Fall 2015

Greetings from Dean Roy Sonnema

One of the things that were important to me when I came to Eastern was to do more to recognize the good work of our faculty and staff, in addition to recognizing accomplishments of our students. As a result, last year we introduced five new awards in the College of Arts Letters and Education: Classified and Exempt Excellence, Teaching Excellence, Scholarly and Creative Excellence, Service Excellence and Team Excellence. At the CALE awards ceremony last June we recognized the 2015 winners along with the recipients of the Yarwood Excellence awards and the Frances B. Houston awards. I invite you to read about the awards ceremony and those who were recognized.

There are numerous other accomplishments by our students, faculty and staff that you can read about here, and even more we did not have room to report on. CALE is fortunate to have many individuals who contribute to the success of our students. To all of you, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for your continued support of our college.

I hope you enjoy the latest newsletter.

Student Spotlight

Start Something Big - An American Dream

Sony Nicole de Paula

If you ask Sony Nicole de Paula about starting something big, she'll tell you she wants to start something with language. De Paula is a graduate student in the Master of Arts in English program with an emphasis in teaching English as a second language (TESL), and it is her love of English, teaching and education that brought her to EWU after a journey that took her around the world.

De Paula recalls, "My childhood was rough. I was the sixth of seven children, and my mother had to be our mother, father and grandparents. We were poor." De Paula's siblings raised her, and the children helped survive by combing through the city dump collecting metal, glass and plastics for recycling. It was there her curiosity about English and the United States started because of the colorful plastic margarine tubs printed in English that featured Disney characters.

Despite their humble circumstances, De Paula's mother, who never made it past the third grade herself, made it a priority for her children to attend school and church. "My mother always teased that books were my favorite toys," De Paula reminisces. She taught herself to read Portuguese by age four and was picking up English, the second language taught in Brazilian schools, from her sibling's books at home. "I was very curious about the English language and the United States," says De Paula," and with our Christian background we were taught all things are possible, if you believe."

She knew she wanted to go to the United States and was determined to figure out a way. She practiced her English on her older brother's European girlfriends, listened to music in English and kept a dictionary handy to practice sounding out words phonetically.

By the age of 12, she was earning enough to buy her own clothes and school supplies. By the age of 16, De Paula became an emancipated adult, working full time during the day at a bookstore and attending school at night.

De Paula began teaching English in private lessons and translated for foreign guests at the international hotels. Soon she had so many students and clients she quit the bookstore.

De Paula attended the College of Philosophy, Science and Letters in São Paulo, where she majored in and taught English. After college, de Paula joined Mission Mobilization, an international ministry, as a missionary and humanitarian, traveling throughout Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Mozambique and Johannesburg, South Africa.

De Paula is proudest of a teaching program she developed there to train village leaders to teach basic literacy in the colonial language of Portuguese to local villagers. "This gave the villagers, who spoke hundreds of dialects, the opportunity to attend schools, get jobs, educate themselves and improve their health and even improve their agriculture," she explains.

She returned to Brazil now speaking French, Spanish and English as well as European and Brazilian Portuguese and with a passion for teaching. Her dream to travel to the United States came true when De Paula was offered an opportunity to attend a church conference in Hawaii and then serve in Newark, New Jersey, with the Calvary Baptist Church to train missionary leaders.

She moved to Spokane in 1994, and worked for Spokane Public Schools as a bilingual specialist. She started teaching herself art and writing. More recently, De Paula decided to work toward a master's degree and enrolled at EWU. In addition to school, De Paula is writing a memoir and is an accomplished fine artist, showing her work in galleries around Spokane.

Working with Professor LaVona Reeves, De Paula is exploring the idea of multi-model literacies and how they compare to the composition model of language. She expects to complete her program in June 2016. Reeves notes, "Sony's lived experience and understanding of community in the classroom bring a richness to her teaching."

For De Paula, Cheney and EWU have become home. "I feel supported through so many professors, like Drs. Reeves, Young and Briggs," she states. "EWU welcomed me. I feel the passion toward me as a student and feel cared about as a human. And now, teaching English 101, I see the impact I make on students."

Far from the garbage dumps of her childhood experience in Brazil, de Paula is still driven because of the power of education and language. After she completes her master's program, she hopes to keep teaching, writing and creating art. "My curiosity and EWU helped me start something big," she reflects. "I am living my American dream."

Dean Sonnema
Roy Sonnema, Dean

New Faculty


Shelly Shaffer:
Assistant Professor

Allison Wilson:
Assistant Professor

Miranda Hein:

Modern Languages and Literatures

José Rojas:
Visiting Lecturer


Andres Jaramillo:
Visiting Lecturer

Physical Education Health and Recreation

Parry Gerber:
Assistant Professor

Jeremy Jostad:
Assistant Professor

Theatre and Film

Drew Ayers:
Assistant Professor

Andrew Williams:



Logan Greene:

Garrett Kenney:

Associate Professor and Tenure

Tara Haskins:

Natalia Ruiz-Rubio: Modern Languages and Literatures

Justin Young:

Senior Lecturer

Reagan Henderson:

Steven Mortier:

Jeffrey Sanders:
Theatre and Film

Awarded Emeritus

Physical Education, Health and Recreation:

Paul Greene

Modern Languages and Literatures:

Wayne Kraft


John Mason

Grants Awarded

Start Something Big Grant Awarded during the 2014-2015 academic year

Melissa Huggins:
Get Lit!

Elisha Miranda:
Theatre and Film

Chadron Hazelbaker:
Physical Education, Health and Recreation

Sheila Woodward and Julian Gomez:

Jeff Sanders:
Theatre and Film

Pete Porter:
Theatre and Film

Natalie Kusz:

Julia Salerno:

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KEWU and Farriss Reap More Awards!

Photos, from left: KEWU staff; former Assistant Program Director Joey Youmans; Program Director Elizabeth Farriss; 2015 JazzWeek award

KEWU and Program Director Elizabeth Farriss again bring recognition of their excellence to EWU! At the Annual JazzWeek Summit, Farriss was awarded Small Market 80+ Programmer of the Year (The Bobby Jackson Award), and KEWU was awarded Small Market 80+ Station of the Year. The prestigious JazzWeek awards are voted on by peers across the spectrum of jazz: radio programmers, record promoters and musical artists. Equally impressive, Farriss has been a finalist every year that the JazzWeek awards have been presented, previously earning Programmer of the Year in 2009 and 2005. KEWU previously won Small Market Station of the Year in 2005.

Farriss began at KEWU as a student in 2001, while completing her bachelor's degree in electronic media and film. Initially hired by then-program director Brandon Kerr, she went on to become program director in June 2004.

Faculty Retreat

CALE faculty launched the new academic year by meeting in the Walter and Myrtle Powers Reading Room in historic Hargreaves Hall for their annual retreat on Sept. 18, 2015. Partly an opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues after the summer break as well as meet new faculty, the retreat also serves as an informational forum and a work session for planning the priorities and direction of the college in the year ahead. In addition to introducing nine new faculty, Dean Sonnema reviewed CALE successes from the 2014-15 academic year, including these:

  • the completion of CALE mission, vision and values statements
  • the first presentations of new awards recognizing the excellent work of outstanding CALE faculty and staff members
  • the promotion of eight faculty to higher professional ranks
  • significant upgrades to CALE facilities, including new exercise science equipment for the PEHR Department, a 3D printer and large-format digital printer for the Art Department, new instruments and recital hall improvements for the Music Department and new sound, lighting and cinematographic equipment for the Theatre and Film Department
  • donations of more than $317,000 received from 791 donors, including 21 faculty and staff
  • the launch of this newsletter to share CALE stories with faculty, staff, alumni and friends
  • the development and communication of a transparent budgeting proces
  • the awarding of 545 degrees to new EWU graduates from CALE academic programs

The session continued with an update on the state and EWU budget outlook and a review of university and CALE initiatives for the coming year. In the final portion of the meeting, faculty from different departments worked together in groups on a strategic planning exercise, reflecting on the EWU and CALE missions and initiatives for the 2015-16 academic year, outlining broad goals and specific objectives to achieve within that framework, prioritize those items and identifying specific steps in an action plan to meet high-priority objectives. At the end of an afternoon of productive conversation, coffee and a cookie or two, CALE faculty set off to prepare for an exciting and challenging new academic year.

2014-2015 Award Ceremony

On June 12, 2015, the college gathered for their annual awards reception, recognizing and commending outstanding students, faculty and staff who have excelled in their work.

Frances B. Huston Medallion Awards

Photos, from left: CALE Frances B. Huston medallion recipients; President Cullinan bestowing a medallion

Each student awarded a Frances B. Huston medallion is a leader in service at Eastern and/or in the community and has achieved academic excellence by maintaining at least a 3.75 GPA in the previous four quarters. These are the Huston Award recipients from CALE for 2014-15:

  • Art: Robert Jones
  • Education: Kayla Bickel
  • English: Jennifer Schoenrock
  • Modern Languages and Literatures: Alizabeth Sturgill
  • Music: Lauren McKinley
  • Physical Education Health and Recreation: Heather Summers
  • Theatre and Film: Chris Hansen

Yarwood Excellence Awards

Photos: Yarwood Excellence Award recipients

Celebrating excellence in student contributions and achievements and faculty inspiration and student mentorship, the Yarwood Excellence Award is presented to the outstanding graduating senior in a college department and their faculty sponsor/mentor.


  • Student Jessica Earle with faculty mentor Jenny Hyde


  • Student Breanna Riley with faculty mentor Tara Haskins
  • Student Jessica Wallace with faculty mentor Mariann Donley


  • Student Hannah Harder with faculty mentor Teena Carnegie
  • Student Aaron Bocook with faculty mentor Jamie Neely

Modern Languages and Literatures

  • Student Elliny Hiebert with faculty mentor Kevin Decker
  • Student Alizabeth Sturgill with faculty mentor Natalia Ruiz-Rubio


  • Student Emma Mortensen with faculty mentor Julia Salerno

Physical Education Health and Recreation

  • Student Emily Pond with faculty mentor Carri Kreider
  • Student Anton Yuryev with faculty mentor Wendy Repovich

Theatre and Film

  • Student Chris Hansen with faculty mentor Sara Goff

College of Arts, Letters and Education Awards

Photos, from left: CALE Awards recipients Kerri Sadowski, Sean Agriss, Elisa Nappa, Kevin Decker and Theatre and Film

These individuals embody the college’s mission and values. The purpose of the five college awards is to recognize and commend outstanding faculty and staff who have put forth the extraordinary commitment to represent their department, the college and the university.

  • Classified and Exempt Excellence Award: Kerri Sadowski
  • Teaching Excellence Award: Sean Agriss
  • Scholarly and Creative Excellence Award: Elisa Nappa
  • Service Excellence Award: Kevin Decker
  • Team Excellence Award: Theatre and Film

CALE Faculty Lend Their Expertise

CALE Faculty Lend Their Expertise

From here at Eastern to across the United States and overseas, CALE faculty set out to share their expertise and passions. Just a few highlights…


Professors Kevin Decker and Terrance MacMullan presented their work on Star Wars and philosophy at the 2015 meeting of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association in New Orleans. They were accompanied by two EWU philosophy majors, Vladimir Titkov and David Denenney, who presented papers respectively on Nietzschean themes in Fight Club and a Deweyan critique of the aesthetics of funk music.


Associate Professor Beth Torgerson presented her research on Harriet Martineau and the birth of psychology at the Martineau Society Conference in Norwich, England. For a related project, she also did research in the north of England.

Associate Professor Kristina Ploeger escorted the EWU Symphonic Choir on a performance tour that concluded with the Limerick Sings Choral Festival in Limerick, Ireland.

Associate Professor Florian Preisig presented his work at Queens College in Kingston, Ontario, at an International Conference on King Francis I of France. He discussed a long poem by Claude Chappuys that describs Francis I's court and offers an inventory of the people who resided there at the time: the royal family and many nobles of course, but also secretaries, lawyers, physicians, barbers, poets, scholars and others.

Professor Jonathan Middleton served as composer in residence at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, while working in an ambisonic (3-D sound) studio in preparation for a new composition on the sounds Jean Sibelius would have heard from his garden at Ainola. Middleton also presented lectures on data-to-music sonification at the University of Tampere, Finland, where his new string quartet, Kauppi Suite, was performed.

Professor Grant Smith presented his research on name meanings in Shakespeare at the Third International Conference on Onomastics in Bucharest and Baia Mare, Romania, as well as in Minsk, Belarus

Professor Jonathan Johnson and Associate Professor Christina Valeo presented their work at the Keats Conference in London.

Associate Professor Sheila Woodward presented her work at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and at the Cranbrook School and Northern Beaches School in Sydney, Australia.

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