If the walls of Moreland Hall could talk, they would have decades of stories to tell. Located at the heart of Oregon State University’s campus, Moreland Hall celebrates its Centennial this year. Built in September of 1917 and originally opened as the home of the College of Forestry, the building underwent a remodel in in 1973 and reopened as Moreland Hall and the home of the English Department. The People of Moreland Hall, inspired by Humans of New York, seeks to capture past, present, and future influence of Moreland Hall and School of Writing, Literature, and Film and lets students tell their stories.
English and Education majors
Music Performance minor
Class of 2019
I originally started at the University of San Francisco because I wanted to get far away from the small town I grew up in but I didn’t like being in the city. I wanted to be somewhere with more nature and Oregon has mountains and I’m happy now.
The English department here is really small, but I’m inspired by the natural world and there’s a lot of that here. Also, the education program at Oregon State was a huge draw. I like the small college feel of the English department. My old school was all liberal arts and we had really big liberal arts class sizes as a result. I like that you get to know your teachers and you can take classes with them over and over. And Bernard Malamud, a former OSU professor who wrote the Magic Barrel, also wrote one of my favorite books, A New Life.
Class of 2019
The 14th century knight, Fiore Dei Liberi once said, “Without books no one can be a good teacher nor even a good student of this art.”
I got into sword fighting because I wanted to play with swords, and I thought it was cool. But what really got me into sword fighting was finding out that historical people had tried to preserve martial arts by writing them down. The first historical combat manual I got attached to was Joachim Meyer’s 16th century manual. The language and the illustrations really spoke to me. They exuded a sense of powerful motion.
Literature and sword fighting both fit together because when I fence and when I write I find myself engaging in a communicative process. When I’m sparring, my opponent and I are having a dialogue and the historical masters recognize that there was an element of dialogue to how they fought. They tried to preserve that type of discourse in words. They tried to write down something that can’t be entirely communicated in words, and now we’re trying to pick it back up centuries later.
English and Education majors
Class of 2018
Just the fact that we’ve all grown up with movies drew me to a film minor. I saw it as a chance to look at the more artistic side of film. I wanted something deeper. My first film class was Film 110, fall term of my freshman year with Jon Lewis. He would eventually become my thesis mentor for the Honors College. It was being exposed to this whole world of film that I didn’t know existed as well as the fact that it was my first term of college where someone could articulately discuss and guide me through this new world. Film 110 focused on early film, approximately the 1890s through World War II. It gives me a deeper appreciation of where film came from and its influence on our society. Almost none of my friends are in Liberal Arts- they’re Ag or STEM, and they constantly ask if my constant awareness ruins my ability to watch a movie. And I say it’s like playing an instrument or playing a sport. There’s a part of your mind that’s obviously cognizant, but it doesn’t take away from your ability to enjoy what’s happening.
My thesis is related to film. It was an examination of the artistic style of the director David Fincher who directed Fight Club and The Social Network. Something about his sleek and controlled style always drew me to his films. And when I first recognized consistent thematic and stylistic elements in his film I wanted to know how someone could make films ranging from a science fiction to police procedural to drama and while still embedding those techniques and ideas.
The minor has been so helpful in my student teaching experience. I think when we reflect back on our own high school experience, we associate movie day as being a throwaway day where students can shut their brains off. So bringing to the table my passion for film scholarship as well as my desire to serve my students as effectively as possible, it became a real joy to engage students with the movies we watched in class.
English and Philosophy majors
St. Helens, Oregon
Class of 2020
I decided on the English major because I wanted to improve my writing and I figured writing as a columnist for Orange Media Network and the Barometer was the best way to apply my skills. I like to play with language. Words are almost mathematical in a sense, you can craft a formula to equate an emotion or an idea. The English language is beautiful. And the second you bite into it, you get all the juicy alliteration, metaphors and hidden histories. I’m more confident in my writing because of the people at Orange Media Network, like my editors, who want to help me become the writer I want to be.
Especially last term, I took an Introduction to Fiction class taught by Gilad Elbom and we read a book called Mist by Miguel de Unamuno and it really shattered my perception of how I thought books were supposed to be written. The way my professor explored the book was unconventional and he was very passionate about the philosophical, romantic, and literary nuances in between the rivers of text. We spent two weeks unraveling each line of the text and by the end of it I had a new appreciation for narrator perspective as well as stylistic creativity.
A lot of professors in the English program are humble and warm with a vibrant energy that makes their human side leak out of their professor façade. You get to grab on to their passions, absorb their criticism, and distill your own opinion whereas in other fields or other professors don’t try to pull that creativity out of you.
BFA Digital Communication Arts major
Class of 2021
When I was five, I wanted to be a children’s book author and illustrator. The combination of written and visual storytelling has always been important to me. The form has changed over the years, shifting to manga and graphic novels when I was ten and animated films during high school. However, none of these formats clicked with my interests. They were either too static or not interactive enough.
Although I’ve been a gamer almost all my life, starting with the Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP as a 5-year-old, I had never considered video games as a storytelling platform. I’d looked at them through a visual lens but concluded I wasn’t interested in animation or concept art, and programming is less a career path and more a tool for me. Then I took Kristin’s Introduction to Fiction Writing class in the Fall at the same time that I started playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my Nintendo Switch. The story I wrote for the class felt almost like it was meant to be an open world video game. It wasn’t necessarily similar to Zelda, but it felt destined to be made interactive in some way.
I realized that a lot of writing goes into video games, especially the single-player, story-based games. Video games were the interactive platform I had been searching for. They have the ability to combine rich storytelling, expansive character development, and strong visuals in a compelling, interactive format. Over winter break I had the chance to tour Blizzard’s studios and talk with some of the writers for Heroes of the Storm. After I met with them, I knew video game writing was the career for me. Combining the DCA major with a writing minor is the perfect way for me to match my education to my desired career in video games.
English and Digital Communication Arts majors
San Pedro, California
Class of 2021
Growing up, English was always my favorite subject. It’s been something I excelled at. It wasn’t until sophomore year of high school when we were going over poetry that I discovered that I really had a knack for writing and analyzing literature. I used to want to be a game designer and I went to a summer program at Berkeley where I realized it was all computer science and coding. I then looked back over the years of academics and self-driven hobbies and looked at what I applied myself towards and realized I really, really loved English.
My last year of high school I took a creative writing class, which led to yearbook and theatre. My yearbook teacher in California told me about Digital Communication Arts and the different schools across the US that offered it, and that’s what drew me to OSU. At the time, I already had a friend here, so I felt self-established. And I remember walking into Bexel my second day of START and feeling at home surrounded by other people who wanted to turn their passions into a career, so I knew a double-major was a good combination of my interests.
English and Education majors
French and Writing minors
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Class of 2020
One of my favorite classes but hardest was English 345, which is Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory. I think it forces you to critically think and challenges a lot of your perceptions both in literature but also in the world we live in. If anything, English teaches you how to analyze literature but also teaches you analytical skills for the real world.
There are two reasons people come to college - either to get a degree or to critically think. A lot of people think college is just a degree, but you need to use that time to develop yourself and engage with different ideologies and people of different backgrounds; the English degree does that really well. Something that’s cool about English is that you get to choose your own path to a degree and what type of literature you focus on, and different themes within them. There’s different avenues you can take and it allows you to explore a lot and find what you’re passionate about.
Digital Communications Arts major
Class of 2020
I always knew I wanted to write fiction and I knew I couldn’t shove it to the wayside. I declared a writing minor spring term last year because it was something I was interested in and I needed something to keep me sane during my engineering coursework. I took Writing 224 Fall term 2017 with Kristin Griffin and Writing 324 winter term of this year and they were both great. I’ve always been kind of shy; I’ve written plenty before, but I never really shared anything. But when you get more comfortable and actually share with people, you learn more about what people think of your stuff and learn a little more about your own styles and tendencies as a writer, not to mention workshopping helps you acclimate to receiving constructive feedback. Of course, it helps when you have such an amazing instructor, too; Kristin is fantastic.
Los Gatos, California
Class of 2019
Since I was young, I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. I always thought films were a great ways to express a narrative, so in high school I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter. At this point of my life, my high school goals of being an award-winning screenwriter are a little far-fetched--and I’m okay with that. My perceptions of being an English major have definitely changed since I’ve come to OSU. I initially wanted to focus heavily on creative writing, but as I’m finishing my third year, I have found other aspects within the English major that have altered my career goals. I have a better sense of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer and editor.
I wanted to come to Oregon State University primarily because of the band program. I’m a passionate musician and I play drumset and marching snare drum. I’ve been playing percussion for ten years and it’s one of my most important hobbies next to writing. I want to give equal opportunity to these serious hobbies, which is why I think Oregon State has been such a great fit for me. I’ve been able to play in the marching band, traveling pep bands, jazz and percussion ensembles while also focusing on my enthusiasm for literature, writing and storytelling.
I’ve taken some amazing, eye-opening classes within the School of Writing, Literature and Film. In a class taught by Tekla Bude, The Power of Music in Literature, we learned about the correlations and coexistence between music and literature. I loved the range of literature we explored and the musical concepts within each piece, which spanned from texts by Greek philosophers, to medieval romances, to rap songs by artists from the 90’s. Another memorable class was Career Prep for English Majors, taught by Liz Delf, in which we learned about what kinds of unique strengths English majors have in multiple career industries. Professor Delf and her class has made me feel more confident for any time someone asks me, “What are you going to do with that?” when I say I’m an English major. Finally, I will never forget the internship I participated in with Rebecca Olson, Editing Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, in which my colleagues and I created an edition of Romeo and Juliet to be free, accessible and student-friendly for high school students and teachers. This internship has made me not only think more in depth about Shakespeare, but also the effect and influence that editors have when analyzing and editing specific texts.
Writing and History minors
Class of 2019
I came here knowing that I wanted to study English, but I wouldn’t admit it. I was worried about being an English major in a STEM society. I wanted a vocation instead, but being in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film has taught me that there’s a lot of opportunities that can take you down a lot of roads. I took one of the required survey courses- British Lit: Beginnings to 1660s my freshman year with Tekla Bude. Survey courses are hard hitting. They’re one text after another and you’re expected to be functionally fluent on each one. This class made it so that was something I wanted to be. Each text seemed unique and important.
Tekla’s survey course was so focused in an encompassing kind of way that was super cool seeing the impact of everything. I think a lot of that was how Professor Bude framed it as relevant to us as literature analysts. It was a class that set me on the path to being an English major, especially because I took several more classes with Tekla after. We covered a lot of fundamental texts of western culture like Beowulf and Margery Kempe.Margery Kempe was great. She was this one woman who kind of woke up one day in the 1300s and decided she had been called to become one of the authorities on Christianity. In a lot of ways, she seemed crazy, but she also seemed interested in making her own future which is cool to see happening in that time period. She was very loud and would cry and be hysterical in public places, which must have been obnoxious at the time but is something I really admire.
Digital Communication Arts major
Writing and Applied Journalism minors
Pleasant Hill, Oregon
Class of 2020
Originally, I wanted to go into chemical engineering and I realized I hated math so I wasn’t sure what to do. I was still set on Oregon State since I had friends here. My first week here, not knowing what to study, I made an appointment with my freshman advisor, Dahlia Seroussi, and she asked me a bunch of questions about my interests and she sold me on Digital Communication Arts. I signed up right then and there. After that, a writing minor was a no brainer. I have been writing since I was little and have always loved writing, simply because it gives me an outlet to express my creativity, even in nonfiction.
The applied journalism minor is a little bit of an afterthought since it is a new program and I’m close to graduating, but I was an editor at my high school newspaper and I was a reporter for about five months at the Barometer before I got the news editor position. In the year and a half that I’ve been with the Barometer, I’ve written more than thirty stories including seven cover stories and an editorial. After college, I want to be able to utilize my writing and my storytelling abilities to help inform people whether it’s through journalism or other writing.
Chris Hands '17
Speech Communications Major, Writing Minor
"As a kid I was always really into Harry Potter. And looking back at it I realized that what I was enjoying the most was that I was able to jump into a world that didn’t actually exist. And myself being someone who is very attached to the physical world, it was an escape that I didn’t imagine I’d be able to take. J.K. Rowling, her story, and her mission are what first set me on the path of taking on writing."
Ethan Heusser '18
English Major, Minors in Writing and Computer Science
“I'm probably most proud of an opinion piece, Art and the Nature of Fear, which I wrote for the Corvallis Gazette-Times this last November. It was an organic culmination of my experiences with media and journalism, my newfound opportunities to engage with larger communities through art, and my poetic sensibilities at the time. In my experience, the writing that comes most naturally is often what also resonates the most; this article was no exception.”
Kaya Reed '17
Marine Biology, Writing, and German Major
“It wasn’t a piece, it was a person who sparked an interest in writing. It was my 8th grade Language Arts teacher, Carrie Scaife. She gave us a wide breadth of writing and taught it so passionately. She gave us room to grow as writers while encouraging us to grow in writing itself.”
Lanesha Reagan '18
English Major and Writing Minor
“I've honestly loved all of my English and writing classes (of course), so it's hard for me to pick just one. I'm currently in a short story writing class and a lot of it's just workshopping and it's motivated me even more to get more of my writing published or become an editor. I love reading other people's writing and working on a way to understand them and their characters and help them develop it even more. Technically, am I the best writer right now? No, of course not, but I know what it's like to fall so deeply into a story or characters that everything else disappears for a little while and that's what I'm trying to help my classmates do. I want them to write and I hope I can write so that I'm able to make people feel. Whether that's pain or love, feeling is what I'm striving for.”
Maidson Bauer '18
Digital Communications Arts
“I've changed my major dozens of times over the last three years, but one thing that remained constant was my love for writing. I'm one class away from completing my writing minor, and I wish I could major in just writing. I've grown a lot as a writer through my classes here, and it's evident in all my work across the board. I'm proud of the music reviews I've written for Cassette [a music review site that is a part of the Orange Media Network] and, most recently, an article I have waiting to be published on the Corvallis Review about a brand new alternative rock album.”
Ryan Lackey '18
MA in English - Literature and Culture
“Learning, in my experience, occurs from both directions at Oregon State. I've drawn on the expertise of my professors, for example, and their literacies in myriad fascinating fields of criticism and theory. And I've also learned from my peers, my friends, the other people in my cohort. Navigating academia isn't a solitary adventure here, and I appreciate that.”
Sarah Awbrey Johnson '18
English Major, Minors in Writing and Communications
"As a kid all I wanted to do was read. I listened to a lot of audio books growing up. Cheaper by the Dozen in particular. We would listen to them on long car rides to the beach with my grandma. I see my major and minors taking me to an editorial position. Working with the written word and media, but less mainstream. I care more about quality, especially in an age of fake news."
Sarah Berge '18
English Major, Minors in Writing and Film Studies
“I became an English major because I always wanted to do something in writing, but film and other ways of sharing and telling stories had always been interesting to me as well. When I got to OSU and found out they were launching a new film studies minor, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to explore several of my interests at once and, hopefully, find a way into a career that would allow me to use all of those skills. Luckily, working at Orange Media Network (OMN) has allowed me to see that I actually can use all of my interests while doing something I love. I get to help share people's stories in a variety of ways, using all of my interests, which is awesome."
Stephen Hinkle '17
English Major and Writing Minor
“Next is grad school. I’ve just started filling out applications. That’s the short term. But long term I hope to be a professor. I just feel so at home in the literary world. There’s something comforting about it.”
Taylor Simpson '18
MA in English - Literature and Culture
“I found this crazy-old copy of Paradise Lost in my high school library and that was the turning point. That was the moment I realized I wanted to pursue at least my undergrad in English, and now I have Gustav Dore’s illustrations of Paradise Lost tattooed from my hip to my shoulder. I’m in the first year of the graduate program and I don’t know where it’ll take me . . . maybe teaching Paradise Lost to the next generation of would-be English Majors.”
Author and Photographer Bio: Oregon native Miranda Grace Crowell is in her final year of undergraduate studies at Oregon State University. She will graduate in the spring with a Bachelors of Science in Digital Communication Arts and Sustainability, alongside two minors in Anthropology and Writing. In her spare time, Miranda is an aspiring foodie, and a photographer for Factor Kites, her personal startup. After graduation, Miranda hopes to stay in the Pacific Northwest, where she’ll continue to capture the spirit of the region through writing and photography.