Portraits of six students

Ducks Soar This Summer Around Oregon and Across the Globe

Undergraduates are embarking on life-transforming adventures

By Ed Dorsch Photos by Nic Walcott and Dusty Whitaker July 3, 2024

5 min read 


Remember summer break? Or maybe you’re enjoying one right now. Working hard, playing hard, or relaxing—it’s a time for rejuvenation. Oregon Quarterly caught up with half a dozen Ducks to discover their plans for the sunny days between spring and fall quarters.

Summer adventures

Jimena Castañeda Ramirez

Jimena Castañeda Ramirez

Junior from McMinnville, Oregon, majoring in planning, public policy and management

Robert D. Clark Honors College

Summer adventure: Three weeks at Oxford, England, with the University of Oregon’s Global Education Oregon program. Students will learn about artists, scientists, legislators, and others whose own study abroad sparked in them revolutionary ways to create, explore, and reimagine possibilities in their fields. They’ll learn how these leaders shaped—and were shaped by—the environments of Oxford.

Highlights: Traditional punting (pushing a boat with a pole) on the Thames River, visiting a restorative farm, and an “Uncomfortable Oxford Tour” to spur discussions about topics like slavery and colonialism. A London excursion includes the British Museum, London Eye, and Les Misérables.

What are your goals? “Become more confident. I’m going to be both a student and a world traveler at the same time. I’m excited to meet new people and see new things.”

Any fears? “We’re going to do improv. I’m not good at that, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.”

What are you looking forward to? “The community. We’re going to be together the entire trip, so it’s a completely different experience than taking classes on campus. I think we’ll learn about ourselves. We’ll be different people when we return home.”

Mason Ferré

Mason Ferré

Junior from Joseph, Oregon, majoring in business

Summer adventure: San Francisco internship with Bloomberg LP, a financial, software, data, and media company

Jumping the gun: The internship began in May, so Ferré had to plan ahead, including taking his Finance 380 final exam early.

What will you be doing? “Learning about the Bloomberg Terminal, helping current clients use it more effectively, and working in sales with potential new customers.”

What’s a Bloomberg Terminal? “A system for financial professionals that most major financial firms use. It includes the hardware, as well as access to news, data, and analytics.”

Diverse résumé: In addition to running a vintage fashion company and cofounding a late-night grilled cheese sandwich shop, Ferré has worked as a pig farmer, lumberjack, and dock worker, all of which, he says, taught valuable lessons.

What are you most excited about? “I’m from a small town and I’ve always craved big city life. I’m also excited to work in an international company and see, firsthand, how day-to-day operations work. How does management lead such an organization?”

Why an internship? “Hands-on, in-person learning offers the best education. You can digest the material in class or from a book. But for it to really sink in, you have to experience business in action.”

Julia Boboc

Julia Boboc

Sophomore from Portland majoring in journalism

Robert D. Clark Honors College

Summer adventure: Interning for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland

What sparked your interest in this internship? “I love OPB. My mom and I always listen to it. I’m also interested in audio production.”

Sound experience: Boboc is a podcast producer for the Emerald Media Group and president of the audio club at the School of Journalism and Communication.

What gives you maximum stoke? “I’m excited to see the way it all works, how the station is run, and how the parts of such a celebrated news outfit operate together. They have so much experience and wisdom.”

Nervous about anything? “I’m honored to have this internship as a sophomore, but I have a little imposter syndrome. I’m there to learn, so of course I won’t do everything perfectly. But I feel like I have to work hard and prove they made the right choice when they picked me.”

What will be the highlight of your summer? “Interviewing people from different places, with different perspectives and experiences, is the best part of journalism. That’s what’s going to wake me up every day.”

Conôr Male

Conôr Male

Sophomore from Charleston, South Carolina, majoring in philosophy and political science

Summer adventure: Serving on the Oregon Climate Action Commission and exploring Peru 

What inspired you to join the commission? “I want to use my time in a way that benefits my community and I think it will be a good introduction to Oregon politics. This nonpartisan committee works with Oregonians to make sure their perspectives are part of the governor’s policy-making process.”

What do you hope to get out of it? “It’s an easy way to gain hands-on experience and see if this is an area of politics I want to pursue as a career.”

What attributes do you offer? “I’m originally from Charleston, South Carolina, which is very conservative. So I think I bring an understanding of liberal and conservative, rural and urban, that reflects the different parts of Oregon.”

Journey to Peru: Male will visit friends, sandboard dunes, hike Machu Picchu, and explore Vinicunca, AKA Rainbow Mountain.

Any advice? “College students should travel. Find a way to get out there!”

Ryan Hinton

Ryan Hinton

Sophomore from Springfield, Oregon, majoring in economics with a pre-major in global studies

Summer adventure: Studying Mandarin for eight weeks in Taiwan, then a family trip to Vietnam

What are you looking forward to? “Learning Mandarin while I’m immersed in the language and the culture. I’ll be forced to speak it, and I think that will help me learn exponentially. And the food!”

What’s on the menu? Hinton already has plans to hit Good Friend Cold Noodles, a food cart in Taipe’s Shilin Night Market with a stellar review in the Michelin Guide.

Passion for Mandarin: “I just stumbled upon it. Turns out I absolutely love the language. Now I look for every opportunity I can find to speak it. I chat with a friend online regularly. At work, there’s a customer who would come in every weekend so we could talk in Mandarin. It’s so much fun!”

Extra credit: After Taiwan, Hinton will join his family on a trip to find relatives in Vietnam and explore their roots.

Personal goal: Become more independent. This will be Hinton’s first trip abroad and first flight by himself.

Allie Braun

Allie Braun

Junior from Missoula, Montana, majoring in art

Summer adventure: Leading backpacking and sea kayaking expeditions in Norway for US high school students

Bona fides: A certified Wilderness First Responder and avid backpacker, Braun has worked two seasons with Overland Summers, the Massachusetts company organizing her Norway trips. She also credits the UO Holden Leadership Center, where she’s part of the leadership development team.

What do you like about leading excursions? “Motivating people and building community. You have to maintain group harmony, assess everyone’s needs, and foster relationships.” 

Any harrowing wilderness stories? “I’ve seen bears, blisters, sickness—including homesickness. I helped with a compound fracture once, but that was another group and not our camper.”

Pro backpacking tips? “Buy the best boots and pants you can afford. But leave your book at home, because it’s going to get heavy and you’re going to crash at dusk anyway.”

What are you looking forward to? “I love meeting students from all over the country. When you coexist with people for weeks in the wilderness, you get to know their personalities—good and bad.”

Ed Dorsch, BA ’94, MA, ’99 is a contributing editor for Oregon Quarterly.

Nic Walcott, BS ’16 (journalism), and Dusty Whitaker are videographer/photographers for University Communications.