Kelsi Roth ’19 Sharpens Her Focus as a Writer

Kelsi Roth ’19 has always wanted to be a writer.

At Pacific University, she had the chance to turn the dream to reality.

A creative writing major, Roth has tackled difficult subjects in her original works — like The Others, her senior capstone blend of nonfiction and poetry.

Pieces of the anthology were recognized with the English Department’s P.L.U.M. poetry prize, which came with its own challenge: It meant her family would want to read the poems, even the one about sexual assault.

“I had to tell my extended family,” she said. “My family didn’t know about that.”

It changed the way some of them thought about her, she said. Others opened up to her about similar experiences in their lives. And now the wider world will know.

That’s what writing is about, though, she said.

“I hope that it opens up people’s minds and I hope that it makes people laugh,” said Roth, who says she employs “dark humor” to deal with sensitive subjects.

Pacific is the No. 1 private research university in the Northwest, according to a National Science Foundation survey. The opportunity for students to conduct original research and scholarship across the sciences, arts, humanities, education and business is a core part of the undergraduate student experience.  

For students like Roth, that means creating original creative works that are shared beyond the classroom walls — and pushing to create at a professional, publish-ready level.

Fellow students and professors have helped her get there, Roth said.

“It’s not just about passing you, it’s about making you better and making your writing sing.” 

This story first appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Pacific Magazine. For more stories, visit

Tuesday, April 23, 2019