Recent News

Research team
When people think about research in the English Department, they are likely to imagine solitary scholars surrounded by books in the library. But when students from Professor Anis Bawarshi’s graduate seminar, “Knowledge Transfer and Composition,” designed a research project, they envisioned a collaborative study that would bring together theory and methods from education, social sciences, and composition studies. Their project, titled “Transfer of Learning and Third-Space Collaboration:... Read more
Materne at Shorecrest High School
In 2011, Melanya Materne, then a sophomore studying English at the University of Washington, received the Thomas A. Lederman Humanities Award; the following year the English Department awarded her the Tia Vall-Spinosa Sullivan Scholarship. Director of English Undergraduate Advising Mel Wensel says of Materne, “She is a brilliant young scholar, a true lover of writing and literature. She is somebody who is already in the process of making herself into a master... Read more
Postcolonial Contraventions
Before attending summer research institutes at Princeton and Rutgers, or acquiring the McNair, Lederman, and the Mary Gates Research Scholarships, English Major Alex Catchings had an experience that set the stage for his scholarly attention to language, literature, and culture: “When I was six, my brash Aunt Melinda said to me, ‘Boy, you know you got a mix I bet I ain’t gonna see again? Black and Filipino. Filinegro.’ This racial designation endures as a witty retort for when... Read more
Jim Hebert
Why did I choose English? I was an honors student in high school and English was the most difficult subject for me as an honors student. When I got to college, I chose to enhance my education by diving into something that was a challenge, English. In the end, my ability to read and communicate has given me an enormous competitive edge and provided the platform to work in many different areas. My clients are CEOs of major corporations. In the business world, five critical variables (with the... Read more
Meg Lemke
As an acquisitions editor at Teachers College Press, Columbia University (, I balance on the tensions between scholarly and professional, advocacy and art. Schooling and what we publish about it is deeply political. Education is an applied science; its social experiments and passionate reforms are tested on our next generation. As research informs policy, it changes children’s lives. How do I use my English major? To state the obvious: if you... Read more
Melvin Sterne
I worked construction for twenty years. In my forties, I began to think about what kind of life I wanted, as opposed to the life I had stumbled into. What I wanted was to travel and write and loaf.  I’d been writing for years, but had yet to publish a word. And who could afford to travel? Of course, writing could hardly pay the bills, but the idea appealed to me. On the other hand, I felt a debt of gratitude to the teachers who had helped me through some very difficult times in my youth. I... Read more
Fat of the Land book cover
It will be twenty years this autumn that Langdon Cook entered the masters program in creative writing at the University of Washington. The M.F.A. at UW brought Cook to the Pacific Northwest for the first time. It was the beginning of an unlikely chain of events that would include jobs in both the howling wilderness and the New Economy and lead to a highly acclaimed book about the joys of slow food. I’ve had a front row seat all along—as a fellow classmate and wife. A tip from one of his... Read more
Martha Silano
There’s a joke in our family about my wife, Martha Silano, mother of two, author, blogger, assistant editor, manuscript consultant, elementary school volunteer, outdoors enthusiast, and full-time college instructor. People ask me, So when does she write poetry? “At red lights,” I say. Funny but true. Martha does often get inspired on her daily commutes to and from Bellevue College, where she teaches composition and creative writing. She’ll scratch out notes in a faculty parking lot,... Read more
Kitsap Tri Babes
I entered the English graduate program in 1986. My mind’s desire was to study feminist critical theory. The buzz word du jour was “praxis.” One’s theory must be grounded in practice; one must walk the talk. I expected to create praxis through a professorship, and I did spend a decade in that role, but I have had a far greater impact in another arena. Twenty-five years later, I remain a deconstructionist at heart, but my path to praxis is one I never imagined. In 2003, I convinced friends to do... Read more
Jaebadiah S. Gardner
As an undergrad, I wanted to pursue a major that made me happy. I loved to write, and I loved literature, so an English major wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make. All through those undergraduate years, people would ask me, “What are you going to do with an English degree, teach?” Or I would get the ever-so-common, “You know there’s no money in an English degree, right?” I knew what made me happy, and I knew what I was good at, but somehow, I was expected to put myself in this nice little... Read more