Alumna Profile: Lia Calhoun

January 18th, 2022 § 0

The Department caught up recently with Lia (Sloth) Calhoun, one of our alums.
Upon graduation from SPU, Lia went on to complete a Ph.D. in American literature at Boston University, specializing in twentieth- and twenty-first-century multiethnic literatures of the U.S., Native American literature, and spatial theory. Her dissertation focused on issues of spatial justice in twentieth-century American lit.

While dissertating, Lia and her husband moved back to their birthplace, Homer, Alaska. Hoping to pick up teaching as an adjunct instructor, Lia applied to the Homer campus of the University of Alaska, only to learn that a full-time, tenure-track position was opening up. Lia was offered and accepted the job, and balanced dissertation, new-motherhood, and helping on her husband’s fishing boat for several years.

“I really am fortunate to have found this work in my small community that is literally at the end of the road,” writes Lia. “Both my family and my husband’s family are here, so our two boys (ages six and almost three) get to grow up with almost all of their extended family.

“My husband runs his own salmon seining operation,” explains Lia, “so the boys and I spend much of the summer at our beach house in a village on Kodiak Island, where we can explore even more rural and secluded beaches, trails, and adventures.”

Meanwhile, Lia has shifted her research interests to the scholarship of teaching and learning. “I’m fascinated with research about high-impact practices and other tools for student success,” she explains. “I work with many students who haven’t had the educational privileges I have, and one of the most fulfilling aspects of my work is walking alongside these students until they come to truly know that they belong here” on campus, she says.

Congratulations and best wishes, Lia!

Alumna Profile: Rachel Harris

November 18th, 2021 § 0

Rachel Harris recently checked back with the department to update us on her activities since graduating in June of 2020. While performing an essential service as a personal shopper during the pandemic, Rachel also managed to complete the manuscript of her first novel, currently titled Paper Chase. It’s a piece of historical fiction based in 1950’s England that, according to Rachel, “explores the Red Scare, the Soviet Union, and the early Civil Rights Movement.”

Currently supervisor at Lassi & Spice, a cafe in Wallingford that specializes in Indian street food, Rachel is once again filling her “spare time” with literary pursuits. She reports that her current project is a study of Victorian literature. “In Jane Eyre and Little Dorrit,” Rachel explains of her study, “I find that literature functions to preserve the English’s concept of English ideals against the perceived ‘Eastern’ ideas they encounter abroad in the British Empire.

“I will submit this research as a writing sample as I apply to MA/PhD programs in the next month,” says Rachel. “While I know MA/PhD programs are competitive and that I may need to gain more experience before I get accepted into one, I am looking forward to giving it my best shot. In the future, I look forward to continuing my research in Victorian literature and publishing my novel.”

Thanks for updating us, Rachel, and best wishes for a promising future!

Internship at Image

November 18th, 2021 § 0

From Sara Arrigoni, Director of Operations at Image:

Image supports personal and cultural flourishing through a revival of the religious imagination. Anchored by a quarterly journal and an annual artists’ workshop, Image is comprised of both editorial and programming branches, each involved in showcasing and supporting artists and writers working at the intersection of art and faith. Image has been based at SPU since 2000, and we are excited to offer SPU students internship opportunities with our organization.

Applicants from all majors and fields of study will be considered, and we have opportunities for students with a wide range of skills and interests. There is much involved behind the scenes in keeping a nonprofit thriving, including fundraising, accounting, web experience, communications, and more.

We have recently expanded our internship opportunities, to include single-quarter or full-year opportunities, with hours ranging from 5-10 hours weekly. We would love to meet with you and talk about your options!

To read a bit more about Image, the internships, and to apply, please visit this link, or email Sara Arrigoni at Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis.

Internships in Publishing

November 10th, 2021 § 0

Seattle Met magazine is once again seeking students for its paid internships. Interns commit to twenty hours of work per week, and the internships last six months. College credit is possible for the internship experience, though interns aren’t required to be enrolled in courses related to their work at the magazine to hold these positions. A full description of duties and complete instructions on how to apply are available via this link:

Senior Profile: Helen Martin

October 28th, 2021 § 0

Helen Martin, senior literature major, is graduating early this year. The Alaska native used summer-session courses to accelerate her pace through an undergraduate degree.

When asked to reflect on her time in the English major, Helen had much to say.

“I became an English major because I wanted to do something I loved in college,” she said. “I wanted to stay up late reading books, improve my writing abilities, and talk about literary analysis with my peers. I’ve always felt that anyone who is passionate about literature is passionate about life, and those are the kind of people I have always felt inspired by and wanted to be around.

“The greatest takeaway I’ve had from the major,” Helen added, “is just how complex it is! I think a lot of people outside the major perceive the study of English as a lot of essay writing (fair enough), but I’ve learned more about current issues, philosophical questions, and spirituality through the texts I’ve read than anywhere else.”

Her future plans? “Eventually, I want to teach English literature at the secondary level, but I would like to explore other opportunities with my degree first. I’m looking into speech and grant writing specifically, and, at some point, I would love to get my master’s degree abroad.”

Blessings and good luck, Helen!