NEXTGENRADIO: SOU student journalist Erika Soderstrom

NEXTGENRADIO: SOU student journalist Erika Soderstrom earns NPR fellowship

As co-editor of The Siskiyou student newspaper and production assistant for Jefferson Public Radio, communication major Erika Soderstrom has emerged as one of the top student journalists at Southern Oregon University. But even Soderstrom can reinvent her journalism practice, which she did via a NextGenRadio fellowship during Fall Term of 2018.

Co-sponsored by National Public Radio and dedicated to “Finding, coaching and training public media’s next generation,” NextGenRadio completely changed the way Soderstrom views journalism.

She was selected through a competitive application process to participate in a “pop-up” digital journalism training program geared toward news reporting and audio. Organizers hope that cohorts of student journalists can walk away with the skills and knowledge necessary to produce and report their own multimedia stories.

NextGenRadio participants are paired with professional journalists/mentors. Soderstrom partnered with Ericka Cruz Guevarra, a breaking news reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

“I absolutely loved working with her,” Soderstrom said.

Soderstrom and Guevarra were assigned to find a resident who was creating positive community change in the Meadowview neighborhood of Sacramento. This is the neighborhood where Stephon Clark was shot and killed by police on the evening of March 18, 2018.

“Many media outlets went in and reported on how bad the community was and then left,” Soderstrom said. “We were tasked with reconstructing that narrative.”

That’s when Soderstrom found Paul Blanco’s story. Initially, she reached out to  Blanco because he had helped Clark’s grandparents rebuild their home after the police shooting.

However, Soderstrom and Guevarra decided that his personal story was worth showcasing. Blanco had a compelling perspective to share about living and raising his biracial children in the Meadowview community for the past 20 years. In a heart-string-pulling interview, Blanco sheds light on a father’s fear for his biracial children’s lives in the current day and age.

Through this experience, Soderstrom learned that stories change all the time and that “sometimes that’s for the best.” Her experience with NextGenRadio has exposed her to extensive professional connections and resources.

“My favorite part of this experience was being able to present my story and watch the fellow mentees present their final projects as well,” Soderstrom said. “I really enjoyed the community of people I had the opportunity to work with. I also enjoyed the connections that I’ve made and continue to have.”

Story by SOU student writer Sophie Passerini, @SophiePasserini


SOU Outdoor Program offers Winter Term climbing opportunities

The SOU Outdoor Program is offering multiple climbing opportunities this winter for those who want to learn something new or experience something challenging.

The Outdoor Program is offering a chance for climbing beginners to start their learning experience on Feb. 17 at Emigrant Lake. Intermediate climbing at Rattlesnake will be offered on March 16.

The Emigrant Lake climbing trip is $24 and the Rattlesnake trip is $37, and both prices include transportation, instruction and lunch.

To sign up, log in to SOU Connect­ and fill out the form. Both trips are on weekends, to avoid school-week conflicts.

The Climbing Center in SOU’s new Student Recreation Center is also offering a series of clinics during Winter Term. Belay technique clinics are taught on Monday nights from 8 to 9:30 p.m., and are $5 each.

A three-part Lead Climbing Clinic is being offered over three evenings – Feb. 6, 13 and 20, from 8 to 10 p.m. – for those who want to take their climbing to the next level. The cost is $10.

SOU’s Outdoor Program supports students experiencing the spirit of adventure during their time at the university. It offers student-led trips throughout the school year for the entire campus community, and rents high-quality equipment for camping, rafting, kayaking and backpacking.

The Outdoor Program is associated with Student Life, and support all adventure-based clubs on campus.

SOU Connect is often updated with new information from the Outdoor Program.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern


March 1 deadline approaches for more than 600 OSAC scholarships

(Salem, Ore.) – The Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission is encouraging Oregon students to apply for privately funded scholarships at by the March 1 deadline.

Oregon students may explore more than 600 privately funded scholarships and apply for as many as 40 with a single application. There is no cost to apply, but students must submit their completed OSAC scholarship applications and all other required materials by 5 p.m. on March 1.

SOU students may also seek help with their financial aid options at the Financial Aid Office in Britt Hall, or on the university’s financial aid website.

SOU’s Financial Aid Office is urging current and future students to complete their Southern Online Scholarship Applications (SOSA) by March 15 for financial aid during the 2019-20 academic year. Completion of the SOSA form is required for those seeking any from a pool of scholarships – both need- and merit-based, for undergraduate and graduate students, and for Oregon residents and nonresidents.

The scholarship funding available through Oregon’s HECC office is for groups including graduating high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students at colleges or universities, GED and homeschooled students, community college and vocational school students, and single parents returning to school. Details on specific scholarships that are available through HECC can be found on the OSAC Scholarship Catalog.

Students who want to be considered for federal or state financial aid, including grants and loans, must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) in addition to the OSAC application. The ORSAA is Oregon’s alternative to the FAFSA for undocumented students, including students who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

OSAC uses data from the FAFSA or the ORSAA to determine students’ eligibility for the Oregon Promise, the Oregon Opportunity Grant and numerous scholarships. Information from the FAFSA is also used to determine eligibility for federal aid, including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans and Federal Work-Study.

More information about deadlines and eligibility for the Oregon Promise and the Oregon Opportunity Grant is available at OSAC also hosts several webinars and resources for students, counselors, students, parents, and educators on financial aid opportunities.


Highway of Tears-SOU

SOU groups to screen “Highway of Tears” documentary

SOU’s Native American Student Union and the Women’s Resource Center have partnered to offer a Jan. 16 screening and discussion of the documentary film “Highway of Tears: Preventing Violence against Women.” The event will begin at 6 p.m. in Room 330 of the Stevenson Union.

The film examines the effects of generational poverty, residential schools, systemic violence and high unemployment rates on Canada’s First Nations reserves – areas that have been set aside for native people by Canadian states. More than 600 indigenous women have been murdered or reported missing in Canada since the 1960s.

“Highway of Tears” is about those who have been murdered or gone missing along a 450-mile stretch of highway in northern British Columbia. None of 18 cold-case murders going back as far as 50 years had been solved, until project E-Pana – a special division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – linked DNA to Portland drifter Bobby Jack Fowler in the 1974 murder of 16 year-old hitchhiker Colleen MacMillen.

Canada has declared missing and murdered indigenous women a national crisis, but the issue extends into the United States.

SOU’s Native American Student Union and Women’s Resource Center will invite those who attend the Jan. 16 event to learn and become active in addressing the international problem.

The Native American Student Union, which is open to all students, operates under the umbrella of SOU’s Multicultural Resource Center. It offers social and educational support to Native American students, raises awareness of Native American cultures and issues, and sponsors educational and cultural programs.

The Women’s Resource Center provides education and support to women and people of all genders, working to overcome oppression, sexism, hate and inequality.

SOU-Rotaract fundraising for ShelterBox

SOU’s Rotaract service club quadruples fundraising goal

(Ashland, Ore.) — Overachievement is becoming a thing for Southern Oregon University’s fledgling Rotaract Club. Most recently, the club’s student members set a fund-raising target of $1,000 for the ShelterBox disaster relief organization – and quickly quadrupled their goal.

“The Rotaract Club made over 300 origami 16-point stars to raise money for ShelterBox,” said club secretary Hannah Howard, explaining that members asked potential donors to pay what they could afford as a holiday-season contribution.

“We canvassed in front of Safeway, Market of Choice and at several Rotary Club meetings, making over $4,000 for ShelterBox,” Howard said. “To put this in perspective, it could fund four shelter boxes. We were so thrilled with the amount, and beyond grateful to all the club members who made it happen.”

Here’s another bit of perspective: Previous attempts have been made at SOU to organize a campus chapter of Rotaract – an entry-level version of Rotary International, geared toward young adults. Those efforts largely involved students in their final year at SOU and ultimately fizzled when the seniors graduated, but Howard and a handful of other current students have established a robust club in just over a year. It now has 15 to 20 active members, freshman through senior, and more than 60 who have shown interest in specific club projects.

The club’s other student officers are Lizzy Blackwell, president; Jackie Blanchette, vice president; Max Ostendorf, treasurer; and Christina Richardson and Sarah Grulikowski, immediate past co-presidents.

“I have been the Rotaract Club of SOU faculty advisor for a little over a year, and feel very lucky to work with such wonderful students,” said Melissa Anderson, campus engagement librarian at SOU’s Hannon Library.

Rotaract chapters must take on one local project and one “world service” project each year. The SOU club orchestrated a successful “Caroling for Cans” food drive for this year’s local project, then crushed its fundraising goal for ShelterBox – an official partner organization of Rotary International that takes relief efforts to people whose lives have been upended by natural disasters or conflict. They presented their ShelterBox pitch at five Rotary meetings in Ashland and Medford.

“The students are overwhelmed by the generosity they have witnessed, and empowered by the skills and confidence they have gained through this endeavor,” said former SOU President Elisabeth Zinser, the Rotaract club’s liaison to its sponsor, the Rotary Club of Ashland. “It is truly their project – they chose it, designed it, studied it and executed it.”

ShelterBox provides relief to people displaced by disasters throughout the world, delivering shelter boxes that each contain a large tent “house,” water purification kit, blankets and other equipment that will enable a family to survive. The charity was founded in 2000 in the United Kingdom, and has responded to events including the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Anderson, the Rotaract club’s faculty advisor, said support and guidance from the Rotary Club of Ashland and its sister organization, the Lithia Springs Rotary Club, have been critical to the student club’s success. But she credits the resourcefulness and enthusiasm of Rotaract members for accomplishing the club’s goals.

“The amazing job our SOU students did raising money for this very worthwhile organization – during finals, no less – is really going to make a difference in the world,” Anderson said. “The students have put the Rotary motto, ‘Service Above Self,’ into action – which is very fitting, since the Rotaract name itself stands for ‘Rotary in Action.’”


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ECOS offers student positions for Winter Term

SOU’s Ecology and Sustainability Resource Center (ECOS) has openings for a variety of volunteer, intern and work-study student positions for Winter Term.

Students applying for any of the positions are asked to commit to between five and 10 hours per week of work.

Options for Winter Term include an Earth Week planning member, a Dish Loan Program member, a Transportation Options Bike coordinator, Real Food Challenge Calculator and ECOS Community Garden apprentice.

Some of the ECOS internships can be for credit and others are paid opportunities for students eligible for Federal Work Study funding.

A short application must be filled out by Dec. 5 to be considered for the Winter Term positions. Questions can be emailed to

The ECOS mission is to inspire students and help them to become environmentally, socially and economically responsible. ECOS accomplishes this through collaborative partnerships, innovative initiatives and educational programming.

The goals of some ECOS members are to focus on educating for sustainability and social justice, while others want to inspire active citizenship. ECOS also seeks to develop student leadership potential and advocate for the adoption of sustainable institutional and individual practices.

Some of the organization’s student-led initiatives include the ECOS Resource Center, the Real Food Challenge and the ECOS Community Garden. Events such as Zero Waste Week are also sponsored or organized by ECOS.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern

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SOU holds study away fair, celebrates International Education Week

The Southern Oregon University Study Away Fair, a one-stop shop for those who want to learn more about study-away options, will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the Stevenson Union Gallery (Room 323).

Students, faculty, staff and others are invited to the free event, which is part of SOU’s observation of International Education Week, Nov. 12 through 16.

The fair will feature information about study abroad programs and providers, peer advisors from SOU’s Office of International Programs, a financial aid counselor who can discuss options for meeting program costs, international students from the university’s partner programs and SOU students who have returned from various study-away experiences.

Representatives of three study abroad programs – Academic Programs International, IE3 Global and Global Education Oregon – will be available to answer questions.

Mary Gardiner, SOU’s associate director of study away and global engagement, will discuss direct exchanges, partner programs and the National Student Exchange. SOU business Professor Curt Bacon will field questions from students about direct exchange programs with the School of Business. And SOU financial aid counselor Debbie O’Dea will be available from noon to 2 p.m., to help explain options for covering study-away program costs.

A special guest from Universidad de Guanajuato, Kennia Carrillo, will also be present at the fair as UG and SOU prepare to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of their sister university relationship in 2019. Carrillo is coordinator for the Office of International Relations and Academic Collaboration at UG.

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. State Department and Department of Education to promote programs that “prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences.”

SOU’s Office of International Programs is collecting non-perishable food and hygiene products throughout International Education Week, and will deliver donated items to the SOU Food Pantry at the end of the week. Donations may be brought to Room 322 of the Stevenson Union, or taken directly to the SOU Food Pantry in Room 312G.

The Office of International Programs – a U.S. Passport acceptance facility – held a “Family Passport Day” on Monday. A pair of international employment workshops – one for faculty and staff who may help or advise international students, and a second for international students with F/J visas – are scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively, in Room 319 of the Stevenson Union. International Culture Day on Thursday features a boba tea fundraiser by the Asian Student Union in the Stevenson Union Courtyard from noon to 1:30 p.m., and an International Student Union open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 313 of the Stevenson Union. The Office of International Programs will hold a study away information session from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday in Room 319 of the Stevenson Union, and SOU’s French Club will hold a membership information event from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 318.

SOU-veterans day-flag

SOU Veterans’ Day event recognizes those who have served

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University will observe Veterans’ Day in a celebration on Monday, Nov. 12, of the men and women who have served and sacrificed in the interest of peace and justice.

The SOU’s event will be from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union. Medford City Councilor Tim D’Alessandro and Klamath Community College writing instructor Jeanne LaHaie will speak. Several veterans’ resource advocates will be present and lunch will also be provided.

The event is an opportunity to thank those who have put themselves in harm’s way for their county in various ways – from being deployed overseas, to providing aid during natural disasters, to training on weekends when needed.

Those who have served or are currently serving are invited to participate and be recognized, and dependents of veterans are also encouraged to attend. A slideshow of SOU’s current and past service members is being created and will be played throughout the event. Those who wish to submit photos may do so at

More than 200 SOU students each year are considered military-affiliated – most of them veterans or dependents who are eligible to receive veterans’ benefits. Many also serve as cadets in the Army ROTC program and are stationed in the Susanne Homes residence hall.

SOU also offers a Military Science Program that serves nearly 150 students per term, and various campus organizations are dedicated to helping veterans – including the Veteran’s Resource Office, the Student Veterans Association and the Veterans’ Student Union.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern


SOU-President Schott-higher education consortium

SOU president urges support following national tragedies

Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott called upon the campus community today to support one another in the wake of hate-motivated shootings during the past week in a Pittsburgh synagogue and at a Kentucky grocery store.

“These and other acts of targeted violence leave us all feeling raw, and more reliant than ever on the supportive environment that we nurture here at SOU,” the president said.

The university’s Student Support Network will host a community gathering to remember victims of the Pittsburgh and Kentucky shootings from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Stevenson Union’s Guanajuato Room. Representatives of several programs on campus will be present to support those in need, and light refreshments will be served.

“It is our responsibility as an institution of higher education to serve, during times such as these, as a beacon of understanding, unity and inclusion,” Schott said. “We must pick each other up, build upon our shared beliefs and embrace our differences.”

Rabbi Julie Benioff of Ashland’s Temple Emek Shalom has offered to make herself available to Jewish or other SOU students and employees who want to talk about the recent tragedies. She can be reached through her office at (541) 488-2902. The Temple, at 1800 E. Main St., will also hold a healing and memorial service at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.

SOU students can visit or call the university’s Student Health and Wellness Center at (541) 552-6136 to schedule time with counselors. Assistance is also available from the Office of Student Support and Intervention at (541) 552-6223, or at Room 321 of the Stevenson Union.

All SOU employees are eligible to seek guidance from the university’s employee assistance program, Cascade Centers, by calling (800) 433-2320 or visiting the organization’s website at

“I urge each of you to listen as your friends, colleagues and acquaintances share their thoughts,” President Schott said. “We can help each other through events such as these by showing compassion and striving to understand the feelings of those around us.”

SOU academic all-conference

SOU lands 46 on Academic All-Cascade Conference team

Forty-six Southern Oregon University student-athletes from the Raiders’ fall sports teams received Academic All-Cascade Conference honors, CCC Commissioner Rob Cashell announced Tuesday.

To earn the distinction, a student-athlete must have been enrolled at their current institution for at least one year and reached sophomore academic standing with a minimum institutional grade-point average of 3.2.

SOU’s women’s soccer team had 15 honorees, the volleyball team had 11, the men’s soccer team 10, the men’s cross country team six and the women’s cross country team four. SOU football players are not included because that Raiders team competes in the Frontier Conference. Below is a complete list of SOU’s Cascade Conference academic honorees:

Ahmon Afenegus (environmental science), men’s soccer
Ryan Alexander (business), men’s cross country
Brendan Allen (public accounting), men’s soccer
Kiley Barcroft (pre-nursing), volleyball
Kayle Blackmore (communications), women’s cross country
Hannah Bogatin (business), volleyball
Seth Campbell (environmental studies), men’s cross country
Daisy Cervantes (psychology), women’s soccer
Jamie Chelberg (biology), women’s cross country
Elliott Cook (journalism), volleyball
Jared Delaney (biology), men’s soccer
Nathan Edwards (environmental science), men’s cross country
Lauren Fillipow (criminal justice), women’s cross country
Gonzalo Garcia (business), men’s soccer
Sarah Garoutte (criminology/psychology), women’s soccer
Zac Hansen (environmental studies), men’s soccer
Alex Harbert-Castro (business), men’s cross country
Ruth Hegstad (English), women’s soccer
Makayla Hoyt (environmental studies), volleyball
Natalie James (sociology), volleyball
Dani Johnson (business), volleyball
Kadyn Jones (biochemistry), volleyball
Cassandra Kohler (environmental science), women’s soccer
Nila Lukens (biology), volleyball
Misty Martinez (health and P.E.), women’s soccer
Paul Matyas (environmental science), men’s soccer
Daniel McDevitt (outdoor adventure leadership), men’s soccer
Deziree McKee (education), volleyball
Macaylea Mitchell (environmental science), women’s soccer
Gabi Nevinger (pre-pharmacy), women’s soccer
Noah Oberriter (pre-nursing), men’s cross country
Shayla Potratz (communications), women’s cross country
Taylor Ristvedt (environmental science), volleyball
Morgan Rohmann (pre-physical therapy), women’s soccer
Emma Ryan (psychology), volleyball
Simone Schroder (pre-physical therapy), women’s soccer
Jazmin Shaffer (business), women’s soccer
Ben Stevens (health and P.E.), men’s cross country
Makena Totushek (nursing), women’s soccer
Jonas Verrinder (health and P.E.), men’s soccer
Mia Volpatti (health and P.E.), women’s soccer
Aislinn Waite (psychology), women’s soccer
Emily Williman (business), women’s soccer
Brionna Wood (biology), women’s soccer
Wyatt Zabinski (biology), men’s soccer
Daniel Zamores (pre-physical therapy), men’s soccer

This story is reposted from