Editor's Note: This is the first several interviews that will introduce our readers to this year's journalism students.
Garrett McGowan, a second year seminarian from the Diocese of Oakland, is currently taking journalism because he wants to more clearly articulate his thoughts and sharpen the dull edges of his writing skills.
Coming from two years of working for Harley-Davidson Motor Company (2006-2008) as a mechanic and later four years (2008-2012) with the Naval Armed Forces, the seminary is the first academic setting he has experienced after high school. McGowan does not describe himself as the academic type, but he said that journalism will be a good challenge for him to grow both in creativity with different styles of writing and in the discipline of meeting deadlines.
Another factor that was appealing for McGowan was the involvement of photography. He said he is excited to “jump in and explore photography.”
In order to start, it would be a good idea that the journalist be able to relate and talk to people first, and that is definitely a trait that he has. McGowan said he finds himself picking up conversations with almost everyone who will allow the time. He would like to bring to the journalistic table this asset of listening to people's perspectives and stories. He especially wants to utilize the opportunity of being in journalism to get to know on a deeper level his acquaintances and what they do on and off the hilltop, as well as get a glimpse into the lives of those with whom he has yet to spark a conversation.
McGowan said that on his occasional trips to the library, he has found himself gravitating toward autobiographies. Some of the men he has been reading about include Catholic motivational speaker Matthew Kelly, Catholic theologian Scott Hahn, and Sonny Barger, a founding member of the Oakland, California, U.S. chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. These are all men he respects and would like to emulate in his style of writing.
Along with experience and passion about and for classic cars, especially1940s and 50s muscle cars, McGowan would like to know more about Father Theodore Lange’s role as State Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus of Oregon, especially his role in restoring a Studebaker Champion, a project which would benefit a nonprofit cause.
Two other people he wishes to cover in this semester for journalism are Byzantine-rite Hungarian seminarian Marton Maygar and Br. Andre Love’s restoration of the chapel located on the premise of the monastic cemetery.
The passion McGowan has is exuded through his openness to venture and most notably his openness to challenge himself, to travel from the streets of Oakland into the depths of the those involved with the seminary community at Mount Angel which he calls home now.