Maddox Byfield: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

Before I introduce the last senior I have information on, I want to recognize those I do not have posts for. I offer a supportive congratulations to English majors Ricardo Worl, Rachel Wilson, Taylor Meredith, Simon Benko, Andi Kwiatkowski, Ethan Paxton, Amanda Gerard, and Rachel Rennaker.

The last senior I can personally provide information on is none other than myself. I am Maddox Byfield, an English Writing major with minors in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and Editing and Publishing. I am from Longview, Washington, where I will be returning after graduation to pursue a remote job in the editing field. I will also be pursuing testosterone hormone therapy for my transition, with the support of my family and animals back home. I enjoy reading, writing, drawing, and as most of my peers and professors know, gaming, which I do frequently with my close friends and boyfriend.

These past four years at Whitworth have yielded many great memories. I am honored to have been apart of the English department, and am glad I decided to take the step to reach out to professors and get to know them more. If not for the comfort and support they offered, I would not have been able to overcome my mental health and social transition from female to male as easily. There are also a lot of things I would not have learned, such as how to design books from start to finish thanks to Thom Caraway. That said, a favorite, cumulative, memory would have to be the relationship I had with Fred Johnson. After sitting in on a film class of his my senior year of high school, when he was still department Chair, I met Fred personally and he was the reason I came in to Whitworth declared confidently as an English major. I did not think he would remember me, but he did, and spent two years pestering me to take classes from him, which I finally obliged my junior year.

My advice is truly to take part in the community, even if that means talking to professors more than your peers sometimes. I am absolutely amazed by the community here, how supportive they have been of my struggles and changes in life, and the amount of incredible opportunities they have provided me. I do not think I would be anywhere near the person I have grown into at Whitworth if it were not for the loving community I found in this department.

This is likely my last post, so I just want to say that I am honored for the opportunity to give this community something to look at about our department. I truly hope this gets passed on to someone who cares about it, and it will not get abandoned again like it was this past year when I was not technically working on it. Thank you all for your support, I leave this with nothing but happiness as I reflect on the years.

Rachel Coy: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

While I may not have information on all of our seniors, I am so honored I’ve gotten the choice to introduce those who have been kind enough to tell me more about them. One of the last seniors I get to introduce is Rachel Coy, an English Writing major with a minor in Editing in Publishing. She is from Renton, Washington, where she plans to return after graduation to “vegetate for a bit” while looking for a job in copy-editing and spending time with her pets.

She hates talking about herself and offered that she was a bit of a class clown because early on she learned it defused the tension of a new class and helped people feel more comfortable speaking their minds. She’s attended Whitworth for five years due to a rough semester and subsequent hiatus, but has worked hard to finish her degree and better understand the strange and unique ways her mind turns.

When recalling her best memory, she told a story about “Laurie Lamon frantically throwing the door open and crying in anguish, ‘I HAVE TO STOP YOU’ when I suggested writing Dickensonian poetry about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

Rachel’s advice to incoming students is to reach out to your professors when you need support and assistance. “No matter what they said in high school, the department staff really support you and want to help you succeed. I really should have done this more myself, but the best I can do at this point is help other students get the support they need.”

“With the retirement of Leonard Oakland and Laurie Lamond, Kari Nixon and Courtney Barajas moving, and John Pell transitioning out of the department, we’re all leaving it to the rest of the English nerds to carry the passionate spirit! Carry the banner!”

Joy Aivaliotis: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

The next featured senior is Joy Aivaliotis, an English Writing major with minors in Theatre and Honors. Joy is from Switzerland, as well as California, and characterizes herself as a very sarcastic, supportive social butterfly who loves to read, draw/paint, and play board/card games. As a fun fact, she also rides a motorcycle and did equestrian vaulting for many years. After graduation she will be working as a copywriter at an Hawkeye Agency, an advertising agency.

Joy’s best memory is from the English senior portfolio, which “was a sweet time to be spending with all of the other seniors and getting to just talk about the future and also how we’re feeling about everything.” She also loved working on putting together Script this semester, as it has been really fun and challenged her in a new way.

Her advice for in coming English majors it to “take a class with as many different English professors as possible. They each have such unique things to offer and are fantastic.” She also highly recommends getting coffee with them or just getting to know professors outside of class, because they’re great human being and would love to find out more about who you are. Joy finally suggests getting involved in on campus things, not just English related, though they definitely can be!

Hen Fookes: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

Another featured senior from our department is Hen Fookes, an English Writing major with minors in Spanish as well as Editing and Publishing. Hen describes themselves as a nerd from Hillsboro, Oregon, who is working on keeping his sleep scheduling and balancing their personal finances. They love dance, linguistics, rain, especially sun-showers and other funky editions, all food except cholocate, and getting to know people by listening, watching, and reading their music, show, movie, and book recommendations. They also claims to be just crazy enough to call themselves a writer. After Graduation, Hen plans to get a job, actually read for fun, and just chill for a while.

Their best memory from Whitworth is seeing “Hen Fookes” published in the 2021 edition of Script.

Hen’s advice for new English students is as follows. “One: English professors really, really do care about you. Just reach out. Two: You’ll never be a good writer if you never learn to be honest with yourself.”

Taylor Pannell: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

Another senior from our department is Taylor Pannell, and English Writing major with a minor in Art. Taylor is from San Gabriel, California, and after graduation she will be doing a work trade with the Workaway program.

Taylor’s best memory of the English Department was the poetry reading right before being sent home due to the pandemic. “It was a beautiful goodbye.” She recalls, “A sendoff that we couldn’t fully grasp at the time.”

Her advice for incoming students is to embrace being weird. “Being really, really weird. The sooner the better.” She expresses that professors will celebrate your quirks and you’ll be happier with yourself and your environment.

Emily Marvin: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

The next major from our department is Emily Marvin, who is doubling as a Biology and English Writing major with a minor in Environmental Studies. Emily is from Tehachapi, California, and after graduation she will be doing a service year with the QuEST Fellowship in Seattle where she will be working in either housing or legal services. She has also thrown around the potential of law school after that, but that’s a matter for future Emily.

This spring, Emily has been a teaching assistant for a biology class that dissects preserved cats, turtles, sharks, and mice. She states, “If you were ever sitting by me in a class and thought to yourself, ‘Wow, Emily smells like formaldehyde,’ that is why. Sorry.” Additionally, she recalls her favorite memory form the English Department is Dr. Nicole Sheets’ Tweets.

Emily’s message for future students is to find a professor who will read your writing even when they don’t have to.

Rebekah Blanchard: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

The next senior I get to introduce from the department is Rebekah Blanchard, an English Writing major with a minor in Editing and Publishing. Bekah is a “nursing-student-turned-English-major” from Richland, Washington. She is so happy to be apart of the major, and aside from reading and writing enjoys playing in the wind symphony, climbing at the UREC, and hanging out with the cats in her neighborhood. After graduation she will be working with two non-profit music organization for youth over the summer, before she hopes to find a job in content writing and editing in Spokane.

“Of the many memories I have from my time in the department,” Bekah recalls, “one of my favorites was when Fred stood on top of a table and threw engraved pencils to (at?) the students of his Postmodern Lit class.”

Bekah offers encouragement to the incoming students, stating that “it’s rarely too late to change the direction you’re heading! I switched to English very late in the game, but I’m graduating with a cohort of wonderful peers and close friends regardless. Let them encourage you, support you, and push you as needed.”

Madisen Hampton: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

Another senior I am honored to introduce is Madisen Hampton, an English Literature major with minors in Business Leadership as well as Editing and Publishing. Madisen is from Spokane, Washington, where she will be staying after graduation to work as a Program Associate at the Innovia Foundation.

When asked about her favorite memory, she recounted the Christmas parties that were held at the Emerson’s home.

Her advice for new English major is to get to know your professors! They are here to help with you with anything you need, from figuring out what you want to do past graduation to looking at opportunities that may be available to you during your time on campus.

Annika Bjornson: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

Another senior from our department is Annika Bjornson, who is double majoring in English Literature and Political Science. Annika is from Seattle, Washington, but has plans to go teach English at a primary school in Madrid, Spain, after graduation.

When asked about a fond memory, Annika recalls “One day in our postmodern literature class with Fred Johnson, we decided to ‘break the meta-narrative rules’ of the classroom and everyone sat down in a circle in front of our desks. When Fred walked in, we informed him that he had taken over class that day, and we held a lively discussion on the floor!”

Annika’s advice for income English majors is to try new things within this department! Sometimes niche class topics or creative writing assignments stir up a new passion inside you, and it is so exciting to explore that. “I did not realize that I would enjoy Russian literature so much, or that I would ever see myself as a halfway decent poet, bot those were some of my favorite college experiences.”

Nicole Harris: Congratulations 2022 English Seniors

Then next of my peers I get to share with you is Nicole Harris, a double major in English Literature and Writing, with a minor in Editing and Publishing. She is from Spokane, Washington and has plans to continue reading and writing after graduation, as well as apply for grad school next year.

Her favorite memory from the English department would likely be all the time spent in the Westminster Honors Lounge with other English students. “I’ve loved getting advice on papers and projects from classmates, listening to funny anecdotes, and just laughing.” Nicole recalls seeings professors stick their heads in, particularly Bert Emerson, which was always a treat.

Nicole’s advice for incoming students is to join Rock & Sling, write for the Whitworthian newspaper, submit your work for awards, and attend lunches and events with writers. Follow your interests and do what you will enjoy!