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English grad combines love of literature and nature

May 11, 2018

Eric Orosco

Eric Orosco
BA English | Sacramento

Eric Orosco's time at Pacific has been a whirlwind of exploration in literature, poetry, film and theater—sometimes on the Stockton campus, and sometimes in places as far away as Europe.

Orosco traveled to Ireland last summer when he earned the Seamus Heaney fellowship to study poetry, funded by a donation by Stockton tax attorney Ned Leiba.

"Winning the Seamus Heaney was amazing," Orosco said. "That fellowship allowed me to go to Ireland and experience something I couldn't even fathom. There's nothing like going for a walk, sitting on a grassy hill and just writing in Ireland."

Orosco, a first-generation student, arrived at Pacific after first attending University of Idaho and American River College. Along the way, he acquired a love of literature that has expanded since enrolling here. While studying with Professor Xiaojing Zhou, Orosco was introduced to more diverse writers as well as a new field of study called ecocriticism.

Ecocriticism examines humans' relationship with the environment and what nature can tell us about ourselves.

Orosco recently presented research on LGBTQ poets and their relationship with nature. He was particularly interested in analysis that shows homosexuality is common in nature and disrupts the assumption that it is unnatural in humans.

"I really love poetry that also examines relationships with nature, especially queerness and nature, but not just nature in similes ... but where nature has agency," Orosco said.

Nature is a passion of Orosco's and one of the reasons he enrolled at Pacific. He fell in love with the brick buildings, the trees and rose gardens. His favorite place on campus is the Robb Garden.

"I wish I had more time to go out there and just read poetry in the garden," he said.

Past president of the film club, Orosco has explored many forms of expression at Pacific, including making student films and serving as editor of the university's literary magazine "Calliope." He also starred in this spring's theatre production, "Ecce Homo," a cross-media play that featured motion capture and recorded video.

Orosco's ambition is to become an English professor and teach at a community college.

"I believe my purpose is to teach—to go back and be a mentor for people like me," he said. "I went my entire college career without meeting one queer Mexican-American professor, and I think representation is important."

As a professor, Orosco plans to model the kind of caring relationships he has had with Pacific professors when he has students.

"I got to meet one-on-one with professors and discover what it was I was passionate about, what it was that I could do to make my dreams come true," he said. "I want to be that kind of professor."  

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