Melendez brings her passion for addressing education inequality to New Mexico schools

Naticcia Melendez is a senior sociology major with a passion for the impoverished and downtrodden. She will be continuing on to teach secondary social studies in New Mexico through Teach For America.

Caitlyn Starkey: Describe your life growing up.

Naticcia Melendez: I grew up in Lakewood, Wash., which is just an outskirt of Tacoma. I grew up with my dad and brother. It was an interesting dynamic because I was growing up with a single father, and a typical single head of household was a single mother. That has definitely shaped and formed my identity today.

Our [Naticcia and her brother] childhood consisted of going to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club after school. Sometimes we would go to my dad’s work after Boy’s and Girl’s Club was done. I thought it was the coolest thing to sit in the warehouse and drink Coke and watch TV while every little kid I knew was in bed.

I grew up in a pretty impoverished neighborhood. We lived in an apartment complex for the majority of my life, and so most people around me were working a lot in order to maintain basic needs. That has kind of dictated the way I view poverty and the way I view wealth. Also my heart for impoverished neighborhoods, for the lower class, has been shaped because of that.

CS: Then how did you end up at Whitworth?

NM: I ended up at Whitworth through Act 6, which is a leadership initiative that pulls from underrepresented areas. Tacoma is one of the areas and brings the unrepresented population into predominantly white campuses.

The goal of Act 6 is for us as leaders to demonstrate our leadership skills, whether it’s through the classroom, whether it’s through a formal leadership, just being present on campus and fighting for what we believe in — allowing ourselves to grow and allowing others to grow as well. I am only here because of Act 6, its the only way I could attend.

CS: I understand you have gotten to travel. Can you explain more about your experiences?

NM: In my four years here I have been to South Korea, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Ireland.

I have loved and appreciated those traveling experiences. They have taught me a lot about myself, and have taught me so much about westernization of cultures and the impact the United States has had on other countries, whether it be positive or negative.

Even though it was hard to hear those things, like the country that I am from has done a lot of negative things, it’s just really opened my eyes and broadened my perspective and allowed me to see the United States in a different light.

CS: How do you think Whitworth prepared you for Teach For America?

NM: I’m pretty competent in knowing how underprivileged communities function because of the sociology classes I have taken. I am very culturally aware of the differences.

That’s not to say I am an expert by any means. I feel like I have been prepared in a social sense to go out and communicate with people of a different community.

In general, knowing that I have been empowered here, I have been trying to use that and empower others, even here at Whitworth.

I want to extend that out into the school that I will be teaching at. But on the other side of that I don’t feel competent in actually teaching because obviously I am not an education major. I am a sociology major and so I know I will have a lot of work to do, and I am prepared for that. I know that the first year of teaching is going to be extremely difficult, but I am ready to persevere through that.


Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Photographer: Gabrielle Perez


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Pre-med student follows in sibling’s footsteps for college


Junior pre-med student Kyle Darbonne juggles class, work, being a student visit assistant in the Admissions Office and being vice president of the Pre-Med and Science Club.

Caitlyn Starkey: How did you decide to come to Whitworth?

Kyle Darbonne: My brother and sister actually both attended Whitworth. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the whole smaller private school thing or if I wanted to stay in Colorado, because I love Colorado, and do the state school thing. After I came up and visited my brother, I got to stay here at Whitworth for four days I just fell in love with the campus, and the classes and the whole community.

CS: What would you ideally like to do in your free time?

KD: I’d be camping or fishing as much as I possibly could. But its hard to get away on weekends to go camping for a night or to when you and all your friend have so much going on. That or I am on a frisbee team, I go to as many games as possible, which hasn’t be a lot this semester. It’s still a lot of fun.

CS: What do you plan to do after graduation?

KD: Well, I came in thinking I wanted to do med school, and it’s still a possibility that I’ll go the whole med school route. But lately I have been thinking about the two front runners, teaching high school science, biology, because that was a big part of why I wanted to go the science route was because of my high school science teachers, one guy science teacher that I had in particular. Also physical therapy, which I haven’t looked into much. From what I have heard about it, it would be an awesome field to go into.

CS: How did you get involved with working for the Admissions Office?

KD: Freshman year my roommate was a host [admissions overnight host], so I was a host’s roommate which made me a host. Especially when they would be gone and you would have to take care of the kid for a while. I was like, “This is kind of fun getting to meet a bunch of new people for a night,” and then they would leave. Then sophomore year, I was actually a host as well as tour guide. I really love that aspect of admissions. So this year, I applied to be one of the student visit assistants, which has been awesome getting to work in the admissions office with all the people. They are all happy and love meeting people, so it’s a great work environment. I am actually signed on for the summer as well which will be a blast, as well as next year. I think I will have a little bit more responsibility than I do this year just because I will have been there for so long. Some visit assistants were kind of above me this year, so I will be stepping in to and teaching the newer visit assistants for next year. It will be fun but a lot more responsibility, which I am looking forward to.


Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Photography by Michael Locatell


Contact Caitlyn Starkey at

Congo escapee joins incoming freshmen

Whitworth University sends out letters of acceptance to new students all over the world. This year, a letter of acceptance was sent to the home of Wilondja Muyoma, a 19-year-old living in Seattle. Muyoma, like many other prospective students, came to visit the Whitworth campus last November and fell in love with the university. He attended a few classes and said he was very impressed with the school.

“I visited several other colleges but my experiences at Whitworth were so different and unique,” Muyoma said.  “And as I did more research on the school, I saw what an amazing job they are doing in academics and I wanted to go there.”

He is now looking forward to studying philosophy and economics and perhaps taking a few French classes.

Muyoma is soon planning to pack up his things and make the trek from Seattle to Spokane.

The transition should be quite easy for him, for his journey to Whitworth began in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Specifically, he has traveled from the city Bukavu in Eastern Congo.

Muyoma’s native tongue is Swahili, but at the private Christian school he attended he mostly spoke French. Muyoma said that in Bukavu everyone lives in a tightly knit area. He said everyone is so close that he would consider the members of his community to be like relatives. He cared deeply for his friends and family.

Muyoma’s home was directly affected by one of the deadliest wars in Africa’s history, the Second Congo War. A peace treaty was signed in 2003 but fighting prevailed in the eastern part of Congo. When Muyoma was 12, the war that brought malnutrition and disease was forcing young men to join the army and leave their families.  All of those conditions became too much for Muyoma and he decided it was time to leave.

“Congo is pretty close to Rwanda, so we decided just to run there,” Muyoma said. “But along the way, my parents got lost and we were separated.”

There is estimated to be nearly 3 million refugees across Africa who have fled their homes due to violent conflict and persecution. There is a program established in Kenya that is designed to help reconnect families that might have been separated during the war. After nearly three years of searching for his family, Muyoma learned his parents were located back in the Congo.

Not wanting to risk going back to Bukavu, Muyoma was taken to an overcrowded, English-speaking refugee camp. Mapendo International, also known as RefugePoint, is an organization that happened to be visiting Muyoma’s camp at that time. RefugePoint goes to Kenya to assist families and individuals fleeing war who need urgent and lifesaving help. The foundation works with the United States and the U.N. to identify durable solutions for people in danger.

“The camp was such a blessing, because Mapendo International was there and offered to take me to America,” Muyoma said. “They offered me safety from the Congo and a chance to study in America and get a real education.”

The youngest of the group, Muyoma was the only one under 18 to travel to America. He and several others left Nairobi and flew to Europe, then to New York, and finally to Seattle.

“It was a very long flight, but just knowing I was going back to school made it worth it,” Muyoma said.

Muyoma settled into his new home in Seattle and quickly taught himself to speak English fluently. He said when he came to America he was excited to learn about business. So, he applied for an internship with Microsoft in the summer of 2011 and was one of 20 finalists accepted into the program.

“I had no clue what it was going to be like,” Muyoma said.

Muyoma was put into a group which would focus on the social aspect of marketing in the U.S. He worked with real Microsoft clients and learned persuasive marketing skills to get people to buy his products.

Muyoma then decided it was time to start a new chapter of his life. He was accepted into Whitworth’s Act Six program and is excited to move to Spokane and live on campus.

“When I visited I really liked East and Duvall,” Muyoma said. “But as I researched more, BJ looks fun because it’s all freshmen and it’s a close and tight community, kind of like my home was in Bukavu.”


Story by Jennifer Ingram Staff Writer

Photography by Corey Hage, courtesy of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide  


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Professor reflects on time in Peace Corps

Nicole Sheets, assistant professor of English, originally comes from West Virginia and has traveled far from home to end up here at Whitworth.

Between receiving her master’s degree at Hollins University in 2002 and starting on her doctorate at the University of Utah in 2004, Sheets spent time with the Peace Corps in the Republic of Moldova.

“If you don’t know what to do with your life, the Peace Corps’s pretty good,” Sheets said. “It’s not a bad life choice. It’s a great way to get out of the country.”

While she was there she was the only native English speaker in the language department.

“I felt kind of like a rock star because everyone wanted to talk to me,” Sheets said. “I was kind of a curiosity, like their pet American.”

Sheets said the people were very kind to her in general.

“People without much disposable income were very generous to me,” she said.

She recounted how her guitar teacher brought her a lilac branch one day as a gift, and how another woman lent her a coat because the woman knew Sheets didn’t have anything yet for when it got cold.

Her host mother even offered to allow Sheets to build a hut in her garden if she ever wanted to move back.

“It is always good to have options,” Sheets said.

She first came west during her years as an undergraduate at West Virginia University with Campus Crusades for Christ as a summer project in Yellowstone. Sheets said she learned a lot on that trip aside from a love for the West. Her first experience leading a Bible study made her come to the realization that she was good at teaching. However, it was also a turning point in her faith.

“That’s when I figured out I was not an evangelical Christian,” Sheets said. “It’s been an amicable break-up. I experienced a lot of love there and I still try to make my yearly showing.”

Of course, that is not to say she ceased being a Christian. After a lot of searching she has been attending Episcopal services for the past ten years.

“Maybe it’s just the writer in me that is drawn to the Episcopal Church,” Sheets said. “There is a lot of the Bible read and there’s just a lot of words. It is really beautiful.”

She said she has come to realize the aesthetics of the service matter to her, and it isn’t shallow to value them. More than that, she said she finds the open invitation to communion has beautiful implications.

“If they are seeking God enough to want to take communion,” Sheets said, “the table is open to everyone, which I’m still trying to get my head around. I like it.”

She also said it was hard in her past church for women to take any sort of leadership. Some even worried about teaching Sunday school for the older children because of tensions over the idea of women in power over men.

“In my church, women couldn’t even take offering, or wear pants,” Sheets said. “I really like having lady priests. It seems odd to me that gender would be the deciding factor in who gets to serve the church.”

Sheets said she is still searching, still questioning.  When she came to Whitworth, she said she was glad to find it to be a place where that was OK. Whitworth first came on her radar when a writer friend sent her the job ad.

“It was kind of like dating. I liked their ad and they liked my initial materials so we wanted to see more. So there was a Skype interview and then a campus visit,” Sheets said. “I was interested in the variety of courses. I was also impressed that writing was such a priority in this department.”

She likes to teach a variety of classes and levels.

“I like meeting the freshmen, in Writing I, who are new to college, and I also like working with writers at the 300 and 400 level who’ve been writing for some time,“ Sheets said. “The nonfiction workshop is the closest to what I do in my own writing, so I guess if I have to pick, that is probably my favorite.”

Today, along with her teaching and research, Sheets has begun trying to publish her dissertation, a collection of personal essays. She said she has only sent out a couple copies and received one rejection but she takes it in stride.

“A personal rejection is almost like an acceptance, because a real humanoid read it,” Sheets said.

Sheets said she is interested in travel writing and spiritual writing and has been blogging for a women’s travel writing site ( as WanderChic.

“It’s supposed to be about travel and style,” Sheets said.

However, she said she usually just writes what she likes and it works out pretty well since her attention span holds for roughly the length of a blog post anyway. Her last post, after a visit to Las Vegas, was on pinball.

Sheets says in her own writing she tends to get really drawn into the details of what she is working on.


Story by Brianna Wheeler Staff Writer

Photography by David Rurik

Contact Brianna Wheeler at

Housing director also avid bicyclist

Alan Jacob, associate director of housing, juggles on-campus housing and still finds time to bike to work. Jacob commutes to work via bike nearly every day of the year.  He said there are on average less than 10 days a year he does not bike to work.

“I love biking, riding in every form: racing, commuting,” Jacob said.

The habit started at a young age, Jacob said, because biking was a good alternative to waiting for a car ride from mom.

“In middle school all my friends were far away,” Jacob said.

Now the idea of riding to work feels normal. He said it feels good to get to work and have already gotten a mini-workout.

“I feel like a cheater when I get in a car for anything less than 50 miles,” Jacob said.

Jacob graduated from Messiah College with a bachelors degree in psychology. He said it is his “BA in BS.”

But he did not want to head into the field of psychology. Jacob said he had a love for student life.

He was a resident director at Geneva College for five years. The building was similar to McMillan Hall, but larger by about 40 students.

Jacob found out about Whitworth through some of his Geneva co-workers, who were Whitworth alumni. They spoke highly of Whitworth and Spokane, Jacob said.

Now Jacob is the associate director of housing and equates his job to a circus act, body surfing and the game of chess.

First, Jacob said the puzzle of finding housing for students is like a plate-spinning act in a circus. Each plate requires individual attention, but the performer must also pay attention to the other spinning plates and keep them going as well.

Second, the housing office is like body surfing, Jacob said. The rider sees the wave coming and he jumps into the waves, riding the momentum. Yet he cannot crash into the reef; it’s a balancing act between chaos and control.

Third, Jacob said placing a student in on-campus housing is like playing multiple games of chess simultaneously.

Chess pieces are students and boards are dorms. When a piece is placed or moved it affects the rest of the board.

Additionally if a piece is moved from one board to another, it affects both games. Each dorm has its own personality and restrictions.

Jacob said he hopes to be a resource for students, connecting them to various departments and sections of campus.

“In the best sense of the word, I am a middleman,” Jacob said. “I have to take parts of campus and translate it into their language. My goal is to be their one stop shop.”

Though his job may be administratively challenging, Jacob said he finds joy in helping students, he said.

“It’s really a crazy business,” he said. “I get paid for a privilege.”

Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Photo by Linnea Goold

Contact Caitlyn Starkey at

Student picks Whitworth in kindergarten

From a young age, Lauren Frey has challenged herself, preparing her to be where she is now. In fifth grade, Lauren Frey and her best friend auditioned for a dance company and got in.

“I am sure I barely made it in, but I got in,” Frey said. “At first it was hard, and I used to cry all the time, but then it started to become something I was passionate about. Everything started to get better and started to feel more natural. My kicks got higher.”

In addition to dance and drill, Frey was involved in choir.

That is when Frey started learning to cope with a busy schedule.

“I had these two loves that would conflict. I always had to balance my schedule,” Frey said. “I was trying to be Superwoman.”

Frey is a master of juggling schedules. Between school, dance, choir and drill, Frey was busy in high school.

Now, Frey juggles being an RA in East Hall and participating in the Whitworth Choir and academics.

Frey is the RA of second west in East Hall. She credits her RA last year with her inspiration to apply for the position.

“My RA was amazing,” Frey said. “She, Kristen Tenhaken, was the most happy person I have ever met. She made the hall such a great place to live.”

Frey admits that the position of RA is an emotional roller coaster.

“RA-ing has been the best, hardest thing I have ever done,” she said. “Whitworth pushes us to grow in our weaknesses and be real with each other.”

Sometimes it’s hard and she wants to cry from the stress and hurt she sees, but in other moments she feels incredibly blessed by her hall, Frey said.

“But then, there are the times when we are dancing to Beyonce in the hall or making cookies having honest conversations with depth that make it all worthwhile,” she said.

Being a Whitworthian has been a long-term goal of Frey’s. From kindergarten to second grade, her family lived in Spokane but she attended school in Oakesdale where her mother worked. Each morning, they made the hour-long commute to school.

During that time, Frey’s godmother was attending Whitworth and Frey attended the Writing Rally, an event put on by the education department for elementary school students to learn different styles of writing. Whitworth has been her dream school since a young age.

“In kindergarten I decided I was going to go to Whitworth and be a teacher,” Frey said.

In third grade, Frey and her family moved west to Moses Lake where they stayed through her graduation.

When college applications rolled around, it was hard to consider other schools when she knew she would end up at Whitworth, she said.

“My mom was like, ‘You can’t just look there. Can’t put all you eggs in one basket,’” Frey said.

Majoring in elementary education, Frey said she wishes to teach younger students, specifically kindergarten through third grade students.

“I love children so much,” Frey said. “They are so honest. They say things as they are; it’s really refreshing.”

Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Graphic art by Eli Smith

Photo by Gabrielle Perez

Contact Caitlyn Starkey at

Bonner leader fills schedule with service opportunities

Sophomore Hannah Crawford is a spunky blond, filled with a passion for service and a full schedule to prove it.

Crawford grew up hearing about Whitworth from her dad and family friend Whitworth Trustee Clark Donald.

“They were always like ‘Hey, Whitworth is great,’” Crawford said.

She then had the opportunity to see the Whitworth choir on its Christmas tour. She said she loved the music and knew that Whitworth had a strong English program, her major area of interest.

“At that point I was a choir nerd,” she said.

She applied to Whitworth and was accepted. She said she received the best financial aid, making her decision clear. However, she never visited campus before attending.

“My first day on campus was the first day of Traditiation,” Crawford said.

But the gamble paid off, and Crawford has come to love the campus and the community, she said.

Crawford is an English major and a communications minor, but said she is currently debating between the writing and literature tracks.

"I have always been kind of a bookworm but wasn’t interested in the classics until later,” she said.

However, she is currently looking at a career in publishing or freelance writing, making the decision between literature or writing undecided.

“I acknowledge that having an English degree will make me a poor woman,” Crawford said.

Though Whitworth campus may be her current home, Crawford said her family is slightly nontraditional. Until her junior year of high school, she only had two siblings.

“I grew up with just two—my older brother [who is 21] and younger brother who is 15,” Crawford said.

But in 2008, her family adopted Annamarie, now 13, Naomi, now 6, and David, now 3, from Ghana.

“It’s hard to picture my family before them,” Crawford said. “I love them.”

With a loving family at home, Crawford has adopted another family on campus. She is employed as one of the Taylor’s nannies.

“It’s great,” she said. “At points I feel like they are my family away from home.”

The Taylor’s youngest daughter Chloe is one year younger than Crawford’s youngest sister. She likes having that sisterly connection, she said.

Crawford has a passion and drive to serve others and her involvement with a chapel worship team, En Christo and Bonner Leaders shows it.

She started at En Christo last December when a friend, junior Michelle Slate, invited her. Slate was leaving for a Jan Term trip and asked Crawford to temporarily replace her as lunch making assistant. Now Crawford has moved up and is the lunch making coordinator.

“En Christo is a great way to get off campus and serve,” she said.

En Christo helped Crawford get connected with Bonner Leaders. Junior Katie Apland was involved with En Christo and encouraged Crawford to look into it.

“Bonner leaders make a two-year commitment to a community-service and leadership-development program, during which they complete a minimum of 300 hours of service as work-study students and/or Americorps members. Together, the Bonner lead- ers have provided 45,730 hours of service to Spokane County since the inception of the program,” according to Whitworth’s Service-Learning website.

“Currently my main locations are En Christo and Rockwood Retirement,” Crawford said. “It’s like having 100 grandparents.”

Crawford has a full schedule of English classes and service with En Christo and Bonner Leaders. How does she do it all?

“I’m a secret ninja but don’t tell anyone,” Crawford said with a laugh.

Story by Caitlyn Starkey Staff Writer

Contact Caitlyn Starkey at

Photographer: Rebekah Daniels

Graphic artist: Eli Smith

Q&A: Associate registrar invents card game

Associate registrar Mark Baker describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur.” After competing in the Business Plan Competition as a student and receiving a $2500 prize, Baker said he realized he loves entrepreneurship. His latest business venture is a new card game called “5 to Close.”

Sandra Tully: Explain a little about 5 to Close.

Mark Baker: 5 to Close is a word game that is played in teams. It is played with a deck of 180 cards that include letters of the alphabet as well as a number of special cards (double, triple, wild, freeze, unfreeze). The game consists of four rounds. Each round is played until one team creates and locks five words. A word can be locked anytime it makes a complete word, so the challenge is determining if it is better to lock a shorter word (less points) or hold out and go for a longer word (higher points). Also, each round the minimum length of cards needed to complete a word increases. By the last round, only words of six letters or more can be used which becomes quite challenging ... imagine playing Scrabble but only being able to play words that are six or more letters. Anyone who enjoys word games will love this game. Plus, it adds a new dimension to the typical word game because you play with a partner.

ST: What inspired you to create this?

MB: I’ve always loved word games. I grew up playing Scrabble and Boggle with my mom and grandpa. I also love entrepreneurship. So, putting the two together was natural for me. It actually didn’t take long to come up with the basic idea for the game, but that was just the beginning. It look many hours of computer work to design the cards, the game box and the rules. After I had some prototype versions made, I then had to play the game with different groups of people to test how it worked. That led to lots to tweaking of the rules and game play. I also developed a website for the game which took another long stretch of time. All in all, I probably spent the good part of a year working on the project to get things to where they are now.

ST: Do you have other games you are working on?

MB: No other games, but lots of other projects. I’ve started several online businesses in the past few years ( and www. I also have some other Kickstarter project ideas that I’m currently working on and hope to launch in the weeks following the finish of the 5 to Close Kickstarter project. Sorry, these are top secret right now though. I have learned a lot from the Kickstarter campaign I ran from 5 to Close. At this point I would need a big boost in support in the coming two weeks to make the 5 to Close Kickstarter project a success, but hey, you never know what might happen.

ST: What do friends and family think of the game?

MB: Everyone I have played the game with really enjoys it. I also had a game reviewer do a review of game a while back. She really enjoyed 5 to Close as well. The game is fairly simple to learn, but is one of those games that has a lot of strategy within it. Once you play it a few times, you start thinking about how your strategy might be a little better or different the next time.

ST: Do you have a prototype of the game?

MB: Yes, I actually had 20 prototypes made originally, but either sold or gave away 17. I found a printer in New York that specialized in short run printing of card games. Having decks of cards printed is normally quite cheap, but only when you order in mass quantities. Most places I looked were wanting to charge at least $50 per deck to make prototypes. This company was much more reasonable, roughly $15 a deck. The reason I ran the Kickstarter campaign was to get the funding to do a large-scale printing of the game.

Story by Sandra Tully Staff Writer

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Photographer: Tanner Scholten

Student raises awareness of deaf culture

The simple task of looking down to take notes during class can mean missing a part of the lecture for junior Brian McPartland, who was born deaf and relies on an interpreter to understand lectures. McPartland is the first deaf student to attend Whitworth in more than 20 years, he said. He is also one of very few deaf students who choose to go to a mainstream college rather than a college for the deaf, such as Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

“I was unsure of coming here because it would be my first time away from family, and that was going to be hard,” McPartland said.

That has made the experience of coming to Whitworth difficult at times, but McPartland said the community here is usually eager to learn about his situation and do their best to help him.

McPartland said he has encountered a lot of people who assume he can’t communicate in English.

“I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that they want to learn how to communicate with me,” he said. “I just say ‘Oh, cool,’ and they get this shocked look on their face because they didn’t expect me to talk.”

Since McPartland can lip read extremely well, he said he has an easier time communicating with his hearing peers than other deaf people do.

This ability, as well as his ability to speak and sign, is because his mother sent him to many sign language and speech classes as a child.

To help Whitworth students, faculty and staff understand what it means to be deaf, and also to help them learn sign language in an out-of-class setting, McPartland has decided to start the Sign Language Club.

“I’m hoping to make the community more deaf-accessible,” McPartland said. “I want to inform students about the deaf culture. You have to understand the pain. The things that you enjoy — music, they can’t hear; movies, they have to rely on the graphic special effects because they can’t hear the cool sounds.”

The one place that McPartland said his deafness doesn’t come into play is in the baseball diamond. McPartland began playing sports when he was younger as a way to connect with his father, and he now plays baseball for Whitworth.

“In the game, it doesn’t matter if you can hear or not,” he said. “It matters if you can play. It’s a game where I can step away from life itself and do something I enjoy.”

McPartland said his ability to play sports is due to a series of great coaches from an early age.

“It depends on the coaches,” he said. “They have to be willing to work with [deaf] kids. They have to be willing to show something to the deaf player that they just explained to the rest of the team.”

McPartland said he hopes to eventually have the chance to coach children’s sports so that he can not only communicate with both deaf and hearing players, but also encourage more deaf children to get involved.

An engineering physics major, McPartland said his dream job would be to work at Boeing someday because it has a program for deaf employees.


By Lindsie Wagner

Recalling the ‘chaos’ of Norway bombing

Annick Foyen, 22, came to Whitworth in search of a safe, spiritual environment far from her home of Oslo, Norway. Wanting a challenge, Foyen said she visited Eastern Washington University, Pacific Lutheran University and the University of California-Los Angeles before deciding on Whitworth. “The atmosphere I felt while being on campus and the helpful professors at Whitworth made me feel comfortable here,” Foyen said.

Culturally, though, Spokane is very different from Oslo. Foyen said she learned a new way of life by moving to the states. Fast food, the activeness of residents, transportation as well as how to meet friends all differ from the way she was raised, Foyen said.

“It took me a while to figure out who I could trust to be my good friends,” Foyen said. “I had never felt so lonely in my whole life; it was tough.”

Foyen said even the way in which people communicate with one another is different from what she is used to; Norway is extremely intimate.

“Americans are very outgoing and friendly at first, but it takes longer to really get to know someone,” Foyen said. “In Norwegian culture, people are not so outgoing so once you really get to know someone, you really know each other well.”

Foyen said she enjoys the simple things the most in her life, such as spending quality time with her friends and three house-mates, making dinner and shopping at Forever 21.

When her home country came under attack by one of their own last November, Foyen was on a bus headed downtown as the first bomb went off.

“We heard a huge explosion and we thought it was an earthquake or thunder,” Foyen said. “The whole ground was shaking; it was complete chaos.”

Having worked during previous summers as an intern for the Norwegian government, Foyen said she was blessed in her decision to work with her father this last summer, which kept her away from the bombing that killed at least 87 people.

“The building I use to work in was right there, right next to where the bomb went off,” Foyen said, thankful she was safe from the bomb scene.

Being a part of an eye-awakening experience which she relates to 9/11, Foyen said it made her realize those things can happen anywhere, even peaceful Norway.

Although still saddened over the attack, Foyen is determined to move on, pleased in knowing the Norwegian attacker isn’t getting the attention she said she believes the attacker was after.

“He wanted all the focus to be on him, but I don’t believe he got that attention,” Foyen said. “All the victims and survivors got that attention; which was opposite of what he wanted.”

After graduation from Whitworth, Foyen wants to spend a few years gaining experience in social work before getting her master’s degree. Her dream job is to work with her father, who works for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.


Written by Sydney Conner

Photo By Rebekah Daniels

Faces of Whitworth: Student reflects on the value of language

After applying to study for a semester in the United States, Italian international student Erika Borsani waited for a reply. Time passed and she thought she was not accepted. She finally got a reply, though. She had been accepted to to attend Whitworth for a semester.

Borsani is one of around 30 international students at Whitworth.  Although she is considered to be a junior back at her home university, here she said she feels like a freshman after going through traditiation.

Borsani grew up in the small town of Tradate, which is outside of Milan, Italy.

She will be at Whitwoth only for a semester, and while here she will study foreign languages for management and marketing.

The Italian school system requires students to learn English.  She said that in high school they did not learn to fluently speak English.

“You don’t get to actually speak it, but you learn the basics like grammar,” Borsani said.

It was not until she started attending a university that she began to learn how to properly speak English.

The language barrier has proven to be the biggest culture shock for Borsani.  She knows how to speak English and understands, but it does not come as easily as Italian.

“It is a big thing; you may take it for granted,” Borsani said.  “[It is hard when] you leave a place and you can’t say a word in your mother language and you feel like you can’t speak.”

Although the language proves to be difficult, she knows practicing the language in the culture is the best way to learn it.

At Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, the university she attends in Milan, Borsani studies Greek and Italian literature, but she loves the world of art.

Borsani wishes she had chosen to study art.  In Italy she had to choose a high school to study at based on majors when she was 14.  She was not sure what she should do at that time, so she did not choose art.

After that she chose to attend a university, also based on major, and chose to study foreign languages.

“I love what I chose but I really wish I could do other things,” Borsani said.

Although she may not be studying art, she does not hide her artistic side.

One way Borsani showed off her talent was by drawing the tattoo that she has on her back.  She used her drawing skills at the Warren Hall prison tattoo Prime Time. She spent the night drawing narwhals, penguins and intricate geometric patterns on people’s arms and legs.

Borsani said she would not trade this experience for anything.  The only thing she said she wished she did differently was apply to attend Whitworth for a whole year.


By Haley Williamson

Photo by Greg Moser