English – Outstanding Senior 2021

Aidan Barger

East Wenatchee, WA

Degrees and Majors:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English


  • Political Science

Summa cum laude

Clubs, Organizations, Leadership, and Service

  • President and Secretary, WSU English Club
  • Political Science Club
  • Fencing Club
  • Planting Poems Project

Internships and Employment

  • Creative Intern at EcoArts on the Palouse
  • Nonfiction Intern at Blood Orange Review

Undergraduate Research

Spoke at the WSU annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Social Justice 2020: “Coming Out: An Exploration of Alienation in Kristiana Kahakauwila’s ‘The Old Paniolo Way’”

Awards and Recognition

  • Regents Scholarship
  • Sarah Weems Award Honorable Mention, 2020 and 2021

Honored Faculty and Mentors

  • Linda Russo, English
  • Peter Chilson, English
  • Sherwin Sales, English
  • Rachael Wolney, English

Faculty Comments

To work alongside Aidan is inspiring. Even during the transition to an online environment during the COVID pandemic, Aidan has continued to make English Club a priority, advocating that students need community more than ever.

He threw himself into an EcoArts Internship, completing weekly readings and written responses before completing an impressive series of five Haibun Postcards. These draw on his interest in insects and the soundscape, and bring together his semester’s coursework in entomology with his dedication to creative writing, and they required considerable legwork to complete (site visits, research, drafting and revision). He also designed a brilliant webpage for the EcoArts exhibit “dear places therein,” coming up with the perfect Wix template and working hard to see the project through various stages of revision and completion. Both of these would be considered accomplishments under the umbrella of service to community in addition to being creative works in their own right. Linda Russo and Rachael Wolney

Personal Statement

Thank you to Dad, Mom, Sean, and my wonderful friends for always believing in and supporting me. I love you guys. Thank you to all of the amazing professors—Linda Russo, Amy Carlson, Peter Chilson, Gerald Tiffany, Sherwin Sales, and Derek Sheffield—who’ve helped me grow as a writer and a person, both at Washington State University and earlier at Wenatchee Valley College. Good English professors change (and save) lives. And finally, thank you to the places which have nourished me: Saddle Rock, Magpie Forest, the Wenatchee Valley, and the Palouse. I’m deeply grateful for everything.

Future Plans

After graduation, Aidan will take a year to work and apply to MFA programs in poetry.

Long Term: He would like to be a writer, specifically a poet, and to travel the world.