Research Projects

Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) is held each spring to celebrate the exemplary scholarship and creativity of Willamette University students. Students work directly with faculty members or design and conduct their own research throughout the year.

Featured Projects

Here are a few projects that exemplify the wonderful research students from the English department have done over the years.

Abstract: This collection of short stories straddles the line between science fiction and modern fabulism, eschewing easy genre tropes and instead directing the more fantastical elements of each narrative towards an exploration of human reactions to the unknown, incomprehensible, or unbelievable. Characters grapple with the limits of family affection and the danger of misplaced trust, and many also negotiate burgeoning queer identities. With vivid but readable descriptions and careful attention to the nuances of character and personality, I draw on the legacy of authors as varied as Ted Chiang, Octavia Butler, and Zadie Smith to inspire my own creative voice.

Kevin Alexander (2019)

Abstract: Latina Misfit is a collection of short stories following a young adult named "Bianca". In the stories we see the intersections of her identities in her day to day life and interactions with her family, friends, and environment during her time in college.

Crystal Zamora (2019)

Abstract: I am writing a epistolary novel in a collage style format which illustrates a fictional presentation of the Northern California small town. Though fictional in nature, I am heavily inspired by my life growing up in Northern California and hope to, throughout my narrative, highlight the troubling nature of these types of small towns in the modern day. This includes the exterior pressure of a progressive society as well as the insidiousness of the personalities within.

Cheyenne Marshall (2019)

Additional Research Projects

These are all the projects the English department has presented at SSRD in the last few years.


  • [REDACTED]: A Reading from a Creative Writing Thesis - Cheyenne Marshall (Thesis)
  • Liminal State [Working Title] - Owen Netzer (Thesis)
  • Heaven Sent Not Angels and Other Stories: A Reading from a Creative Writing Thesis - Kevin Alexander (Thesis)
  • Craters - Kieran O'Brien (Thesis)
  • Splashdown: A Reading from a Creative Writing Thesis - Colin Hakeman (Thesis)
  • Basketball Gods: A Reading and Process - Alex Gordon (Thesis)
  • Latina Misfit - Crystal Zamora (Thesis)


  • The Consciousness of a King: Genre and Characterization in Monmouth and Malory - Mikaela Renshaw (Thesis)
  • The Effects of Trauma on the Warrior's Mind and Body in Shakespeare's Coriolanus - Gianni Marabella (Thesis)
  • Alien Hierarchies: Estranged Bodies in “Bartleby” and The Trial - Zachery Wolf (Thesis)
  • Queer Form through Ephemeral Interiority in Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red - Maggie Clarendon (Thesis)
  • The Political Formation of Cinematic Modernity in Langston Hughes’s "Montage of a Dream Deferred" and Muriel Rukeyser’s "U.S. 1" - Candace Cheung (Thesis)
  • The Postmodern Poetic Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics of Disability in Hospitalogy by David Wolach and Waveform by Amber DiPietra and Denise Leto - Johanna Lyon (Thesis)
  • Los Angeles: Stories to have with a Café con Leche - Asalia Arauz (Thesis)
  • In Cat Years - Qingyuan Li (Thesis)
  • A New Beginning: Connections Across Cultures - Jenna Kaita (Thesis)
  • Yarn Tails - Casey Dobbert (Thesis)
  • Class Performance and Magical Meddlings - Bridgette Peirce (Thesis)
  • Denizens of Deloria: Jae - Ryan Tokeshi (Thesis)
  • More They Stay the Same: Short Stories that Come of Age - Emily Sperber (Thesis)
  • Rebuilding Puzzle Pieces - Julia Oshiki (Thesis)
  • The Shape of Magic - Felicity Helfand (Thesis)
  • Counterpoint, a Novel - Luke Moy (Thesis)


  • Transport Pebbling - Kees McGahan, Megan Duff (Thesis)
  • Crease Patterns in Origami - Ana Wright, Katy Ohsiek (Thesis)
  • Making Sense of the Meta in Undertale: A Multidisciplinary Game Analysis - Brian Bottini (Thesis)
  • Asylum Fury: Escaping Institutionalization through Oral and Narrative Self-advocacy - Tyler Griswold (Thesis)
  • Nature's Role as a Character: A Field Guide to William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! - Laura Hu (Thesis)
  • A New Hope: The Political Intent of Young Adult Dystopian Literature - Marjorie May Meeks (Thesis)
  • An Ecofeminist Quandary within Aimé Césaire's Notebook of a Return to the Native Land - Connor Rettig (Thesis)
  • Analyzing Female Empowerment in Magical Girl Anime: 1960s-current - Misa Adams (Thesis)
  • Bent Knees and Lowered Gazes: A Theory-based Translation of Impressions from Kabuki’s Onnagata - Emily Schwaner (Thesis)


  • I Kissed a Girl and He Liked It: The Eroticization and Commodification of Female-Female Sexuality in Hip- Hop Music Videos - Morgen Pack (Independent Research)
  • Who Really Lives on Sesame Street? - Katherine Pyne (Independent Research)
  • The Problem with Translating Eastern Action Movies to Western Hollywood - Joshua Thornton (Independent Research)
  • Understanding Shounen Ai Through Translation - Nathan Werthmann (Independent Research)
  • Life and Development of Miyazaki Hayao - Kevin Yaginuma (Independent Research)
  • Mishima's Coup D'Etat - Scout Peterman (Independent Research)
  • College Colloquium Grant - Erendira Oropeza (Colloquium Grant)
  • I Had a Dream about You - Linnea Huomo (Thesis)
  • Things That Never Can Come Back - Lyra Kuhn (Thesis)
  • Expanding our World's Issues: Readings of Visionary Fiction - Nicholas Lantz (Thesis)
  • Readings from Penumbra, A Dark Fantasy Novel - Crystal LeFebvre (Thesis)
  • Dust - Brent Lenhard (Thesis)
  • The Threshold: Fantastical Transformations - Olivia Monical (Thesis)
  • Intimate?: A Collage - Emily Palmgren (Thesis)
  • Seeking a Fictionalized Version of Myself - Christa Rohrbach (Thesis)
  • Pseaudo Time Traveling and Glorified Forture Telling - Joshua Singer (Thesis)
  • Sandy Jenkins - Lindsay Straube (Thesis)
  • Short Prose and Poems Explore Mind and Body - Evann Zuckerman (Thesis)


  • People aren't Buildings and Other Facts I've Memorized: The Memoir of Thyme Jensen-Sparks - Kathleen (Kate) Piluso (Independent Research)
  • Twenty-Something - Victoria Youngbauer (Independent Research)
  • Electric Sheep - Saran Walker (Independent Research)
  • Cherry Blossoms Are Not Popcorn - Hannah Brown (Independent Research)
  • Iotas - Emma Jones (Independent Research)
  • The Pale Rind: Translations and Poems - Amy Snodgrass (Independent Research)
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