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College of Arts and Humanities

Karen Gookin

Department of English




Professor Emeritus
Education & Technical Writing

Karen Gookin grew up in the wheat farming country of North Central Montana. After college, marriage, two years teaching high school English and more years writing for two small newspapers, she moved in 1981 with her family from Eugene to Ellensburg. Since 1986 she has taught General Ed composition and literature courses at CWU, as well as the English department's two technical writing courses. Her literary and creative interests in poetry and short story compete with a life-long relationship with music and the flute. Currently she plays piccolo and flute with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. Other interests include hiking, birding, and kayaking at her family cabin in the Cascades; gardening at home, and traveling as much as possible abroad and to visit her daughters and their families in Montana and Florida.


Curriculum Vitae


  • Master of Arts, Literature, Central Washington University, 1986
  • Washington State Teacher Certification 1982
  • Bachelor of Arts, English, University of Montana, 1969
  • Montana State Teacher Certification, 1969


  • Assistant professor, full-time non-tenure track, English, CWU, 1992-2013
  • Cornerstone Liaison (English department - state high school Cornerstone programs), 2004-present
  • Lecturer, full-time, English, CWU, 1986-1992
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, English, CWU, 1984-86
  • Visiting Lecturer, Music, CWU, 1983-84
  • Western Montana Weekly (Libby, MT), 1972-74: news writer, feature writer
  • Remedial reading teacher, Havre Junior High School (MT), 1971-72
  • University of Montana Public Relations (Missoula), 1970-71: news writer; news room supervisor
  • English/Journalism teacher, Helena High School (MT), 1969-70

CWU Courses Taught

  • English 101 (Composition)
  • English 102 (Research)
  • English 105 (Introduction to Literature)
  • English 310 (Technical Writing)
  • English 404 (Advanced Technical Writing)
  • English 513 (Teaching English Composition)
  • Douglas Honors College (Sophomore Lecture and Colloquia)
  • Douglas Honors College (Senior Colloquia)
  • English 301 (Argumentation)
  • The Short Story (then English 140)
  • University 100 (Freshmen advising course)
  • Introduction to Women's Studies
  • Introduction to Communication (Speech)

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Recent Awards

College of Arts and Humanities Outstanding NTT
Faculty Teaching Award 2008

Yakima Allied Arts Poetry Award 2005, Second Place

CWU DAPPER acknowledged faculty, 1984-present

Yakima Allied Arts Poetry Award 2003, Honorable Mention

(CWU Distinguished Thesis, 1987, on Walker Percy)

Presentations & Publications

"Effective Writing Tips and Techniques," 2010
PowerPt Presentation to WA State CPAs, Yakima

Yakima Allied Arts Poetry, 2005

Yakima Allied Arts Poetry, 2003

"Always Again Reaching: An Interview with Tess Gallagher"
published in Irish Literary Supplement April 2001

weekly column in The Daily Record, 2000-2001,
previewing arts and lectures for the upcoming week

"Fern Hill in Musical Setting"
pre-concert talk, Hertz Music Hall, May 2000

"Aspects of Solitude"
poetry and prose readings researched and selected for small grants award
performed October 1998, Hertz Music Hall

"Poetry in the Madrigal"
pre-concert talk, Hertz Music Hall, December 1997

"Vaughn Williams ('Song of Solomon') and Mahler ('Youth's Magic Horn')"
pre-concert talk, Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Yakima Capitol Theatre, November 1995

Recent Campus and Community Service

  • UFC Faculty Bargaining Unit, 2005-2006
  • F.I.S.H. Board of Directors, 2004-present
  • Yakima Symphony Orchestra Board 2001-present

Off-Campus Service and Interests

  • FISH (Friends in service to humanity)
    Board of Directors, local organization, Fall 2004-present
  • Colima Project
    Funding and service to a small Mexican parish and village, 2003-present
    Work toward community with local Hispanic residents from Colima area
  • Yakima Symphony Orchestra Board
    Elected member-at-large, Fall 2001-2008
  • Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Piccolo I and Flute III, 1985-present
  • Editing private individual's unpublished book, "Plants and Their Stories," Spring 2001
  • Editing for Dept. of Natural Resources, Kittitas CO Conservation
    District and Solar, Inc. ("Small Ranch Guide for Green Pastures
    and Clean Water," @ 250 pages), March 2000
  • Literary and music research for Yakima Symphony Orchestra fundraising programs (Winter and Spring 2000)
  • Editing for Dept. of Natural Resources, ("Plan 2005: Concepts for the Southeast Region Recreation Program," @ 200 pages), 1998-99
  • Editing for James Cole, psychologist and diversity seminar presenter, 1993-98
  • Editing for Voice Magazine, a quarterly Washington Music Educators' Journal, 1992-95
  • Liturgy Commission, Diocese of Yakima, 1992-99

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