OMA in the News

Humanity in Action names its first Willamette University fellow

Maria Hernandez ’15Political science major Maria Hernandez ’15 is Willamette University’s first Humanity in Action fellow. Through the fellowship program, students from the United States and nine other countries come together for five weeks “to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as examples of issues affecting different minority groups today.” This year, the group is spending time in Washington D.C. and Berlin. Thankful for the opportunity, Hernandez says she’s excited to work with the other fellows on civil rights projects.“Being selected makes me feel very happy,” she says. “This program will equip me with tools to deconstruct human rights violations around the world, thus encouraging me to continue with my goal of becoming an advocate of people’s rights.” Read More...

Cavedoni '14 learned to expect the unexpected while working in China

Olina Cavedoni '14
During her first semester at Willamette, Olina Cavedoni ’14 mapped out the next four years of her life. Titled, “Olina’s Four-Year Plan,” the color-coded, six-page paper detailed the classes she wanted to take and when they would be offered. She cross-referenced her list with the majors she liked, and she created a separate, daily planner that outlined her extra-curricular activities — from her roles in the Hawaíi and Farm clubs to her involvement in varsity tennis and the Asian Studies Department. Three years later, Cavedoni’s organizational skills paid off. Not only did she double major in international studies and economics, she graduated a year ahead of schedule. “The best part about being at Willamette was that I could do everything,” Cavedoni says. Read More...

Andrés Oswill ’15 uses his leadership skills to leave his mark at Willamette

Andres Oswill '15

Most students know Andrés Oswill ’15 as the president of Willamette’s student government. But there is much more to Oswill than this position. “Andrés is responsible and determined,” long-time friend Ivette Flores ’15 says. “He is passionate, intelligent, charismatic and he accomplishes everything he sets his mind to.” From his work as a politics major and women and gender studies minor, to his extracurricular involvement, those who know him best say Oswill has left a significant impact on the Willamette campus and beyond. “Anyone would be lucky to have him by their side, as I am lucky to have him in my life,” Flores says. Read More...

Two students earn fellowships to study public policy this summer

Grecia Garcia '16

This summer, Grecia Garcia ’16 and Julian Juarez ’16 will participate in the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program at the University of Michigan.

Juluan Juarez '16

The program, which formed more than 30 years ago, offers seven weeks of intensive graduate-level training in statistics, microeconomics, policy and writing to prepare students for graduate programs in public policy and international affairs.

Garcia, a double major in sociology and Spanish, says she wants to close the gap between research and public policy making — ensuring there are no discrepancies between the two. Juarez, a politics major, says his studies have piqued his interest in public policy and the legislative process. Read More...

Alumna studies racism, colonialism in Canada through Fulbright grant Em Dickey '11

As a student Fulbright winner, Em Dickey ’11 is spending nine months conducting anthropological research in Canada. Dickey — who majored in anthropology, minored in American ethnic studies, and graduated cum laude — will spend the first three months of her research in St. John’s, Newfoundland, taking a graduate course at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. She will study the ontological differences between indigenous and non-indigenous communities in regard to conservation and development. Read More...

Two WU students learn business, leadership skills as Kemper Scholars Kemper

As part of the incoming class of Kemper Scholars, Luz Reyna ’17 and Zach Ward ’17 will gain experience in business management and leadership. Reyna and Ward are receiving scholarships of up to $10,000. They’ll attend a national conference and spend two summers interning for nonprofit and for-profit organizations in Chicago and elsewhere in the nation. Read More...

25th Annual Lu'au Celebration Lu'au 2014

Willamette University celebrated the rich history of Hawai'i and other Polynesian islands through its 25th annual Lu'au on April 26. Hosted by the Hawai'i Club, the student-led event showcased traditional and contemporary dances taught by student choreographers and Hawaiian foods cooked by Willamette students. Music was provided by the local band, Koral Jam, and a fire and knife dancer performed. More than 50 students helped organize the celebration. Read More...

Native arts, dancing shared at Willamette University Pow wow pow wow

Native art, food, dancing and drumming await visitors at the 12th annual Pow wow scheduled for March 8 at Willamette University. The free event, which celebrates the history and traditions of native people, begins at 4 p.m. in Cone Field House. Read More...

Martha Sonato '15 jump-starts her career through the PPIA program Sonato

After spending a year studying in Mexico and Spain, Martha Sonato ’15 is embarking on yet another adventure this summer through the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program. Part of the Ford School at the University of Michigan, this rigorous and highly selective program will challenge Sonato with courses in microeconomics, statistics and policy analysis. More Read...

Activist Jamie Washington advises students how to fight for social justice JWashington

His third-grade teacher was crying, and she never cried. This is what the Rev. Jamie Washington remembers about April 4, 1968, the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It was also the day Washington gained insight into his life’s purpose. “I am a part of the next generation of civil rights leaders,” he says. “I do count myself as part of Doctor King’s legacy.” Read More...

Civil rights panelists share how MLK's dream has affected their lives

John Haroldson, district attorney for Benton County, firmly believes Martin Luther King Jr. was a champion of social justice. Now, he argues lawyers are in a unique position to build on King’s legacy. “To be a social justice champion means systems will be fair for everyone,” he says. “I don’t believe that there’s a better person to do that than a lawyer.” Read More...

WU students, staff serve community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day into the streets

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., nearly 200 Willamette University students and staff devoted an afternoon to serving their community on Jan. 20. Willamette launched its campuswide MLK Day of Service “Into the Streets” about 15 years ago. Through the university-led project, volunteers are dispatched to several sites in Salem to help those in need. Read More...

Willamette hosts "Behind the Dream" events to honor Martin Luther King Jr. MLK

“Behind the Dream,” a two-week celebration honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., begins Jan. 13 at Willamette University. Among the events planned are “Celebrating the Voices Behind the Dream,” featuring a speech from the Rev. Jamie Washington, a performance by spoken word artists Rosie Glade ’12 and Leandra Stanley ’13, and music from the SEI Sounds of Soul Mass Choir of Portland. Also on tap is the seventh annual Stride Toward Freedom run/walk fundraiser. Read More...

WU grad develops skills as a researcher, anthropologist Lewis

Last spring, anthropology professor Rebecca Dobkins got an unexpected call. The federal government wanted to better understand the barriers Native American tribal members of the Pacific Northwest — Oregon, Washington and Alaska — experience when they attempt to access plant resources on federal lands for use in traditional tribal arts. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was able to fund $30,000 toward the project, so the United States Forest Service asked if Dobkins knew of a student interested in researching the topic. Dobkins immediately thought of Ceara Lewis ’13. Read More...

Driven To Dream: American By Birth, Ellie Calixtro Has Journeyed Far To Learn Who She Really Is Calixtro

Elizabeth Calixtro was in the sixth grade in Morelos, Mexico, when she was nominated to guard the Mexican flag for a schoolwide assembly as the students recited the pledge of allegiance and sang the national anthem. It was an honor, because it meant she was the highest-achieving student in school. Elizabeth, who goes by Ellie, looked forward to the recognition. But her appointment was met with backlash. Read More...

Guerra '11 gives a voice to the voiceless through Causa of Oregonluis

Luis Guerra ’11 didn’t just study U.S. immigration policy in school or hear about it on the news: it was part of his upbringing. “I was born about a mile away from the border, on the Mexican side, and my parents moved to the U.S. when I was 5,” he says. “Growing up, I went to school in San Diego and on weekends I stayed with my family in Mexico, but many of my family members couldn’t come back with me across the border.” Read More...

At WU, Saraí Rivas discovers her passion for helping minority youthsRivas

When Dina Saraí Rivas ’13 enrolled at Willamette University, she was both thrilled and terrified. She was a first-generation college student. She had never been apart from her family in Woodburn, and she didn’t know what to expect. “When I was in a classroom with other students of color, I felt more comfortable participating. If I was the only student of color, I felt uncomfortable,” says Rivas, a sociology major. “I got nervous. Things didn’t come out the way I wanted.” Read More...

Relationship Building is a Huge Part of the Willamette ExperienceJose

When a Willamette professor personally delivered the university’s admissions application to him, Jose Alvarado ’13 knew there was something special about the school. “I couldn’t believe he actually came to my house,” says Alvarado about Fritz Ruehr, a computer science professor who became Alvarado’s mentor. “It showed that he really cared about the students who were admitted, and that he must really enjoy his job if he’s willing to go out of his way like that.” Read More...

Using Communication Skills in New JobYamada

When Stephen Yamada ’13 graduates from Willamette University in May, he won’t be pounding the pavement looking for a job. He already found one. “I’m in the position I had hoped to get five years from now,” Yamada says about working for Organization for Educational Technology & Curriculum in Portland. “The level of responsibility is astonishing.” Read More...


Victoria Black Horse "Pretty Evening Star", 13

Victoria Black Horse '13 worked as a research intern for the Four Directions Summer Research Program at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The Four Directions program is designed for Native American students interested in pursuing careers in the medical field.


Willamette graduate finds success as comedian

What started as a performance at Willamette University’s student-run coffee shop has turned into a career for Nathan Brannon ’06, whose chops as a stand-up comedian recently garnered him the title of Portland’s Funniest Person.

Willamette student earns scholarship to study Taylorabroad in Ecuador for six months

Rebecca Taylor ’13 has been awarded a $4,500 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad in Quito, Ecuador. The Gilman scholarship program offers study-abroad grants to U.S. undergraduate students who receive Pell grants for financial need. Taylor’s scholarship will allow her to study in Quito while living with a host family.

Student initiative leads to opening of Multicultural E and EResource Center on campus

Willamette University is creating a welcoming and inclusive space for students of various identities this fall through the opening of a new Multicultural Resource Center.

Willamette Academy celebrates the achievements oWAf 23 graduates

Willamette University President Steve Thorsett and Margarita Gutierrez ’12 will speak at this year’s Willamette Academy graduation ceremony May 24 at Willamette University. 

Annual lu‘au shares Hawaiian culture with community

Fire dancing, traditional Hawaiian food and student dancers were among the highlights of Willamette University’s 23nd annual lu‘au, held recently in Sparks Athletic Center.

Students, staff and faculty receive kudos at CLannual campus life awards ceremony

More than 50 students, faculty and staff were recognized for their outstanding contributions to campus life at the Campus Life Honors and Awards ceremony on April 26. 


Cultural immersion, dancing on tap for Willamette University's 23rd lu'au

For 22 years, students from the Hawai'i Club have hosted a lu'au to share their culture with the Willamette and Salem communities. This year, the long-standing tradition continues — but with a few twists. 

Willamette student chosen for public policy fellowship Reyin Michigan

Reynaldo Goicochea ’13, a Spanish and rhetoric and media studies major at Willamette University, was chosen from a pool of nationwide applicants to attend the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program this summer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. 

Willamette student chosen to study public policy, law at calixtroBerkeley this summer

Ellie Calixtro ’13, a politics and American Ethnic Studies major at Willamette University, was one of 30 undergraduates chosen from across the nation to attend the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program this summer at the University of California, Berkeley. 

King celebration emphasizes links between MLKequity and sustainability

A 1987 study found that the best predictor for where to find hazardous or toxic waste sites was not factors such as hydrology, geology or property values — it was race demographics. A similar study in 2007 found the correlation to be even more dramatic: toxic sites were more likely to be near minority neighborhoods. 

Gate Scholars Willamette Welcomes Gates Scholars

Willamette University will welcome eight new Gates Millennium Scholars this fall, including seven from Oregon, almost one-third of the 24 students in the state who received the award this year. The prestigious national scholarship program, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, offers full-ride scholarships to exceptional students who otherwise might not be able to attend college.

National Kemper ScholarsNational Kemper ScholarsTwo Willamette Students Named National Kemper Scholars

For the fourth year in a row, the James S. Kemper Foundation has selected two Willamette students for the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program, which will prepare them for leadership and service, especially in the fields of administration and business. RoseAnn Glade '12 and Erika Mosqueda '12 were selected on the basis of academic excellence, character, and leadership and service experience.

Nancy M. Garcia '08MBA student balances classes and service with her first job

A job offer was the last thing Nancy M. Garcia '08, MBA'10 expected when she walked out of her informational interview with the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Pow WowAnnual Pow wow Features Dancing, Songs

Willamette University's Eighth Annual Social Pow Wow on March 13 celebrated the traditions, history and culture of Native peoples with food, dancing and songs. 

Alien Mask Halloween masks leave Oregon college students outraged

A Halloween mask sold near the Willamette University campus has sparked outrage among students, who are calling them racist and dehumanizing. Read More...

Pow Wow Willamette's Powwow great for first timers

Whether you know little to nothing about American Indian culture or you're part of the Grand Ronde tribe, there will be something for everyone at the Social Powwow at Willamette University on Saturday. Read More...

MLK Hip-hop MLK event mixes spoken word, hip hop

He's appeared on HBO's Def Poetry, spoken nationally about the plight of Gazans and lectured the U.N. and members of the U.S. Congress. Mark Gonzales, a celebrated spoken-word and hip-hop artist, will give two free shows at Willamette University as part of the school's celebrations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Gonzales' show is called "King's Legacy: A Lyrical Look." Read More...

Bernice Johnson Reagon Hailing the King -- honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.'Songtalker' Bernice Johnson Reagon will be at Willamette University

Long before a black man could dream of being president, long before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. could dream of a better view from the mountaintop, African American people raised their voices in song. Miss those songs and you miss a crucial part of America's history, said Bernice Johnson Reagon, who will visit Willamette University Friday as part of its of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Read More...

Emily Drew After the celebration, the real work continues

Emily Drew, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies writes in an opinion piece on The election of Sen. Barack Obama into the presidency marks something that has been impossible up until this time for African Americans, and other racial minorities. Like many of my family and friends, I spent election night celebrating. And now I am faced with a more sobering reality. Our country's race problem has not gone away. Read More...

Scholarship Sends Student to Germany Scholarship Sends Student to Germany

Diana Serrano ’10 first lived in Germany for a year during high school, an opportunity she sought simply as a way to spend some time outside her small hometown. The small-town escape soon became a passion as she fell in love with the country, its people and its language. Read More...

Will Nevius '09 A New Generation of Activism

Stephen Lewis, who recently completed a term as the United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, didn’t mince words when he addressed Willamette’s new students at convocation in August. His plea to the students was urgent: You, the next generation of potential activists, can do something about these problems. Will Nevius ’09 was in the audience that day, but these weren’t new ideas to him.

The Art of Understanding The Art of Understanding

When a woman from the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw dons a cap made of dentalium shells and feathers, she is honoring the coastal tribes’ tradition of covering the head in white to mimic the bald eagle. The regalia items Oregon tribes use in their private ceremonies are as important as the celebrations themselves. To share their traditions and artistic processes, all nine of Oregon’s federally recognized tribes loaned regalia — some from their personal family collections — to an exhibition at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, The Art of Ceremony. These pieces are not what the public is used to seeing at powwows, says Dobkins, who curated the exhibition. Read More...

Collin Siu '08 From Salem to D.C.: Fellowship Furthers Student's Policy Work

Collin Siu’s whirlwind of jobs during college, researching and influencing public policy, are enough to make most people’s heads spin. But Siu ’08 sees his work as a natural extension of his ultimate goal in life: leaving his community better than he found it. Read More...

Former Marine Takes Kemper Scholarship Former Marine Takes Kemper Scholarship

Marco Fiallo ’11, who just landed a prestigious Kemper Scholarship, came to Willamette by way of the United States Marines Corp. “The Marines broadened my world,” he says. A member of a Marine aviation squadron, Fiallo traveled to ports in Asia, the Middle East, Australia, South America and Hawaii. Now the international studies student is hoping that Willamette will broaden his intellectual horizons, giving him a context to better understand the global cultures he experienced firsthand. Read More...

Angels Along the Way Angels Along the Way

Olympia Vernon didn’t always have a title, a Pulitzer nomination, a novel on The New York Times Editor’s Choice list, or as many awards as her years. Her beginnings were much more humble. Born on the edge of Louisiana, the fourth child of seven, she wrote her first words in the dirt. She would stretch out on her belly by a garden “held together by stones from the river.” Read More...

Pow Wow Coming Home the Long Way 'Round

He wore an embroidered barong shirt. She wore a lacy gown over the moose-hide slippers her grandma had sewn. His Filipino relatives cooked up a feast of pancit and caldereta, and her family read an Apache wedding song and performed the ceremony that joined their Athabaskan heritage with Filipino culture. Margaret Hoffman ’03 found her first boyfriend in eighth grade, when “E.J.” David moved to Barrow, Alaska, from the Philippines... Their honeymoon this summer was as adventurous as their courtship. Read More...

Welcoming a New Class Welcoming a New Class

Megan Horning attended high school in Page, Ariz., on the northern border of the Navajo reservation, and 80 to 90 percent of her classmates were Navajo. So it seemed a little strange when she tried to join her school’s Navajo Language Club and found she was the only member... Read More...

Compassion 101 Compassion 101

For the last two years, students with Willamette’s Take a Break program restored homes in Louisiana during Christmas break. So moved by the plight of the people she met there, Lindsey Mizell ‘08 returned to New Orleans for a year of volunteer service. Below are abridged excerpts of emails she sent home. Read More...

Willamette University Students Fill a Mentoring Gap Willamette University Students Fill a Mentoring Gap

Bush Elementary School and Willamette University are neighbors.
And like a good neighbor, Willamette University students have stepped up to help their little neighbors to the east.
Bush has been losing federal funding each year as enrollment has dropped.

Willamette University's 18th Annual Lu'au

Article from The Statesman Journal:
Luau at Willamette offers taste of the islands

Pow Wow Willamette University's Fifth Annual Powwow

Articles from The Statesman Journal:
Annual Social Powwow is Saturday
Fifth annual powwow about tradition, prayer
Powwow brings past to present

Art Bounded by History Art Bounded by History

Many of her paintings are dominated by muted grays, blues and browns & calm scenes of buildings and the endless skies above them. Often they show people bracing against their surroundings or carrying out their day's work; many portray a mother and child huddling together, bringing a bit of color to an otherwise monochrome landscape. Read More...

WU Pledge Willamette students get personal with pledge in honor of Dr. King

Willamette University students wrote their own pledges to adhere to the common belief that all people are valued. Volunteers handed students small beige cards saying, "From this day forward, I will make a personal pledge to:" Read More...

College Students Push For Social Justice College Students Push For Social Justice

Article from The Statesman Journal:
An impromptu rally with a social-awareness tone sent some Willamette University students on a boycott of classes Thursday. A group of about 50 students with the designation "Concerned Students for Social Justice" met in the university center's commons, the Cat Cavern, Wednesday night. After the meeting spilled into early Thursday, the boycott was at hand. Read More...