by Adelaide Fitzgerald
Ana Milena Ribero, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition and Engaged Scholar in Residence for the Center of Latino/a Studies and Engagement, began her work her at Oregon State University in August of 2016. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at University of Arizona, where she earned a PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English.
“To be able to share in a student’s experience of discovery is really rewarding, and it's really powerful,” she says of her decision to become a professor. She realized that she wanted to pursue a career in education when teaching at an all girls private school in Colombia, her home country, but ultimately decided to work at the college level given its focus on both teaching and research.
Ribero was 11-years-old when she and her parents immigrated to the United States. She has always returned to Colombia, however, and says “I feel very much like a Colombian, even though I have lived in the United States for most of my life.” Over the years, she has continued to stay connected to the country and to her family that still lives there. “I actually just went [to Colombia] over winter break. It was great, it was a huge family reunion.”
Because of her immigrant status—though she has always been documented and acknowledges the privilege of her experience when compared with that of undocumented migrants—she became interested in migrant rhetorics. “I definitely try to keep close ties with my culture and my family roots, and I think that influences my teaching and my research, obviously. I am an immigrant, so that’s how I got interested in immigrants.”
Much of her work focuses on the DREAMers, young undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children and who attend school here, a population that would have been protected under President Obama’s proposed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Though the legislation didn’t pass, Ribero speaks passionately about the DREAMERs and their communication methods. “I look at activism that these students are involved in,” she says, “and I look at how the rhetoric they use—the strategies that they use to convey their message and to create the meaning that they want to create—how those strategies have the potential to be radical, to be progressive, and also how, at the same time, they are caught up in these same discourses of power that are sometimes exclusionary and oppressive.”
Ribero is especially interested in looking at these migrant struggles through a feminist lens, a major line of inquiry in her current book project. She considers what it means to be both an immigrant and a woman, investigating contradictions of worth. Immigrant women often argue that they should be legalized because of their status as mothers, an approach that Ribero problematizes. “These women, they’re so much more than that,” she says. Her research considers other justifications that immigrants might present for their right to citizenship, and speaks to how some of these ideas are not as progressive as they could be. “That’s the kind of give and take that I’m really interested in,” Ribero says. “Someone that’s trying to do something good, but at the same time they are maybe caught up in things that are not so helpful.”
Ribero strives to be inclusive and open-minded in the classroom, and she does important activist work to promote diversity and promote the diversity of immigrant narratives. “For me,” she says, “having an international and transnational perspective has shaped how I see everything.”
By Miranda Grace Crowell
It’s hard to ignore the pair of unique pet portraits hanging in Associate Professor Tekla Bude’s office. One shows her cat, Steve, as a 17th century cavalier, the other her husband’s late Weimaraner, Marley, as Holbein’s Sir Thomas More, Renaissance-era councilor to King Henry VIII. The artist is one of Bude’s former tenants back East, who made the paintings in lieu of rent. They figured prominently on the wall as Bude sifted through a web archive of medieval art depicting angels; she had a theory she was hoping to confirm.
Bude’s love for literature began at the age of ten when she received an etymology dictionary as a gift. “I thought it was very cool that every word had its own history,” Bude recounted. Later, she would discover a passion for medieval history and literature. “It was distant and foreign and far away,” Bude said. “It felt almost exotic.”
As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Bude triple majored in English, German and Physics. She received her Masters from Oxford University in Medieval Literature and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in English Literature with a specialization in Medieval Literature. From there, Bude took a job teaching in South Africa, then moved back to the UK in 2013 as a Kathleen Hughes Junior Research Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge. She accepted her current position as Associate Professor at Oregon State University this past fall. Currently, she teaches both Shakespeare’s earlier and later plays, a survey of early British literature, medieval literature, and a course on the power of music in literature that examines how music and writing interact with each other from the page to the stage to the screen.
Bude’s research has been published in many peer-reviewed journals including The Yearbook of Langland Studies and The Chaucer Review. Her first book, which is in progress, investigates forms of "silent" or "metaphysical" music in literature from 1300-1550. She is a dedicated scholar, colleague and teacher with impeccable taste in art. All you need to do is peek into her office and catch a glimpse of those light-hearted pet portraits to know that for sure.
Assistant Director of Writing at Oregon State University, Kristy Kelly, has lived all over the United States, but has found her true home in the Pacific Northwest. “I am just so obsessed with the northwest and with the Willamette Valley that I was starting to really get worried that I would have to leave this area,” she says, “and this job came through at the golden moment for me.”
Kelly received her doctorate at the University of Oregon in Rhetoric and Composition last December, and she describes her transition to the rivalry school as a smooth one: “I love the atmosphere here, I love the culture: it feels very warm and welcoming.”
Before Oregon, Kelly traveled the country with her parents, living in all different corners of the U.S. throughout her childhood and adolescence. She describes the important impact that her family had on her career: “My mom was an English major, and my dad was just very happy for me to go to grad school of any kind, so they were incredibly encouraging, supporting — they helped me get through my undergrad, helped me in pretty much every way they could. Definitely having my mom filling my room with books was a helpful thing, and then my dad would always help me with my papers, give me the technical side of things.”
For her undergraduate degree, Kelly attended Western Washington University in Bellingham, home of the Vikings. It was at WWU that her path became more clear, as the most impactful influence on her career came more into play: her teachers. “I’ve had such great teachers along the way that really helped me,” Kelly said. “I kind of came to it knowing I wanted to be an English major, but I didn't really know how much rhetoric was going to be a part of it until I had such excellent writing instructors who really showed me: this is such a great avenue to meld a deep investment in critical thinking and analysis with the concrete skills of writing.” One Western Washington professor in particular acted as a role model and allowed Kelly to solidify her goals for the future. “This is the direction,” Kelly remembers thinking of her professor. “I want to be you one day.”
During her time at the University of Oregon, Kelly built a foundation for her future as a scholar, teacher and administrator. She served as one of the assistant directors of writing at UO, allowing for a smooth transition into her current position. “It’s just felt like a really nice, natural step,” she said.
Here at Oregon State, Kelly has been teaching WR 222: English Composition, for which she is developing a practicum, and WR 303: Writing for the Web, which is particularly inspired by her research on technology and communication. “I had [the students] do a hashtag reflection paper, where I had them pick a hashtag and look at how that hashtag is responsible for shaping dialogue, and who were the audiences invested in creating a momentum around that dialogue, what kind of debates did it entail…It’s a lens to look at a particular discourse through, and so they enjoyed picking something that interested them and looking at background and context for it.”
This passion for people and interest in audience can clearly be seen as the reason why Kelly has gone into this field. “One-on-one interaction is probably my favorite part of my job,” she said. “Getting to hear all of peoples’ different ideas, either through my students or from seeing how the graduate students are shaping up their own ideas for teaching…we just get to have so many fun and important conversations.”
Iyun Osagie teaches Black Diaspora Transnational Literatures and Theories, Black Modernisms, African American Writers, Black Playwrights, Performance Studies, African Literature, Third World Feminisms, and Postcolonial Studies. She is the author of African Modernity and the Philosophy of Culture in the Works of Femi Euba (Lexington Books, 2017), The Amistad Revolt: Memory, Slavery, and the Politics of Identity in the US and Sierra Leone (University of Georgia Press, 2000, 2003), and the edited collection Theater in Sierra Leone: Five Popular Plays (Africa World Press, 2009). In addition she has written a play about the Sierra Leone civil war, The Shield. This play has been performed at universities in the US and in Nigeria. Her publications include essays in African American Review, Cultural Studies, Callaloo, Historical Geography, Annals of Tourism Research, and Massachusetts Review.