Alumni Profile: Jennifer Rudsit (’16)

By: Emily Church

While I enjoy talking with anyone that has graduated from Whitworth, as a graduating senior I find it relieving to hear from those who have just graduated within the past year and learn about the exciting opportunities that they have come across and get a peek into what the near future will be like.  Alumna Jennifer Rudsit offers a refreshing look into the year following graduation. She almost makes me forget my anxieties about the approaching future. Almost.

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What have you been up to since graduation?

Since graduation there have been many transitions. I’ve become quite skilled at packing and unpacking a suitcase, so if I succeed at nothing else in life, there’s always that. After I graduated this past May I had the opportunity to attend the University of Denver Publishing Institute, where I received a Certificate of Publishing. The institute was basically a four week crash course on the publishing industry, complete with editing and marketing workshops, resume and interview coaching, lectures and networking opportunities with publishing professionals, free books, and a bunch of introverted book nerds attempting to network. After that I headed home to Gig Harbor, Washington, and enjoyed some free rent (thanks parents), and after a couple stressful months of applying for jobs and shedding many a tear, I started a seasonal retail job. During my four months of retail I also picked up a couple of side jobs doing some social media/author assistant work for a local Gig Harbor writer and helping out as the Assistant Web Editor for Rock & Sling.

My most recent and exciting transition, however, happened this past week when I started an internship with Copper Canyon Press in Port Townsend, Washington. Copper Canyon is a non-profit poetry press that publishes emerging and established poets from around the world. I don’t entirely know what interning at Copper Canyon is going to look like since, you know, it’s only been a week, but based on intern life so far we will be reading manuscripts, completing projects for the staff, working with a one-on-one staff mentor, and basically just working with incredible people doing incredible things.

  1. How did you get there?

I ended up at the Denver Publishing Institute mainly because wonderful professors and friends supported me and brought opportunities and connections to my attention throughout my senior year. I first heard about publishing certificate programs during an informational interview I did my sophomore year with the Sales and Marketing Manager at Shelf Awareness in Seattle, and things like taking Literary Editing and Design, joining Rock & Sling, and attending AWP helped me know for sure I wanted to apply, and also helped me get into the program. I knew about Copper Canyon Press before going to Denver, but during the publishing institute looked more seriously into internships and entry-level positions at presses in the Seattle area. I applied in November, and here I am!

  1. How has your English degree served you since graduation?

My English degree has served me in so many ways. I mean, it’s only been eight months, but still. Besides helping me grow as a reader, writer, and human being during my time at Whitworth, it has served me in so many practical and specific ways since graduation. The work we did in Senior Portfolio gave me the skills and confidence I needed to write cover letters and apply for jobs both during and after the Denver Publishing Institute. Learning how to write for a specific audience is necessary for writing readers reports for manuscript submissions, press releases for books, and in daily work interactions. The past few days in my internship I’ve been so grateful for all the poetry classes I took as I’ve started to read manuscripts because they taught me how to read quickly and comprehensively as well as how to analyze and discuss poetry. And I already know that working with Rock & Sling – reading submissions, being pushed to form and share opinions on poems – will be helpful to me as I complete my internship. With everything happening in the world, I am grateful to have a degree that has helped me develop my analytical skills, expand my empathy, and given me tools to examine the world from different lenses. Those skills will always serve me well. Plus, all of the snarky and witty conversation that happened in the English department lounge has made me a better conversationalist.

  1. What’s the best/most fun thing that you’ve done since graduation?

Well, I got a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas, so that was pretty exciting. But besides that, I honestly have to say that this first week of my internship has been the most fun, and definitely the best thing that I’ve done since graduation. It feels so good to be working in a community of people who are engaged with the world, people who value literature and the arts and believe that poetry is vital to language and living. I know I’m exactly where I need to be right now. I have no idea what my life will look like after this internship, and I’m sure I’m going to completely freak out about that at some point, but right now that’s okay. The next transition will come.

Emily Church (’17) is an English Writing and Sociology major at Whitworth University from western Washington and dreams of one day traveling the world. She enjoys writing, reading, painting, collecting journals (not writing in them), fall leaves, summer warmth, and adventure.

The British Isles Study Program 2018: Collect Memories

By: Emily Church

One of the most impactful things  one can do during their time at Whitworth is participate in a study abroad trip or program. While I’ve never been outside of the country with a Whitworth group, I still like to consider the three days that I spent up on Mt. Baker for my Adventure and Travel Writing class with Professor John Pell as my abroad experience. There is something about going somewhere new with perhaps an unfamiliar group of people that takes the act of learning and experiencing to a new level.

With the approach of the study abroad fair and the different informational sessions, there is one study abroad trip that should be brought to the forefront of any humanity studies fan’s mind: The 2018 British Isles Study Program (BISP).

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The upcoming BISP trip will expand from February 14th until May 8th and allows students the opportunity to travel through England, Scotland, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland. The first module of the trip is British Isles Art and Craft led by art Professor Katie Creyts.  Students will see historic and contemporary Ireland through a creative lens by visiting unique architecture like abbeys, castles, forts and cathedrals, listening to folktales and songs voiced by the local Irish, and discussing the powerful visual graffiti in Belfast. The second module of the trip is led by Professor Corliss Slack on the Topics in British History. During this section, monuments will be used to tell the story of Scotland by taking tours to Loch Ness, Roslyn Castle, and the Kingdom of Fife. Then it will be off to Caernarvon, Wales were students will stay overlooking the sea and exploring Edward I’s castles. The third module explores Literary England with Thom Caraway who will take students to where William Wordsworth walked and wrote, and met with Percy and Mary Shelley, and Samuel Coleridge. See where J.R.R Tolkien dreamed of the Shire and the mysterious Moors of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. The fourth and final module will be spent with theater professor Aaron Dyszelski to explore Fine Arts Culture in Britain Theatre by attending a performance at the acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company, the Globe, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the Royal Opera House, and the National Theater.

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The 2018 BISP trip has a lot to offer, but as those who have been on previous year’s trips have said, sometimes it’s the moments that happen outside of the major touristy spots that continue to resonate months after the trip is over. One of the students from the 2015 trip, Aly Brooks, now a senior English major, shared her reflective podcast, “Collect Memories Not Things.”

Collect Memories Not Things

By: Aly Brooks

I didn’t want to get stuck in the tourist trap mentality of documenting every second forthe sake of having evidence to show others while forgetting to actually enjoy the experience of living it. Life is so rarely about the things I accumulate around me. I think of rich and varied experiences and the people who lived life to the full and enjoyed telling the tale afterward.

No more than a week into the semester, I considered this mantra once more. I was confronted with the option of using my day off in Dublin to go on a day trip or stay in town and take life at a slower pace. I had an hour to decide. I chose the day trip to the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast. To this day, the Cliffs of Moher are one of my absolute favorite places on the entire trip. I spent the best Valentine’s Day of my life with five friends exploring the Irish west coast, listening to folklore, and trying some of the best brown bread my tongue has ever known. I spent 50 euros on a day trip that I will remember for the rest of my life rather than a fancy trinket that will only take up space on a shelf somewhere. It helped me cultivate a habit that gave me more stories and less regret.

Months later, I spent the last two days of Spring Break on the French Riviera in Nice. Spring Break emphasized this lesson I was learning. I didn’t buy a single souvenir while in Paris, and yet Paris holds some of my most cherished memories from the semester. I remember nights making dinner together in the hostel, sharing a bottle of cheap red wine and dancing in the kitchen. I lost myself in the genius of impressionist paintings in the Musee D’Orsay. I read in the March sunshine at the edge of a fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens. In Nice, I swam in the Mediterranean Sea, and all it cost me was the cash to buy a bikini. I have a priceless memory that had nothing to do with the kinds of funds I had at my disposal.

Memories like this typify the wonderful experiences I took away from this trip. Most souvenirs can only point me to those memories and add to the clutter in my life. Living out of a suitcase for three months taught me how many physical objects I am able to go without. It is easiest to travel light and quick instead of letting myself get bogged down with tea cups or books. Instead, my memories only weigh as much as my moleskin journal can hold in between its pages stacked with ticket stubs, postcards, and words. That lightweight notebook was my constant companion, and now, it’s a better souvenir than anything I could have found in a tourist shop. It’s a time capsule of thoughts and feelings about my experiences. The British Isles Semester Program gave me a new perspective on the things I value. Trips are always more about the adventure than they are about the prize at the end.

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Be on the look out for the information sessions and the application for the upcoming BISP trip!