CAS 2021 Outstanding Seniors in English
Pullman: Aidan Barger graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in English and a minor in political science. An inspiring and seemingly tireless scholar and writer, Aidan devoted significant efforts to the outreach work of the English Club and, in the midst of the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, threw himself into an internship with EcoArts on the Palouse. His own creative work has drawn together interests in insects, soundscapes, and 17th-century Japanese forms of poetry and prose, and he also designed a web presence for the EcoArts exhibit “dear places therein.” He served as nonfiction Intern for Blood Orange Review and presented “Coming Out: An Exploration of Alienation in Kristiana Kahakauwila’s ‘The Old Paniolo Way’” at WSU Interdisciplinary Conference on Social Justice in 2020. Aiden’s creative work draws inspiration and sustenance from the Palouse as well as his experience at WSU: in his words, “Good English professors change (and save) lives.”
Vancouver: Sarah Summerhill graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English Literary Studies, having come to WSU Vancouver as a Running Start graduate of Clark College. In recognition of her scholarship and engagement at WSU Vancouver, Sarah was awarded the Academic Achievement for Outstanding English Major award upon commencement. During her undergraduate studies, Sarah worked on campus as a consultant in the Writing Center. In addition, she co-founded the Creative Writing Club and interned through the English department with the Old Mole Variety Hour Collective with Portland’s KBOO Community Radio. Since graduating, Sarah has become a freelance production assistant at J Haaken Productions in Portland, Oregon, where she is helping to manage outreach and fundraising for two feature-length documentaries chronicling the unfolding story of climate resistance in northern Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest. The work is an offshoot of her internship with the Old Mole Variety Hour Collective. Sarah also continues working for the Vancouver Writing Center and doing freelance tutoring and editing work. In March 2021, she and her partner, fellow WSU Vancouver grad Lucas Gubala, signed a lease for a retail space in downtown Vancouver and are currently preparing to open the area’s only used and vintage bookstore, called Birdhouse Books, which has been her primary focus since graduating. Sarah said her experience in the WSUV English program and experience working with WSU professors encouraged her to pursue Birdhouse Books as an alternative career path.