Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

College of Liberal Arts News

WU student revels in winning the New x NW writing competition

Emily Golden '13Emily Golden '13

Emily Golden ’13, a theatre and English major at Willamette University, was recently named winner of the NEW x NW play writing competition by CoHo Productions in Portland.

As the inaugural student winner, Golden’s play, “The Candlestick Maker,” will be performed during the Fertile Ground Festival Jan. 27 and Feb. 2 at the CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St. in Portland.

Here’s what the Seattle native had to say about her accomplishment:

Q. What does this honor mean to you?

It's always encouraging to know that what I'm doing is interesting and provocative to others. Writing is such a solitary task and requires so many hours of working alone that sometimes it’s easy to forget what I'm working for. To have someone else say she believes in what I'm doing and can see value in it really helps to keep me motivated and inspired. Especially now that I'm on the brink of graduation, it helps to see that I might have a shot at being successful in such a competitive field.

Q. Tell me a little bit about the play. What can the audience expect?

I think of “The Candlestick Maker” as a comedy disguised as a drama. It centers around two characters, Mrs. Mills, who is attempting to write one final novel, and Alice, her protagonist. The story skips in and out of reality and across time periods, so it’s hard to give it a plot summary. It’s a fun play to watch because of its complexity. Each scene adds a new layer so just when you think you understand where it’s going, something new is revealed that will throw everything into question.

Q. Does the theatre factor into your post-graduation career plans?

I'm hoping to work in the theatre in some capacity. That might involve literary management, dramaturgy or directing. What I've learned at Willamette is that no matter what I’m doing or how busy I might be, I will always find time to write. If I could do it while taking five classes and going to rehearsals every night, then I’ll certainly find a way no matter what my day job might be. Being a full-time playwright is certainly something that I would love to accomplish in my life.

WU student shares biophysics research in Philadelphia

Chosen from a crop of undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students, Jay Howard ’14 won a travel award to attend the 57th annual meeting of the Biophysical Society in Philadelphia Feb. 2-6.

“I’m excited to hear about the wide variety of research that’s happening in biophysics,” says Howard, a physics major who interested in becoming a professional research scientist.

At Willamette, Howard works alongside professor David Altman to study molecular motor myosin, a protein able to generate motion within the cell. Howard says the proteins play a key role in maintaining the organization and healthy function of cells.

Errors in myosin function, he adds, have implications in diseases ranging from heart disease to Usher’s syndrome — the leading cause of deafblindness.

Howard is attending the conference with Altman. In Philadelphia, Howard will present a poster that details his work building an optical trap and developing assays to study molecular motor myosin.

“Biophysics is the flavor of science that excites me the most, so to have an enormous number of representatives from different areas of research in one place is a phenomenal opportunity,” Howard says.