years, including at Stanford Sierra Camp's “Write Retreat” on Fallen Leaf Lake, as well as in the Stanford Continuing Studies Program’s Online Writing Studio, at the University of Rochester, at the Eastman School of Music, and at Cornell University.


Since arriving at Stanford in 2001, Alyssa has written or co-authored multiple textbooks on writing as well as numerous articles in both scholarly collections and peer-reviewed journals.  In addition, a year after the death of her mother in 2009, Alyssa edited and published a collection of Joan O'Brien's writing, entitled The Quilt of My Life, and she helped create Joan's accompanying website. Alyssa believes in the power of writing of all kinds, and she has contributed articles her own community paper, Coastviews Magazines, as a way to give back; selections are available here.


Alyssa has enjoyed presenting at conferences since her graduate work began in 1995. She has also been an invited speaker in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East on subjects such as global learning, communication for leadership, visual rhetoric, educational practices, and “mapping a change in writing.” Her most recent presentations have been in Russia, Sweden, France, and Egypt.


Since 2006, Alyssa has directed the Cross-Cultural Rhetoric project (CCR), a research and teaching endeavor originally funded by the Wallenberg Global Learning Network.  CCR has connected students in universities across five continents through video-conference technology and blogs.


Alyssa won the Phi Beta Kappa Outstanding Teaching Award in 2006, and what she enjoys most is helping people discover their voices in writing of all kinds.