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World changERS It’s not difficult to find inspiration at the University of Portland. We are fortunate to live in a city full of intellectual and artistic individuals, and here on The Bluff we are surrounded by students and professors doing innovative and interesting research and projects on a regular basis. But in the rush of classes, work, internships and Portland traffic, it’s easy to overlook the student sitting next to you in chemistry class who spent his last break testing villagers in Kenya for HIV, or the student who keeps everyone in a good mood despite having spent her day investing in her residents on top of an internship with Oregon Humanities and

volunteering with Oregon Public Broadcasting. After all, the most giving and influential students typically don’t seek the spotlight. So in this special section, we wanted to highlight six such students who are changing the world right now, whether in the hallways of Fields Residence Hall or in Honduras. We hope you enjoy reading about them and hearing what changing the world means to them in our video at And in the rush and stress of midterms and papers, we hope they provide you with an extra bit of inspiration.

Kelsey Thomas, Editor-in-Chief and Shellie Adams, Design Editor

All photos in section and design by SHELLIE ADAMS | THE BEACON


March 6, 2014

Brian: biochemistry, immersion trips and music




What it helps you to do is create this reality of love where there is no history of judgment and two people can look at each other and say ‘I understand you and I understand your story and I love you for that.’ - Brian Carter

ot many students can say that they have been on four service immersion trips, given 100 homeless people waterproof bedding, tested villagers for HIV in Kenya and play in the wind ensemble. But junior biochemistry major Brian Carter can. “I was a wee little freshman, scared and not sure what I was doing with my life, so I went on the Service Plunge freshman year. That was my first experience with the Moreau Center and my first community I got to know,” Carter said. Later on that year, Carter went on the Rural Immersion. “I got to know them (the students) really well and got to learn about migrant farm workers of the U.S.,” Carter said. “That sort of got me thinking about where I could have an impact on the world and what is it I want to capitalize as a person on in order to make change.” Because of his drive to make change in the world and his experience on the Urban Policy Plunge, Carter started working with Operation Nightwatch, an organization in downtown Portland that opens their doors at night for the homeless. Together they started a Street Swags project to give bedding to the homeless. A Street Swag is a waterproof nylon and foam bed roll at night that can also double as a shoulder bag during the day. “You come to learn that the

(homeless) population is mostly people who have had one bad experience that maybe put them at the bottom and who are constantly struggling to get back on their feet,” he said. Carter’s passion for people has also touched the people in his daily life. “I think Brian is someone who has incredible potential and wants to use his gifts and talents to brighten someone’s day,” said sophomore Alexa BryantCapellas. She met Carter her freshman year when she went on the Service Plunge. “He always seems to be interested with everyone and cares about what you have to say,” Capellas said. Carter has a philosophy of acceptance that he discovered while he was on the the Border Immersion. “Most people really only see very small parts of the story and they base their assumptions off of that. What it helps you to do is create this reality of love where there is no history of judgment and two people can look at each other and say ‘I understand you and I understand your story and I love you for that.’ And that’s really powerful to me,” Carter said. This kind of love carried with him when he traveled to Kenya over the summer where he worked on sustainable development with villages and tested people for HIV. “It was really important in

terms of taking myself out of my culture and my background here in the U.S. and putting myself in Kenya where everything is entirely different,” Carter said. “All these immersions have lead to this bigger philosophy of life: the idea of making myself a part of something larger than myself so I can go anywhere in the world and just work with people on an individual and group basis and try to make things better.” Even with all his service work, Carter still makes time for music. “Music is a big part of my life. I grew up with hearing aids and overcame my own adversity in that way,” Carter said. “Its been something that’s fun but also something that’s more meaningful.” He first started playing the piano when he was 5 and hated it until he was older. “It wasn’t until I started high school and I realized I could write my own stuff and express myself. That’s when I fell in love with it,” Carter said. Carter doesn’t know exactly the role music will play in his future but he’s sure it will stay. “I think it will always be in my life, whether I’m dancing like nobody’s watching or just listening to it at least of course. But I think I’ll always play the piano, it’s my go-to when I’m stressed out. And when I find myself with more free time I’ll always keep writing (music),” he said. - Rebekah Markillie

Corey: ‘an endless, stupid, overflowing love for everybody’

er favorite place in the world is one where she doesn’t speak the language, barely knows how to get around and has no idea what she’s doing. That experience is a joy senior social work major Corey Hubbard wishes she could experience constantly because “it makes you learn all over again how to be with other people.” Being surrounded by people - in particular children – and learning from them is one of Hubbard’s greatest passions. Her dreams are undefined, but she’s plotting a course to a warm and sunny country, where she can be outdoors, speak Spanish and “learn more about what it means to be human on planet Earth.” Last semester Hubbard’s practicum placement was at an orphanage in Accra, Ghana. Anissa Rogers, chair of the department of social and behavioral sciences, said that as one of the first UP students to be placed in Ghana, Hubbard’s journey showed passion, enthusiasm and motivation. “I knew from the moment that I met her that she was special,” Rogers said. “She’s that kind of shining spirit that people gravitate towards.” The only two certainties of Hubbard has about her future is that her life will be devoted to working with children, and that she want to live outside the U.S. “I love kids,” Hubbard said. “I love their energy, I love being

around them. Being able to spend a day with an 8 year-old is the greatest gift ever. So whatever I end up doing is going to involve children and their endless potential.” Hubbard is considering teaching English abroad, a venture she said would be less of ‘here’s my culture, here’s my language’ and more ‘let me learn how to live in your culture.’ “What I’d love to see is every kid get access to education,” Hubbard said. “That every child be able to get as far as they wanted to, and for all children to be valued for the individual, beautiful humans that they are. I really wish that is how our world worked.” Among her mentors, Hubbard counts her father, who taught her to question the status quo; her grandmother, who showed her how to offer compassionate acceptance to all people; and Mother Theresa, as an example of how to live a life that is “a complete sacrifice for what you believe in.” Hubbard also has a love for learning and critical thinking, partly inspired by her social work professors and peers. “I really love being surrounded by people who intelligent, passionate and also searching with answers,” Hubbard said. “That really inspires me. Rogers said Hubbard’s love of asking hard questions and sparking social change is evident in the energy she brings to the class-

room and her practicum placements. “She’s the person I can always count on to ask really good questions,” Rodgers said. “And to be there – body and mind. She’s committed, engaged and not afraid to take a critical look at things.” Social work professor Kevin Jones named Hubbard one of the strongest social work students academically. “She’s a very joyful person, but very serious about her commitment towards social justice and the community,” Jones said Hubbard’s goal is to channel her fierce love for engaged thinking and compassionate living into giving children the tools and encouragement to become whatever they want to be. “I believe everyone has amazing stories and gifts, and deserves the chance to share them,” Hubbard said. “Everybody has something to contribute.” As for Hubbard’s own contribution? She finally confessed: “An endless, stupid, overflowing love for everybody.” - Nastacia Voisin

I believe everyone has amazing stories and gifts, and deserves the chance to share them. Everybody has something to contribute. - Corey Hubbard



Fatima: first generation student, dual degrees and Gates scholar


atima Ruiz Villatoro is going to build something big someday, but she doesn’t know what it is yet. That’s okay. With dual degrees in engineering management and Spanish, and a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation--not to mention the 18 or more credits that she takes each semester-Ruiz Villatoro is amply prepared. However, she isn’t just an academically energetic student but a truly inspired person as well. “I’ve always loved construction - my dad worked in construction when I was young,” Ruiz Villatoro says. “I’ve always dreamed of having a project and seeing it get built up over time. Managing the people who do this. I just think it’s so fascinating to see this happen. You have a piece of land and then suddenly, a few years later, it’s a building.” Ruiz Villatoro’s five-year college plan is funded by her Gates Millennium Scholarship. The Gates Millennium Scholars are few and great, with 1000 American students a year awarded college tuition from Bill and Melinda Gates. “I’m a first generation college student,” Ruiz Villatoro says, “So a lot of what I am going through now is dependent on faculty advisers and on me being proactive.” She was born and raised in Lislique, El Salvador and the surrounding area until her family

moved to west Seattle in Washington when she was 8. She learned Spanish in a colloquial setting although her interest blossomed academically, turning the minor into a major eventually. Her majors piled up like that, after some small token of interest grafted onto her and turned into a part of her. She says that friends joke that she will be in academia forever. “They’re like, ‘How’s your seventh out of 20th year of college going?’ and I’m like, ‘Going great!” Ruiz Villatoro jokes. “Even on a five-year plan, there are so many classes that I wanted to take that have nothing to do with my majors,” she says. Much like her academic schedule, Ruiz Villatoro has fully maximized her extracurricular involvement as well. Currently, Ruiz Villatoro is president of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club as well as treasurer for the Engineers Without Borders. In the past, she worked with EScholars, teaming up with senior Jordan Mattson on a project called “Healing Spaces,” rooms for terminally ill children, among other projects. “(Entrepreneurship) could fit into some of the goals she had for being involved in the community, giving back, or working with students from different backgrounds,” says Peter Rachor, director of entrepreneurship at the Franz Center for Leadership and club adviser.

Ruiz Villatoro also works with Fr. Art Wheeler in the studies abroad office. She interviews students in Spanish in order to assess their language proficiency level, a skill that Wheeler says he is dependent on for the application process. “She certainly is a very hard working student with a very global perspective on her career and eclectic interests,” Wheeler says. On top of her majors, minors, all the homework spread amongst them, two clubs and weekend trips with them, Ruiz Villatoro still finds time to spread herself even further. She babysits once a week for the innovator of Harper’s Playground - -a playground engineered for children with disabilities - babysitting Harper herself. In the winter, she will be a bridesmaid. On the weekends, she visits home or friends. “I like to think that I’ve gotten pretty good at time management in the past couple of years,” Ruiz Villatoro says. “There’s still enough time in my day where I just have hours to play around in.” The future, however, is still on uncertain ground for Ruiz Villatoro. “Right now I’m thinking about grad school. I don’t know what it is that I want to do,” Ruiz Villatoro says. “And I have so many interests.” - Olivia Alsept-Ellis

I’ve always dreamed of having a project and seeing it get built up over time. Managing the people who do this. I just think it’s so fascinating to see this happen. You have a piece of land and then suddenly, a few years later, it’s a building. - Fatima Ruiz Villatoro

Julia: changing lives one water system at a time


I think what really made me stay was when I joined Engineers Without Borders. The medical field always interested me because it’s helping people, and this showed me that even without being medically inclined, I could still help people. - Julia Sheets

enior Julia Sheets is aiming to engineer a better world. Having grown up with parents who both work in the medical field, Sheets considered going in that direction for the sake of being able to help people, but decided on engineering several weeks before coming to UP her freshman year, a decision that proved to be life-altering. “I initially entered engineering because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Sheets says. “I think what really made me stay was when I joined Engineers Without Borders. The medical field always interested me because it’s helping people, and this showed me that even without being medically inclined, I could still help people.” Sheets, a civil environmental engineering major, has developed a passion for engineering equal to her passion for service, and has allowed it to permeate many areas of her life. During her time at UP, Sheets has been a member of Engineers Without Borders, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Waterworks Association. However, the defining moment of her engineering career was spending seven weeks during the summer of 2012 in a rural village in Honduras working on projects centered around designing a water system with the nonprofit organization Water For People. “One of (my favorite parts) was the connections I made,”

Sheets says of her experience in Honduras. “We worked with five students from the National Autonomous University in Honduras and I formed really close bonds with all of them. It was fun to get to know someone from a completely different culture … one of the girls even taught me how to salsa.” The project Sheets spent a majority of her time on in Honduras was a water collection survey where she asked villagers the time and distance they had to travel to collect their water. The goal of this project was to quantify the benefit that would be brought to the developing community if a water system were built, in terms of time they could spend doing other things. In addition to providing service to the people where she worked, Sheets’ experience also provided personal growth. “I kind of stepped out of my comfort zone a lot,” Sheets says. “One of those moments was when we went on a waterfall tour … and we went under the waterfall and I felt like I was drowning. It was terrifying, but afterwards it was such a good story, telling people ‘I almost died today.’” Engineering professor Mark Kennedy accompanied the students on their trip to Honduras and is Sheets’ adviser. Kennedy experienced her development as a student, as well as a citizen of the world during her time at UP.

“I’ve been able to see her grow into someone who I think will have a great future, even if she doesn’t stay in engineering,” Kennedy says. “Working with (developing countries) is something I could see her focusing her grad school on.” In February 2013, at the Human Development Conference (which is entirely student-run), Sheets sat on a panel of students discussing water issues in developing countries. Her service work was also beneficial and inspirational for her senior design project, which was to design a water system for another rural community in Honduras. “I think even before I went there, I was always interested in working in Central America,” Sheets says. According to friend and former roommate, senior Nikki Kriskovich, Sheets has also learned how to maintain a balance between her academic life and letting her silly side come out with her friends and family. “I remember a time freshman year before we knew anyone and didn’t know where to go out, we once had a neon dance party in the study room in Shipstad,” Kriskovich says. “Julia’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and she succeeds in everything she does, although I don’t think she even knows it because she’s so modest.” - Clare Duffy



March 6, 2014

Marques: nursing student, father of two



In (the nursing) environment, one of my primary goals is to not just do well with my patients but see how I can improve the clinical site ... I always like to see what can be changed and leave a legacy. - Marques Scott

fter clinicals it seems most nursing students would be ready to pass out for the night.Transfer student Marques Scott, however, is not like most nursing students. During his clinical work this summer, Scott frequently stayed late and looked for ways that the program could improve, while balancing the added responsibility of a family. He is married with two boys (ages 5 and 3), is a devout and active Jehovah’s Witness and has travelled many times to the Dominican Republic for service within his faith. Here in Portland, he is an active member and works closely with the deaf congregation. “If I am anything I’m a Jehovah’s Witness and that has been the catalyst for everything I’ve ever done,” Scott says. Scott did his pre-reqs at Portland Community College and then decided to attend the University of Portland on a scholarship through Human Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Nurse Corp Scholarship Program (NCSC). During his clinical work over the summer, Scott tried to improve the various groups he worked with. “In (the nursing) environment, one of my primary goals is to not to just do well with my patients but see how I can improve the clinical site,” Scott says. “See how it can improve the experience for students and for staff. I

did some things that are ambitious sometimes. I always like to see what can be changed and leave a legacy.” Scott’s clinical faculty coordinator (CFC) and nursing professor Halina Barber recognized and appreciated Scott’s effort to make a difference at the hospital and understand the areas where change could take place. “He would always go the extra step and ask extra questions and want to know more about his patients,” Barber says. “When clinicals were over at the end of the day, he would always stay longer and just sit and talk to patients and talk to administration about problems and how to fix them and it just really blew my mind.” Scott enjoys helping others through the promotion of his faith, but he looks forward to helping others as part of his work as a nurse. He decided to go into nursing after working with nurses during the birth of his first son. “The main thing that really did click for me was when my wife was giving birth to our first kid, and the nurses were so caring and I really respect that,” Scott says. “Everything that (the nurses) were doing I would be like, ‘oh how do you do that? Why are you doing that? Can I do that? No? I have to go to school first? That’s okay.’ Seeing the anesthesia, watching the epi-

dural on her, I don’t know why I was so intrigued by that.” Scott says. Barber saw firsthand Scott’s fervor for community and has confidence that he will have success in whatever he does in the future. “He’s really passionate about community and serving the vulnerable and the challenged and the sick,” Barber says. “I really don’t know what he’s going to end up doing, I just know whatever it is it’s going to be great.” After graduation this spring, Scott and his family will move to Tulsa, Okla. and work for two years in accordance with his NCSC scholarship. He hopes to someday return with his family to the Dominican Republic to continue his nursing work and his work as a Jehovah’s Witness. “There’s always going to be challenges but, if you’re doing (something) in respect to serving a greater need, if you’re there to serve yourself then you’re not going to like it,” Scott says. “But if you’re somewhere with the intention of serving a greater need, if even in those minor things even in a clinical environment, if you’re there with the mindset of serving a greater need and making little differences than that’s how you make a change. I’m not a world changer, but maybe a little part of it.” - Maggie Hannon

” Sierra: fostering relationships one conversation at a time

here’s a spark in senior Sierra Bray’s eyes when she describes how much she loves when co-workers at her Oregon Humanities internship use the word “capricious” in everyday conversation. “I geek out every day at my internship but try to keep it cool on the outside,” she says. “But inside I’m like, this is awesome!” As a senior organizational communication major, Bray has a genuine and infectious passion for communication studies and how what she learns in the classroom can be applied to daily life. “I’m a huge communication studies nerd, so it’s cool to see that applied to the real world,” she says. “As much as I love theory, it’s always nice when it’s more tangible.” Bray seizes any chance to put what she learns into practice, whether it’s through her internship in the communications sector of Oregon Humanities, as a volunteer project manager with Oregon Public Broadcasting, as an RA in Fields Hall and in her interactions with friends and faculty. Communication Studies Department Chair Jeff KerssenGriep, who has taught Bray and is her academic adviser, is inspired by her ability to relish, rather than be exhausted, in her many activities. “I’m sure she has her own

dark nights of the soul, but when I see her she’s got such an optimistic, almost sunny way of looking at and thinking through and embracing new challenges,” he says. One challenge Bray looks forward to is her eventual goal of attaining a doctorate in communication studies and becoming a professor so she can use her passion to give back to society. “I think teaching is a vocation that has been calling me for a while, and also research because I’m always curious and critical and wanting to explore more about the world,” Bray says. “So I feel it would be a good culmination of my interests but also a good output where I’m not just helping myself, but hopefully adding something to society too.” Although, not everything is always strictly intellectual with Bray. Senior Rebecca Bell, a friend and classmate of Bray’s, recalls a fun time spent with her and others making a video for a class project late at night, when they ended up singing and goofing around. “She is really fun and silly and doesn’t take herself too seriously, and for people who are as smart and successful as she is, I think that’s a good quality to have,” Bell says. Bray looks forward to what life immediately after graduation has in store for her. She’s

also a Spanish major, and says she fell in love with Spain while studying abroad in Segovia last summer. As a result, she applied for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant position in Madrid, and she’s now a finalist. Though she won’t know if she is chosen until at least late April, Bray hopes she can return. “I feel like I’m a Spaniard at heart in a lot of ways based on their schedules and outlook on life and values in terms of family and enjoying the moment,” Bray says. Bray admits that her busy schedule and great ambitions don’t give her a lot of free time, but she is grateful for all the opportunities she’s been given and tries to take pleasure in life’s simple moments. “It does push me to be happy in this and enjoy the conversations I’m having,” Bray says. “And I think just the little parts of my day, like just getting coffee from Susie in the Franz basement, she’s always such a sweetheart and such a great conversation too, just those little interactions that make your day so much better.” - Kathryn Walters

I think just the little parts of my day, like getting coffee from Susie in the Franz basement, she’s always such a sweetheart and such a great conversation too, just those little interactions that make your day so much better. - Sierra Bray

Special section - world changers  

In this special section, we highlight six students who are changing the world right now, whether in the hallways of Fields Residence Hall or...