Eryn Tan Takes Internship

October 21st, 2019 § 0

Eryn Tan, sophomore English major, has reported in on her current internship.  “I pursued an internship because I wanted to effectively use my time (and credits) during the quarter and gain experience in the line of nonprofit work and a career in writing,” she reports.  Many English majors find that an internship helps them investigate an area where they may hope to work after graduation.  

“So far, this internship has exposed and refined my skills in various styles of writing, training me in using appropriate diction and suitable measures of emotional language,” continues Eryn.  It often comes as a surprise to students that a “career in writing” can take many forms.

Many students worry about fitting an internship into their classs and work schedule.  Eryn takes this potential problem in stride. “Juggling classes with this internship has also challenged my ability to multitask and manage my time more efficiently.”  But she’s managed it well, reporting weekly to her faculty advisor about her internship activities.

“I believe that this internship will help to clear up some of my confusion about the kind of career I’d like to pursue with my English Literature major and provide me with realistic expectations for my life after graduating.”  Well said, Eryn!

Dr. Kimberly Segall

October 10th, 2019 § 0

Professor of English & Cultural Studies Kimberly Segall has devoted her life and career to cultural understanding among peoples of the world and for the benefit of students. “In terms of career and work abroad, I’ve always been a mix of the academic and the practitioner, so that’s a bit of a challenge sometimes,” says Dr. Segall in a recent interview with SPU Voices author Heidi Speck. The practice she refers to is in the area of social justice for the Middle East and beyond.

Regarding her initiation into the complexities of that region in her twenties, Segall observes that “[c]onnecting with Iraqis — Muslim, Christian, and Jewish — I learned about our Abrahamic connection. Making friends with women and learning that they had great authority in their families, worked with NGOs, and are now politicians in Baghdad, challenged my naïve perceptions of women in the Middle East. Living with an extended family sort of shattered my gender misconceptions.”

Understandably, Segall is a strong proponent of study abroad for students at Seattle Pacific. “When you move out of your comfort zone, there’s going to be anxiety. But there’s also a place of strength, courage, and excitement when you cross that border. You’ll come out stronger than when you left,” she says. “I recommend SPU study abroad trips because you have a mentor from the University with you during and after the trip. So if you go your sophomore year, you can have three years of mentoring with a person who watches you grow and helps you on that journey.”

Because of her experience as well as her academic training, Segall was tapped to head up the social justice and cultural studies major at Seattle Pacific when it began two years ago. “For me, social justice is the Bible. God’s love is so transformative that God takes on flesh for us and dies so that we can have grace, and we’re asked in response to love our neighbors as ourselves [ . . . . ] [T]hat means you have to understand the marginalization and oppression that other people have faced before. You can work with them and enter that space of reciprocity — of service — that’s an equal exchange, respecting others, learning as we serve. That’s the cross, that’s the Bible, that’s the message. It’s the whole thing.”

Pongo Poetry Project

October 3rd, 2019 § 0

October 12, 2019

9:00 AM – 4:45 PM

Art Room

The 2100 Building

2100 24th Ave. S.

Seattle 98144

Learn to “facilitate healing poetry” by training to became a volunteer for the Pongo Poetry Project. Pongo says in an email to the English & Cultural Studies Department, “we are passionate about this work, about the opportunity of poetry to provide healing after trauma. In particular, we use poetry to serve people in jails and homeless shelters. Our writers consistently write about childhood trauma, such as neglect and exposure to violence. They often report that they have not talked about these experiences before. Yet Pongo’s writers find relief and healing in Pongo Poetry, which has the advantages of being culturally appropriate, extremely supportive, immediately effective, emotionally safe, and inexpensive to implement. In our work, we are happy to be empowering our writers as a response to social injustices.” Details about Pongo and how to sign up for the training can be found at https://www.pongoteenwriting.org/training-for-counselors-and-teachers.html

English & Cultural Studies Year-End Party

June 4th, 2019 § 0

 Each year, the department invites students into the home of one of its professors to celebrate the end of the academic year. We share food and soft drinks, the faculty give away books, and the winners of the Arksey Prizes are announced. Seniors hold a special place of honor in our celebration. We are always happy for their accomplishment but a bit sad to lose their company, at least as students.

For many faculty and majors, the party represents the calm before the onslaught of final papers, exams, and, for many, the high ceremonies celebrating graduation. A little breather.

This year, our party celebrated the retirement of Dr. Doug Thorpe and bid farewell to Dr. Yelena Bailey, who will be greatly missed.

Congrats to all our students for (nearly) another year of accomplishments. Special congratulations go to our graduating seniors!

Dr. Doug Thorpe Retires

May 23rd, 2019 § 0

After thirty-one years of teaching in SPU’s English and Cultural Studies Department, Dr. Doug Thorpe is retiring.

Dr. Thorpe’s academic and teaching interests have included Romanticism, world literature, American ethnic literature, and environmental spirituality.

His combined love of William Blake, Christian contemplative traditions, and the Pacific Northwest’s mountains led to Thorpe’s award-winning book, Rapture of the Deep: Reflections on the Wild in Art, Wilderness and the Sacred (Red Hen Press, 2007). In Wisdom Sings the World: Poetry, Creation, and the Way of Dwelling (Codhill Press, 2010), Thorpe reflects on the connections between spirituality and the arts.

An active member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, his favorite memories of Seattle Pacific include teaching students abroad in England, collaborating with colleagues at home, and many rich conversations with students in his office or at local coffee shops. For those lamenting Dr. Thorpe’s retirement, there’s some comfort in knowing he’ll continue to teach at SPU on a part-time basis into the foreseeable future