student feature: the ugma

Meet Will Fain. He just earned the first <Underground Masters> by taking PUGS courses in 6 <different subject areas>.

1. Hey Will! Tell us a little about yourself. 

I'm Will Fain and co-own and operate <Handsome Pizza> and <Seastar Bakery>, a wood-fired pizzeria and bakery on NE Killingsworth and 16th Ave. 

2. What courses did you take and what did you learn from them?

  • Criminal Law (Law) gave me a window into how lawyers think and analyze and the moral gray areas in which certain court decisions are made.

  • Privacy: Law and Philosophy (Law) made me consider the relationship between my personal and public identity. What is truly private in a time when personal information is more publicly available than ever before?

  • Genetics Genomics and Genethics (Science) helped me understand that the expression of our genetic code is heavily influenced by our environment—that "nature" and "nurture" are inextricably linked.

  • Beauty and Aesthetics in Western Art 1 (Arts & Literature) gave me the intellectual framework for "reading" art to better understand the culture from which it came from.

  • Artisanal Chocolate Tasting: Madagascar (Food & Food Systems) empowered me to make more ethical, economical, and tasty chocolate-buying decisions. I sharpened my culinary vocabulary as well. The most delicious class imaginable!

  • Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates (Social Justice) changed my understanding of the history of the United States and my perspective on race in America and race relations in Portland. This class made me a better person.

  • Oregon Black History (Portland) gave me a clear understanding of the biases in textbook curriculum and equipped me with the tools necessary to be a more thoughtful and critical reader of history. 

3. Best course? 

Tie between Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates and Criminal Law. My eyes were opened.

4. We always say PUGSpdx is half learning and half community. Talk about the people you've met in your PUGS classes.  

PUGGERS are journalists, cooks, educators, HR specialists, activists, civil servants, and contractors, and everyone's different life experiences and perspectives greatly enriched my learning. Everyone's so smart and fun to have a drink with and some turned out to be great connections, professionally and personally.

4. What does PUGS offer that you can't get elsewhere?

The biggest "get" was a regular space that nurtured intellectual thought and discussion. Most people don't have that sense of discovery in their daily life. I took a lot of courses, meaning I got the chance to really delve into topics that I love, topics important to me, and topics I never would have thought to learn on my own. It's been an invigorating experience, filled with small and large epiphanies that have changed the way I experience and view the world.

5. Any last thoughts? 

I'm taking more classes!