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 2023 Destination Western faculty!
Dr. Leanne Merrill
She/Her/Hers | Mathematics Faculty, Destination Western Mathematics Curriculum Designer
I love to teach Math 110: Applied College Mathematics. I enjoy seeing people who may have struggled with math in the past see that they can actually succeed in math, and that math applies to their daily life! My advice to new incoming students is to expand your comfort zone by getting involved. Say hello to people in class, go to office hours, join a club, see a free event—you will probably never have the chance to experience so much in one place ever again! A fun fact about me is that I have 20 chickens, 4 cats, and a dog.
Dr. Cheryl Beaver
She/Her/Hers | Mathematics Faculty
My favorite course to teach is Math 346: Number Theory because it reveals surprising and elegant properties about numbers! My advice to new incoming 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! A fun fact about me is that I hold a US Patent.
She/Her/Hers/Ella | Mathematics Faculty
My favorite class to teach is STAT 243Z: Elementary Statistics I. 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 DJ for the WOU radio station.
He/Him/His | Mathematics Faculty
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 incoming 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 my earliest memory is playing the original Legend of Zelda for the NES at my daycare when I was 3.
My favorite class to teach is MTH 112 (Elementary functions / Trigonometry). It covers a variety of mathematics, from introducing trigonometry and up to vectors and parametric equations. The content is also mostly applied mathematics, so it’s easier to relate to. My advice to new incoming students is to keep in contact with your teacher; if you need help, don’t hesitate to visit during office hours. A fun fact about me is that I’m a bit of a gamer, and have participated in a number of tournaments here at WOU!
Dr. Leigh Graziano
she/her/hers | Writing Faculty, Destination Western Writing Curriculum Designer
I love all my classes, but I especially love teaching WR 122 because students get to create their own research projects and work on them all term. It’s a joy to learn more about their interests and to see the AMAZING work they do when they get to research and write about things they’re passionate about. My advice to new incoming students is to take advantage of office hours and go and talk with your instructors. Professors at WOU love their students, and they want to get to know you and help you be successful in class! A fun fact about me is that my favorite game to play is Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve played for a long time, but my longest campaign and character lasted over two years. We saved the world many times. You’re welcome.
he/him/his | Writing Faculty
I enjoy WR122 because it’s fun to witness students thinking in writing. My advice to new incoming students is to read everything. A fun fact about me is that I saw Diego Armando Maradona win the World Cup on TV.
Wesley Mathis, MA
he/him/his | Writing Faculty
I love teaching College Writing 1 (WR 121) because we get to look at writing in way that is often very different from how we’ve approached in in K-12. It’s a fun, exciting, and often empowering process of learning (and unlearning). My advice to new incoming students is to reach out to your instructors when needed. Late work and bad work may be better than no work at all! A fun fact about me is that I have a sailboat and I can play the banjo!
She/Her/Hers | Writing Faculty
My current favorite class to teach is a LIT 102 class called “Drama as Literature: Bad Girls.” As implied, we talk about the bad girls in plays and what makes them so awesome. My advice to new incoming students is to go to office hours and say hi to all your professors. They will remember you. A fun fact about me is that I have an alpaca ranch and I write novels.
Tandy Tillinghast, MFA
She/Her/Hers | Writing Faculty
My favorite course to teach is the First-Year Seminar 107 section Wondrous Weird: The Strange in Art & Writing about surrealism, magical realism, and other elements of the bizarre. I am fascinated by how the strange 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! A fun fact about me is that I have a Certificate in Social Justice and finish my Master of Science in Justice Studies next June. Is this fun? Committing to important work is fun for me ; )