PilotTalks | University of Portland




PilotTalks showcases the stories of our phenomenal faculty, staff and alumni in a different light and context outside of their day-to-day work. Since its 2022 premiere during Junior & Senior Family Weekend, audiences have enjoyed stories of hope, renewal and transformation from our guest speakers whose stories can be viewed in the links below:

PilotTalks - November 2023: click on each link to watch their story:

Colonel Robert "Scott" Grainger '94: Professor of Air & Space Studies, Commander of Air Force ROTC Detachment 695
What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up?

  • Addressing this childhood question that never seems to find an answer, Scott knows that whatever comes next will be an opportunity for success, change, and growth, summed up in a single word: renewal.

Shannon Mayer: Professor, Physics
Here's to Another Trip Around the Sun

  • In her talk, the Seattle native and avid hiker will consider the importance of place and explore ways in which the habits we practice can offer a pathway to hope and renewal.

Gregory Pulver:  Professor of Costume and Makeup Design
A Renewal of Faith and Community

  • In his talk, Professor Pulver shares some insights gleaned after years of teaching and listening to students talk about their faith, or lack thereof, and tell his personal journey of faith and renewal.

PilotTalks - February 2023: Click on each link to watch their story:

Kali Abel, PHD: Environmental Studies
Finding Hope in a Changing Climate

  • Kali presents stories from the Global South as powerful reminders of just how much richness there is in our global family and how profound stories can be in showing us who we are.

Anna Myers, PHD: Professor, School of Education
The Hope That Every Child Reads

  • Anna's story discusses her journey to UP, the dyslexia initiative she is spearheading, and how the program will ensure UP's teacher candidates are well-versed in the science of reading.

Randy Hetherington, EDD: Associate Professor, School of Education
Hope Springs Eternal - Why?

  • Randy explores the 'why' behind hope - why, when facing adversity, the human spirit will arise, endure, and overcome. Through the lens of education, he will discuss why we must know the 'why' before we can truly know what we are hoping for.

Fr. Patrick Hannon, CSC: Holy Cross priest and English instructor
Hope is a Thing with Feathers

  • By way of a story and through the lens of Holy Cross spirituality, Fr. Pat reflects on what it means to be a person with hope to bring to the world: how the seeds of hope are always planted in the soil of redemptive suffering.

PilotTalks - November 2022: Click on each link to watch their story:

Eric Anctil, PHD: Professor of Media and Technology
The Key to Raising Resilient Adults in the Digital Age is to Set Kids Free Now
  • Dr. Anctil reminds us all that parenting has never been easy and parenting in the digital age feels more daunting than ever. He explores how today's parents can support young adults to question, investigate, and solve the problems of tomorrow as independent, resilient adults.
Casey Shillam, RN, PHD, FAAN: Professor of Nursing, Dean, School of Nursing & Health Innovations
Redefining Hope
  • Dr. Shillam shares how her concept of hope has evolved over the course of her career, starting with military service in early adulthood and through her work in providing nursing care for those with serious life-limiting illnesses.
Lars Erik Larson, PHD: Chair, English Department
Looking for Hope in a Universe Filled with Failure
  • His story takes us across a multitude of life's scales - confronting the fragility of both the human-made and biological worlds, and exploring how and where we look for hope in a place that seems bent on destruction.
Jennette Lovejoy, PHD: Communication Department
Embracing Interconnection with the Natural World
  • Her story invites us to look closely at our connections with the world around us. In slowing, observing, and tuning our senses to natural ecosystems, hope is waiting for us all.
Mark Pitzer, PHD: Associate Professor, Psychological Sciences
Going Outside to Get Let In
  • Dr. Pitzer's humorous story is one many of us can relate to whether we are parents or not. Worried that his relationship with his 13-year-old daughter is dissolving beyond repair, Mark tries to reconnect by convincing her to leave her bedroom (and her phone!) and join him for an afternoon of fishing.