OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of liberal arts

Video games could provide venue for exploring sustainability concepts

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Could playing video games help people understand and address global sustainability issues such as pollution, drought or climate change? At least two researchers believe so, outlining their argument in a concept paper published in the journal “First Monday.”

Video games have the potential to educate the public and encourage development of creative solutions to social, economic and environmental problems, said Oregon State University’s Shawna Kelly, one of the two authors of the article.

“Video games encourage creative and strategic thinking, which could help people make sense of complex problems,” said Kelly, who teaches new media communications in the School of Arts and Communication at Oregon State’s College of Liberal Arts.

“Entertainment has always been a space for exposing people to new ideas. Using video games, it’s possible to introduce sustainability concepts to the mass public in a way that’s not pedantic, that’s not educational,” Kelly said. “Instead, it could be fun and it could be challenging.”

Kelly wrote the paper with Bonnie Nardi, an anthropologist with University of California, Irvine's Department of Informatics, who studies sustainability, collapse-preparedness and information technology. 

Kelly and Nardi identified four key areas in which video games could support sustainable practices. The areas are:

  • Shift away from growth as the end goal of a game. Uncontrollable growth is unsustainable and asks little of players’ imaginations.
  • Emphasize scavenging instead of combat to collect resources. Encourage players to interact with their environment in creative ways instead of simply looking for targets.
  • Offer complex avenues for social interaction. Move beyond “us versus them” and focus on other types of social collaborations.
  • Encourage strategizing with resources such as scenarios that incorporate long-term consequences and interdependencies of resource use.

Some video games already are using some of the elements Kelly and Nardi recommend. Economics-based games such as “EVE Online” challenge players to strategize between their short-term personal resource demands and the long-term needs of a larger group of players, their corporation. “DayZ” is a combat simulation game that requires players to scavenge for resources and work with other players, deciding on their own which players are friends and which are enemies.

Those are the kinds of game mechanics that make video games fun and challenging, but those mechanics also could be used to encourage players to think about real problems related to sustainability, Kelly said.

The culture of video gaming rewards people for solving problems and coming up with unique solutions. There is a common interest and connection among players, and knowledge is easily shared via game-specific wikis, message boards, instant messaging and more, Kelly pointed out.

“There’s a huge set of people out there who love to problem-solve,” she said. “Why not harness that power that is already there?”

That doesn’t mean someone should go out and develop “The Sustainability Game,” Kelly said. While video games have proven to be a good educational tool, there is a sense that those who play video games for entertainment don’t want forced educational components, she said.

“The attitude is ‘don’t make me learn something,’ ” Kelly said. “Instead, make the problems accessible to the gaming community and see what emerges.”

Kelly plans to continue exploring the relationship between video games and sustainability through additional research supported by OSU’s New Media Communications department. She’s planning to conduct a systematic survey of the use of sustainability concepts in current video games during the 2014-15 school year using undergraduate student research assistants and resources from New Media Communications.

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Playing with Barbie dolls could limit girls’ career choices, study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In one of the first experiments to explore the influence of fashion dolls, an Oregon State University researcher has found that girls who play with Barbie dolls see fewer career options for themselves than for boys.

“Playing with Barbie has an effect on girls’ ideas about their place in the world,” said Aurora M. Sherman, an associate professor in the School of Psychological Science at OSU. “It creates a limit on the sense of what’s possible for their future. While it’s not a massive effect, it is a measurable and statistically significant effect.”

Findings of the research, conducted by Sherman and Eileen L. Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz, were published today in the journal “Sex Roles.” The study was supported by research and start-up funding from the OSU College of Liberal Arts Dean’s office and the School of Psychological Science.

Barbie, introduced in 1959, was the first “fashion doll,” with an emphasis on her clothes and appearance. Past research has found that the way fashion dolls such as Barbie are physically formed and dressed communicates messages of sexualization and objectification to girls. 

Sherman’s experiment was designed to examine how Barbie might influence girls’ career aspirations.

Most of the past research on fashion dolls has been observational study of children and the toys in natural settings. In an actual experiment, the researcher controls a variable - in this case, the type of toy each child played with. 

Girls ages 4 to 7 were randomly assigned to play with one of three dolls: a fashion Barbie with dress and high-heeled shoes; a career Barbie with a doctor’s coat and stethoscope; or a Mrs. Potato Head with accessories such as purses and shoes. Mrs. Potato Head was selected as a neutral doll because the toy is similar in color and texture, but doesn’t have the sexualized characteristics of Barbie.

After a few minutes of play, the girls were asked if they could do any of 10 occupations when they grew up. They were also asked if boys could do those jobs. Half of the careers were traditionally male-dominated and half were female-dominated. 

Girls who played with Barbie thought they could do fewer jobs than boys could do. But girls who played with Mrs. Potato Head reported nearly the same number of possible careers for themselves and for boys. 

There was no difference in results between girls who played with a Barbie wearing a dress and the career-focused, doctor version of the doll.

Childhood development is complex, and playing with one toy isn’t likely to alter a child’s career aspirations, Sherman noted. But toys such as dolls or action figures can influence a child’s ideas about their future, she added.

More research is needed to better understand fashion dolls’ effect on girls, Sherman said. It is possible that some girls are more vulnerable to adverse messages from fashion dolls such as Barbie, she pointed out.  She is working on two other studies now, including one about girls’ perceptions of weight and body image based on doll size and shape. 

“For parents, the most important thing is to look at the child’s toy box and make sure there is a wide variety of toys to play with,” Sherman said.

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Aurora Sherman, 541-737-1361 or Aurora.sherman@oregonstate.edu

Study finds home births comparatively safe – for low-risk women, infants

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The largest study ever conducted in the United States of planned home births found that 93.6 percent of the 16,924 women in the study had spontaneous vaginal births, and only 5.2 percent required a cesarean section for delivery.

Both mortality figures and the cesarean rate are lower than those reported at U.S. hospitals, which is to be expected the researchers say because the women in the study were primarily healthy and the pregnancies low-risk. Importantly, however, the numbers reported in this study are consistent with other large home birth studies conducted in Canada and Europe.

Results of the study are being published this week in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. A companion article provides evidence of data validity.

“Given our findings, especially in light of other observational studies published in the last decade, I think it’s time to start shifting the discourse around home birth in this country,” said Melissa Cheyney, a medical anthropologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. “We need to start focusing on who might be a good candidate for a home or birth center birth and stop debating whether women should be allowed to choose these options.

“Home birth is not for every woman and risk factors need to be weighed,” she added. “But the evidence strongly suggests that a healthy woman with an uncomplicated delivery and a single, term baby in a head-down position can safely give birth outside the hospital.”

Home births are on the rise in the United States – up about 40 percent in the last nine years – but still constitute only 1.2 percent of all deliveries. In contrast, 8 percent of women in Great Britain and 29 percent of women in the Netherlands give birth outside of an obstetric unit.

The study resulted from an analysis of data collected by the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, commonly referred to as MANA Stats. Most of the nearly 17,000 women in the study were attended by Certified Professional Midwives, who provided detailed reports on outcomes. Among the findings:

  • Of the 1,054 women who had previously given birth by cesarean section, 87 percent had a successful vaginal birth;
  • More than 89 percent of the women successfully gave birth at home, while only 11 percent of them required transport for medical treatment. Of those receiving additional medical care, the majority were for “failure to progress,” usually indicating that labor was proceeding slowly and that augmentation of the labor may have been needed.
  • Only 1.5 percent of the babies had a low Apgar score, a measure of how healthy the newborn is in the first five minutes following birth.

“One of the biggest risk factors we did find is with breech births, which have a higher mortality rate than do head-down babies,” said Cheyney, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts who also is a practicing certified professional midwife. “Most breeches are known prior to birth and many breech babies may successfully be turned to a head-down position prior to delivery.

“But this kind of information is important for mothers, physicians and midwives to discuss as they engage in shared decision-making.”

Women in this nationwide study were predominately white and married, and 58 percent were college-educated, according to Marit Bovbjerg, a postdoctoral research associate in epidemiology in Oregon State’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and a co-author on the study.

The study also found that 98 percent of the newborns were breastfeeding six weeks after birth, and 86 percent exclusively so – one of the strongest measures of future health and at a rate much higher than the national average.

The study was supported by the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery, the Transforming Birth Fund, and the MANA Board of Directors. Other authors on the paper include Courtney Everson, a doctoral student at OSU; Wendy Gordon, a faculty member in the Bastyr University Midwifery Department; Darcy Hannibal, a research associate at the University of California, Davis; and Saraswathi Vedam, an associate professor in the University of British Columbia faculty of medicine.

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Melissa Cheyney, 541-737-4515; melissa.cheyney@oregonstate.edu

Study identifies high level of “food insecurity” among college students

 

The study this story is based on is available in ScholarsArchive@OSU: http://bit.ly/LCp10Y

 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – One of the few studies of its type has found that a startling 59 percent of college students at one Oregon university were “food insecure” at some point during the previous year, with possible implications for academic success, physical and emotional health and other issues.

Contrary to concerns about obesity and some students packing on “the freshman 15” in weight gain, another reality is that many students are not getting enough healthy food to eat as they struggle with high costs, limited income, and fewer food or social support systems than are available to other groups.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, by researchers from Oregon State University, the Benton County Health Department, and Western Oregon University. Students at Western Oregon were surveyed as the basis for the study.

“Based on other research that’s been done, we expected some amount of food concerns among college students,” said Daniel López-Cevallos, associate director of research at OSU’s Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement. “But it was shocking to find food insecurity of this severity. Several recent trends may be combining to cause this.”

The researchers said a combination of rising college costs, more low-income and first-generation students attending college, and changing demographic trends are making this issue more significant than it may have been in the past.

“For past generations, students living on a lean budget might have just considered it part of the college experience, a transitory thing,” said Megan Patton-López, lead author of the study with Oregon’s Benton County Health Department.

“But rising costs of education are now affecting more people,” she said. “And for many of these students who are coming from low-income families and attending college for the first time, this may be a continuation of food insecurity they’ve known before. It becomes a way of life, and they don’t have as many resources to help them out.”

Most college students, with some exceptions, are not eligible for food stamps and many are often already carrying heavy debt loads. And the study found that even though many of them work one or more jobs, the financial demands are such that they still may not have enough money for healthy food at all times.

Food insecurity is defined as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and the ability to acquire such food in acceptable ways. It has been associated with depression, stress, trouble learning in the classroom, and poor health. When similar issues have been addressed with elementary school students, improvements were seen in academic performance, behavior and retention of knowledge.

But these problems have received scarcely any attention in the 19-24 year old, young-adult demographic that predominates in college, the scientists said.

Among the findings of this study:

  • While about 14.9 percent of all households in the nation report food insecurity, the number of college students voicing similar concerns in this report was almost four times higher, at 59 percent.
  • In the past three decades the cost of higher education has steadily outpaced inflation, the cost of living and medical expenses.
  • Food insecurity during college years could affect cognitive, academic and psychosocial development.
  • Factors correlated with reports of food insecurity include fair to poor health, a lower grade point average, low income and employment.

Employment, by itself, is not adequate to resolve this problem, the researchers found. Students reporting food insecurity also worked an average of 18 hours a week – some as high as 42 – but the financial demands they faced more than offset that income.

These findings were based on a survey of 354 students at Western Oregon University, a mid-size public university in a small town near the state capitol in Salem, Ore. Students at Western Oregon supported and assisted in this research, and Doris Cancel-Tirado and Leticia Vazquez with Western Oregon co-authored the study.

The findings probably reflect similar concerns at colleges and universities across the nation, the researchers said, although more research is needed in many areas to determine the full scope of this problem.

“One thing that’s clear is that colleges and universities need to be having this conversation and learning more about the issues their students may be facing,” said López-Cevallos. “There may be steps to take locally that could help, and policies that could be considered nationally. But it does appear this is a very serious issue that has not received adequate attention, and we need to explore it further.”

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Daniel López-Cevallos, 541-737-3850

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Survey finds ignorance of “fracking” despite emerging importance

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A survey of Americans’ attitudes toward the use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to access natural gas and oil found that half of those surveyed knew little or nothing of the issue – and those that did were split almost evenly on whether to support it.

Fracking has become an increasingly important and contentious issue in many parts of the United States and throughout the world, as the push to acquire new sources of energy intensifies. Yet the survey of more than 1,000 citizens found “an American populace that is largely unaware of and undecided about this issue,” the authors say.

Results of the survey and corresponding study have been published in the journal Energy Policy by researchers at Oregon State University, George Mason University, and Yale University. It was funded by the Surdna Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, the Grantham Foundation and the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.

“It isn’t really unusual for lay audiences to be uninformed about specific technical issues such as fracking,” said Hilary Boudet, a public policy expert at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. “And when you get into issues of oil and gas exploration, or other contentious areas, the public gets conflicting information from the different sides that have vested interests in the outcomes.

“The fact that half of the people we surveyed know little if anything about fracking suggests that there may be an opportunity to educate the American citizenry in a non-partisan way about this important issue,” she added. “The question is who will lead that discussion?”

Hydraulic fracturing involves drilling horizontally through a rock layer of the Earth and injecting a pressurized mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground that fractures the rock and facilitates the flow of energy sources, especially natural gas.

Supporters of fracking argue that the technology will spur economic growth, lead to more secure domestic energy supplies and trigger a rapid transition away from more carbon-intensive, coal-based electricity generation.

Opponents say there are potential adverse effects on the environment – and perhaps surrounding communities – because of the use of chemicals and large amounts of water that are injected into the subsurface.

A growing concern among the scientific community, the researchers say, is that the fracking technology itself may result in the leakage of methane into the atmosphere.

“If the argument is that we need natural gas to mitigate our dependency on other fossil fuels and to lower greenhouse gas emissions, it doesn’t make much sense to use a technology that could, in fact, increase methane emissions,” said Boudet, an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. “Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”

The national survey found that opponents of fracking were more likely to be women, hold egalitarian world views, read newspapers more than once a week, and associate fracking with environmental impacts. Supporters of fracking tend to be older, hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, are politically conservative, watch television for news more than once a week, and associate fracking with economic or energy supply benefits.

The researchers note that some studies have projected that a rapid increase of fracking could make the United States a net exporter of natural gas in the coming years, and potentially one of the world’s largest oil producers. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that shale gas, which today accounts for 23 percent of natural gas production in the U.S., will increase to 49 percent by the year 2035.

“These are just estimates and the public debate over the use of fracking is just beginning,” Boudet said. “In some areas of the country, including New York and Pennsylvania, people are more familiar with the issue but opinions are still divided as they try to balance the economic and energy benefits against environmental and community impacts.”

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Hilary Boudet, 541-737-5375; Hilary.Boudet@oregonstate.edu

Zielke named Patricia Valian Reser Professor of Music at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Steven M. Zielke, a professor of music who is widely recognized as a leader in choral studies, has been appointed as the first Patricia Valian Reser Professor of Music at Oregon State University.

This endowed professorship was created by Pat Reser, an OSU alumna from the class of 1960, to advance the arts at Oregon State. Reser co-chairs The Campaign for OSU and is a trustee of both the OSU Foundation and university. The funds from this endowed professorship will provide Zielke with recurring discretionary funds to expand his academic efforts, the choral program and its students.

“Honoring Steven Zielke with this professorship is a tribute to his nationally recognized talent as a choral conductor, as well as his leadership in his profession,” said Lawrence Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “He is a gift to our community and the youth in our state.”

Zielke, who arrived at Oregon State with his wife, Nicola, in 1999, is the director of choral studies at Oregon State. He also directs the OSU Chamber Choir and teaches choral conducting and choral music pedagogy. He earned his doctoral and master's degrees in choral conducting from Florida State University.

“I am incredibly honored by this recognition, which represents a new high point for my career,” said Zielke. “It’s such a great honor for our arts programs to have the support of such a visionary philanthropist as Pat Reser.”

Prior to his graduate work, Zielke received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Friends University in Wichita, Kan., and taught middle and high school choral music in the Kansas public schools. Following his graduate work, Zielke was the associate director of choirs at the University of Arizona where he conducted the Symphonic Choir.

Zielke is a frequent clinician and guest conductor and has recently worked in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Nebraska, Missouri, Nevada and Kansas. He also guest conducted the Academic Orchestra of the University of Stuttgart and the University of Tübingen Chamber Singers in Tübingen, Germany.

Choirs under his direction have appeared at state, regional, and national conferences, as well as the Festival of Light in Bulgaria and the Prague Musica Ecumenica concert series.

Zielke has been an officer of the Oregon chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, the Oregon Music Educators Association and is a contributing editor to Walton Music, a longtime publisher of choral music. He is also the founder and music director of the Corvallis Repertory Singers, a semi-professional ensemble devoted to exemplary performances of the finest in choral literature. Additionally, he serves as the director of music at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Corvallis.

The gift is part of The Campaign for OSU, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Guided by OSU’s strategic plan, the campaign has raised more than $970 million of its $1 billion goal, including more than $100 million for faculty positions, to provide opportunities for students, strengthen Oregon communities and conduct research that changes the world.

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

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Steven Zielke, 541-737-5584; szielke@oregonstate.edu

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Older, wealthier Oregonians most likely to take water conservation seriously

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A survey about water use and attitudes toward conservation among Oregonians has found that older, more affluent residents are most likely to take steps to conserve water.

Contrary to some past research, the Oregon State University analysis did not find significantly more conservation behavior among younger residents, those with more education, or those who live in urban, as opposed to rural settings.

The findings, published in The Social Science Journal, outline some of the challenges policy makers may face in motivating more people to conserve water, as the state increasingly will struggle to keep up with demand in the future.

“This research showed that most Oregonians clearly understand we are going to face water shortages in the future, although most of them say they haven’t yet been affected by this,” said Erika Wolters, an instructor of political science in the OSU College of Liberal Arts, which supported this study.

“We expected to find young people more involved in water conservation, but actually found the opposite,” Wolters said. “Gender also didn’t appear to play much of a role. Water conservation was most closely associated with age and income, possibly the ability to afford water-saving devices and interest in reducing costs.

“Those with higher income may also have more time and resources to commit to the environmental causes they believe in,” she added.

The report suggested that if higher income is predictive of water conservation behavior, then efforts to motivate such behavior may need to consider discussion of rebates, incentives or other programs that would appeal to lower-income residents.

The study also concluded, however, that some water-saving practices are fairly common by many people of all ages, incomes and situations – things like washing full loads of laundry, repairing leaky faucets, watering plants less often.

Both climate change and population growth in Oregon and the West are expected to place much greater demands upon limited water supplies in the future, the report noted. And although Oregon has a reputation for being an environmentally progressive state – it was named number two in “America’s Greenest States” in one 2007 survey – it’s not as certain whether environmental attitudes will always translate directly into behavior.

This study of 808 Oregonians tried to determine what sociodemographic factors were most closely linked to water conservation behavior. It did find that most residents understand there’s a problem, and a majority of them take at least some personal steps to save water. But unlike some other research, the analysis did not find that young, female and urban residents were the ones most likely to conserve water. Only higher income was predictive of that behavior.

The research ultimately concluded that neither attitudes nor sociodemographics could completely predict environmental behavior, and that old, established habits and issues of self-identity may play a large role.

 

 

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Erika Wolters, 541-737-1421

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Ethnic identification helps Latina adolescents resist media barrage of body images

The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/1jKMGql

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A strong sense of ethnic identity can help Latina girls feel positive about their body and appearance, a new study concludes, even as this group slips further into dissatisfaction with themselves when compared to a media-filled world of unrealistic images of thin white women.

Identification and pride in their ethnic background can act as a partial buffer against a deluge of advertisements, magazines, television shows and movies that show white women in sexualized roles, researchers said, and help teenage girls feel more comfortable with themselves and their appearance.

Scientists say anything that can help is necessary as sensitive young teenagers compare themselves to an onslaught of thin and glamorous models portrayed by the media, and suffer as a result. One out of every two advertisements featuring women depicts them as sex objects.

Some past research has suggested that women of color were less vulnerable to concerns about body image, but the latest studies found that Latina girls are reporting body dissatisfaction at a rate similar to that of Caucasian girls.

“We’re in a perfect storm of dissatisfaction,” said Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University–Cascades.

“This is a serious problem among girls, and our media environment and consumer culture has been making it worse for some time,” said Daniels, who is an expert on gender, body image and youth development. “The issue of young teenagers feeling bad about their appearance is so prevalent that we now call it normative. In other words, it’s normal to feel dissatisfied with your body.”

Most adults have more real-life experience to help protect them, Daniels said, but impressionable adolescents too often feel seriously unhappy with their appearance, think about their bodies constantly, and are easily persuaded to buy the latest beauty products that advertisers tell them will help. For some, severe dissatisfaction can turn into an eating disorder.

But in this research, which studied 118 Latina girls ages 13-18, scientists found that a stronger sense of ethnic identity helped some girls feel positive about themselves. The analysis was done by showing images of white women taken from advertisements to separate groups of girls. Some images were “sexualized” in settings, such as wearing bikinis or lingerie; and others had more conventional, fully-clothed poses. The girls then created statements about how they visualized themselves.

Those who included reference to their ethnic identity – by saying something like “I am Latina” or “I am Hispanic” – tended to view themselves overall more positively. But Daniels pointed out that while the association with ethnicity appears to be helpful and partially protective, it’s not a panacea.

“Media images are typically very idealized, done with white women, using lots of makeup and photo techniques, and they create a great pressure on young women to live up to this ideal,” Daniels said. “They see more than five hours a day of this unrealistic depiction on television and elsewhere, and it’s a tall order for them to just ignore it. Even the model, Cindy Crawford, once said that ‘I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.’”

However, this study indicates that cultural pride can help. One participant in the study wrote in her statements that “I am a proud Latina” and “I am not a skinny toothpick and proud of it.”

The new findings were recently published in Body Image, a professional journal, by researchers from OSU and Gallaudet University.

The researchers also cautioned that the buffering effect of ethnic identity might not stand up when Latina girls are exposed to Latina media models – instead of the white women that dominate traditional advertising. Girls with strong ethnic identity might be especially vulnerable to the negative effects of viewing idealized media images of Latina women, the report concluded.

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Elizabeth Daniels, 541-322-3186

Celebrated memoirist Nick Flynn to read at OSU on Oct. 11

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Writer Nick Flynn will read from his work on Friday, Oct. 11, at Oregon State University’s Valley Library rotunda. The free public event begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a question and answer session and book signing.

Flynn is the author of three memoirs including “The Reenactments” (2013), “The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment” (2010) and “Another … Night in Suck City” (2004). Flynn is also the author of three books of poetry.

Of Flynn’s most recent memoir, “The Reenactments,”  Kirkus Reviews wrote: “Flynn’s determination to better understand his life through the act of writing and remembering has yielded a truly insightful, original work.” Clea Simon of The Boston Globe said Flynn’s writing is “always specific and honest” and “dryly funny.”

His award-winning memoir “Another … Night in Suck City” was turned into the movie “Being Flynn,” starring Robert De Niro and Paul Dano. That book recounted his unusual relationship with his alcoholic father and the suicide of his mother.

Flynn, 52, is a professor of poetry and married to actress Lili Taylor.

Flynn has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center.

The Visiting Writers Series brings nationally-known writers to Oregon State University. The program is made possible by support from The Valley Library, OSU Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and Grass Roots Books and Music.

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Rachel Ratner, 516-652-5817

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Author Paul Bogard to read from his book on Oct. 9

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Paul Bogard, author of “The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light,” will read from his book on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. The reading begins at 7 p.m. at the library, located at 645 N.W. Monroe Ave., Corvallis.

The event is sponsored by Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word and Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

In his book, Bogard examines the night and how people experience it, traveling to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Walden Pond, and the Canary Islands to explore degrees of darkness. After talking to astronomers, lighting professionals, nurses, and other night-time workers, Bogard writes about the cultural, social and health implications of a night that’s getting brighter every minute, thanks in part to parking lot lights and streetlights.

Publishers Weekly wrote: “Even readers unable to tell Orion from the Big Dipper will find a new appreciation for the night sky after spending some time with this terrific book.”

A native of Minnesota, Bogard teaches creative nonfiction at James Madison University. He is also editor of the anthology “Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark.” 

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Carly Lettero, 541-737-6198