Drury’s Humanities House serves (among other things) as a resident-scholar experience for six students majoring or minoring in the Humanities, each chosen through a selective application process. Our resident-scholars are expected to work closely with divisional faculty to plan, develop, and execute a variety of Humanities-oriented interdisciplinary projects, activities, and even grants – all aimed at spreading the word about the importance of the Humanities to a quality education, and to a life well-lived. Our resident-scholars are expected to blog here at Human, All-Too-Human about their experiences as residents, so be sure to check in on their posts, leave a comment, and join the conversation! Below you will find a brief biography of each of the scholar-residents, both for the upcoming 2016-2017 year, as well as (below that) the resident scholars for the 2015 – 2016 year, 2014-2015 year and for the 2013-2014 year. An outstanding mix of students, we are proud to present:
Erin Benedict: History Major and English Minor
I’m Erin Benedict, and I am looking forward to working with the other residents to spread a passion for the Humanities on campus! I’m from Owasso, Oklahoma, which is near Tulsa. I am majoring in History and currently minoring in English. I love to learn new things, especially if they are rooted in the humanities. I also love ceramics; nothing is more satisfying than the ability to create something that is uniquely my own. Reading is another activity I enjoy, and I can read a book in a day if I have the time. My two favorite book series as a kid were the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books; the last book I’ve really enjoyed now is Catch-22. My latest obsession is Hamilton: An American Musical, which is about the founding father Alexander Hamilton. For a history major, there is no better topic for a musical. Other interests include BBC Sherlock, the West Wing, crafting, and annoying my friends with fun (for me) history facts. On campus, I am involved in the Debate Union, Humanities Society, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the History Club.
Madeline Dale: English and Writing (double major), Spanish Minor
My name is Madeline Dale and I am very excited to live in the Humanities House next year. I have always had a passion for English and writing and I look forward to having the chance to live in an environment where those passions will be valued. I have been writing since I was a little girl and I would love nothing more than to be a published author someday. Right now, however, I am a freshman English and Writing major with a Spanish minor. I would like to learn more about the publishing industry and possibly go into editing.
I love talking to people and uncovering the unique characteristics that make them the way they are. My favorite conversations are those that begin innocently and then two hours later you find yourself wondering how you got on this subject. I think that differences in thoughts and opinions should be valued and respected because those differences are what make life interesting.
I am a proud Christian, and I have found a wonderful Christ family in the Drury Vine here on campus. These people have helped me to grow and discover so many new things about myself. I look forward to having this same experience in the Humanities House, and most of all I look forward to the many opportunities for growth that I know my future holds.
Malaika LeAnna Uding: Music Therapy major
My name is Malaika LeAnne Uding, my first name is African in origin and is translated from Swahilli to English as ‘little angel’. And to add to it my birthday is on Christmas making my name that much more meaningful. I am currently a Freshman with an intended major for Music Therapy, I play guitar, piano, and ukelele, and my primary instrument is my voice. Both my Babu and Bibi (grandpa and grandma in Swahilli) were diagnosed with Parkinson’s my freshman year of high school which added to my passion for music led me to decide to pursue Music Therapy and ultimately come to Drury. I love to read, I once read 70 books in a semester for a reading program just for fun, I can recite all the Presidents of the US in order and I have a shoulder deformity that allows me to ‘clap’ my elbows (I won $5 once and got on stage at a concert). I am part introvert and part extrovert but I’m all around a people person. I am so excited and so blessed to be able to share my personality and talents with the Humanities and cannot wait to see where next year goes!
Taylor Stanton: English and Writing (double major)
My name is Taylor Stanton, and I am from the city of Buffalo. That is, the small town of Buffalo, Missouri just forty-five minutes from Springfield (depending on how you drive), not the Buffalo in the Big Apple. Though I would love to visit it one day. I am an English and Writing Major, who is also considering a minor in Communications. Coming to this conclusion was not easy for me because I have found that I enjoy learning about almost everything. My only exceptions are geometry, calculus, and anything to do with the medical field and lots of blood. However, this does not stop me from watching crime dramas on television, my favorites being Castle and Bones.
A few more things I enjoy are music, photography, the Turner Classic Movie channel, yoga, Mama Jean’s Natural Market, reading, my mom’s cooking, and exploring the outdoors. My favorite animals are dogs, but I won’t say no if someone gives me permission to hold their cat. When I was a child, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer and own a dog hotel. My favorite movie as a child was March of the Penguins, and I spent hours in front of the TV watching Animal Planet. This childhood obsession with animals grew into a concern for the environment. I possess an interest in environmental sustainability and enjoy learning about how we, as habitants of the Earth, can reduce our effect on the environment around us. I would also love to travel to all of our National Parks, and I keep any magazine that includes travel articles about people’s adventures in them.
I enjoy listening to Taylor Swift and John Mayer, even if they aren’t together anymore. Frank Sinatra’s voice can brighten my mood in an instant. I can play the flute and also three chords on the piano. Thankfully, I know more than three notes on the flute. On campus I am involved in Think Green and Alpha Lambda Delta.
Some of my goals for the coming year include learning more about photography and possibly taking a photography class. I would also like to learn how to code, knit, and cook. Another goal of mine is to grow as a writer, as well as an individual.
I cannot wait to be a resident of the Humanities House. I know that the other residents and myself will enjoy our future experiences together. I am excited to get to know all of you better as we live and work together in Humanities House. Here we come!
Kris Rose: English and Philosophy (double major)
I’m Kris Rose, and I’m a sophomore here at Drury. I attended Kearney High School, where I was a three-sport varsity athlete. I came to Drury initially as a member of the baseball team, but I stopped playing in order to pursue academics. I love to read and to watch old movies. I listen to music 24/7. I also like to camp, hike, run, bike, and to do anything else that involves the outdoors.
Our 2015 – 2016 Resident-Scholars
Hayden Gann: English and Writing (double major)
I often find myself feeling angry about only being able to live a single life. I have so many interests that it seems as if one lifetime isn’t enough to fully explore them all, and it is hard to choose what to pursue. I enjoy hiking, reading, writing fiction and some poetry, watching films, cooking, listening to music, learning to play music, and talking with my friends. I find it hard to focus on one interest at a time because so many things fascinate me. When my peers tell me what major they’re pursuing I often think to myself “That sounds fun, why am I not doing that?” The reason I decided to focus on English and writing is for the simple reason that you can read or write about anything, allowing me to spend time with many different subjects or interests through the use of language. I also just have a deep appreciation for language and ideas.
I would consider myself introverted. Generally, I keep to myself unless others speak to me. Do not misconstrue this for me being shy. Being shy means being afraid to speak, but I would rather listen to others most of the time. I find that other people help me learn a lot about myself and the world around me. That is why I enjoy speaking with others to share ideas. Alone time is when deep thought occurs, and deep conversation with another is when you can share the ideas gained within deep thought. Those are the moments I truly cherish because I love hearing the perspective of others.
Within the last year or two I have developed a deep love for nature. There is something so serene about being surrounded by an environment that we haven’t crafted to fit our needs. Escaping the walls, cars, and noise of the city refreshes the mind and soul. The trees, animals, and natural water sources bring me solace from the busy world in which we live. The beauty of the world is astounding and boundless, and I want to explore it forever.
In terms of music, my favorite genre at the moment is folk music. The soothing vocals, rustic guitar melodies, and rural subject matter all sound very warm to me. I also listen to pop, electronic, rap, jazz, blues, old country, soft rock, and many other genres as well. My taste in movies is pretty eclectic as well, I would say. Some of my favorites are Of Mice and Men (also my favorite book), No Country for Old Men, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Inside Llewyn Davis, Blade Runner, Porco Rosso, and The Iron Giant. I will watch films of any genre if the story or characters interest me. I think an infinite number of good story possibilities exist in every genre, and I hope to explore some of those myself in my writing.
This isn’t all there is to know about me, and if for some strange reason you want to know a little more about me all you need to do is ask! I may be quiet, but I am certainly not afraid to talk.
Gabrielle Blevins: French and International Politics (double major)
Hey I’m Gabrielle Blevins, and I’m from a small town called Butler, Missouri. I used to help my grandpa out on a farm, and after spending so much time with him, he showed me how awesome John Wayne movies can be (since that’s all he would ever watch). I really like watching movies and reading books. My favorite movie at the moment is Mulan (and really any Disney movie). I also love the Walking Dead (and Daryl Dixon) and the Denver Broncos. I have tried just about every sport available in my small town. This list includes volleyball, basketball, track, soccer, swim team, ballet, gymnastics, and softball. After a torn ACL last year, I have recently been able to start running and participating in all kinds of fun stuff again!
Traveling to new places is one of my favorite things to do! I’ve been to many different places, and hopefully in the near future my little sister and I will being going on a Panama Canal cruise. I love learning about different cultures, and I especially love trying new food. Hopefully during my time at Drury, I will have the opportunity to study abroad in Tours, France.
I am currently a French and International Politics major. I used to want to be a doctor, more specifically an endocrinologist. I have type one diabetes so I wanted to be a doctor that would be able to help children learn and control their diabetes. However, I decided that I had spent too much time in a hospital so I really wouldn’t want to work in one for the rest of my life. So after talking to a friend of a parent who studied international politics, I decided that would be something I’d like to study even though I don’t really know what I want to do after graduation.
I am thrilled to get to work with the humanities division next year to plan fun events! I haven’t been very involved with the humanities this year, but I really want to be and I’m glad I have that opportunity now.
Rita Vega: History major, music minor
Hi, I’m Rita Vega, and if you just thought to yourself that my name has a Hollywood-esque ring, well you’re not the first. I don’t have Hollywood dreams however, despite my Music minor. I came to Drury fully intending to get my degree in Secondary Music Education, and I was dead set that I would NOT be changing my major. But life has a funny way of making you eat your words. In my first semester of Sophomore year I took World History from 1500 (which I would highly suggest that everyone take), and realized that I could turn my lifelong interest in history into a career, and let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier that I came to this realization.
I hail from Columbia, Missouri, yes, that is where Mizzou is, and no I had absolutely no desire to go there. I have a little sister who’s not so little anymore at the age of 17, but I staunchly refuse to accept the fact that she’s growing up. My dad is from Oruro, Bolivia, in South America, and my mom is from good ol’ Monett, Missouri (a place you’ll only have heard of if you’re from the Springfield area). They met while my mom was living in Bolivia, and although my sister and I were predominantly raised in the U.S. they made sure we were bilingual in Spanish and English, which made grade school Spanish classes a breeze. I love my Hispanic heritage, and it’s a big reason I plan on studying Latin American history in grad school, with an emphasis in Bolivian history.
Even though I’m not majoring in music anymore, I’ll always be passionate about it, and the incoming Humanities House residents can look forward to hearing me sing in the shower next year. I’m actually rather shy about singing in front of people, but it’s something I’m working on. I love to read, especially historical fiction and Harry Potter, I can’t even count how many times I’ve re-read all the books. Needless to say I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd. I like to spend my free time crocheting, or painting my nails, and I’m immensely proud of my extensive nail polish collection. I’m a fervent supporter of the tattoo industry, with a half sleeve in progress on my right arm, and probably many more tattoos to come (they truly are addicting). I hate fighting, but I love to have intelligent, informed discussions over social issues that affect our society today, and their historical roots. I look forward to getting to have more discussions like this with my fellow Hum House residents next year.
As far as my goals for the future, I want to be a professor of History, hopefully at a university similar to Drury, albeit in a warmer state than Missouri. I’d love to get to travel a bit more, even if it’s just out of state, and I want to learn to play the dulcimer or mandolin. My short term goals however are to learn how to blog, figure out what to blog about, and how to plan fun events for the Humanities House in the upcoming year. I’d also like to figure out the correct way to boil water, and build on my cooking skills from there.
Natalie Maxson: Philosophy-religion bridge, Spanish, history (interests, no major yet!)
My name is Natalie Maxson, and in the fall I will be joining the ranks of Drury’s HUM House residents. I am extremely excited to delve more deeply into the Humanities alongside faculty and fellow students. As a devout believer in the power of community and conversation, I can’t wait to encourage our campus’ ongoing investigation of the “big questions,” and to foster a space where collective discussion and socialization can flourish. It will surely be inspiring, challenging, and a lot of fun!
With my thoughts on the House aside, I’ll introduce myself to you all. Being a quickly interested and constantly curious first-year, I have yet to officially declare my major. My broad range of interests has shown itself to be a continual blessing, but it is still an occasional curse. Currently, my favored areas of study are the Philosophy-Religion “bridge” program, Spanish, and History. I love seeing how cultures and individuals interact with each other, and searching for the ways in which these interactions influence my own life experiences. I hope to explore some of these connections through the Humanities House. Outside of classes, I work as a circulation assistant in Olin Library, so feel free to stop by for a chat next time you’re there!
Although music is not one of my main areas of study, it is a significant part of my life. I have always loved to sing and make music with my family and friends, and I’m a big fan of good ol’ acoustic jam sessions. This year, I have even begun to transfer my ukulele skills to guitar, and my voice has found its happy place in the Alto II section of the Drury Singers.
As far as miscellaneous hobbies and interests are concerned, I hold a special place in my heart for hedgehogs, frisbee, letters, homemade chai tea, and time spent outdoors. I also enjoy BBC Sherlock, dark chocolate, contra dancing, and yoga. If I could have a superpower, it would be fluency in every language, and my favorite color is blue. Have I covered enough of the typical getting-to-know-you questions? If not, I’m sure there will be plenty of time to address any gaping inadequacies in the coming year.
All in all, I am honored and excited to be a part of the HUM House community, and I look forward to contributing to its unique culture and project in the near future. Hope to see you at the next event!
Emma-Quin Smith: History and education (double major)
Hello! I’m Emma-Quin. Yes, that’s just my first name. And in case you’re as curious as most, the Quin came from my dad and grandfather’s middle name, Quintice. I have no idea where the Emma came from. Why my parents didn’t just name me Quin if they like it so much, I have no idea, but I like my name, so it’s here to stay. And no, you don’t have to call me Emma-Quin all the time, you can call me EQ or Quinnie, or anything you want really, as long as it’s nice and not Emma. I do a little dance in my head to The Tings Tings every time someone calls me that.
I am currently a secondary education and history double major, although I have a very strong interest in political science and current events. I love looking at the causes of events and how they affect people throughout our country and around the globe. I like to ask questions and play devil’s advocate, helping people to see all sides of an issue while ironing out where I stand. I’m looking forward to some lively conversations around the Humanities House dinner table.
Along with history and politics, I love nature and being outside, and have a deep interest in environmental policy and preservation. I hope to some day work for one of our nation’s great national parks. Yellowstone is the dream. As of now, I am content with hanging in my hammock reading as many books as I can find about the history of national parks.
If I’m not in my hammock, you can find me in the kitchen. I bake a lot, so if you ever need an afternoon snack, stop by the house! I work at Amycakes Bakery, and it’s probably the most fun job in the world. Cake and icing are just the perfect art medium. In the rest of my nonexistent free time, I coach Girls on the Run, a program for third through fifth graders that teaches physical, mental, and emotional health through running based curriculum. The girls I work with are some of the funniest, smartest girls around, and every week with them is a blast.
Outside of all the stuff you just read, I like Gilmore Girls, fruit, snow, Chacos, koalas, tea, and chicken. I’ve discovered that I like pretty much any food that starts with “ch”: chicken, cheese, chips and salsa, chocolate cake, Chipotle and all other burritos, chex mix…the list goes on. I also like random dancing, Christmas lights, glitter, soft blankets, and sleeping. (The last two mixed with a hammock make a cozy combo.)
I’m really looking forward to living in the Humanities House next year. I just hope I’m not the only one who likes impromptu dance parties. See ya around!
Michael Minnehan: Interested in philosophy, history, spanish, communications, theater, writing
I am a rabid advocate for learning, a fact that drives everything I do. I enjoy learning about people’s views on every topic under the son, I enjoy learning the importance of relaxing with friends, and I definitely enjoy taking what I learn and discussing it with others. I naturally explore and wander through the physical, mental, and fictional worlds that permeate humanity and its existence on planet Earth. There is always something else to understand, something else to see in breathtaking beauty, so because that I have the tendency to go out and experiment with the world I am in.
I have always deeply enjoyed traveling, whether it is flights to and from my home, San Diego, a new story in some obscure place, or exploring my own mind late at night. Place something of a modicum of interest before me and I will always give it a proper look over. My eye can be rather critical at times, but the creations of man can always be improved upon with another perspective. There is a myriad of neat details to see in this life that most people would glaze over in their mechanical trudge, something I have noticed myself doing with far more frequency that I originally expected. Ideas and experiences are not singular events that stand alone against the tests of time. They are intrinsically intertwined with the reality the events occurred in and the people who are involved. Already my philosophical side is showing, but who knows how else my thoughts will change over time.
My interests meander like a twirling dandelion seed over the windy Midwestern plains. On top of discussing ideas with people, I dabble in painting and drawing whatever strikes my fancy, writing the stories that solidify in my mind, and watching everything from anime to blockbuster movies with an analytical eye. I absolutely love listening to music, and my taste is to hear as many different types of music I possibly can. I delve through multiple ideas at once throughout my day and making connections that have the tendency to surprise the people I tell. I deeply enjoy challenging people’s ideas and having my own ideas challenged, because there’s always more we can know about the things we think we know.
I am always open to further exploring the edges of my comfort zone, but there are times when we all need to sit back and relax. I’m energetic about this little adventure called life, but at my core I can be an introvert. I see the contradictions that make up who I am and embrace them rather than trying to fit everything into a nice and orderly box. If I were to have to articulate a goal in my quest, it would have to be to embrace living in every facet of my being and to share the knowledge I gather with others.
So let’s sit back and peruse the limits of our imaginations and see what we can come up with.
Our 2014 – 2015 Resident-Scholars
Lexi Brewer: Spanish and political science (double major)
Hi, I’m Lexi Brewer. I simply love the world. I love people, culture, and language. I encounter my greatest joys when I discuss international values, try new traditional dishes, and discover similarities between languages. These passions are fueled by travel, of which, I cannot get enough. I’m looking forward to studying abroad during my time at Drury. In my free time I enjoy listening to French and Spanish music and scouting out future destinations via Google Streetview. I also find great peace in running, and try to on a consistent basis. My favorite pastime, however, would definitely have to be late-night chats. I always look forward to the sparks that fuel the fires of a long discussion, and can’t wait to have these moments during my time at the Humanities House.
These interests directly feed into my career trajectory: I am an International Politics and Spanish double major. I desire to use these degrees to enroll in the “Master’s International” Program offered through the Peace Corp. Through this program, I would be able to serve a term in the Peace Corp, while simultaneously earning my Master’s Degree at my home Institution (hopefully American University). This unique opportunity will allow me travel (love) language experience (double love) and cultural submersion (yippee!). A MA will be the icing on the cake.
I came into to Drury thinking that Politics was not necessarily my forte. It gets a bad rap from both the public and the media. “Oh those nasty politicians…” No way could I be like that, I thought. However, in just my short time here at Drury, I’ve realized that these waters run deep. Politics makes up so much of our daily life. It is, to me, a fundamental part of being human. I’m fascinated by the complexities of people, society, and regimes. I’m looking forward to writing papers that allow me to break the surface of some of these issues.
As great as travel is, I can’t wait to begin living in my new home. I haven’t been as involved in the Humanities Programs as I would have liked this year, so living in the house will allow me to be in the forefront of the events. I’m excited to both plan and host the activities that take place, there’ll be no way to miss out! The new house residents seem really cool as well. From what little I’ve gathered, it seems that we are a pretty diverse group, but bonded by our love of the Humanities. I’m interested to see how this dynamic will play out throughout the year, in both the activities and in discussions. The house itself is also incredibly beautiful, and I am so fortunate that Drury allows students to live in such a wonderful place. It will be great to have a kitchen and a place to put all my books! I’m also pretty stoked about the blogging component of the house. It will also allow me to both research and develop some thoughts that I acquire during my stay. Plus, I’ll finally have an audience for my ramblings (that is, if they choose to read…).
In short, the Humanities House is such an amazing opportunity that I’m incredibly fortunate to take apart in. Can’t wait ‘til August!
Burton Guion: Philosophy and English (double major)
I’m Burton, and I couldn’t begin to explain who I am without explaining where I come from. My dad is an attorney from rural New Hampshire, and he is happiest when riding his bike or watching the Red Sox crush the Yankees. He also prides himself on an obnoxious brand of New England stoicism, which means that for him no discomfort is ever too unbearable. He once made me circumnavigate a volcano in Sicily by bicycle. My mom is a professor from Arkansas, but her accent only comes out when we visit distant relatives in the thriving metropolis of (no joke) Cow Lake, AR. She is around to make sure my brother and I actually accomplish something with our lives besides playing video games and surfing reddit. My brother is thirteen and currently a freshman at Central High School, just across the street from Drury. He will argue about anything – I remember an argument we had concerning the volume of the average textbook vs. the volume of the average cereal box. He is, unfortunately, one of my best friends.
But you probably came here to learn about me, not my lame family, correct? Here’s the thing: the personalities and histories of my family are too deeply entwined with my identity for me to ignore the effect that they have had. I think this is true for just about everyone, but feel free to disagree – this is, after all, a humanities blog!
So, I like to walk, go and bike rides, and cheer for Boston sports teams. I played football (linebacker, in fact), baseball, and soccer in high school, but a nagging shoulder injury from football has limited my athletic activity at Drury. Instead, I play a lot of guitar – something that has been a hobby of mine for a long time. In fact, I was once the lead guitarist in a band known far and wide as the BGX: The Burton Guion Experience. We were like the Beatles of midtown Springfield high school bands.
Least importantly of all, I am an English and Philosophy double major. I say “least importantly” because I think the concept of a major is a little bit silly and forces a certain kind of identity onto an individual, but unfortunately I have to declare one (or in my case, two) in order to graduate from Drury. I came to Drury wanting to be a doctor in order to “help people”, “save the world”, etc. After I realized that I couldn’t stand studying science, I took an introductory philosophy course, got hooked on the humanities and never looked back.
Currently, I work at an after-school program where I play sports with wee tykes. I try to integrate philosophical and grammatical lessons in the games we play, but alas, my sneaky teaching has yet to have any noticeable effect. As far as interests go, I am a big fan of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones. My music tastes are, unfortunately, pretty narrow – from classic rock and folk to contemporary rock and folk, with a little classical thrown in. However, I do keep up on trends in pop music and pop culture, so I can at least pretend like I’m a hip, with-it twenty-year-old. I hope you enjoy my blog posts; if not, be sure to leave a nasty comment! See ya!
Elle Hammond: English and writing major (and computer science minor)
At Drury, I major in both English and Writing. I chose these studies because, in a way, I had to. During my freshman year, I found that I was unhappy unless I was taking English and Writing classes, so declaring my majors came quite naturally. While my main interests lie in the humanities, I also study Computer Science (my left-brain needs feeding, too). Within computing, I am most interested in programming languages, algorithms, and formal logic—the critical thinking, theoretical side of computer science. People frequently ask me why I chose such a unique combination, and I’m afraid I don’t have an incredible answer for that. I simply love both fields. Equally often, I’m asked what I want to do with my majors after college, and for that I have an even less incredible answer: I have no idea. But I’ll know it when I find it.
On campus, I’m active in several organizations: Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, Panhellenic Council, Sigma Tau Delta English honors society, ONE (a political advocacy group), and now the humanities society! I stay highly involved, but not too busy.
When I’m not in class or buzzing around from meeting to meeting, I’m probably tucked away in my room reading or writing (like any good English/Writing student). I read fervently (both for class and for pleasure) and have an eclectic taste—anything from children’s literature to fantasy to the classics. Most readers have trouble picking their favorite work; I’m one of them, but I’ve managed to whittle it down to a few: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and Stardust by Neil Gaiman. In my own writing, I write both fiction and creative nonfiction and am currently working on a collection of fictional short stories. I’d mention my biggest writing influences, but I tend to be influenced by whoever I’m currently reading.
Another passion of mine is health: I lead a largely plant-based diet and practice Bikram yoga to stay fit. I, like many others, have found that my physical well-being wildly improves my mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. This connects very well to one of our “Big Questions” in the Humanities House: “What makes human life so valuable, thrilling, and dignified?” I’m excited to explore this connection much more deeply in the coming year.
Next year, I’m most looking forward to planning the events that strengthen Drury’s humanities department. I’ve been attending this year’s humanities happenings and, in case you haven’t dropped in yet, they have been fantastic. I can’t help but get excited when I see a crowd of people listening to a poetry reading or parsing sentences (who doesn’t love a good sentence-parsing session?). I’m thrilled I can play such an integral role in making the Humanities House a place for others to think, discuss, and grow. Of course, as a writer, I’m eager to work on the humanities blog. Having never blogged before, this will be a new and welcome adventure.
If you’re still curious about me, stop by an event! We can chat about literature, computing, Bikram, and more.
Tyler Perdue: Philosophy and criminology (double major)
My name is Tyler Perdue, a Junior Philosophy/Criminology double-major, and I’m one of the folks who’ll be living in the Humanities House next year. I’m from a small village about 20 minutes away from Drury, and I’ve never actually been outside of this state-I’m like Sam from the Lord of the Rings, except much taller and much more given to inappropriate jokes.
As you can tell from that last sentence, I’m a bit of a geek, with my hobbies following almost exclusively from that one character trait: if it’s something I can obsess over and become skilled at, I’m there. For instance, I spend a much larger chunk of my free time than is perhaps healthy playing violent video-games; there’s nothing quite like living an enlightened and urbane existence one moment and then yelling at teenagers over the mic for spawn-camping the next. Also, I’m a newly-minted film buff, with my interest in movies only really having been developed when I got to Drury: with all the free time that a college student has, you add Netflix to the mix and you’re bound to get someone with an experienced/snobbish taste towards film, and now you can find me in the movie theatre downtown almost as often as you can find me on campus. I’m also an amateur musician-I’ve been playing the piano for several years now, but I’ve still got a long ways to go before I would really consider myself a piano player; plunking out video-game theme songs isn’t quite the mark of a virtuoso.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Philosophy/Criminology major, an admittedly weird combination that I’ll go ahead and explain. I took up Philosophy because I made a rookie mistake in scheduling: I needed a humanities credit, and since I had a free hour, I figured “Philosophy? That’ll be an easy credit!” Needless to say, an entire semester on epistemology didn’t quite turn out that way, however it did spark an interest in me that I wasn’t even aware of before; it felt like I was finally studying the things that really mattered, these subjects hit me in a way that slaving over a bunsen burner and scale never did in CHEM lab. As for Criminology, that major is primarily related to what I wish to do after college, aka the Police Academy. I never quite outgrew the wish to save the world, and being a cop strikes all the chords within me that I look for in a career. Since I hope to be an actually good cop, I figured the study of crime and all of its resulting environs would be a prudent choice of course, and so a semester after I picked up Philosophy, I picked up Criminology.
“All right, enough about you,” you might say, “why don’t you get to brass tacks and explain to us why you’re in the Humanities House in the first place?” Well, my hypothetical inquisitor, first you need to learn how to better conduct an interrogation because you’ll get nowhere with that rude attitude, but to actually answer your question, I hope to do four things during my time there: (1) Develop a better understanding of the role in which the Humanities plays in the pursuit of knowledge, (2) Develop a closer working relationship with both my peers and Humanities faculty, (3) Share my knowledge and proselytizing nature with the rest of the community, and (4) Live in a really nice house while doing the former three.
I’m really excited for next year, and I’m glad that the faculty here have placed their trust in me-I hope to live up to it. I believe that next year will be one to remember, and I for one cannot wait for it to arrive.
Brit Pybas: Philosophy major
As I write this introduction of myself, I can only think of what Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said. According to this Great Dane, “what labels me, negates me” and so with that in mind, how exactly am I supposed to try to talk about myself without undermining my very being? Such is the task of the humanist, it would seem. How exactly do we attract the attention of the masses while also having to deal in ambiguities? The sciences are understandably appealing to many as they seek and claim to be able to answer and explain many of life’s mysteries while the humanities are forced to concede that we don’t have all the answers and probably never will. I find such an orientation to be very humbling, but I can understand the appeal of the contrary.
If you’re still with me in this post, I commend your dedication. I promise not all of my writing will be flooded with such philosophical dryness. I have lots of interest in fun, normal things – I swear!
I am currently a junior here at Drury and as you may suspect, I am majoring in Philosophy (while minoring in Asian and Global Studies). Coming into college, I really had no idea what I wanted to study. I was a very lazy individual and really just wanted to partake in something easy in order to maintain my sloth-like habits. I had no knowledge or understanding of anything philosophical, but part of me was interested in philosophy because “it sounded smart”. As a freshman, I was largely concerned with trying to impress my new peer group and so if I could trick them into thinking I was intelligent, then I had won half the battle (or so I thought). I enrolled in Dr. Panza’s Classic Problems course in my fall semester and found myself engaged like I never had before. In high school, I never felt any sort of passion or interest in my subjects, but something with philosophy really clicked with me. I finally had found something to interest me and while my initial reasons for joining the program were certainly superficial and misguiding, I can proudly say that I believe I found my home within such a discipline.
As I took more and more classes at Drury, I found that I rather appreciated the Eastern philosophers a bit more than their infamous Westerner counter-parts. Thinkers like Rene Descartes or Immanuel Kant couldn’t hold my interest like Zhuangzi or Vashubandu! They had such a different approach to the “big” issues and I quickly found myself occupied in Daoist and Buddhist thought. As a result, I also tacked on Asian Studies to my academic baggage in an attempt to gain more cultural understanding.
Outside of academia, I find myself very interested in sports. Far too often (and hopefully incorrectly) I am accused of being a “band-wagon” fan but despite these harsh words from my detractors, I am an absolute fanatic for the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Clippers. Like the majority of other human beings, I am very interested in music. From The Knife to The National; Taylor Swift to Kendrick Lamar and varying pop-punk acts and post-rock spectacles, I would say that my favorites are very “eclectic” (or bad depending on who you are talking to). To continue my proof that I am “normal”, I would also like to add that I too spend far too much time watching Netflix and HBO programming.
I look forward to a wonderful year living in the Humanities House. If you choose to read my posts, I promise that I will entertain with a wide variety of different subjects and hopefully my sardonic tone will intrigue rather push you away. All of us here at the Humanities House have different interest and approaches to fascinating topics and I hope that you decide to stick with us throughout the year!
Until next time!
Ayla Yeargain: English and writing major
Words and art are my ultimate passions. By writing, reading, creating art, and dabbling in other forms of expression I get to create as many worlds as I like. It is because of this creative wanderlust that when I came to Drury I decided to major in English and writing. Through reading I can let my mind be submerged in an entirely different universe and as a writer I hope to someday create the same sort of capability for my readers.
However, it wasn’t until about a year later that I started to miss creating outside of my stories and thus I picked up a minor in design arts. There is something simply relaxing about lying color down on a piece of paper and watching something emerge from under your own fingers. A similar sense of joy can be found in the capturing of a perfect moment on a high-quality camera. I believe that stories can be told, created, and interpreted in a variety of ways that individuals choose to fall into in one way or another. Most importantly for an individual though is their ability to create their own stories through the ways they lead their life.
This philosophy brings me to another big part of my life here at Drury – the Drury leadership certificate. The qualifications required for this certificate not only teach me how to become a leader, but involve me putting myself out there to become a leader. Springfield itself builds such a perfect community for students who wish to do something more with their lives. Since living here I have completed somewhere around 100 hours of volunteer work and community involvement with activities that have benefitted animals, children, art, etc. I adore living in a city that still has so much of a small-town feel to it while still offering a large selection of good causes to invest one’s time in. By branching out into the community I feel like I can make a difference and that I have so much more to learn outside of my majors and minor.
As a writer and a leader I strive to take advantage of every opportunity I have for growth and experience as a curious human being. Living in the Humanities House next year and working so closely with the humanities department will give me entirely new inspiration for my art (words and design) in addition to leadership experience in the fields I am pursuing. I look forward to being part of something larger on this campus like I have been able to do in the Springfield community. Helping to create events that facilitate sharing an assortment of student, faculty, and staff’s experiences can help us all see the humanity in everything we learn and do.
In addition to becoming a published author, I hope to one day become an editor for a young adult literary magazine and encourage someone the way that words and art have motivated me through life. I strongly believe that being here at Drury can teach me how to succeed in these dreams and goals, but it is with the humanities that I can learn how to appeal to those who I feel that I can someday help the most.
Our 2013 – 2014 Resident-Scholars
Brian Hendershot: Philosophy and religion (double major)
My name is Brian Hendershot and I’m addicted to the humanities. I’m currently a senior and I’m double majoring in religion and philosophy. I have two minors in Asian Studies and Global Studies for kicks and giggles. I briefly considered adding a third minor/major before a strange and overwhelming desire to devote my remaining free time to video games washed over me.
If someone had told freshman-Brian that he would be majoring in religion and philosophy, I’m pretty sure he would have laughed in their faces. Now, I can’t imagine majoring in anything else. I love the “how” and “why” questions that both of my disciplines pose. I love finding out that “McLovin” might actually be the Nietzsche’s Übermensch. Who would have thought that the ancient Greek and Chinese would know everything there is to know about everything? Philosophy and religion both teach “job transferable skills”, which will allow me to “make bank”. That’s also nice.
I’m extremely passionate about social justice. I’m one of the founding members of ONE Drury—a chapter of ONE, an organization dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable diseases—and served as campus leader for two years. I can’t stress enough how religion and philosophy has helped me there. Philosophy has allows me to present my arguments in a way that is both concise and utterly devastating. Ethics and theology helps me better empathize with people of different worldviews.
I like to think of myself as a unique, shiny butterfly when it comes to my likes and dislikes; in reality, I’m pretty much the classic nerd. Dr. Who, Firefly, Futurama, 30 Rock and Arrested Development? I’m totally cool with that and I promise I saw it before it was cool. The Outside? What is that, a new MMORPG?
You should check out my blog if you enjoy: not so subtle references to increasingly obscure parts of pop culture, civic and civil rights (especially among to global poor and Asian Americans) anything to do with religion or philosophy—which is a lot apparently.
Trevor Wellman: Architecture major
My name is Trevor Wellman and I am a third year architecture major from Illinois. I am an optimistic person and love making people smile. Memorizing information, useful or not, is a habit of mine.
Perfection may be impossible to reach, but I aim for it and pay close attention to every detail to achieve excellence. Puppies, especially Pugs, are my weakness. Something about their wrinkles and smashed faces make my heart melt into a puddle of cuteness.
Photography and traveling are two of my favorite things. Going somewhere new no one has ever seen and capturing it in a greatly composed image satisfies my need for adventure. My favorite city is my hometown, Santa Barbara, CA, and plan to move there after graduating. Reading non-fiction books and poetry feeds my gullible personality.
I just concluded myself in a paragraph, however this is just a small part of me.
Caleb Zimmerschied: Philosophy and English (double major)
I read everything, write a lot, watch as many movies as possible, play too many video games, go to concerts when I can, and I specialize in coming up with complicated answers to simple questions.
Emelia Enquist: Communication major
I’m Emelia Enquist, the house’s attic bat. I don’t have a lot of time to spend hanging upside down in my abode because the year is rife with Things To Do. My major is Advertising & Public Relations, which I absolutely love. It’s all about people and their perception, which are the neatest things. I also sing with the Drury Singers, an auditioned choir that tours everywhere from Springfield’s high schools to Istanbul, Turkey. Off-campus, I’m Public Relations Coordinator for the Springfield Regional Opera and an alto section leader in the Chancel Choir at Central Christian Church. All that jazz makes for rich, full days!
Personal-info-wise, I’m from Stockholm, South Dakota, and am heading for Stockholm, Sweden, somewhere on the East Coast, or possibly Russia. The world’s favorite former Soviet Union absolutely fascinates me, as do train travel and Jewish culture (sayeth the shiksa). I collect cassette tapes, as I drive a Buick from the last century. I love a strong cup of coffee (just one, though, or things get hairy), upbeat accordion music, the potential of the future, and George Costanza.
There are other things you could know about me, but you’ll learn as we go! Hang on tight. And buckle up. MODOT cares.