Linfield posters part of inauguration celebration

Student engagement poster symposium

Photo by Marcus Larson/News-Register

Reprinted with permission of the News-Register. By Starla Pointer, March 7, 2019. 

Linfield Colleges students put their Wildcat pride on display this week.

More than 30 proclaimed on posters their appreciation for the opportunities offered at the small, liberal arts school: Chances to participate in a variety of activities, on and off campus; to travel abroad; to discover and pursue their personal goals; to get to know their professors and work closely with them on collaborative research.

Kelsey Bruce of Hillsboro said she chose Linfield partly because it’s close to home, partly because of its 10:1 student-faculty ratio and partly because of opportunities for study abroad and research. As a freshman, she started working on biochemistry research with professor Megan Bestwick.

Not only did she benefit from the research, she said, but her learning also was reinforced by “the extra effort I am required to invest to obtain success.”

The display of posters created by Bruce and other students was part of events and activities planned for Inauguration Week, which culminates today with the ceremonial inauguration of President Miles Davis.

Davis, who joined the college in July 2018 after many years at Shenandoah University in Virgina, will be honored at a public ceremony at 3 p.m. this afternoon in Wilson Gymnasium on campus. Keynote speaker will be actress Phylicia Rashad, the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theater at Fordham University.

A reception will follow the inauguration in the Rutschman Field House next to the gym complex.

Davis stopped by the opening of the poster display Tuesday.

“The students at Linfield are incredible and these posters demonstrate their high level of engagement that they bring to the college,” he said.

Davis spent time talking with students such as Ashley Filler, an exercise science major and biology minor. Her poster described a project in which she connected campus and community life with a worldwide problem.

Filler said Patricia Haddeland, head of the campus health center, told her about a McMinnville 9-year-old suffering from aplastic anemia. In response, the student organized a campus bone marrow drive, encouraging her peers to volunteer to become donors.

“College-age is prime time for transplants,” Filler said. “And we need diverse donations, to meet the needs of the variety of people who need transplants.”

The project taught her about leadership, explaining medical procedures and talking to people in general, as well as bone marrow transplants.

The effort also “made me more committed to becoming a physician’s assistant,” she said. “It showed me more about what a family goes through, as well, so I can see it from their side.”

She received good news at the end of her project. The young girl, Mikalynn, no longer needs a transplant. Her own bone marrow is making blood cells again. “I wish her well,” Filler said.

Another student’s poster featured her work as a math and science mentor with Yamhill-Carlton Intermediate School students.

Her professor, Jennifer Nordstrom, initiated the project that pairs college students with middle schoolers who are working on science fair projects in which math was a key component.

“It’s really interesting to be a mentor,” said Hoffbeck, a biology and math major who hopes to teach someday. “I especially like working with young girls who are excited about math.”

She worked with a girl named Elise who was studying biodiversity. Hoffbeck helped her design a project that would compare the insects in Elise’s back yard to those in a natural forest setting, in order to learn the impact human habitation has on insects.

“She collected the data. She was excited,” Hoffbeck said, “and I helped her with data analysis.”

The project earned first place in Elise’s science fair. Hoffbeck said she learned a lot herself from the project. “It gave me experience in how much do I tell her, versus let her figure out for herself,” she said.

Another Linfield senior, Daniel Endicott, entitled his poster, “Growth and Development of a Wildcat.”

“At a small school, you’re able to be involved in so much,” he said, noting he has been on the swim team, taken part in clubs and other activities in addition to going to classes.

His poster lists some of the benefits of that involvement: “At Linfield I learned leadership, effective communication, fitness, travel, resume building … I’ve become more outgoing and personable” and he has gained “memories to last a lifetime.”

His activities will enhance his law school applications, too, Endicott said. After obtaining a law degree, he plans to become a judge advocate general in the Air Force.

Endicott said his professors have all been very supportive of his goals and his efforts. “I have a great relationship with the faculty,” he said.

One professor has been particularly helpful: Eric Schuck, who teaches economics, is “really a mentor; a fantastic role model.”

A veteran, Schuck has been “a sounding board for my military aspirations,” as well, Endicott said — even though the professor served in the Navy and Endicott is joining the Air Force.