Tag » Liberal Arts

Singing His Story
July 19, 2013

Singing His Story

OSU master’s student explores deep questions through music

When Joshua Rist walked into the music department’s audition room at Oregon State University in 2009, he aimed to impress the faculty with a composition combining the driving energy of rock ‘n’ roll with the emotional power of a classical symphony. “I had written this piano concerto that was exciting to me, and I thought […]


Of Texts and Textiles
May 24, 2013

Of Texts and Textiles

Tapestries loom large in Renaissance literature and modern metaphor

For the rich and the royal, arras hangings were status symbols. They depicted ancient stories of valor and virtue. Often designed to inspire viewers to be braver and better, they also were instruments of political propaganda and puffery.


Is There a Pill for That?
October 25, 2011

Is There a Pill for That?

How the Internet is changing the way Americans seek health care

Instead of blindly following “doctor’s orders,” patients can power up their iPad, Google their symptoms and join a chatroom for a different kind of “expert” opinion — that of ordinary people who have “been there, done that.” In this brave new world of “e-health,” there are bounteous benefits, says Kristin Barker, a sociologist at Oregon State University.


February 1, 2011

New Courses Explore Ocean Cultures

Centuries before modern science, humans traveled, exploited, contemplated and celebrated the seas as explorers, fishermen, whalers, merchants, poets, storytellers, musicians and philosophers. Two new courses sponsored by OSU’s Spring Creek Program and Environmental Leadership Institute will delve into this ancient human-ocean relationship. Inspired by the university’s upcoming symposium, Song for the Blue Ocean: Science, Art […]


Jon Lewis on The Godfather
November 15, 2010

Jon Lewis on The Godfather

OSU professor Jon Lewis reflects on how The Godfather came to be the blockbuster that boosted the sagging fortunes of Paramount Pictures.


A Feeling for Family
July 23, 2010

A Feeling for Family

Personal relationships drive Shelley Jordon's experiments with painting and animation

When Shelley Jordon was a little girl growing up in Brooklyn, she got in trouble for pulling her mother’s books off the shelves and drawing in the white spaces. Her need to create was so strong that she couldn’t resist, despite knowing her mom would be angry. Many years later as an adult reeling from […]


April 23, 2010

Who Pays More?

OSU economist B. Starr McMullen honored for her analysis

Nothing gets a conversation started like a proposal for a new tax or a user fee. OSU economist B. Starr McMullen discovered that when she gave public presentations about vehicle mileage fees. “This is the one topic I’ve done in my career where everyone has an opinion,” says McMullen, an expert in transportation economics. In […]


Where Chemistry Meets Compassion
April 23, 2010

Where Chemistry Meets Compassion

Examining the biological roots of empathy

You don’t think of voles as paragons of virtue. Yet one species of these drab mouse-like creatures is loyal to its mate for life, helps around the den, cuddles its young, and generally exhibits what humans would call “family values.” Meet the true-blue prairie vole. Its cousin the meadow vole, however, is a cad. Despite […]


April 23, 2010

The Saliva Diaries

You’ve heard of scout camp, church camp, even fat camp. But spit camp? That’s where scientists like Sarina Rodrigues go to study the practical applications of using saliva in the lab. A company called Salimetrics, a spin-off from Pennsylvania State University, offers workshops on using oral fluids as biological specimens for the behavioral, social and […]


February 22, 2010

Girl GIRL Boy Boy

Women’s stories reveal the dark side of an age-old tradition

At the “Shahargaon” community clinic near Delhi in 2008, Sunil Khanna worked with doctors and community workers to learn about women’s reproductive heath-care needs and their views on son preference. Khanna’s interviews helped him develop community-based intervention programs. (Photo: Lakshman Anand)


November 23, 2009

Leading Man

Jon Lewis explores the art and business of American film

Moreland Hall faces the picturesque Memorial Union in the heart of a historic college campus straight out of central casting. Rounding a corner on the way to film professor Jon Lewis’ modest office, you’d encounter a poster that makes it clear he thinks in Technicolor and speaks in terms just as vivid: “REAL SEX: The […]


A Bracero’s Story
October 22, 2009

A Bracero’s Story

Farm labor is a family affair

It started with Salvador, the patriarch. In 1959, he left his wife and children near Guadalajara, Mexico, to work the fields of California.


April 24, 2009

On the Trail of America’s First People

Along the Oregon coast, in Idaho’s Salmon River canyon and in Baja California, Loren Davis has searched for signs of North America’s earliest inhabitants. His work along the southern Oregon coast has pushed back documented occupation of this area by 1,500 years. Now, the OSU archaeologist will take a deeper look into the inland and […]


April 24, 2009

Hiding Man — The Art of Story

In 1948, Donald Barthelme was not quite 17 years old when he and a friend decided to hitchhike from Houston to Mexico City. They had a total of thirty dollars, and since both liked to write, they stopped at a drug store to pick up pencils and notebooks. They left a note for Barthelme’s parents […]


April 23, 2009

Stage Kiss

Romance, history and science converge in OSU theater production

Arianne Jacques pondered the graphs projected on the screen and listened intently to Professor Ken Krane’s explanations – Newton’s First Law of Physics, Chaos Theory. She filled her notebook with scribbles about thermodynamics, algorithms, fractals and cosines. But at “iterative process,” the 21-year-old junior exclaimed, “I don’t get it!” and tossed down her pen. She […]


February 24, 2009

Oregon’s Linguistic Landscape

In the year of statehood, Oregonians spoke many languages

What became the state of Oregon, an area stretching south from the Columbia Gorge to the Siskiyous, and east from the Pacific over the Coastal Range and Cascades to the High Desert, was a land of many languages, each one encoding information about the land and how to survive on it.


Was Nature Ever Wild?
January 24, 2009

Was Nature Ever Wild?

The human face in 
environmental restoration

When Spanish expeditions explored what is now the Santa Barbara, California, region in the 16th and 17th centuries, they found thriving native communities.


Musical Panache
April 30, 2008

Musical Panache

OSU steel drum ensemble taps into Caribbean rhythms

OSU percussionist Bob Brudvig is leading a five-person ensemble in a practice session on the second floor of historic Benton Hall. It may be winter in Corvallis, but the music makes you forget the drizzle outside. It evokes palm trees, Caribbean sun and pre-Lenten carnivals. Brudvig works the melody on his chrome-plated steel drum, tapping […]


Risk Versus Cost
January 23, 2008

Risk Versus Cost

The Politics of Safety

Why have years of expert warnings failed to mobilize citizens and their representatives to fully fund an overhaul of transportation infrastructure? Bill Lunch, chair of OSU’s Department of Political Science, has devoted decades to observing and analyzing Oregon’s political and public-policy scene. The professor, who is well-known to listeners of Oregon Public Broadcasting, recently shared […]


Found in Translation
July 23, 2007

Found in Translation

Words and language have always fascinated Michael Goodman. Growing up in Florence, Oregon, he liked tracing the roots of words that most of us take for granted, and at Oregon State University, he has minored in Japanese. But it is his affinity for computers that is propelling the senior in the School of Electrical Engineering […]


The Priority of Story
July 23, 2007

The Priority of Story

Faith and reason arise from narrative

In the modern university, the academic and spiritual quests for understanding appear to be in conflict: the rational versus the mystical. The natural versus the supernatural. The intellectual versus the intuitive. Mind versus heart. But these are false dichotomies, according to OSU English Professor Chris Anderson. The quest of the scholar, he argues, is the […]


April 27, 2007

Teaching Evolution – audio

Paul Farber talks about Charles Darwin’s personal quest to understand life’s most fundamental principles. A rare specimen in the soup Marry? Or not marry? The Malthus analogy


April 1, 2007

Young Immigrants

Growing up in a strange land

Coming of age in a new land is an American story. Children who bridge two cultures — their parents’ homeland and their adopted country — struggle to find a transnational identity and to succeed. In a child’s mind, memories of friends, familiar play places and sounds compete with a strange world and unintelligible language. In […]


April 1, 2007

Edith Molina: In Her Own Words

Growing up in a strange land

As an OSU student, Edith Quiroz Molina (Class of 2002) participated in the research that led to the “One and a Half Generation Mexican Youth in Oregon” report. Now living in Troutdale, Oregon, she is the chief executive officer of BilingualHire, a Chicano consulting business in Portland, with two other OSU alumni. She also works […]


Teaching Evolution
April 1, 2007

Teaching Evolution

Central to science

Most textbooks treat evolution as “just another topic” rather than as the overarching theory that ties life systems together, says OSU Distinguished Professor Paul Farber. “Evolution, which synthesizes the disparate disciplines of the life sciences, rarely emerges in biology courses or texts as the unifying thread that makes sense of all the material,” Farber wrote […]


April 1, 2007

Bibliotherapy in Kenya

It was at the bedside of a dying relative that the idea for Daphne Kagume’s doctoral dissertation took hold. As her beloved uncle succumbed to AIDS in a Kenya hospital, the OSU graduate student witnessed the heartbreaking isolation that so often afflicts AIDS patients in her native country. She resolved to help. With guidance from […]


April 23, 2006

Common Ground: Gardens and Scholarship

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a cultivator and connoisseur of pears. His protégé Henry David Thoreau grew beans on the shores of Walden Pond.


20/20 Vision
April 23, 2006

20/20 Vision

From a cabin deep in the Oregon Coast Range to the shoulders of a Cascade volcano, the Spring Creek Project asks a difficult question: "How should we understand our relationship to nature?"

The Spring Creek Project takes us into the wild through writing workshops, overland treks and public programs. The goal: to explore our relationship to nature.


April 23, 2006

Ecological Reflections

Science blends with art and writing in Spring Creek’s Long-Term Ecological Reflections (LTER) project at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. In 2004, Robert Michael Pyle, nature writer and scientist, served as the first LTER writer-in-residence. He focused on a 200-year-long log decomposition study. Its purpose: to understand forest cycles of growth and decay. Other participating […]


April 23, 2006

Finding Today

By Steven R. Radosevich Excerpted from Good Wood: Growth, Loss, and Renewal Oregon State University Press, 2005 Steven Radosevich is a professor and graduate program coordinator in the Department of Forest Science at OSU. His research interests focus on plant ecology, sustainable forestry and agriculture, and the impacts and ethics of human land uses. He […]