the student development seminar

the 24th annual version

august 16-18, 2015

A study of creativity, values and life

the world = oyster

join us for v23.0

About  |   The Magic is in the Mix



Our History


This is an opportunity for you and your peers to explore life goals, leadership skills, professional values and ethical integrity.


The Student Development Seminar began with six people in a small space on the Oregon Coast in August of 1991. Two years later the event moved to Menucha in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Since then the seminar has welcomed more than 500 students from Hawaii to Florida who experience three days  that challenge and strengthen their intellectual resources.


The concept of creative thinking and the challenging of current assumptions will direct our conversation throughout the seminar.


The focus of the SDS is the enhancement of skills that will assist you as you become a significant contributor in the world.

Faculty  |  Committed and Accomplished

Marlis Miller

Tom Scheuermann

James "Scoop" Schupp

Marlis Miller is passionate and committed to creating safe and supportive opportunities for conversation, discussion, and exploration. Marlis has spent her consulting career creating learning opportunities for leaders from Fortune 200 for-profit corporations to elected officials to student leaders to not-for-profit organizations. She is co-founder of the Student Development Seminar.

Tom Scheuermann received his B.S. and M.A. degrees from Ohio State University and his J.D. from the The Catholic University of America School of Law in Washington, D.C. Tom is a member of the D.C. and U.S. Supreme Court bars. Tom enjoys running, family dinners on the front porch, trips to the coast and savoring a strong cup of coffee while reading and relaxing in a local coffee shop.

James "Scoop" Schupp has participated for the past nineteen years with SDS. He is currently a Courtesy Faculty Member at Oregon State University and works with students through classes and other activities. In 'real' life he works for a major financial institution with offices in Corvallis. Scoop is devoted to a positive experience for students both in and out of the class room.

Twainhart Hill

Eric Hansen

Don Johnson

Twainhart Hill has over 30 years experience offering self- development consulting for individuals and in group settings, along with event administration, coordination and planning. She is also a poet, researcher, photographer, volunteer museum curator and a certified holistic health consultant from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

Eric Hansen, aka “Goose,” is the pup of the group. He encourages students to reflect on their accomplishments to help them gain insight and confidence in meeting their future. He brings a passion for learning as he guides students in understanding how they can make meaning of their world by exploring perspectives and relationships.

Don Johnson has been on the the faculty at Oregon State University for the past forty years working with students in a variety of experiences which focus on identity development and post college preparation. Don attempts to bring the world of imagination and creativity into the thoughts of students as they investigate the magic of life.

Wisdom Emeritus - Laverne Woods

Laverne Woods taught at the Student Development Seminar for seventeen years while serving as a faculty member in Educational Opportunities at Oregon State University. Laverne lives in Corvallis and continues to enhance the lives of those around him. As the senior statesman for SDS, Laverne embodies the spirit of “magic.”

Partners  |  The James Schupp Trust

A Quiet Revolution


There is a quiet revolution going on and the Student Development Seminar (SDS) is at the forefront of this change. We are finding new ways to teach and learn. SDS has taught us when one creates an environment of support and trust the improbable becomes probable and the impossible becomes possible.


It is ‘magic’ in it’s purest form. I call this a revolution because, after 16 years of working with college students, we have witnessed their amazing development over a very short period of time. SDS can become a launching point for them to take a close look at their life – what they value and what they need to feel happy. Over a 2 ½ day period, atop a hill overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, students examine their lives and begin to make some decisions about how they will make a positive impact in their world.


I am proud to be part of this quiet revolution. I believe the students of today have incredible potential to change our world in a very positive way. I am honored to be a sponsor and a participant in this very unique program. In it’s basic form it is very simple, yet the results are oftentimes transforming.


James Schupp

Music  |  Is Magic

A curated list of magical music from the muse masters at SDS Magic.

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