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When I tell my friends and family I study literature and writing at Oregon State University, they mostly act surprised: “I thought Oregon State was an engineering school?” Oregon State is an exceptional science and engineering school, but many people don’t realize its excellence in liberal arts.
In the six years I have been in college, three in which I studied science, I have realized that the only real mistake a student can make is to major in something they have no stake in. Why do we go to college? We have a passion and we want to learn how to apply it. Sure, building a foundation of skills needed to succeed in the professional world and pursuing a marketable degree are certainly important, but doing something you’re passionate about will give you the will to succeed and the ambition to excel. Although it saddened me to end my science education after years of hard work, I knew English and writing were my true passions, and in the end, would enrich my life in a larger way. The American writer James Truslow Adams explained it perfectly: “There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.”
Victor Kuechler (BA 2009) studies in the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at Oregon State and currently works as a technical writer for the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. In August 2010, he wrote an article for Linux Journal, "The OSWALD Project," which explained how open software and hardware can benefit undergraduate computer science education, especially in learning real-world, embedded programming. Victor also coauthored two papers, one which was presented at CHI 2010, the 28th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Atlanta, Georgia and another at the 2011 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Kauai, Hawaii. He also wrote three journal papers that adress diversity in open source software development, computer-mediated communication and Beaversource, a social network and source code repository for OSU students.
Charity Shumway earned an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University and a BA in English from Harvard University. In the summer of 2012, Charity's first novel, Ten Girls to Watch: A Novel, was published by Washington Square Press. She has written for magazines and websites including Glamour, Fitness, Ladies Home Journal, and Garden Design, and currently blogs about cooking and gardening at SpadeSpatula.com. Her fiction has been published in Slice Magazine, Soon Quarterly, Harvard Square Editions' anthology Above Ground, on Anderbo.com, and honored by Glimmer Train. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.
Charity Shumway is touring the West Coast in the fall of 2012 on booktour with her first novel, Ten Girls to Watch.
Rachael Cate received her MA in English with an area emphasis in Writing and Rhetoric (2011). Her undergraduate background as a cultural studies student at PSU, and her certificate in teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in Buenos Aires also informed her research interests and graduate career at OSU. During her time at OSU, she broadened her professional experience and training by serving as a Writing Assistant in the Center for Writing and Learning and INTO (OSU’s Writing 121 for English language learners). She also served as an administrative assistant and coordinator at the Women’s Center. Her position as an RA in a pilot project on service learning with Prof. Susan Meyers gave her an informed perspective to work from while writing her thesis, which presented a model for service learning and literacy projects inspired by Latin American indigenous community organizing. After graduation, Rachael's Fulbright application was accepted by the government of Spain for a position as an English teacher and cultural assistant in their bilingual public school program. She currently lives in Madrid, teaches English, and writes short stories. She is considering continuing a career in nonprofit educational campaigns and pursuing a PhD in multicultural literacy, ethnography or international education.