college of liberal arts

OSU Forensics takes medals at recent tournament

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s forensics team attended the 3rd Annual Iverson/Vickrey Memorial Tournament at Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., last weekend.

The tournament, honoring the memory of two inspiring Northwest coaches, featured 11 schools from region, including Boise State University, Lewis and Clark College, and Pacific University in Forest Grove.

The team started off with wins in debate. Mike Springer of Rockaway Beach took a gold medal in novice debate. Brytann Busick of Ferndale, Calif., received a silver medal in novice debate and ranked as fourth best speaker. Cody Connolly of Salem was recognized as third best speaker in open international public debate.

The team also placed well in individual events. Springer received a first place in open dramatic interpretation, second in open program oral interpretation, and fourth in open prose interpretation. Busick received third place in novice impromptu speaking. Connolly took fourth in open impromptu speaking. Saul Boulanger of Corvallis took fourth place in open persuasive speaking and fourth in novice impromptu speaking.

Celebrating its 120th season, OSU Forensics is one of the oldest clubs on campus. The team is open to all students in good academic standing regardless of experience or academic background.

Media Contact: 

Mark Porrovecchio, 541-737-8230

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OSU Forensics

Elena Passarello to read from “Let Me Clear My Throat” on Nov. 30

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Acclaimed essayist and new Oregon State University faculty member Elena Passarello will read from her debut collection, “Let Me Clear My Throat,” on Friday, Nov. 30.

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Journey Room on the OSU campus. A book signing will follow.

From Farinelli, the 18-century castrato who brought down opera houses with his high C, to the recording of “Johnny B. Goode” affixed to the Voyager spacecraft, “Let Me Clear My Throat” explores unforgettable moments in the history of the human voice. It is published by Sarabande Books.

John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of “Pulphead,” said “The beauty of Elena Passarello’s voice is that it's so confidently its own. She’s not selling her subjects. She writes with the kind of calm assumption of interest you make in a good friend (if a good listener) over dinner.”

Passarello’s writing on music, performance, pop culture, and the natural world has appeared in Slate, Creative Nonfiction, the Normal School, Ninth Letter, the Iowa Review, and the 2012 music writing anthology “Pop When the World Falls Apart.”

For the past decade, Passarello has spent time acting, teaching, and claimed first prize in the 2011 Stella! Shout Out screaming contest in New Orleans.

A graduate of the writing programs at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Iowa, Passarello was born in Charleston, S.C., and grew up in a small town in Georgia called Snellville (official motto: “Where Everybody’s Somebody”). She now lives in Corvallis, where she is an assistant professor of English.

The Literary Northwest Series is co-sponsored by the OSU Beaver Store and the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, and celebrates regional literary achievement.

Media Contact: 

Heather Brown, 719-232-1485

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Elena Passarello

Passarello cover-Large

Acclaimed essayist and new Oregon State University faculty member Elena Passarello will read from her debut collection, “Let Me Clear My Throat” on Friday, Nov. 30.

OSU Forensics competes in McMinnville

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s forensics team attended the 82nd Annual Mahaffey Memorial Forensics Tournament at Linfield College in McMinnville recently.

The tournament, the second designated of the Northwest Forensics Conference season, featured 30 schools from the Northwest and beyond, including Boise State University, Southwest Baptist University, and Simon Fraser University.

“The Mahaffey tournament is a highly competitive tradition in the Northwest,” said Mark Porrovecchio, director of the team.  “It was nice to see talented first-year students and spirited returnees giving it their all while helping each other.”

Evan Steele of Concord, Calif., competing at his first collegiate tournament, placed 5th in Junior Impromptu Speaking.

Cody Connolly of Salem was a semi-finalist in Open International Public Debate. Steele, in a field of over 20 competitors, was next out as an octo-finalist in Junior International Public Debate as well.

The travel squad was rounded out by Brytann Busick of Ferndale, Calif., and Brittany Williams of Klamath Falls. The team was coached by graduate assistant Kori Thornburg of Kennewick, Wash., and assisted by team alumni Kyle Bidwell of Sumner, Wash.

Celebrating its 120th season, OSU Forensics is one of the oldest clubs on campus. The team is open to all students in good academic standing regardless of experience or academic background.

Media Contact: 

Mark Porrovecchio, 541-737-8230

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OSU Forensics Team

OSU Theatre kicks off new season with epic Greek tragedy

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Theatre will kick off its 2012-13 season with Sophocles’ epic tragedy, “Oedipus, The King.” Performances will take place Nov. 8-10 and Nov. 15-16 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. Nov. 18, on the main stage of OSU’s Withycombe Hall, 30th and Campus Way.

Director and scenic designer George Caldwell sets this tragedy in a brutal ancient world of violence and danger. Caught in the crosshairs of fate, prophesy, and personal honor, noble King Oedipus resolves to save his adopted city of Thebes at the cost of uncovering his own cursed past.

The cast features OSU students Michael Beaton as Oedipus, Chris Peterman as Creon, Madeline Katz as Jocasta, Mike Turner as Tireseas the blind prophet, Andrew Atkinson as the high priest, Kevin Jones as the chorus leader, and Alex Weingarten as the messenger. The large chorus is also made up of OSU students. Sean Marie French-Byrne, a high school student from Albany, will appear as Antigone and Mickey Truex will appear as Ismene.

Tickets are on sale starting Nov. 5. Prices are $12 for general audiences, $10 for seniors, $8 for students/youth, and $5 for OSU students. Tickets for “Oedipus, The King” are available by calling the OSU Theatre box office at 541-737-2784 or online at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre

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"Oedipus, The King" poster

International Film Festival shows in Corvallis Nov. 5-9

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The fourth International Film Festival, showcasing a diverse array of movies from international cultures, will be held Nov. 5-9 in Corvallis.

The International Film Festival is organized by Oregon State University’s School of Language, Culture, and Society. An OSU faculty member will introduce each film. Additional sponsors and information about the festival can be found here: http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/german/

Admission is free and open to the public. All screenings are held at 6 p.m. at the Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St. in Corvallis.

OSU faculty member Sebastian Heiduschke strongly encourages patrons to arrive early to get tickets. Reservations are not available and past films have filled up quickly. Tickets are available 15 minutes before show times.

Here is the schedule of film screenings:

  • Monday, Nov. 5: “My Afternoons with Margueritte,” France, 2010. Gérard Depardieu stars as a nearly illiterate man in his 50s who befriends an older, highly intelligent woman.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 6: “Barbara,” Germany, 2012. This drama has been chosen as the German entry for possible nomination in the Academy Awards’ best foreign language film category. It follows a doctor (Nina Hoss) who relearns the meaning of trust and self-sacrifice.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7: “Kamome Diner,” Japan, 2006. This comedy, written and directed by Japanese director Naoko Ogigami, is set in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. It follows a Japanese woman who sets up a diner serving Japanese food – and the friends she makes in the process.
  • Thursday, Nov. 8: “Kora,” China/Taiwan, 2010. A Taiwanese youth cycles to Tibet to fulfill his brother's final wish, experiencing encounters and farewells, struggles with nature, and himself.
  • Friday, Nov. 9: “Cell 211,” Spain, 2009. A newly hired prison officer (Alberto Ammann) finds himself in the midst of a prison riot after an unforeseen turn of events. With the inmates around him unaware of his position, he must pretend to be a prisoner to survive among the inmates.
Media Contact: 

Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957

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A full set of high resolution images from these films can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/sets/72157631851746780/

Environmental historian to speak on wildland fires on Nov. 1

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Stephen J. Pyne, an environmental historian known for his work on wildland fires, will speak at Oregon State University on Thursday, Nov. 1, beginning at 7 p.m., in Gilfillan Auditorium.

Pyne will speak on “The Language of Wildland Fire.” His talk will be the keynote address for a symposium, “Words on Fire: Toward a New Language of Wildland Fire,” which will explore the contributions that insights from the humanities might make to the way society views wild fires.

Pyne is one of the world’s foremost experts on the history and management of fire. Since the publication of his second book, “Fire in America” in 1982, he has written at least a dozen other books on wildfire. He is a professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. His website is http://www.stephenpyne.com/

The symposium is on Friday, Nov. 2, with a series of presentations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Richardson Hall Room 107 on the OSU campus. See the Spring Creek website for the full schedule and more information about the speakers: http://springcreek.oregonstate.edu/

The events are sponsored by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word; OSU’s School of History, Philosophy, and Religion; OSU’s College of Forestry; Joint Fire Sciences Program; and the Northwest Fire Science Consortium.

All the events are free and open to the public. Space for the Friday symposium is limited. The organizers request an RSVP to Charles.Goodrich@oregonstate.edu


Media Contact: 

Charles Goodrich, 541-737-6198

Free symposium set Nov. 1-2 on women’s roles and political impact

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A symposium called “Woman Citizen: Past, Present, and Future” will bring scholars, elected officials, activists, and community organizers to Oregon State University Nov. 1-2 to explore women’s roles as citizens and their political impact in local, state, and national arenas.

The symposium is part of OSU’s commemoration of the centennial anniversary of woman suffrage in Oregon, 1912-2012. The free public event will be held in the Construction & Engineering Hall of OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center.

“The symposium is intended to promote education and discussion among students, staff, faculty, and community members and to encourage civic and political engagement,” said Marisa Chappell, associate professor of history at OSU and the organizer of the symposium.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 1 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2. Highlights include a screening of the new documentary, “The Suffragists,” followed by a discussion with the film’s director at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 1; followed by a roundtable discussion on how women are changing communities at 2 p.m. (also Nov. 1).

Susan Scanlan, chairwoman of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, will give a talk on “The Hand That Rocks the Ballot Box: Women Vote” at 9:15 a.m., Nov. 1. Stephanie Coontz, professor of history at The Evergreen State College and director of public education at the Council on Contemporary Families, will speak on “Is the Personal Still Political? Women’s Private and Public Lives,” at 12:30 p.m. the same day.

On Nov. 2, a roundtable on women in government will begin at 10 a.m. featuring former Gov. Barbara Roberts, Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning, Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, and Delores Pigsley, chairwoman of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. Roberts will also give a keynote address on “Celebrating Our History, Making New History,” at noon.

Participants will be able to view the Century of Action exhibit, which chronicles the suffrage movement in Oregon. There will also be a poster session featuring research projects by OSU graduate students.

The Woman Citizen Symposium is supported by a number of sponsors. For more details on the event, go to http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/womancitizen/

Media Contact: 

Marisa Chappell, 541-737-1266

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1035 Oregon Delegate (2)

Women suffrage, 1912. Photo: Library of Congress.


Gov. Barbara Roberts

Sen Winters 2011

Sen. Jackie Winters


Rep. Sara Gelsner

Public conference on religion and politics of China held Oct. 26-27

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Some of the top experts in religious issues in China will gather at Oregon State University for a two-day conference on topics ranging from Buddhist nuns in Taiwan to the re-emergence of underground churches in Shanghai.

The free, public conference is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27, at OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center.

Designed as a series of panel discussions, the conference will explore the link between religion and politics in modern-day China. Conference organizer Hung-Yok Ip, an associate professor of history who specializes in modern Chinese history, will lead a panel discussion on Oct. 26 on how the monk Xuyun was influential in securing a space for Buddhism in China in the 1950s.

Other speakers will address topics such as the experiences of Chinese Christian prisoners in Maoist China, political dissent in contemporary China, and how faith-based charities in contemporary China often resist the nation’s authoritarian system.

This conference is sponsored by the Chun and Jane Chiu Foundation, the Horning Endowment for the Humanities, Asian Studies, and Center for the Humanities at OSU.

For more information, go to:


Media Contact: 

Hung-Yok Ip, 541-737-1260

Oregon Latinos retaining Spanish language more than previous generations

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mexican-Americans in Independence, Ore., are retaining Spanish at a rate much higher than previous immigration waves, according to in-depth interviews of 120 Latino families.

These initial research findings, part of a larger study being conducted by Oregon State University researcher Susana Rivera-Mills, will be presented on Friday, Oct. 12, at the Linguistic Association of the Southwest conference.

Rivera-Mills, interim director of OSU’s Center for Latin@ Studies and Engagement, or CL@SE, is also a professor of Spanish and diversity advancement at OSU. She is an expert on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society, particularly that of the Spanish language.

She has spent several years interviewing families in Independence, where Latinos are 35 percent of the total population. Rivera-Mills said this is one of the first studies to look at language retention of fourth- and fifth-generation immigrants.

“I found that children of immigrants are either retaining the Spanish language, or going back to reacquire it,” she said. “This is a completely new trend. Fifteen years ago, we saw the same pattern in the Latino community as you did with early European immigrants – the native language was almost completely erased by the third generation.”

Rivera-Mills said the reason for this language retention was two-fold, a desire for cultural preservation by fourth- and fifth-generation Latinos; and in the case of more recent immigrants, economic and cultural benefits of being bilingual.

“These fourth- and fifth-generations are going back to acquire their roots and fighting against language loss,” Rivera-Mills said. “They feel a need to recapture the loss they experienced as children who primarily spoke English.”

Rivera-Mills said these young people were often descendants of braceros, who came to Oregon in the 1940s to work in the Emergency Farm Labor Program. More than 15,000 workers came from Mexico to Oregon during this period.

“I also spoke to children of more recent immigrants who were learning Spanish for communication purposes and to further themselves by becoming competitive for jobs that require bilingual skills,” she said.

Rivera-Mills said these are initial findings from her detailed interviews with families in Independence. More detailed results will be published next year.

In addition to her presentation, two OSU graduate students studying with Rivera-Mills will present at the conference. Maralisa Morales Ortiz will discuss how second-generation Latinas who have grown up within their heritage cultural value system, but also exposed to U.S. education system, are redefining what their sexuality means to them. These interviews with college-age Latinas indicate that the women are becoming empowered through their exposure to the United Stated education system, but feel pressured to respond to accepted social parameters that tell them to stay virgins until they are married.

Another graduate student, Michelle Ofelt, will discuss her paper on Latinos and television viewing. Her findings conclude that children of Spanish-language speakers do not continue to watch Spanish language television once they leave the home. Importantly, her study participants were more critical of Spanish programming, and said they felt the content and entertainment value was higher for English programming.

“Future generations of Latinos are in danger of losing their own cultural knowledge if they continue this pattern of not watching Spanish programming,” Rivera-Mills said. “Interestingly, she found that any consumption of Spanish programming was based on the collective, so there was a much greater chance of choosing Spanish TV when there was a large group instead of an individual.”

Both Morales Ortiz and Ofelt are considering these studies as possible exploratory research for future dissertation work.

Media Contact: 

Susana Rivera-Mills, 541-737-4586

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Susana Rivera-Mills

Susana Rivera-Mills


Mexican workers from the Bracero program on Horst ranch in Polk County, Ore., taking empty baskets for hop picking. Photo: OSU Archives

OSU creative writing professor reads from new short story collection on Oct. 12

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A widow discovers her new friend is married to a past lover. A man collects memories of his five ex-wives. A mother of three young children is left reeling by a divorce. Susan Jackson Rodgers’ new collection of 19 short stories explores how the past can bubble up into the present, and how we deal with the tension between our past identities and who we have become.

“Ex-Boyfriend on Aisle 6” is the new short story collection by Rodgers, associate professor of creative writing at Oregon State University. It is distributed by North Carolina-based publisher Press 53.

Rodgers will speak on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the rotunda of the Valley Library on the OSU campus. The talk is sponsored by the OSU School of Writing, Literature and Film’s Literary Northwest reading series. Info: http://oregonstate.edu/cla/wlf/

The stories in “Ex-Boyfriend on Aisle 6” chronicle various characters’ sometimes real, sometimes imagined encounters with ex-lovers, old friends, deceased family members, and former versions of themselves.

Stories from “Ex-Boyfriend on Aisle 6” have appeared in New England Review, North American Review, and Midwestern Gothic, among other places. Before the collection was picked up for publication by Press 53, it was a finalist for the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

“Think Flannery O’Connor meets ‘Desperate Housewives,’” said Susan Shapiro, author of “Overexposed and “Five Men Who Broke My Heart.” “A poetic, hilarious, and haunting collection.”

Rodgers’ previous short story collection, “The Trouble With You Is,” (2004) won the Mid-List Press First Series Award for Short Fiction. She lives in Corvallis with her husband and three children.

Her website is http://www.susanjacksonrodgers.com

Media Contact: 

Susan Rodgers, 541-737-1658

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Susan Rodgers

Ex Boyfriend on Aisle 6

"Ex-Boyfriend on Aisle 6"