OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of liberal arts

OSU’s Tracy Daugherty explores life, work of writer Joan Didion in new bestseller

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Author and Oregon State University professor emeritus Tracy Daugherty attributes his latest literary success to the “power of Joan.” Daugherty’s new book, a biography of American author and journalist Joan Didion, debuted at No. 11 on this week’s New York Times best-seller list for hardcover nonfiction.

“Didion was a well-known public figure when I began to write about her, but she hadn’t yet achieved the almost stratospheric celebrity she has attained since I began this project,” said Daugherty, distinguished professor emeritus of English and creative writing at OSU. “I was a bit stunned at the force of the whirlwind around her.” 

“The Last Love Song,” (St. Martin’s Press) is the first printed biography about the reclusive Didion’s life and career, a narrative that traces her life from her youth in Sacramento to her marriage and partnership with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, and beyond.

“Daugherty's biography is one of this year’s most important American books,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. “His enormous accomplishment has been to write a brilliant bestseller about a writer intent on avoiding being written about."

Daugherty is the author of four novels, five short story collections, a book of personal essays and three literary biographies. “Hiding Man,” his biography of Donald Barthelme, was a New York Times and New Yorker notable Book of the Year. 

His first collection of literary essays, “Let Us Build Us a City,” will be published by the University of Georgia Press in 2016. He recently completed several new short stories and novellas and has begun research on a new biography.

Daugherty will give a talk on the book at 4 p.m. Oct. 12 at the OSU Center for the Humanities, Autzen House, 811 W. Jefferson Ave. He is also scheduled to read at the annual Magic Barrel: A Reading to Fight Hunger at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Whiteside Theater in Corvallis, 361 S.W. Madison Ave. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Linn-Benton Food Share.

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Tracy Daugherty, tdaugherty@oregonstate.edu

As U.S. border enforcement increases, Mexican migration patterns shift, new research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – When enforcement increases along the U.S.-Mexican border, fewer Mexican immigrants cross into the United States, both legally and illegally. But increased enforcement has another effect, new research shows – it alters traditional settlement patterns and leads more Mexican immigrants to settle in states beyond the borders.

 

“Mexicans recently have been settling in parts of the U.S. where historically they have not lived in large numbers,” said Todd Pugatch, an assistant professor of economics in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University. “The concentration of Mexican immigrants in traditional settlement areas such as California and Texas has declined substantially in the last 30 years.”

 

Research by Pugatch and Sarah Bohn of the Public Policy Institute of California showed that for every 1,000 additional border patrol agents assigned to prevent unauthorized migration to a U.S. state, the state’s share of Mexican immigrants declined by nearly 22 percentage points during the period from 1994 to 2011. The findings were published today in the journal Demography.

 

“We’re not looking at whether the total number of immigrants goes up or down,” Pugatch said. “What our paper is showing is how, at a given time, immigrants are dispersed. It’s like squeezing a balloon. The total amount of air is the same, but the shape is changed.”

 

Pugatch studies the effect of Mexican immigration on labor markets in the U.S., as well as the economic effects of migration by people from developing countries. This research is part of a broader effort to understand more about the decisions involved in migrating to and settling in a new country, he said. The researchers focused on Mexico because the largest share of U.S. immigrants is from there.

 

“The decision to migrate to another country is one of the biggest decisions a person can make,” Pugatch said. “They are leaving behind their family and friends in search of a new life. Often the decisions have to do with economic opportunities, but that is not the whole story.”

 

To better understand how border policy affects migration, Pugatch and Bohn compared data on Mexican immigrants’ residential locations in the U.S. to Border Patrol staffing information. They used data on historical border crossing patterns to connect border enforcement to each U.S. state.

 

Their research showed that increased enforcement in a state resulted in a lower share of Mexican immigrants two years later. Because border enforcement budgets are set two years in advance, this finding helps address concerns about whether the enforcement caused the decline in immigration, or a surge in immigration sparked increased enforcement, Pugatch said.

 

Surges of border patrol agents responding to unanticipated increases in immigration could not be set two years in advance, which strengthens the argument that border enforcement has driven the long-term changes in Mexican immigration patterns, he said.

 

Pugatch and Bohn found that the concentration of Mexican immigrants to traditional destinations such as California and Texas was virtually unchanged between 1980 and 1990, with 90 percent of immigrants settling in five states. However, between 1990 and 2000, that number dropped, with the top five states pulling in only 76 percent of immigrants. From 2000-2010, the number fell again, to 71 percent.

 

“Our estimates imply that if border enforcement had not changed from 1994 to 2011, the shares of Mexican immigrants locating in California and Texas would each be eight percentage points greater, with all other states’ shares lower or unchanged,” Pugatch said.

 

The study also indicates that immigrants cross in different locations along the border in response to border enforcement changes. That, in turn, leads them to different destinations within the U.S., Pugatch said.

 

While the traditional destinations lost shares, states such as Illinois, New York, Florida and Georgia drew larger shares of immigrants to their communities. The findings indicate that border enforcement policies have an effect on whether people enter the U.S. as well as on where they end up settling in the U.S., he said.

 

The researchers don’t address the larger questions about whether immigration is positive or negative, or whether current policy is effective. Rather, they believe that understanding how border enforcement efforts affect the decisions of immigrants provides valuable information to law- and policymakers grappling with immigration policy work.

 

For example, if immigrants from the same area prefer to live in close geographic proximity to one another, border enforcement could also affect where immigrants entering the country legally choose to reside, Pugatch said.

 

“Policymakers at every level have concerns about how immigrants change social and economic conditions in a community,” Pugatch said. “If we can better understand why people end up the places they do, we can better prepare.”

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Todd Pugatch, 541-737-6628, todd.pugatch@oregonstate.edu

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This map shows how states' shares of Mexican immigrants changed from 1994 to 2011:

Migration Change Map 1 - Actual

This map shows how migration to the U.S. would have looked if border enforcement patterns had not changed during this period. Only Texas and California would have seen an increased share of Mexican immigrants: Migration Change Map 2 - Hypothetical

Todd Pugatch Todd Pugatch

Poet Rita Dove named OSU’s 2016 Stone Award winner

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove has been selected as the 2016 recipient of Oregon State University’s Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement.


The biennial award is presented to a major American author who has created a body of critically acclaimed work and who has mentored young writers.


Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993-95 and has received numerous awards for her work, including the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. She is the only poet to receive both the National Humanities Medal (1996) and the National Medal of Arts (2011). She holds the Commonwealth Professor of English chair at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.


“It's hard to imagine a poet more essential to our literary culture than Rita Dove,” said Karen Holmberg, an associate professor of English and creative writing at OSU. “Each of her books has enlarged the imaginative reach of American poetry by infusing it with personal and broader history, and by meditating on issues of race and identity as well as the interrelationships between poetry and music, dance, and drama.” 

Dove will visit Oregon in April 2016 to accept the award and read from her work. She will speak at 7:30 p.m. on April 14 at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center in Corvallis and at 7:30 p.m. on April 15 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Portland. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

The $20,000 Stone Award is one of the largest prizes of its kind given by an American university. It was established in 2011 by Patrick and Vicki Stone to spotlight OSU’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the School of Writing, Literature and Film. 


An advisory board of three active, nationally visible writers recommends five nominees who meet Stone Award criteria. From those nominees, the creative writing faculty at Oregon State University make the final selection. Joyce Carol Oates was the first honoree, in 2012; the second winner was Tobias Wolff, in 2014.

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Sue Rodgers, 541-737-1658, susan.rodgers@oregonstate.edu 

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Rita Dove (Photo by Fred Viebahn) Rita Dove

A single wave of migration led to population of the Americas, genetic research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A single wave of migration from Siberia brought people across the Bering Land Bridge and into the Americas no more than 23,000 years ago, with the group later splitting into two branches, a new study of ancient and modern genetic information has found.

Using genetic data from ancient and modern sources, researchers found that the ancestors of present-day Native Americans entered the Americas in one initial wave and then divided into two groups, known as Athabascans and Amerindians about 13,000 years ago.

The results were published this week in the journal Science.

The findings also indicate that the initial migration of Native American ancestors likely followed a route along the Pacific coast as they spread into the Americas. The northern branch, which included Amerindians as well as Athabascans, remained only in North America, while the southern branch, made up only of Amerindians, spread along the Pacific Rim through North and South America.

Researchers say the findings, which match closely with archaeological evidence from the period, clearly answer a much-debated question about how and when the Americas were first populated and counters ideas that migration to the Americas initially occurred in two waves.

“This means the Paleo American model is essentially dead,” said Loren Davis, an associate professor of anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University and co-author on the study. “There was no founding population that was replaced by a later influx of Native Americans. Nearly all native peoples in the Americas can trace their genetics to that first wave of migration.”

“It’s really exciting because these findings provide new archaeological implications for us to explore.”

The genetic study was led by Maanasa Raghavan and Eske Willerslev of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

To determine the origins of today’s Native American people, researchers sequenced genomes from present-day individuals from the Americas, Siberia and Oceania and compared their genetics to those from ancient specimens from both branches of the migration.

Davis worked with the research geneticists to identify skeletons from northwestern Mexico that were tested as part of the study. The unusual skull shape of some of the skeletons was one factor that led some researchers to believe there were two waves of migration to the Americas, he said.

“Now we’re seeing that the metrics of skulls matters less than the genetics,” Davis said. “Our study shows that the skeletal morphology of ancient Americans doesn’t indicate the presence of different genetic populations unrelated to modern Native Americans.”

With the new findings in hand, Davis is looking at new avenues of archaeological research, including searching for evidence of when and how the original group of migrants split. One source of information is the types of stone tools used by the two groups, he said. There are two known traditions of tool-making that separate the two groups: the Western-Stemmed and Clovis Paleoindian traditions. The two technological traditions use different strategies to create stone tools, Davis said.

“The two genetic groups became the basic nexus for all the later Native American people,” Davis said. “This split between the two tool-making technologies may have been happening at the same time the two groups divided.”

Davis’ next project involves looking offshore for sites that may once have been home to early settlers in North America. Such sites were likely submerged in the post-Ice Age sea rise. Working with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Davis developed a predictive model to identify the potential distribution of archaeological sites submerged along the coast of the United States, in part by reconstructing the landscape and ancient river drainages that once existed during times of lower sea levels. In September, he and others will begin working offshore to find those sites.

“The implications of this study are significant for the archaeological problems I’m pursuing,” Davis said. “The study’s conclusion that the initial migration of Native American ancestors probably followed a Pacific coastal route of entry meant that we’re on the right track to make significant discoveries here in the Pacific Northwest.”  

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Loren Davis, 541-250-6304, loren.davis@oregonstate.edu

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Researcher Loren Davis

Paisley cave

Bard in the Quad at OSU celebrates 10th season with ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular Bard in the Quad program with a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in August.

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. each night from Aug. 6-9 and Aug. 13-16 in the Memorial Union Quad, 2501 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis.

Bard in the Quad brings innovative Shakespeare productions to Corvallis in a casual, fun summer atmosphere. Performances are held outdoors and no seating is provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring low lawn chairs and/or blankets, warm clothing and even a picnic dinner if desired. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. and no one will be seated prior to that time.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a comedy about confusion and love. Four days before their wedding, Duke Theseus and the Amazonian Queen Hippolyta are drawn into the romantic entanglements of four young lovers, a mysterious conflict between the King and Queen of the Fairy World, and the desperate attempts of an eager amateur acting troupe to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. Meanwhile, a maverick sprite on the loose causes chaos throughout Athens and the surrounding woods.

The production will feature dance and a live performance by OSU Chamber Winds, which will present Felix Mendelssohn’s classic score.

The cast features Oregon State University students Elise Barberis  as Quince; Kolby Bathke as Flute; Diana Jepsen as Hippolyta/Titania; Jackson Lango as Snug; Claire McMorris as Mote; Bria Love Robertson as Helena; Mike Stephens as Snout; Kyle Stockdall as Lysander; Kelsea Vierra as Peaseblossom; Cory Warren as Egeus; and Joseph Workman as Theseus/Oberon.

The cast also features Corvallis community members Mason Atkin as Puck; Lucia Lind as Cobweb; Ariel Ginsburg as Starvling; Matthew Holland as Bottom; Anna Mahaffey as Fairy; Alycia Olivar as Hermia; Teri Straley as Mustardseed; and Brad Stone as Demetrius.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 for OSU students. Purchase tickets at bardinthequad.org or call the OSU Theatre box office, 541-737-2784. A 20 percent discount will be offered on tickets purchased online before July 31.

Contact box office manager Arin Dooley at 541-737-2784 for questions regarding tickets, seating, group ticket discounts and other accommodations.

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OSU history professor elected to Council on Foreign Relations

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University history Professor Christopher McKnight Nichols has been elected to life membership on the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations.

Nichols is an assistant professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. He is an expert on U.S. history and its relationship to the rest of the world, particularly in the areas of isolationism, internationalism and globalization. Nichols is the author of numerous works, including “Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age,” which traces the origins of modern American isolationism and internationalism.

The Council on Foreign Relations, founded in 1921, is an independent, nonpartisan organization that helps government, civic and religious leaders, business executives, educators and students better understand the world and foreign policy issues. It includes government officials, scholars, business executives, journalists, lawyers and nonprofit professionals.

“This comes as a surprise and is a humbling honor,” Nichols said. “Outside of the government, this is the highest level of conversation and access that you can have about foreign policy.”

Membership in the council offers the opportunity to meet shapers of foreign relations from the U.S. and around the world; contribute to discussions on contemporary topics by providing historical perspective and sparking new questions; and participate in task forces and other activities.

Nichols said he also hopes to identify ways to connect some of today’s most pressing subjects and policies, and the people who influence them, with his students and the OSU community.

“When I’m able to Skype with or bring in a visiting scholar or diplomat, it makes the issues more real and relevant to the students,” Nichols said. “When they’re able to speak with people who have been on the ground in a country where genocide occurred, it brings those concerns home to provoke new ways of thinking and relating past events with the present as well as the future.”

Nichols said this work will also influence the “Citizenship and Crisis” initiative he began at OSU in 2014. The project, launched to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I, set out to examine how the concept of citizenship has changed over time and in moments of crisis through a series of lectures and other events. It’s now centered on domestic and global aspects of citizenship, and is expected to continue in the 2015-16 academic year and beyond.

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Christopher McKnight Nichols, 541-737-8910, Christopher.nichols@oregonstate.edu

 

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Christopher McKnight Nichols

Christopher Nichols

Media advisory: Oregon State wildfire experts

MEDIA ADVISORY

The following Oregon State University faculty members have expertise related to wildfire issues and are willing to speak with journalists. Their specific expertise, and contact information, is listed below.  For help with other OSU faculty experts, contact Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788, mark.floyd@oregonstate.edu.

OSU wildfire experts

John Bailey, 541-737-1497, john.bailey@oregonstate.edu

Bailey studies the role of forest management in accomplishing landowner objectives, including fire resilience, habitat and restoration. His areas of expertise include:

  • Fuels management for fire risk reduction
  • Wildland fire ecology
  • Prescribed fire

Stephen Fitzgerald, 541-737-3562, stephen.fitzgerald@oregonstate.edu

Amy Jo Detweiler, 541-548-6088, amyjo.detweiler@oregonstate.edu

Detweiler and Fitzgerald are faculty members in the OSU Extension Service and co-authors of a publication, Fire-Resistant Plants for Home Landscapes, published in 2006 and due to be updated next year. They can discuss ways for homeowners to reduce fire risk to their homes.

  • Types of shrubs and trees that are less likely to burn
  • Maintenance tips for fire resistant plantings
  • Bark mulches and other ground covers
  • Fuel reduction around homes

 

Beverly Law, 541-737-6111, bev.law@oregonstate.edu

Law is a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society and former Science Chair of the Ameriflux network. She studies carbon and water cycling in ecosystems and exchange with the atmosphere, including the forests of the Pacific Northwest. She has focused on, among other topics, the role of fire in the carbon cycle. She can comment on:

  • Modeling ecosystem responses to disturbances such as fire and insects
  • The effects of climate change, fire and forest management on carbon and water cycles
  • The combination of remote sensing and field observations to understand regional ecosystem processes

 

Claire Montgomery, 541-737-1362, claire.montgomery@oregonstate.edu

Montgomery studies the economic implications of fire management decisions, from the initial determination whether to let a fire burn or to put it out. She can address the likely impacts of fire management decisions on the value of timber and other forest resources in the future.

  • Incentives for cost-effective wildland fire management
  • Community considerations of forest fuel treatments
  • The opportunity costs of fire suppression

 

Roger Hammer, 541-760-1009, rhammer@oregonstate.edu

Hammer is a professor in the School of Public Policy and studies the interface between communities and undeveloped lands such as forests. He studies strategies to mitigate fire risk in the face of urban development. He can comment on:

  • U.S. demographic trends at the urban-wildland interface
  • Fire risk and development at the urban-wildland interface
  • New construction after a fire

Kathie Dello, 541-737-8927, kdello@coas.oregonstate.edu

Dello is the deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service and associate director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. She studies Pacific Northwest weather patterns and compiles reports for use by businesses and government agencies. She can comment on weather patterns as they influence fire risk, including:

  • Long-term trends in Pacific Northwest weather
  • The impact of landscape features (mountains, forests) on weather
  • Weather data collection by citizens

 

Compiled by Nick Houtman

541-737-0783, nick.houtman@oregonstate.edu

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Nick Houtman, 541-737-0783

Scottish explorer David Livingstone’s writings, drawings now available through online archive

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Students, researchers and the public will have extraordinary access to the drawings, letters and field diaries of Scottish explorer David Livingstone through an expanded digital archive and new website that is launching today.

The site, Livingstone Online, www.livingstoneonline.org, is the digital home for the documents chronicling the life and work of Livingstone, a missionary, physician and abolitionist best known for his travels in Africa in the mid-19th century.

“The original Livingstone documents are scattered all over the world – in Africa, Scotland, England and in private collections,” said Megan Ward, an assistant professor at Oregon State University and associate director of the Livingstone Online project. “There’s never been a single physical location for these documents. We wanted to come up with a more comprehensive archive.”

The project, directed by Adrian S. Wisnicki, assistant professor of English at the University of Nebraska, is being funded by a three-year, $265,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The website for the digital archive is being hosted by the University of California, Los Angeles.

Livingstone’s work provides insight into globalization, imperialism and the role of the British Empire and life in Africa during that period. Many of the themes prevalent in Livingstone’s work continue to resonate today, said Ward, who teaches and researches Victorian literature. Livingstone is an icon of the era, she said – his work inspired questions of empire throughout the literature of that time.

“He was seen as a great hero then, though the lens of time changes people’s perspective of him and his work,” said Ward, who teaches in the School of Writing, Literature and Film in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. “He left a complicated legacy. Due to his work to end the slave trade, he has been considered a freedom fighter for Africa, but his exploration also has been viewed as detrimental to Africa and its people.” 

The online archive was established in 2005 then dramatically expanded through a two-year, international collaboration among scholars, digital librarians, museum curators and others across the U.S., Scotland, England and South Africa. The beta version of the new, expanded site is being unveiled this week.

More than 7,500 original images of Livingstone’s writings can be found on the site and the archive is expected to expand to more than 12,000 images by 2016. The archive also includes drawings and illustrations depicting Livingstone’s work and findings.

Wisnicki and Ward have received another, $168,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant so they can use spectral imaging and processing technology to study one of Livingstone’s diaries in new ways.

“He ran out of paper and ink at one point and was writing on newspapers using ink made from local clothing dye,” Ward said.

Over time, the paper became fragile and the writing all but disappeared. The spectral imaging technology allows researchers to see the words that once were there. One illegible diary has already been restored using the technology.

The new grant will allow researchers to more closely examine a second, companion diary that is more legible. Researchers hope to use the spectral imaging technology to reveal other aspects of its history, such as how and when it was written, when pages were added and in what order the pages were assembled. That could provide further understanding of where and how Livingstone documented conflicts between Arab slave traders and the central African people, Ward said. 

The archive of Livingston’s work will serve as a resource for academic researchers as well as for students from elementary school through college. One section of the site contains outreach materials geared to students ages 9-13. Making the site compatible for use with mobile devices, including tablets and smart phones, is in future plans as well, Ward said.

“The digital images give these historical documents new life and make them available to a wider audience,” Ward said. “You can see flies that were smashed in notebooks, funny sketches, even drops of blood.”

To commemorate the launch of the new Livingstone Online site, Wisnicki and Ward are speaking this week at the British Library and the National Library of Scotland.

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Megan Ward, 541-737-1673, megan.ward@oregonstate.edu

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Lantern slide of Livingstone writing in his diary

Livingstone LanternSlide

Hand-drawn map from Livingstone's Field Diary

Livingstone Map

1871 Field Diary, unreadable

1871 Field Diary Unreadable

1871 Field Diary, spectrally-imaged to improve readability

1871 Field Diary Spectrally Imaged

OSU to celebrate iconic stick sculpture slated for removal this summer

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The large willow stick sculpture, “Pomp and Circumstance,” created by artist Patrick Dougherty in 2011 on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, will be removed this summer.

The College of Liberal Arts, which commissioned the temporary sculpture, will host a send-off party for the piece as part of graduation festivities. The celebration will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. June 12 in People’s Park on the west side of Gilkey Hall, 122 S.W. Waldo Place.

Students, staff, faculty and members of the public are invited to attend the event. Cuttings from the sculpture will be available to take home to plant and tags will be available to write send-off messages that will be attached to the sculpture.

“The piece’s ongoing popularity surprised everyone,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “It has become a well-loved part of OSU’s identity, even though it was always meant to be ephemeral.”

Dozens of students and community volunteers helped Dougherty build the sculpture using willow sourced from local weavers in 2011. Expected to decay over time, the sculpture held up much longer than expected, but parts of it are beginning to sag, and it has become a potential hazard.

College of Liberal Arts officials plan to replace the sculpture with a “similarly exciting new installation that will continue to draw people to interact with our natural art,” Rodgers said.

“We recognize that Dougherty’s sculpture is a fixture on campus, and though we’re sad it has to go, we’re dedicated to keeping People’s Park a destination where students, community members and families can congregate, relax and explore,” he said.

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Celene Carillo, 541-737-2137, Celene.carillo@oregonstate.edu

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Patrick Dougherty's "Pomp and Circumstance"

sticksculptsnow1

Girls receive conflicting career messages from media, new research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Teenage girls like and feel more similar to women in appearance-focused jobs such as models and actresses, though they find female CEOs and military pilots to be better role models, according to a new study by researchers at Oregon State University.

For the study, 100 girls and 76 boys ages 14 to 18 were shown photographs of model Heidi Klum, actress Jennifer Aniston, CEO Carly Fiorina and military pilot Sarah Deal Burrow. Klum and Aniston represented the appearance-focused careers and Fiorina and Deal Burrow represented the non-appearance focused careers.

Girls generally rated the women in the appearance-focused careers higher on likeability than the women in the non-appearance focused careers. Girls also rated the women in the appearance-focused photos as more competent than the other women. Boys, on the other hand, found the women in the non-appearance focused careers were more competent. The boys also ranked the appearance-focused photos lower on likeability.

The findings highlight the conflicting messages girls receive in the media about careers and success for women, said researcher Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology who studies the effects of media on body image and gender.

“Girls know they should look up to female doctors and scientists, but they also know that women in appearance-focused jobs get rewarded by society,” Daniels said. “It is, therefore, reasonable to think they would prefer women in those jobs.”

But the study also shows that teenage girls, as well as boys, value women in roles that are not appearance-focused and generally find those women to be better role models. That should encourage movie, television and advertising executives to showcase a much wider range of working women and move beyond the “moms and models” that are the most common examples of women in media, Daniels said.

“The dominant belief is that sex sells,” she said. “But our findings show teens have positive attitudes toward other images of working women, providing evidence that there is support for these other images.”

The research was just published in the Journal of Adolescent Research. The co-author is Aurora M. Sherman, an associate professor in the School of Psychological Science at OSU. The study was conducted while Daniels was on the faculty at OSU-Cascades; she’s now working at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The researchers wanted to study adolescents’ attitudes about working women in part because they are under-represented in the media and are often depicted in stereotyped roles. In film and prime-time television, for example, women are less likely to be shown working in professional roles such as executives at a major corporation. That could send a message to young people that such occupations are unattainable or inappropriate for women.

“We already have a lot of research about the negative effects of sexualized or idealized media images on young women,” Daniels said. “But there is very little research about the effects of other types of positive images of women, such as CEOs or military pilots. We wanted to understand how young people respond to those images.”

The teens in the study were given a brief description of each woman’s occupational accomplishments with each photo. The teenagers then answered a series of questions about the women in the photos, including: likability, competence and similarity to themselves.

The majority of both boys and girls rated the military pilot and the CEO as good role models, at 90 percent and 79 percent, respectively, while 58 percent said the actor was a good role model and 48 percent said the model was.

“The most striking finding is the disconnect between girls’ role model evaluations and their ratings of women’s competence,” Daniels said.

But the research also shows there is interest in and appetite for more diverse images of working women in media and advertising, she said. “Those images are reviewed positively by audiences, but it is really rare to see women featured in their careers.”

Additional research is needed to understand how media may affect the career aspirations of children and adolescents.

“Does it affect the teens’ aspirations of what they can be? Does exposure to a female CEO or military pilot encourage girls to join a computer coding club or take math or science classes? We don’t know yet,” Daniels said.

Future research also could look specifically at why boys downgraded the competence and likeability of women in appearance-focused jobs but teen girls did not, Sherman said.

“We speculate that teens may be receiving some deeply mixed messages about the importance of appearance for femininity that may be at odds with the messages they are learning about competence in occupations,” she said.

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Elizabeth Daniels, 831-345-8447, edaniels@uccs.edu; or Aurora Sherman, 541-737-1361, Aurora.sherman@oregonstate.edu