Rock Creek Writing Center

Rock Creek Bldg. 3, Rm. 101 | Coordinators: Elissa Minor Rust and Nick Hengen Fox | 971-722-7733

Best Essay Winner - Winter 2017

"Frat Lives Matter"
by Tristan Reinhart
Instructor: Calin Anderson

"Broken Seashells"
by Erik Bittel
Instructor: Chris Jensen

The Rock Creek Writing Center helps PCC students from all disciplines and writing levels achieve their writing goals and become better writers. We can help with any stage of the writing process.

Summer Hours

Monday, July 2 until Thursday, August 17

Monday – Thursday:
10am - 3pm

We provide assistance in these areas

  • Generating ideas by using brainstorming techniques
  • Overcoming writer's block and anxiety about writing
  • Developing ideas, reasons, examples, arguments
  • Finding useful sources for writing
  • Organizing material
  • Finding the focus (thesis) of a piece of writing
  • Understanding a grammatical point
  • Writing stronger introductions and conclusions
  • Writing more concisely
  • Writing essays, creative work, resumes, scholarship letters, applications and more
  • Documenting sources using MLA or APA documentation


  • Andrew Zboralski
  • Bowen Adajian
  • Christina Kavehrad
  • Dana Harker
  • David Pagano
  • Elizabeth Smith
  • Hannah Staggers
  • Jacquelyn Grandy
  • Jessica Martin
  • Karen Embry
  • Kelly LeFave
  • Marianne Monson
  • Michael Sutcliffe
  • Mick Matthes
  • Shane Abrams
  • Travis Willmore

Best Essay Contest

Attention WR 121 Instructors: The Writing Center's Best Essay Contest aims to encourage WR 121 students by honoring their writing. New this term, there are two contest categories:

Best Academic Essay
  • Winner receives $100
  • Strong entries will be thesis-driven, evidence-based examples of academic writing
Best Creative Nonfiction
  • Winner receives $100 and the essay is published in the Bellwether Review
  • Winners in this category tend to be experimental, narrative, or other creative modes; for examples, check out last year's Bellwether Review

*The runner up (the next strongest essay after the two winning essays) will receive $50

How to nominate

  • Instructors may nominate up to two essays per section.
  • The essays should be predominantly narrative and descriptive in mode.
  • Make sure the essay has the student's and your name on it. If possible get student’s phone and address as well.
  • All essays must be typed.
  • Put a copy of the essay(s) in the mailroom slot for Nick Hengen Fox or email to

Best Essay Prize Winners

Winter 2017

"Frat Lives Matter" by Tristan Reinhart, Instructor: Calin Anderson

"Broken Seashells" by Erik Bittel, Instructor: Chris Jensen

Fall 2016

Creative non-fiction: Yajaira Jimenez for "Muted Communication" (instructor Matthew Levy)

Academic/thesis-driven: Nathan William for "Should Legal Concealed Carry be Allowed In Oregon's Public University Building?" (instructor Nick Hengen Fox)

Honorable Mention: Carolyn Beeson for "Oh My My" (instructor Joe Rodgers)

Spring 2016

"My Love for Freedom" by Benny Covarrubias, Instructor: Marianne Monson

"Saying Cheese" by Phil Stress, Instructor: Elizabeth Smith

Fall 2015

Winner, thesis-driven: Carla Macedo Diaz, "Who Says My Uterus Isn't Funny"

Winner, narrative: Randi Freeny, "A Mother's Love (of Books)" 

Honorable Mention: Sandra Galli,  "Folie Circulaire"

Spring 2015

Yecenia Gongora, "My Journey out of the Diet Industry's Cave" (Instructor: Karen Embry)

Sue Stuck, "Snow" (Instructor: Karen Embry)

Runner up: Aubrey Ledbetter Gabbard, "For This Moment" (Instructor: Derek Gladwin)

Winter 2015

Thesis-driven category: Keegan Bradberry, "A Mind in Bloom" (Instructor: Dana Harker)

Creative non-fiction category: Terron Whitney, "Caught in a Veil of Dust" (Instructor: Angie Berdahl)

Fall 2014

1st: Kelly Murph, "Lightening is Not Thunder" (Instructor: Kyle Lang)

2nd: Joleen Zentner, "The Teacher" (Instructor: Kelly LeFave)

3rd: Josh Falkenstein, "Alone With My Thoughts" (Instructor: Marianne Monson)

Winter 2013

1st: Derek Holt, "Breaking the Bonds" (Instructor: Andy Zboralski)

2nd: Stephanie Langley-Catti, "Omega 3s" (Instructor: Marianne Monson-Burton)

3rd: Aishah Majeed, "The Not-So-Princess Diaries" (Instructor: Craig Buchner)

Fall 2012

1st: Lyndsey Davis, "Lessons Learned From a Schizophrenic Mother"

Spring 2012

1st: Alex Luse, "Fatherhood and Heroism" (Instructor: Mary Sylwester)

2nd: Kaylee Spaziani, "The Freedom of the Steens" (Instructor: Maggie Rehm)

3rd: Matt Harada, "Eat the Wrapper" (Instructor: Marianne Monson)

Honorable Mention: Maria Martinez, "My Place is in Motion" (Instructor: Maggie Rehm)

Winter 2012

1st: Brittany Smith, "When Nature Attacks, You Can't Always Bee Prepared" (Instructor: Paige Talbot)

2nd: Jessi Dobson, "Seeing Life" (Instructor: Jason Larson)

3rd: John Motte, "How to Harass a Police Officer Legally" (Instructor: Art Leo)

Fall 2011

1st: "The Mirror" by Kathleen Miller (Instructor: Jason Larson)

2nd: "Charmbreaker" by Jessica Swafford (Instructor: John Zackel)

3rd: "Night Visitors" by Marisha Knutson (Instructor: Marianne Monson)