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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!

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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 for new students is don’t be afraid to talk to your professors and ask for help. We want to get to know you!

woman smiling in the outdoors

Brenda Bradley

She/Her/Hers | Mathematics

Some of my favorite courses to teach are math for education students because they are eager to learn strategies for their classrooms, and Math 105: Math in Society because we cover a variety of subjects in ways that are so relevant to WOU students. It’s wonderful to see their growth over the term! My advice for new students is to get to know your instructors through office hours even if you don’t think you need it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get to know your classmates, too, as it has been proven that studying in groups is academically beneficial and a great way to build friendships!

woman smiling in the outdoors

Leanne Merrill

She/Her/Hers | Mathematics

My favorite course to teach is Math 280: Introduction to Proof. I love teaching this class because it opens up a whole new world of math to the people who take it! My advice for new students is to take chances, don’t be afraid to fail, and try new things. Remember that your professors and other staff are here to support you. Ask for help if you need it — everyone at WOU wants to see YOU succeed!

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Chris Mock

He/Him/His | Mathematics

My favorite course to teach is Math 112: Elementary Functions/Trigonometry —in particular, trigonometric proofs! Almost puzzle-like in nature, proofs give students an opportunity to take a deep dive into the critical thinking of figuring out how two ends of an equation are connected. 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 kinds of things are essential in all facets of life! My advice for new students is that college is expensive, so get the most out of it! By that I mean get your questions answered, get involved in extracurricular stuff, join a club, etc.!

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Andrew Nerz

He/Him/His | Mathematics

My favorite course to teach is Math 112: Elementary Functions/Trigonometry. There’s a lot of content variety in the class, and it’s easy to see how nearly all of it applies to daily life! My advice for new students is don’t hesitate to contact your teacher(s) if you’re struggling or just want to connect with them more. We love connecting with our students and want to make sure everyone is able to succeed!

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Leigh Graziano

She/Her/Hers | Writing

My favorite courses to teach are Writing 121 and 122: First-Year Writing. Students often come into these courses thinking that they hate writing, and, worse, that they’re bad at it both aren’t true. I love helping students realize that they like writing more than they thought, and that they have unique and valuable voices! My advice for new students is to visit your instructors and build that relationship. They are there to help you, and most of your instructors will go above and beyond to help you be successful and give you extra support. My relationship with my faculty advisor was one of the most positive parts of my undergraduate experience, and I stay in touch with him to this day. Go to office hours! We want to see you!

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Madeleine Hannah

She/Her/Hers | Writing

I love any opportunity to teach students about the basics of the writing process. It’s always amazing to see how they grow over time, apply concepts in unique ways, and build a writer’s toolkit that works for them! My advice for new students is to become familiar with your professors and go to office hours early in the term (before you get into crisis mode!). Faculty are there to help you, and forming strong relationships with them will be a huge benefit down the line!

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Samantha Morgan

She/Her/Hers | Writing

One of my favorite courses to teach is Writing 122: First-Year Writing II. The students enjoy creating their own unique projects while learning about how writing works in real discourse communities! My advice for new students is don’t give up. Even when things seem to go topsy-turvy, reach out to your instructors and support teams. They are here for you!

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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! 

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Tandy Tillinghast

She/Her/Hers | Writing

My favorite course to teach is the First-Year Seminar 107 section Wondrous Weird: The Strange in Art & Literature. It is about surrealism, magical realism, and other elements of the bizarre through writing. I am fascinated by how the surreal can cause us to reconsider key concepts or concerns! My advice for new students is to schedule time to work on your courses daily to make sure you are devoting enough time to project s— it can be tough to manage time otherwise. Make 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!

Contact the department of New Student and Family Programs

orientation@wou.edu | (503) 838-9482 | M-F, 9am-5pm | Virtually & On Campus (WUC 210)