Faculty Accomplishments

2015-2016 Academic Year


Ryan Dearinger

  • The Filth of Progress explores the untold side of a well-known American story. For more than a century, accounts of progress in the West foregrounded the technological feats performed while canals and railroads were built and lionized the capitalists who financed the projects. This book salvages stories often omitted from the triumphant narrative of progress by focusing on the suffering and survival of the workers who were treated as outsiders. Ryan Dearinger examines the moving frontiers of canal and railroad construction workers in the tumultuous years of American expansion, from the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 to the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in 1869. He tells the story of the immigrants and Americans—the Irish, Chinese, Mormons, and native-born citizens—whose labor created the West’s infrastructure and turned the nation’s dreams of a continental empire into a reality. Dearinger reveals that canals and railroads were not static monuments to progress but moving spaces of conflict and contestation.

Presentations & Performances

Luke McKern, Matt Cooper, John McKinnon, Peter Wordelman, Greg Johnson, and Alumni Holly Sorenson and Renee Wells

  • On Sept. 15, the eve of the fall convocation, the Eastern full-time music faculty and two part-time faculty, along with two distinguished vocal alums, drove 140 miles to Cambridge, Idaho to perform in the Depot Street Syncopators for a wildly enthusiastic crowd of 2,300 Cycle Oregon riders and 400 support staff. (The riders had been diverted from their original route to Halfway, Oregon due to wildfires and were camped a second night in Cambridge.) The ten piece band, it was announced to the cheering crowd, represented Eastern Oregon University and its music department (almost everyone on stage was a faculty member or former EOU student).

Matt Cooper

  • In November of 2015, Dr. Cooper presented and performed in Ellington and Strayhorn: A Celebration, a three day series of lectures and performances to commemorate the 100th birthday of Billy Strayhorn; celebrate jazz greats Strayhorn and Duke Ellington; and explore a creative partnership unique in the history of music.

Honors & Awards

Colin Andrew, Anna Cavinato, Colby Heideman, Ron Kelley, Jeremy Riggle, and The Chemistry Club

  • From amongst a record number of eligible chapters, the American Chemical Society has selected the EOU Chemistry Club to receive an Outstanding Award for activities conducted during the 2014-2015 academic year. This award will be presented to the club during the spring meeting in San Diego in March 2016

Aaron Thornburg

  • 2015 American Anthropological Association Leadership Fellow – Each year a group of three to five Leadership Fellows is paired with a mentor chosen from among AAA leadership. Mentors are available to Fellows throughout the year to answer questions related to AAA and Fellows shadow their mentors at the AAA Annual Meeting. This year’s mentors are Bernard Perley, Lorena Madrigal and Ted Hamann. The Fellows will be honored in an award ceremony at the 114th AAA Annual Meeting on November 19, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The AAA Annual Meeting is a gathering of more than 6,000 anthropologists who will shed light on some of the world’s most pressing issues, including: public health, racial tension, the Middle East, social change and climate change.

2014-2015 Academic Year


Ryan Dearinger

  • “Hell and Heaven on Wheels: Mormons, Immigrants, and the Reconstruction of American Progress and Masculinity on the First Transcontinental Railroad,” in Immigrants in the Far West: Historical Identities and Experiences, edited by Brian Cannon and Jessie Embry (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2014).

Van Tassell, J., Rinehart, J., and Mahrt, L.,

  • 2014, Late Pleistocene Airport Lane fossil site, La Grande, northeast Oregon: Oregon Geology, v. 70, no. 1, Summer 2014, p. 3-13.

Cori Brewster

  • “Social Economies of Literacy in Rural Oregon: Accounting for Diverse Sponsorship Histories of Working-Class Students in and out of School.” Class in the Composition Classroom: Pedagogy and the Working Class. Eds. William Thelin and Genesea Carter. (In progress.)
  • “’A Melting Pot That’s Constantly Being Stirred’: Rhetorics of Race and Tolerance at a Regional Museum.” Crossing Borders, Drawing Boundaries: The Rhetoric of Lines Across America. Eds. Patricia Wojahn and Barbara Couture. Utah State UP (In press.)
  • “Basic Writing through the Back Door: Community-Engaged Courses in the Rush-to-Credit Age.” Basic Writing e-Journal (Fall 2014).


Aaron Thornburg

  • Will be presenting his work on using digital storytelling in the practice of ethnography and teaching of anthropology as part of a panel entitled “Digital Media and the Production of Anthropology: A Discussion on Visual Ethics.” This panel will be part of the 113th American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting to be held in Washington, DC, December 3-7, 2014.

Cori Brewster

  • “’Some Day Men Will Read Again’: Learning from Literacy Crises in Popular Apocalyptic Texts.” Paper to be presented at the Western States Rhetoric and Literacy Conference, Reno, NV, November, 2014.
  • “From ‘Incomes’ to Access: Accounting for the Diverse Literacies of Rural College Students.” Workshop to be presented at Pacific Northwest TYCA – Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association Joint Conference, Vancouver, WA, October, 2014.
  • “Blogging Identities of ‘Women in Ag’: Ethos, Agricultural Media, and the Gendered Production of Food.” Paper to be presented at Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Conference, Boise, ID, October, 2014.
  • “’A Melting Pot That’s Constantly Being Stirred’: Rhetorics of Race and Tolerance at a Regional Museum.” Paper presented at Rhetoric Society of America Conference, San Antonio, TX, May, 2014.