New Student & Family Programs

Home » Staff and Faculty » Destination Western Faculty


Destination Western Faculty

Throughout Destination Western, you’ll have the opportunity to work with Western Oregon University’s fantastic math and writing faculty. Our team is invested in preparing incoming students for the challenges of college academics and ensuring their success. We have a lot of exciting activities in store and can’t wait to meet you in September!

Get to know the Destination Western faculty!

A woman  with a black shirt and black cardigan, and a pendant necklace on standing in front of some abstract art hung on the wall.

Dr. Cheryl Beaver
She/Her/Hers | Mathematics

My favorite course to teach is Math 346: Number Theory because it reveals surprising and elegant properties about numbers! My advice to students is to seek out and take classes that look interesting to you. Join clubs and try new things. There is no other time in your life where you can explore different topics like you can in college. Find your passion! One fun fact about me is that I hold a US Patent.

A woman in a jean jacket and brown hair standing in front of foliage.

Kendall Rosales
She/Her/Hers | Mathematics

My favorite class to teach is MTH 243: Introduction to Probability & Statistics. This class is so different than most math classes that students have taken, and I enjoy showing students how versatile and useful math can be. My advice for new students is to reach out to your professors/instructors early on (even if you don’t need any help). You would be surprised at the clarity stopping by just one office hour can provide. A fun fact about me is that I have DJed for the WOU radio station.

A woman standing in front of a whitebaord with math on it, wearing a burgundy dress, brown belt,

Dr. Leanne Merrill
She/Her/Hers | Mathematics

I love to teach all of our introductory math classes. It’s a chance to meet students who might doubt their math ability, or who see math in a negative light, and show them that everyone is a mathematician, and that math can be both fun and useful! My advice for new students is to try new things and use the resources around you for support. Everyone who works at WOU wants to help you succeed, and college is the perfect environment to try a new class or activity! One fun fact about me is that I am an avid tabletop gamer: board games and Dungeons & Dragons are how I spend the majority of my free time.

A kneeling man with glasses in a white and blue long sleeve shirt, black gloves, a beanie and sweatpants giving a thumbs up with a blonde child in a blue puffy jacket, jeans, and pink gloves in the driveway of a brown house. The child is hugging a snowman with a trailblazers hat on. It's snowing and there's a layer of snow covering the ground.

Chris Mock
He/Him/His | Mathematics

I really like to teach math 112 – particularly, trigonometric proofs! Almost puzzle-like in nature, proofs give students an opportunity to take a deep-dive in critical thinking in the figuring out of connected the two ends of an equation. This class, for me at least, really emphasizes how mathematics is more than just formulas and solving equations – it’s about learning how to think logically and understanding problems at a deeper level. Those kind of things are essential in all facets of life! I know that College is expensive, so my advice to new students is to get the most out of it! By that I mean: get your questions answered, get involved in extracurricular stuff, join a club, etc. A fun fact about me is that I’m a student as well! Not the cliché sort of philosophical sense where people say “I’m a student of life and I learn everyday” – I mean that I’m taking computer science classes at WOU to earn a second degree!

A man with a black baseball cap, and blue shirt standing in front of a light-colored brick building with purple trimmed windows

Andrew Nerz
He/Him/His | Mathematics

My favorite class to teach is MTH 112 (Elementary functions). It covers a wide variety of topics and problems, where some are more applied mathematics and others not as much. My advice to new students is don’t ever hesitate to contact your teachers for help outside of class! Being able to work one-on-one can make an enormous difference. A fun fact about me is that I graduated from WOU, so I know what it’s like to be both a student and a faculty member here!

A man with brown, medium length hair, a blue button up shirt, and clear-framed classes standing in front of a woodpaneled wall.

He/Him/His | Writing

I love teaching WR122 because I enjoy witnessing students engage through writing with the world of ideas. My advice to incoming students is to open your mind to new ideas. Read as much as you can, and not just what is assigned. Visit your professors’ office hours when you need help. One fun fact about myself is that I know how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors in Japanese.

A man standing in a blue suit witha white button up and light grey/blue tie on with a dark background.

Wesley Mathis
He/Him/His | Writing

I love teaching WR 121 because we examine why students were taught writing the way they were in K-12 education, and it’s often a process of unlearning some of the unhelpful ideas about writing that students have encountered. My advice to new students is to visit your professor’s office hours and (if course policy allows it) ask for extensions! Also, make yourself familiar with the many helpful academic support resources on campus, like the Writing Center, the Math Center, and the Hamersly Library! One fun fact about me is that I can play the banjo!

A woman in a pruple shirt and light purple puffy jacket and brown-framed glasses standing in front of a field of yellow flowers

Dr. Katherine Schmidt
She/Her/Hers | Writing

My favorite courses to teach are creative writing workshops. The art of storytelling gives you the opportunity to wrestle with the human condition, to see and feel the world through the perspectives of others, and to create arguments that incite even the most stubborn readers to reflect and reconsider the possibilities. The writing of fiction teaches you about characters and empathy, plot and consequences, and the value of nuance and truth! Novelist E.L. Doctorow states, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” My advice for new students is that the same goes for college life: you only need to see a few steps at a time to make it to graduation. So, buckle up, and enjoy the adventure! A fun fact about me is that my daughter and I live on a mini-farm that we call Acres of Hope, where rescued farm animals come to live out the rest of their lives.

A woman with short brown hair, a grey shirt, and a black cardigan with white polka dots standing in front of some trees

Tarrah Meyer
she/her/hers | Writing

I love working with students at any stage of the writing process. Yet, my favorite part of the process is being there to support a student with their journey. Watching a student grow as a writer has so many ups and downs, and it is immensely rewarding to be a part of their team. My best advice for any new or incoming students would be to check out the resources available on campus. School can be challenging in many unexpected ways, and there are so many people on campus that care and want to help. One fun fact about me is that I love animals! In fact, I love them so much that I have three cats (Queso Beso, Kismet, and Gonzo), a hamster (Motorcycle Lego), and a dog (Snowflake). Someday I wish to have a whole farm of rescued critters.

A head shot of a woman with brown hair pulled back by a pair of brown sunglasses

Tandy Tillinghast
She/Her/Hers | Writing

My favorite course to teach is the First-Year Seminar 107 Wondrous Weird: The Strange in Art & Writing about surrealism, magical realism, and other elements of the bizarre. I am fascinated by how the surreal causes us to reconsider crucial concepts or concerns. My advice for new students is to schedule time on your calendar to work on your courses daily to devote enough time to studying and projects; it can be tough to manage time otherwise. Plan regular use of Student Success & Advising, the Writing Center, the Health & Wellness Center, and other campus resources—after all, you are paying for this support! One fun fact about me is that my sixteen-year-old son and I love second-hand or vintage shopping together—guess who gets to drive?

Contact the department of New Student and Family Programs | (503) 838-9482 | M-F, 9am-5pm | Virtually & On Campus (WUC 210)