Alumni Update: A Postcard from Morgan Feddes (’11)

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It’s fascinating to see where life pulls you.

 

For me, it led to a job in Washington, D.C., working as a writer and editor for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities – but that’s not where I had originally planned to go. After graduating in 2011, I headed to Chicago to work at Christianity Today as an editorial resident. As that position wrapped up its yearlong period, I planned next to join the Air Force as an officer.

 

Or so I thought.

Enter medical issues; add government bureaucracy; mix with a stubborn will to try whatever it takes to get into the Air Force. The end result: me, living at home after a year and a half of waiting for the U.S. military to ultimately say no; me, not quite sure what to do next, but somehow just knowing that something would come if I started dusting off my résumé.

 

Little did I know that something would get its start in a short message from former Whitworth president Bill Robinson, but then, God has always worked in amazing ways.

 

So these days, I get to do work I love, serve alongside a wonderful church community (what’s up, National Community Church?), and spend the moments in between drinking in the history of the D.C. area – an area I’d never even visited prior to the interview for this position.

 

This isn’t where I thought I’d be three years after Whitworth, but I’m thankful for it every day.

 

Morgan C. Feddes, ’11, hails from Montana and now lives in Washington, D.C. She’s the staff writer and editorial director for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. Before that, she spent a year helping some of her extended family get a café off the ground outside Belgrade, Montana, where she learned some of the best ways to make a sandwich and tried not to eat all of the cookies (she was only moderately successful). Before that, she spent a year working for Christianity Today outside Chicago. Morgan blogs over at The Isle Full of Noises.

Internship Spotlight: Jennifer Rudsit (’16) at She’s Charming

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Earlier this semester I began an internship at She’s Charming. She’s Charming, a blog started by two Whitworth English department grads, Katie Palmer and Dani Erickson, is a space for women to celebrate all facets of their lives, embracing the idea of holistic living. Their articles are broken up into different categories: style, explore, cook, decorate, self, and career.

As their intern, I write one post a week, switching between the different categories. It’s exciting to have a lot of freedom to write within these categories, and that freedom is helping me create a more productive brainstorming process. Working with She’s Charming has taught me a lot about how ideas can come from a variety of unexpected places. I even caved and got a Pinterest account – turns out pinning provides great inspiration!

I’m also learning a lot about using visual media to complement my writing. It’s more than just writing the article; the post must also be visually compelling and interesting to the reader. With help from Katie and Dani, I’m learning about using pictures, quotes, and more to enhance my writing, and to help my posts fit into the aesthetic they’ve created for the blog.

Since starting my internship with She’s Charming, I’ve also become more aware of the strong blogging community in Spokane. There are meet-up events for bloggers in the area to connect with each other, and a lot of resources for people who are interested in or want more information about blogging. She’s Charming also focuses a lot on promoting local locations, restaurants, and companies in the Pacific Northwest, adding a unique community feel to the blog.

Blogging is becoming an extremely popular forum for discussing current events, opinions, trends, and lifestyles, as well as creating another way for people to connect and share ideas through the internet. It’s been exciting to join this community through my internship.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, you should definitely check out She’s Charming.

Jennifer Rudsit is a sophomore English writing and literature major, and theatre dance minor. In her free time, she enjoys working at the HUB Info Desk, journaling, watching BBC television, having nerdy conversations, and, of course, reading a lot of books.

Rosie McFarland’s (’14) Video Series Meat & Potatoes Now on Spokane FAVS

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Congratulations to Rosie McFarland,’14, whose video series Meat & Potatoes was recently picked up by Spokane Faith and Values!  McFarland started the video series to address common questions people might have about Christianity in an informative and easy to understand way.

I started my YouTube channel (Lostbetweenthepages) in my junior year and loved working with video, but I saw a prevalence of atheistic bias in the YouTube community. The religious were criticized as being ignorant and judgmental, and so no religious people were given a chance (and admittedly there are some ignorant and judgmental people who claim to be religious on the internet). I wanted to bring in my own Christian perspective and answer questions that people might have about Christianity in an easy and informative way.

After quickly realizing that I would not have the expertise or the credibility to answer these questions on my own, I looked to our own Whitworth theology department. It took me a long time to gather the courage to ask some professors if they would be interested, but after I did, they seemed to think it was a great idea, so I started asking some pastors in the community as well.

I recorded some of their answers, created a backlog, and started posting them every Friday starting in January. I called the series “Meat & Potatoes” because as the tag-line says, “Just like we need real food, we need real questions.” While not getting a lot of views, there were a couple of discussions created around some of the videos.

A couple weeks ago, I approached Spokane Faith and Values, a non-profit website organization that creates discussions around different belief in the Spokane community. I asked if they would be interested in using any of my “Meat & Potatoes” videos on their website. In our meeting, they said they would want to make my video series an official part of their website, posting a video a week to facilitate discussions around the questions the professors and pastors were answering.

It officially started this week, posting my preface video on Monday on their website – welcoming me and my video series to Spokane FAVS. I was overjoyed to see my video project being welcomed into the community, and I am excited to see where all of this leads.

Link to the Spokane FAVS website post: http://spokanefavs.com/2014/03/31/meet-potatoes-video-series-coming-spokanefavs/

Link to the “Meat & Potatoes” playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLg3kZ87agDQ-wBxHqbEutiZWIvN8Cgcr7

Next week I will be going to Haiti to film a mission trip with my home church while we build and work in a school there.

Rosie FAVS pic

Rosemary McFarland grew up in the mountains at a Christian summer camp before moving to the country. She says the beautiful surroundings made her fall in love with the outdoors. 

In her free time McFarland enjoys reading, making videos for her YouTube channel Lostbetweenthepages, and watching an unhealthy amount of television. She now attends Whitworth University and will graduate in May with a BA in English and a minor in theology. After raising money over the summer she will backpack around the UK, and then hopefully find a full time job somewhere in film.

Andrea Palpant Dilley (’00) Advises “Change Wisely, Dude”

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Check out EL alum Andrea Palpant Dilley’s latest post for Duke Divinity on churches’ changes to attract 20-somethings. An excerpt:

“In 2007, when my husband and I moved from Arizona to Austin, Texas, and went in search of a church, we skipped the nondenominationals and went straight to the traditionals. We found an Anglican church where every Sunday morning we now watch clergy process up the aisle wearing white vestments and carrying a 6-foot cross.

We take communion from an ordained priest who holds a chalice of blood-red wine and lays a hand of blessing on our children. We sing the Lord’s Prayer and recite from the Book of Common Prayer — in which not once in 1,001 pages does the word ‘dude’ ever appear.

In my 20s, liturgy seemed rote, but now in my 30s, it reminds me that I’m part of an institution much larger and older than myself. As the poet Czeslaw Milosz said, ‘The sacred exists and is stronger than all our rebellions.’

Both my doubt and my faith, and even my ongoing frustrations with the church itself, are part of a tradition that started before I was born and will continue after I die. I rest in the assurance that I have something to lean against, something to resist and, more importantly, something that resists me.”

The Dude logo above is from here.

Majors Abroad: Ana Quiring (’14) Blogs About Life in London

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EL major Ana Quiring is studying literature and writing at Whitworth University. (Ana is pictured above on Warwick Avenue, the “real-life home,” she explains, “of my long-time fictional characters and imaginary friends.” In the photo below, she befriends the Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park.)

Ana is exceedingly fond of coffee shops, sitcom marathons, and anything to do with Virginia Woolf. This January she is traveling in London with Emily Anderson, a once-Whitworthian who has since transfered. They are busy getting lost and enjoying scones, sometimes simultaneously.

Read about Ana’s adventures on her blog.

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A Word From Annie Stillar: Program Assistants Just Want to Have (Summer) Fun

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Not to get hyperbolic here, but the English Department might having trouble finding its way out of a padded, self-adhesive envelope if it weren’t for the administrative and collegial talents of Annie Stillar (pictured above, with Sergei the skydiving instructor).
Annie has been at Whitworth for three years. She describes herself thusly: “The self-proclaimed runt/mascot of eight a$$-kicking, sports-dominating children. she likes happy hour, hates karaoke, and could tap dance you under the table. 26 going on 27, waiting for fellows to fall in line and offer her fruit and wine.”
If you haven’t checked out Annie’s blog, you’ll want to after you read her most recent post for Whitworth English Blog (she also submitted the photos):
I know what you’re thinking. Months off must be a total blast! Au contraire. Read on for a taste of my miserable summer.
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1) The Dirty Dash. A 4.5 mile mud run that includes chucking oneself over walls. I never liked sports OR being outside; for me to willfully jump into a mud pit was both liberating and newsworthy. Next year: I’m going, you’re going, we’re all going.
2) Musical Theatre camp. I spent weeks telling dozens of children to shut up and sit on their pockets (and teens to just plain shut up). We covered Disney, Sondheim, Gershwin, Wicked, the Roaring 20’s and my favorite, the Legends of Pop. Including but not limited to MJ, Elton John and Pat “Love is a Freaking Battlefield” Benatar. Need I say more?
Whitworth English

3) Skydiving, a.k.a My Hot August Weekend. I had all sorts of questions as we ascended to 13K feet: has anyone ever puked in mid-air? Passed out? Really? Like, lights out? Dang. It’s time to go? Let’s burn this mother down. As it turns out, careening towards earth at 125 MPH is totally awesome. My instructor is my new BFF after that long mid-air embrace. I asked how many times he’d jumped and he said this makes an even five. If he gets to ten they give him a free one! (Shut. Up. NOT HELPING, SERGEI.) However, after throwing ourselves out of the plane I was grateful we’d left no room for Jesus.

In short: skydiving is bomb. Tom Petty, eat your heart out.

4) Other, less noteworthy activities: the Avett Brothers, the Shins, meeting my new niece, adventures in community theatre, and the Stillar Family Annual 100% Natural Good-Time Lake Vacation Solution.
Good news: I survived. So did my family.

Welcome to Fall, everyone.

Creative Writing Sampler: Katie (Rocketship) Daroff (’12) on Overcoming Pinterest

As the photo above suggests, Katie Daroff (’12) is good with a joke. She just finished a new piece of creative nonfiction called “Overcoming Pinterest,” which you’ll find below. But first, the facts.

Name: Katie (Rocketship) Daroff

Age: 23

Birth Place: Berkeley, California

Favorite Color: Pink

Life Goal: Become a crazy cat lady or write the next great teen fiction series

Greatest Accomplishments:

1) Becoming a Noble Dragon Slayer

2) Getting my cat off my laptop

3) Graduating

4) Making the U.S. Olympic Awesomeness team (none of the events are televised)

Favorite thing in her house: The Pirates Only sign in my living room.

Greatest Weakness: Writing personal bios. Check out my blog instead.

During the dark, dead, depressing months of winter, I made a mistake. While wrapped up in a super hero blanket with pink dinosaur slippers covering my half frozen feet, I logged onto my computer (of course this was after I completed all my work for the evening because I am responsible young lady). I typed the word “Pinterest” into the search bar. I requested an invitation to join the world’s largest online pin board. Unsure of how many online pin boards there could possibly be, I held back on being impressed.

My invitation came almost immediately from a woman in my parents’ church. I thought this was appropriate, seeing as she was the person who had first told me about this strange and mystic online world. Every time I saw the woman, she had something new and crafty that she had whipped up on display. She wore felt flowers in her hair with rhinestones that she “glued on herself” and knew 18 different ways to tie her scarf to make it look stylish with the dresses she had made herself. She had a ring she’d made out of a fork from her grandparents’ wedding silverware that was, she explained with a flourish of her hand, “much easier to make than it sounded.” I was thoroughly impressed with her, and every time I asked her how she learned to do something she simply stated “I saw it on Pinterest.”

I signed up. It sounded like the most wonderful place. It was a place with crafts but crafts that were so much more socially acceptable than the boondoggles and friendship bracelets I had learned to weave at camp. Honestly, I did not have enough friends to continue making friendship bracelets for much longer.

I had a case of crafter’s lust. I wanted to make everything and have it all be perfectly lovely. I pinned away hour after hour, always telling myself that once I got the supplies or learned to sew I was going to come back to that project, ignoring the voice of reason, who shook his head and muttered, “no you won’t.”

I pinned and pinned. March crept up on me. The long winter months were over. It was time to start the crafts requiring spray paint. It was time to remove my dinosaur slippers and get to work. Instead I continued as I had since Christmas, sitting on my couch, carefully selecting all of my future craft projects and with every click of the mouse muttering “I’ll start tomorrow. I’ll have time tomorrow.”

I found a tutorial for a bag that required no sewing. I thought, “I’ll do that someday, it seems cool.”

The days were growing longer and the voice of reason was growing less passive. “NO!”

It turns out that waiting until you have the skill to do the more advance crafts is not the way to get over crafter’s lust. The voice of reason had had enough of my shenanigans. I made the bag. It looked awful. I tried again. “Clearly,” I thought after more unsuccessful simple craft attempts, “I am out of my league.” I gave up. Maybe my friends wouldn’t mind too terribly if I made them each another friendship bracelet instead.

Hitchhiking to Bolivia (with Collin Stewart)

We’ve been enjoying updates from 2010 English alum Collin Stewart’s Hitchhiking to Bolivia blog.  The title isn’t a metaphor.

A sample:

A great hunk of rusting grey and spluttering metal was already swaying away from its stop.  A goat was standing on top of it, tethered to the rack, and would crash hard onto its side with every slightest bump.  I sprinted up the road yelling and the van put on its brakes.  The goat did a faceplant into the roof.  I came around the van to the side with the sliding doors to see about 40 people and about 80 eyes, all fixed on me from inside this 16 passenger van.  I was hustled inside, crouched double and facing everyone, with the gear shift in a precarious position between my legs.

Another sample :

His Photos are Good, Too.

Go take a look.

(And send us a note if there’s an article or blog or other alumni- or Enlgish-related anything out there you’d like us to consider posting on this blog.)