WSU Vancouver DTC students travel to Wash. D.C.

Eight students earn the opportunity to educate others on electronic literature.

Eight students have the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C and the Library of Congress. This is not just a tourist trip—these students are in the creative media and digital culture (CMDC) program and will act as docents, teaching visitors about electronic literature.

Dene Grigar, associate professor and director of the CMDC program at WSU Vancouver will be accompanying the students, Evan Flanagan, Gary Nasca, Setareh Alizadeh, Nicole Buckner, Amalia Vacca, Greg Philbrook, Jason Lee and Morgan Hutchinson, with with co-curator Dr. Kathi Inman Berens to Washington D.C.

“The idea of having WSUV, the Cougs, at the Library of Congress is beyond cool. The trip is a great chance to enhance education beyond the classroom experience. Students now get to become teachers and apply their learning in a new way,” said Grigar.

The content of the Electronic Literature Showcase will be the focus of what is taught in D.C. There will be presentations, workshops and a panel. Together the group will help others learn about electronic literature.

Electronic literature is a new form of story telling. Another role of a docent is to simply provide education about this new technology. Electronic literature combines several forms of media including words, sounds, pictures, animation and video. Some works may use visual movement to tell a story as well. Others unite books and computer screens to make a more interactive experience. Docents will explain to visitors what electronic literature offers and how it differs from other forms of media.

The students selected to travel to D.C. have been trained for their teaching/docent opportunity. The students have met the artists and know the work to be featured at the showcase. Acting as a docent, in this case, resembles the work of a tour guide. The students become acquitted with guests and guide them through the exhibit. Guests might need help interacting with the works, and docents are there to assist.

“As docents you’ve got to be an expert on all the works. But even though they go as experts, they will leave with even more knowledge and opportunities,” said Setareh Alizadeh, a senior majoring in digital technology and culture.

Evan Flanagan, a junior majoring in digital technology and culture, is excited to participate with the electronic literature program and travel to D.C. Flanagan looks to gain an appreciation for art and step outside his comfort zone while participating in the opportunity to build his job experience with new skills.

Concerning new skills, Alizadeh wrote the undergraduate travel grant for $1500 to pay for the trips housing cost.
“I look forward to writing future grants,” said Alizadeh.

The trip was also funded by a $5000 Meyer grant and a $2500 donation. The CDMC program receives the $2500 donation yearly from a local artist. This year the grant was used to pay for the cost of transportation to D.C.

“An opportunity like this is something to be enjoyed on a personal and group level. The chance to go to the Library of Congress makes all of your hard work as a scholar important; it’s a realization that your work is appreciated at a national level. Despite all the conflicts and challenges, there are moments that come together when you’re like I’m so glad I’m alive today,” said Grigar.

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