Professor’s hard work pays off with recent awards

It is every writer’s hope that their determination and hard work will lead to publication and hopefully, acknowledgment.

Lissa Wadewitz, an associate professor of history, is one example of hard work paying off.

“The biggest challenge, I think, is persevering. It takes a lot of time and energy, and when you’re teaching as much as we teach, it means really the summer is your main time to write and to fill research holes, so I think being able to stay up on that at the same time as teaching is a real challenge energy wise,” Wadewitz said.

Her “Nature of Borders: Salmon and Boundaries in the Salish Sea,” was published in July 2012, after nearly a decade of preparation.

A year later, Wadewitz found about her win of the Hal K. Rothman prize from the Western History Association and a few months later, she also won the John Lyman Award from the North Society for Oceanic History.

“It is wonderful to find that these different organizations see the value of the story that I was trying to tell and the value of the information included in the book as well,” Wadewitz said.

“I have had several people contact me and tell me how useful they found it, for contemporary issues surrounding fishery management, which is really gratifying,” Wadewitz said.

According to Linfield News, the John Lyman Award is given to “recognize excellence in the publication of books that make significant contributions to the study and understanding of maritime and naval history.”

Being a historian as well as a writer goes hand in hand, according to Wadewitz “it is pretty common for historians to write books, that is not true of all disciplines.”

As anyone who has ever taken a class with Wadewitz knows, she tried to impress the importance of well written work to her students.

“Trying to write a book that you don’t want to be boring is also a challenge, so thinking about narrative and thinking about ways to engage readers and to have it be a history book and a serious history book, but also be something that people might also want to read, I think, was also a real challenge. Hopefully I succeeded,” Wadewitz said.

This outlook certainly affected the success of Wadewitz’s debut novel.

One of the best things about Linfield is that so many of our professors are recognized authors in their field and as students it is our duty to take advantage of resources like Wadewitz.

In order to learn how to be, not only successful in the academic world, but also in the real world.

Paige Jurgensen / Columnist

Paige Jurgenson can be reached at

Erin Heltsley/Freelance photographer

Assistant Professor of History Lissa Wadewitz holds up her book “The Nature of Borders.” Wadewitz has recently received two awards for her book, which was published in July 2012 and details the history and troubles with the current boundaries of salmon fishing on the Salish Sea off the coast of Washington and Canada.