Olivia Drake

Wrestling Coach Says Recruiting Top Students, Top Athletes Secret to Success on the Mat


Drew Black, wrestling coach, stresses intelligence, power, quickness, superb conditioning, flexibility and a high degree of self-confidence with his Wesleyan athletes.
 
Posted 03/15/06
Q: You’ve been coaching wrestling at Wesleyan since 1998. What spurred your interest in the sport initially?

A: It all started my freshman year of high school in Mahwah, N.J. My brother was a sophomore wrestler on the team. My intention was to go and play basketball at the vertically challenged height of 4-foot-9 and 75 lbs. The wrestling coach spoke to me in the locker room just before the wrestling season was about to begin and said, “You may play basketball as a freshman, but after that JV and Varsity you will probably not play much. You should really think about coming out for wrestling. That weekend, my brother and I talked and I decided to try something new and took my basketball sneakers to the mat that Monday afternoon. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

Q: What is the objective in wrestling?

A: Wrestling is the oldest sport known to mankind. It was part of the first Olympic games. I find that people who have never seen wrestling, all they need to do is come to one wrestling event and they will be hooked. It is difficult at first to understand the points awarded, but in basic terms, you have two people out at the center of the mat. The wrestlers start on their feet and look to take the other down to the mat. Next goal is to turn your opponent over and pin his shoulders to the mat for the pin and the win. In and around the takedown and pin there is a lot of maneuvering for an advantageous position to dominate your opponent. A college match lasts seven minutes with three periods.

Q: In addition to strength, what skills are needed to do this sport?

A: Wrestling takes intelligence, power, quickness, superb conditioning, flexibility and a high degree of self-confidence. In the sport of wrestling there is no place to hide. There are no time-outs or substitutes. It is you versus another opponent. One of the greatest feelings in the world is to work so hard for something and then achieve that goal within the circle on the mat.

Q: As an adjunct assistant professor of education, what classes do you teach?

A: I currently teach indoor technical climbing and fitness swimming, but have also taught the strength training classes as well.

Q: In addition to coaching wrestling, you’re also the strength and conditioning coach, and fitness center coordinator. In these roles, are you working with all Wesleyan athletes?

A: I work with many of our athletic teams. My goal is to have our student-athletes receive the best and most advantageous strength and conditioning programs needed for each student-athlete to reach his/her individual and team goals. Our student-athletes are some of the best and most dedicated people you will meet. Here they are at one of the best schools in the country, no one is getting a scholarship to play, yet so many of our student athletes want to train and prepare themselves to compete at a national level and represent Wesleyan with pride and honor.

Q: What is the Cardinal Speed and Agility Program?

A: It’s a program that has become extremely popular over the past eight years. I have come to learn that most of our student-athletes call this “Drew Black.” They say, “I have Drew Black today.” This is a voluntary program where in the fall and spring we have 75-90 athletes in our field house going through speed drills, agility drills, games and conditioning activities. I have even had a professor or two come and join in the fun.

Q: Where did you go to college and when did you decide to become a coach?

A: At Syracuse University I majored in athletic training and wanted to work with athletes in prevention and care of injury setting. I also wanted to get my teaching certification so I could be more marketable in a public school setting. This led me to Kent State where I was a graduate assistant in the School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport. I did attain my teaching certification and this is where coaching became a love and passion. It was during my student-teaching experience at Stow-Monroe Falls High School in Ohio. The varsity wrestling coach needed a freshman/JV coach to help. It paid $2,000 dollars and to a college student that is like being a millionaire. I took the job and at my first tournament I said to myself, “Coaching is awesome, I think I want to coach and teach at the college level.”

Q: Before coming to Wesleyan, where did you work? What attracted to you to Wesleyan?

A: Before Wesleyan, I was the head wrestling coach, strength and conditioning coach and fitness center coordinator at Phoenix Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. When I applied to Wesleyan, I was not familiar with Wesleyan at the time, but soon came to realize what a great school and opportunity this was for me.

Q: You led Wesleyan’s wrestling team to the highest-winning season in history in 2001-02 with a 17-2 mark and four winning seasons over the past five years. The team has earned scholar All-American status in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. What is your secret?

A: To be honest, the secret lies within the people you are able to work with. Wesleyan is a great school, which does attract top people to this campus. As a faculty coach, I need to get in touch with the very best and brightest young men all around the United States. Part of the secret to successful teams and consistent successful seasons is having top students who are also dedicated and committed to the sport of wrestling.

Q: What do you look for in student-athletes and what lessons do you stress?

A: I have been fortunate to have some great student-wrestlers in my eight years here. I stress hard work, smart work and teamwork. This all starts with setting goals so there is a destination set. The process of being a top student and a top athlete is the secret to success. These are the things that each member of our team has 100 percent control over. They have control over attending every class, studying, seeking out professors for help and guidance. They have control over how much strength training, running, conditioning and mat-time they do throughout the year. They also have control over their nutrition, eating smarter and healthier. The last thing they have control over and something we talk about a lot is being a quality community member, their actions away from the classroom and the mat. At Wesleyan, we want the total package of a top student, top wrestler, and a top citizen in the community and beyond. Set these as priorities, focus on them, and have the student-athlete take responsibility and there you have it.

Q: What are your thoughts on Dan deLalla ’07, who received the New England College Conference Wrestling Association Championship title after sitting out the regular season with an elbow injury?

A: Dan is one of those special kids you get to work with at Wesleyan. He is a competitor and someone who is so positive. He believes in himself because he works extremely hard all throughout the year. I must admit that it was difficult for me to believe that Dan could sit out the entire season, train for two weeks and then win the New England Championship to qualify for the national tournament. It brought great life and excitement to our team and really boosted our team morale. The outlook and future of this wrestling program is bright due to Dan’s accomplishments, his leadership and also the great young talent that this team has right now.

Q: Josh Wildes ’08 and Mike Lima ’08 also took conference titles this year. Do you foresee them going far in the next few years?

A: The team and I are so excited about next year and the next three years. We did not having a winning season this year mainly due to the amount of injuries our team sustained. The future is very bright with quality wrestlers such as Josh and Mike. Both of these guys can be impact wrestlers for our program in the next two years, but both need to continue to dedicate themselves throughout the year, not just from November to February. There are many bright spots throughout our team. Jeremy Stuart ’08 is going to be tough the next two years as well. I should basically name our entire team right now because I see the potential in each of them to be very successful in the next few years.

Q: In 2005, the U.S. Marine Corps awarded you with a Coaching Leadership Award for your outstanding work in the development of leaders at Wesleyan and in the state. What was your reaction to this honor?

A: It was a great surprise. It was awarded to me at our annual National Wrestling Coaches Conference. I am just trying to give back to the sport of wrestling which has given me so much in my life. It is my pleasure to work hard for this great sport and to be involved in young people’s lives and try to set them in the right direction so they too can be successful people in the world today.

Q: What wrestling organizations are you a member of?

A: I have been a member of the National Wrestling Coaches Association for 11 years now, and member of the executive committee for eight years, and the president of our New England Wrestling Conference for four years.

Q: Does your family get into wrestling or other sports?

A: My wife, Jennifer; son Sean, 6; daughter Leah, 1 attend many of my colleague’s games and competitions. Right now, lacrosse games are Sean’s favorite and Leah is just happy to be with her brother. We also love to use Wesleyan as our playground. This is such a great environment to raise a family. My son Sean gets to be around great people, use the great facilities and play different sports and activities.

Q: Aside from wrestling, what are your other hobbies and/or interests?

A: I am pretty simple. I love to go out to eat. I also try to stay fit partaking in weight training, running, and the occasional noon faculty hoop games, especially after wrestling is over. My other hobbies are quality family time and playing with both Sean and Leah. My family is my pride and joy. Seeing them laugh is the best hobby.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Campus Safety Upgrades Continue


Passers-by walk across Cross Street at a pedestrian walkway. Brightly-colored signs have been installed in the center of the street in an effort to improve campus safety.

Posted 03/15/06
In its on-going efforts to continually improve campus safety, Wesleyan has been taking various measures to upgrade services and capabilities appropriately. These include:

Pedestrian Safety
Brightly-colored signs have been installed in the middle of crosswalks on Church Street and Cross Street reminding motorists that they must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Lighting has been improved at several crosswalks and a new crosswalk signal will be installed on Washington Street.

Public Safety’s on-going dialogue with the city to investigate other areas for crosswalk improvement has yielded a plan for further improvements that will add traffic calming measures by moving curbs, removing on-street parking in some areas, adjusting crosswalk locations to fit pedestrian traffic patterns, installing raised crosswalks and improving signs both on the sides of the road and painted on the roadway. The plan is pending approval and funding by the city.

Fire Safety
During the last 12 months, new fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems were installed at Low Rise Apartments, and the wood-framed residences on Vine Street, Warren Street, Home Avenue.

Other renovations include fire alarm upgrades to 200 High St., 200 Church St., Center for the Arts Art Studio North and South, the CFA Cinema, 5A & B Fountain, 14 A, B & C Warren, and Physical Plant’s Cady Building on Long Lane.

In addition, part of a recent $10 Million Bond-funded project includes $2.5 Million for fire alarm and fire sprinkler upgrades to existing wood frame houses.

Campus Shuttle Program
The “RIDE” Campus Shuttle Program was expanded in the past year to insure safe and convenient transportation services for students during evening hours. The new Shuttle Program operates seven nights a week during the academic year from 7 pm until 4 a.m. In addition to the two shuttle lines, the program now offers a downtown shuttle every Wednesday through Saturday nights from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. The shuttle stops at several locations on Main Street every 20 minutes. Access for people with disabilities is available during the same times and over the same routes. All shuttle locations are in the vicinity of a blue light emergency phone and in well lighted areas. Pick up times have been added to all shuttle locations. Times and locations can be found at www.wesleyan/transportation.

In addition, all shuttle drivers have completed a driver safety course and attend several meetings each semester on driver safety and customer service skills. Each shuttle van has comment cards students can complete and send to the transportation services manager. All comments, complaints and suggestions are followed up on immediately.

Residence Hall Card Access
In the fall of 2006, Wesleyan will complete a comprehensive installation of electronic proximity access equipment on all undergraduate residence hall facilities accommodating more than 20 students. The new proximity access program uses student picture identification cards to provide visual verification of users, and create information related to who enters residences, as well as the time and date of entry.

Wesleyan is always looking for ways to improve campus safety. Please direct suggestions to David Meyer, interim director of public safety, at dmeyer@wesleyan.edu.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Board of Trustees Approves Tuition, Fee Increases


In 2006-07, room rates for students will increase.
Posted 03/01/06
On Feb. 25, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees set tuition, room and board rates for the 2006-2007 academic year. Tuition and fees will increase 5 percent to $34,844. Room rates will increase 8 percent, bringing the base double room rate to $5,808, and the base 12-meal dining plan rate will increase 5 percent to $3,732.

The increase in the room rate reflects the escalating cost of utilities in the residence facilities. Wesleyan is also continuing a program to renovate residence halls to improve safety and security. This summer will see completion of the installation of proximity access locks on all undergraduate residence hall facilities accommodating more than 20 students. Tamper-resistant ground-floor windows in the Foss Hill residences and improved fire alarm and sprinkler systems will be installed; lounges will also be renovated.

Additionally, in response to requests from students and parents, senior houses and apartments will be furnished; $200 will be added to the room rate for these units for this purpose. This change was endorsed by the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee, which includes representatives from the Wesleyan Student Assembly, Physical Plant and Residential Life.

Maintaining Wesleyan’s commitment to providing access to students from all backgrounds remains one of the university’s highest priorities. Wesleyan provides financial aid awards that meet 100 percent of demonstrated need. Awards typically include loans, campus employment and grants. In 2005-06, 44 percent of students received grant awards averaging $24,756; scholarships for all four classes totaled $29.3 million.

Wesleyan continues to manage its finances strategically and prudently. The university administration has been efficient in this endeavor, having one of the lowest ratios of administrative costs to educational expense among our peers. While Wesleyan continues to identify new efficiencies, the university administration has been mindful to do so in a way that does not compromise support of the primary academic mission of the university. Wesleyan remains committed to strong financial discipline while providing a first-rate liberal arts and science education that prepares its students to be leaders in a global society.

 
By Justin Harmon, director of University Communications

Recycle Maniacs at Wesleyan


Posted 03/01/06

Wesleyan University is one of 93 colleges and universities nationwide competing in a recycling program through April 8.

 

As part of RecycleMania 2006, Wesleyan aims to collect the largest amount of recyclables, the least amount of trash, and have the highest recycling rate over a 10 week period. A RecycleMania trophy will be presented to the winning school.

 

Schools participating in RecycleMania 2006 represent 33 states, 880,000 students and more than 275,000 faculty and staff. Eight of 11 campuses in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), including Wesleyan, are RecycleManiacs.

 

Bill Nelligan, associate director of Environmental Health and Safety works with Dainty Rubbish Service of Middletown to determine the totals in each collection category. Dainty collects and removes trash and recyclables from campus. Nelligan reports measurements on a weekly basis, via RecycleMania’s Web site, www.recyclemaniacs.org, which also has more information on the project.

 

RecycleMania is endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program, the National Recycling Coalition’s College and University Recycling Council and the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Library Assistant Gets the First Look at New Books


Trevor West, library assistant in acquisitions, orders, receives and accounts for the materials added to Wesleyan’s main library collections
 
Posted 03/01/06
Q: When were you hired at Olin Library as a library assistant in acquisitions?

A: I began on January 31, 2005.

Q: What libraries on campus do you order books for?

A: I place and receive orders for the Art Library, the Science Library, and the Olin Library, including the Scores and Recordings collection, and reference materials for the Special Collections and Archives.

Q: What is the purpose of the library’s Acquisitions Department?

A: Working in direct collaboration with the collection development librarian, the Acquisitions Department orders, receives and accounts for the materials added to Wesleyan’s main library collections.

Q: What are your key responsibilities as a library assistant?

A: My responsibilities include bibliographic record transfer or creation for requested monographs, order record creation, the research of availability and publisher information and monograph gift processing.

Q: If a professor, for example, requests a particular book for the Art Library, what is the process of getting this publication to the library?

A: First I must make sure that there is accurate bibliographic material for the title to be located. This may require some online research. In what country the book has been published and when, whether the particular book is an exhibition catalogue, a dissertation, or a collection of essays, these are a few of many factors that will determine which vendor will receive our purchase order. The order is marked RUSH to ensure a priority shipment. I unbox the shipment when it comes in, verify the contents against the invoice, and locate the purchase order for the item at my computer. I then verify that the book has the proper title and edition requested, mark the professor’s name, e-mail and campus address on a slip placed in the book and send it off to the library cataloguers. Once through the cataloguers, the book is sent to marking and shortly thereafter the professor is notified that his or her request is ready to be charged.

Q: How are acquisitions paid for?

A: There is a substantial budget allotted annually to the Acquisitions Department. A smaller portion of library acquisitions is provided by gifts and donations, often from Wesleyan professors and students.

Q: How do you spend most of your day?

A: Most of my day is spent at the computer, however the best part of my day is spent at the receiving table opening recently boxed shipments of books I’ve ordered.

Q: That must be exciting.

A: There’s a great satisfaction unboxing book shipments at the receiving table. Having the first look at all of the new books is very cool.

Q: Can you mention a few examples of recent acquisitions?

A: Regularly I receive well over a hundred monographs each week, but I’ll name just a few of the most recent ones. I also recommend these books to be enjoyed after I return them! Saga: The Journey of Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Thirty-five years of Photographs; The Best Early Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald; Stanley Kubrick: Drama & Shadows: Photographs 1945-1950; Come on in!: New Poems by Charles Bukowski; Pizarro: Conqueror of the Inca; The Complete Stories of Truman Capote; Hanging Captain Gordon: the Life and Trial of an American Slave Trader.

Q: Is your job here challenging?

A: Yes, I find my job here to be very challenging, but I enjoy it immensely.

Q: Who are the key people you work with in the Acquisitions Department and where are you located in the library?

A: Ed Allen is the Collections Development librarian, JoAnn Dootson is our bookkeeper,
and Margery May is head of Acquisitions.

Q: Where did you attend college?

A: I attended Connecticut College and I have a bachelor’s degree in English with
a concentration in creative writing.

Q: What led you to work in a library acquisitions type field?

A: I worked at the Charles E. Shain Library at Connecticut College during my undergraduate education. I have also worked in the main corporate medical library of a major pharmaceutical company in Manhattan, and in the Mary Cheney Public Library of Manchester, Conn. I’ve always loved libraries, but for me nothing compares to working in a private university environment.

Q: Since you work in a library, I would assume you like reading. Do you?

A: Yes, I love to read. When I’m not working, in class, or reading, I am at work framing art. I worked full-time as a fine-art custom framer’s apprentice in lower Manhattan five years ago and have continued my interest in archival framing with private consulting here in Connecticut.

Q: You’re also enrolled in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program.

A: Being a student, I’m able to continually remind myself how necessary and beneficial my professional duties are to my education.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

A Class Act: Assistant Professor of Theater Busy Teaching, Acting, Directing Local and International Productions


Yuriy Kordonskiy, assistant professor of theater, will receive an award in April for directing the performance of The Heart of a Dog, performed at the National Theatre of Bucharest, Romania. Below, at left, is a scene from his Wesleyan production, Crime and Punishment, and at right, a scene from Sorry.
 
Posted 03/01/06
Yuriy Kordonskiy’s stage is not limited to Wesleyan. Kordonskiy is international.

Kordonskiy, is an assistant professor of theater, teaches acting and directing courses and has directed student productions such as M. Bulgakov’s A Cabal of Hypocrites, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and the Thornton Wilder’s The Long Christmas Dinner in the Center for the Arts.

But Kordonskiy also directs performances and leading workshops at top international theaters. In fact, his recent production, Bulgakov’s The Heart of a Dog, performed at the National Theatre of Bucharest, Romania received three nominations for the Award of Union of Romanian Theatre including The Best Production. The ceremony will take place on April 3.

So, how does he do it?

“I just love what I do, and I want to be working every minute,” he explains.

Internationally, Kordonskiy is somewhat of a celebrity. In fact, he holds “almost rock star status” in Romania, says Jack Carr, chair of the Theater Department and professor of theater.

As a performer and director, Kordonskiy has been involved in productions in nearly two-dozen countries. He has conducted workshops in Russia, Italy, Romania, Germany and Spain. He recently directed Disappearance and House of Bernarda Alba at the Maly Drama Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia; A Diary of a Madman at the West End Theatre, Gloucester, Mass; and Uncle Vanya, Sorry and The Marriage at the Bulandra Theatre, Bucharest, Romania. Uncle Vanya received five nominations for The Union of Romanian Theatres award (the Romanian equivalent of a TONY award) and received The Best Director prize.

Kordonskiy’s productions have won other awards in Romania, and garnered awards in Russia, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Great Britain. As a performer, Kordonskiy received two Golden Masques for the Best Production, the highest Russian theater award.

“Every theater director should be able to do what their actors do, but do it even better,” he says.

Though Kordonskiy is low key about the accolades he’s received, he does keep a production portfolio, thickened with performance photographs, newspaper clippings and flyers from the shows. Among them, features from the Washington Post, the Washington Times, St. Petersburg Theatre Journal, and even a three-page spread in the November 2005 Romanian issue of Elle Magazine. He’s also been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and three shows on National Television in Bucharest, Romania.

The acclaim is even more impressive considering the stage was not Kordonskiy’s first calling. In fact, he has a master’s degree in math and worked as an engineer before turning to professional theater.

“I was walking to work one day and said, ‘My job is boring. I don’t want to do this anymore,’ and I turned around and went home,” he says.

But he did have a plan. During his years at Odessa State University in Ukraine, he participated in theater. His improve theater group, The Club of Cheerful and Witty Ones, competed against other student teams and was aired on a national television. He continued on in repertory theater after getting his master’s in mathematics.

Kordonskiy decided to apply to the State Academy of Theatre Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. There were thousands of applicants. Kondonskiy was one of only nine students.

He entered the Academy’s “theater boot camp” and danced, acted, sang, directed and even practiced acrobatics six days a week while studying mythology, theory and history of arts, among other theoretical disciplines. He received his master’s in fine art ‘in acting in 1995 and in directing in 1997 under Russian director Lev Dodin.

Kordonskiy was hired as a resident director and actor with the Maly Drama Theatre – Theatre of Europe in St. Petersburg. He produced an original play and took original roles, one of which he played for several years and took him with Maly’s touring company through 20 countries.

In 2001, Kordonskiy moved to the United States and was hired to direct The Marriage, Dangerous Corner, The Little Prince and Antigone in the Classika Theatre in Arlington, Va. He also taught classes as an acting teacher and resident director.

A year later, he came to Wesleyan as an assistant professor of theater and began teaching classes in directing, acting and his self-invented class on the theater of Anton Chekhov, which is cross-listed with the College of Letters and Russian Studies Department. Kordonskiy also advises frosh, tutors senior-year honors projects, and serves as a guest lecturer for the theater history course on Russian theater.

Having a conservatory-trained artist at Wesleyan who brings his rich and intense background to liberal arts context is big advantage to the Theater Department, explains Carr.

“I admire the way he has adapted this conservatory, no compromise, approach to directing and teaching to our diverse, multi-focused students,” Carr says. “The students regard him as possibly the most demanding professor in the department, and at the same time they love working with him.”

Kordonskiy has opted for advanced acting, directing and lighting design classes to merge during class times to create a full production. This collaboration has led to increased enthusiasm by the students.

Mosah Fernandez-Goodman ‘04, associate director of the annual fund, says being a student under “Yuriy” was one of the best academic experiences he has had at Wesleyan.

“He was extremely well organized, insightful and patient, and his expectations were clear from the beginning of the project and he worked to develop each student’s talent to their highest levels,” Fernandez-Goodman says. “I think working with him is something I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.”

For Kordonskiy, teaching has become as much a passion as directing and acting.

“I’ve worked with some very creative, interesting students here at Wesleyan and in general, they seem to be very mature,” Kordonskiy says. “They bring a lot of joy to the classroom and when I learn from them, I feel younger.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Squash, Tennis Coach Knows What all the Racket is About


Shona Kerr, head men’s and women’s squash coach and assistant women’s tennis coach, says the opportunity to help the Wesleyan Squash program reach its potential is among her goals as a new coach.
 
Posted 03/01/06
Q: When were you hired as Wesleyan’s head men’s and women’s squash coach and assistant women’s tennis coach?

A: July was when I first set foot on Wesleyan’s campus as head squash coach and assistant tennis coach. I spent the summer in and out of the office, preparing for the season, moving to Middletown, coaching at some squash camps and starting the recruiting of new players for the Wesleyan Squash Team.

Q: How similar are tennis and squash?

A: All racket sports have similarities and differences. In tennis you face your opponent and take it in turns to hit a ball over a net. In squash you take it in turns to hit a ball against a wall and share the same space. I often tell people squash is like tennis we just replaced the net with a wall. The squash ball is much smaller and the racket is lighter and unlike tennis we have four walls that we can use to play different angle shots.

Q: Is squash an easy game to pick up?

A: It is an easy game to pick up and yes, anyone can do this. The principle is very simple, you hit a ball against a wall. Most people are able to do this very quickly and get rallying very quickly which is when the game starts to be fun. Unlike tennis you do not need to go a very long way to pick up balls and it is much easier to keep the ball in play so there is very little wasted exercise time on a squash court and the rallies can be much longer. Once you are able to rally with an opponent you can begin to strategize and put the ball in difficult places to reach creating the work out aspect. Some say squash is physical chess and often the strategic mental side to the sport completely takes your mind of the physical effort making for a pleasurable alternative to the treadmill.

Q: Prior to Wesleyan, you coached squash at Wellesley College for four years, finishing with a 44-40 record. Why did you come to Wesleyan?

A: The new facility is obviously gorgeous with eight international size courts, a big step up from my previous position where we had six American narrow squash courts. Aside from this material factor the opportunity to take the Wesleyan Squash program and help it reach its potential was a big attraction. Previously I worked with just a women’s team so to do both men and women was a big draw also.

Q: Prior to coaching at Wellesley, where did you coach?

A: I coached the Cardiff University men’s and women’s teams as well as teaching privately in clubs and assisting with some junior level county squash. These were all part time positions and one of the big reasons to come to the United States was that there are actually full time positions in college coaching unlike in the U.K. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work in the U.S. in this capacity so everything about the transition was positive to me. The university and college system is very different in the U.S. and the approach to varsity teams is a world apart from my own experiences so that took a while to get a handle on.

Q: What was the worst part about your transition to the U.S.?

A: The most tedious and stressful part of the move is gaining work authorization as anyone from overseas who is working here will tell you. The work itself has been a pleasure.

Q: As a player, you were a member of the Welsh University’s team from 1996-99, and a member of the UWIC team, which won the Women’s Welsh Premiere League. Not to mention, you were a national squash age-group champion for under-35 in 2004 and 05, and also played for the Boston Ladies “A” Team which won the Howe Cup. Do you still play competitively?

A: I definitely still consider myself an active player and hope to do so for a long while to come. I have actually won U.S. National Championships in the under 35 and 5.0 skill level, the highest women’s skill level, categories for the past two years. They are only letting women enter one skill level this year so I will be attempting to retain the 5.0 skill level title for the 3rd consecutive year next month. As a junior I played for England at the under 19 and under 16 levels, this is one of the achievements I am most proud of. Most of my contemporaries are now very successful professional squash players.

Q: You serve as vice-president of the College Squash Association. Tell me a bit about this association and its purpose.

A: I will be moving into the second year of my two-year term as vice-president of the College Squash Association. The association basically oversees the running of college squash in the U.S. The NCAA governs other college sports but squash is not yet in this category. Women’s squash is an NCAA emerging sport and looks like it will gain this status in the next five years. Until then the association is a group of volunteer coaches who attempt to make sure competition is fair and that promote the development of college squash.

Q: As adjunct assistant professor of physical education, what classes are you teaching?

A: Squash – as you would guess, although I have taught golf, sailing and tennis prior to Wesleyan. I also run a squash course for the community as part of the Adult Fitness program.

Q: In squash and tennis, what lessons or skills do you stress?

A: I try and instill the value of commitment and that is to yourself, your teammates, your coach and your school. At college we play as a team so the choices you make will affect yourself, your team, and ultimately your school. There are many life skills that parallel to the world of squash and include aspects such as emotional control, dealing with pressure situations, being fair, strategizing, pushing and breaking through physical barriers to name just a few. This is in addition to the actual skill level and physical abilities that need to be developed in this sport.

Q: Where did you attend college and what are your degrees in?

A: I earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Cardiff University in 1998 and am pursuing a Masters Degree here at Wesleyan. I also hold a Level III advanced coaching certification from the England Squash Association.

Q: Men’s Squash ended it’s season in Feb. 19 with an 11-15 record, but still placed third of eight teams in “D” Division, 27th place nationally. Who were the top individuals of the team this year?

A: We were placed 3rd in our division but have finished the season ranked 26 as the runners up of the division were Vassar, a team we beat twice in the past few weeks. Rochester was the only team we lost to in that group and the winners of the division. It would be hard for me to single out individuals as we play and compete as a team. Everybody put in good performances and when we all achieved that on the same day the team got some great wins. Evan Lodge was invaluable at the top of the line up and always rose to the competition. J.Z. Golden was the team motivator and lead from the number 6 team position.

Q: And what about the women’s team who placed 24th nationally?

A: The women’s team moved up a division this year from the “D” to the “C” flight, no mean achievement. Win-Loss records don’t always reflect things like this and we played many top-level teams to get to this place. Again a team achieved this achievement with Senior Captain Alex Loh truly growing into her position as a leader and first year, Brittany Delany flying the flag at the very difficult number one position. First year, Andrea Giuliano, at the number eight spot, inspired the team with her “no lose” attitude.

Q: Has this been a challenging season, being a new coach?

A: The challenge this year was to create a varsity program attitude and bring together a group of individuals and mold them into a team that works together, supports each other and respects one another. No individual can improve solely by himself or herself, so establishing this environment was very important. Next year I am looking forward to building on this and introducing new players to the group that will enhance these qualities and improves the playing and training standard of the teams.

Q: What are your thoughts on Wesleyan’s new Rosenbaum Squash Center?

A: It has made a lot of rival schools very envious and I cannot speak highly enough about the facility. The space and the layout are excellent not to mention that it is fully air-conditioned for summer play. It means we are able to host a lot more home matches and events, run camps and that Wesleyan can attract aspiring junior squash players that are serious about their sport

Q: I understand you’ve taught at several squash camps. Can you tell me about these?

A: Squash camps are the same as any other sport camp that school children would attend in the summer. I did direct a summer sport/squash camp on behalf of Squashbusters, which was entirely different. The camp was a sport camp for local school children between 8- and 14-years-old. It was free to attend and each participant played squash every day alongside other sports and life skills sessions. It was by far the toughest camp I have ever worked at and in hindsight the most satisfying.

Q: What is Squashbusters?

A: Squashbusters is an inner city after school program that helps sections of Boston’s youth with their school studies and teaches them about life through the game of squash. They draw from a couple of schools in the Roxbury area and then compete as a high school and middle school team. There are a number of these urban youth squash programs springing up in the U.S. This year’s number three men’s team member, Lonnie Gibbs, came through Streetsquash – the New York equivalent to Squashbusters. Lonnie is the second Urban squash program member to play at the collegiate level and I’m certain there will be many more.

Q: In addition to squash and tennis, what other sports do you enjoy playing or watching? What are your hobbies or interests aside from sports?

A: Most recently I have been hooked to watching the Winter Olympics and am looking forward to the upcoming World Cup Soccer Championships this year. I like to watch any sport at its best and watching individuals achieving excellence. I like to play golf when I get time, listening to any kind of live music as relaxation and travel whenever I can squeeze it in my schedule.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Student Wrestler Wins NECCWA Championship


Dan deLalla ’07, pictured on top, received the New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA) Championship title at 157 pounds.
Posted 03/01/06
Wrestling team co-captain Dan deLalla ’07 received the New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA) Championship title at 157 pounds during the match, hosted by Wesleyan Feb. 18 and 19.

deLalla becomes Wesleyan first NCAA qualifier since Brian Fair ’01 captured the 149-pound title in 2001. DeLalla traveled to the College of New Jersey for the NCAA Division III Championships March 3 and 4. deLalla competed in the 157-pount weight class for Wesleyan and lost to third-seeded Robert Gingerrich of North Central, 13-7, in the opening round. He then lost by pin (1:26) to Ryan Herwig of Delaware Valley in the consolation round.

deLalla injured his left elbow during the preseason, sat out the entire regular season but continued to train and practice on his own throughout the winter.

Two other Cardinals took all-New England honors at their weights as Josh Wildes ’08 placed third at 133 pounds and Mike Lima ’08 took fifth at 197 pounds

 
By Brian Katten, Sports Information Director

Research Professor Examines Greenhouse Emissions in Deep Sea Biota at National Symposium


Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, examines the fossils of sea creatures from her office in Exley Science Center. Thomas extracted her samples from the ocean’s floor. She says they are more than 65 million years old.

Posted 03/01/06
The largest habitat on Earth lies hundreds to thousands of feet beneath sea level, in a dark, near-freezing, high-pressure environment with little food.

About 65 million years ago, the life forms living on the ocean-floor in this habitat survived the an asteroid impact, which probably wiped out the dinosaurs and many other forms of life on land and in the sea. But 55 million years ago, an episode of rapid global warming caused extinction of a third to half of the species of sea-bottom dwellers.

Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, argues that fossils from these unicellular sea creatures can help in understanding how the biota would react to another onslaught of global warming caused by a rapid emission of greenhouse gases.

“In general, deep-sea benthic foraminifera do not easily suffer large extinction; most of them are cosmopolitan, and can survive local environmental problems in a refugium somewhere in the world’s oceans,” Thomas explains. “The extinction was most probably caused by metabolic and ecosystem restructuring due to rapid global warming,” she says.

Thomas recently presented her ideas in an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) symposium on the topic “Ancient Greenhouse Emissions and Hothouse Climates,” held Feb. 17 in St. Louis, Mo. The AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world.

In this session, Thomas and six other experts examined the major periods of hothouse climates and their associated greenhouse gas levels from a geological perspective and integrated geologic, chemical, and biologic proxy records.

Thomas discussed “Deep-Sea Biota: Consequences of Massive Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” and recalled the global warming episode about 55 million years ago. During this period, the planet’s temperature rapidly rose between 9 and 16 degrees F in a short period of time.

“Deep-sea biota are so poorly known so that we can not predict their reaction to direct and indirect effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, but their fossil remains can be used to study the behavior of deep-sea biota during global warming,” Thomas explains.

Thomas joined speakers from Pennsylvania State University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Northwestern University, University of California, Santa Cruz, Columbia University, Rice University and The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

The speakers’ joint argument was that this period of natural global warming can be used as an example to give scientists valuable information on what happens to the planet and its life during such episodes of greenhouse warming. After debating, the speakers concluded that it is possible that climate sensitivity to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is larger than specified in most commonly used climate models. It is thus possible that the earth will warm up more than presently expected as a response to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

The sessions were attended by scientists, but also journalists, teachers and others simply interested in science. Because the symposium was spread out over four days, Thomas was able to attend other presentations outside of her field of expertise.

“I attended highly interesting, interdisciplinary sessions on intelligent design, scientific integrity, and a session on political and economic aspects of climate change in the near future,” she says.

Thomas also was selected to be an interviewee at the AAAS-organized press conference prior to her talk. She and four other speakers gave brief introductions to their research and answered questions from journalists. Thomas spoke to reporters from the AAAS paper ‘Science’, and other non-science media such as The Economist from the United Kingdom, a Swedish newspaper, and two Dutch TV-radio stations. Thomas, who is originally from The Netherlands, spoke to these reporters in Dutch.

“They were very thrilled to be able to interview someone who is from Holland and could speak in Dutch,” she says. “I had not realized what a large international press representation there was going to be.”

AAAS President Gilbert Omenn says the symposium’s program was designed to challenge scientists, engineers, teachers and citizens to frame important scientific and societal problems in ways that create opportunities to apply the best in science and technology for broad benefit.

“We can mobilize individual disciplines and cross-disciplinary work on major national and global goals,” he said. “We can boldly define problems and potential solutions for the decades ahead, thereby inspiring the scientific and engineering community and attracting young people to this mission.”

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Project $AVE Wants Input on Saving Money, Improving Efficiencies


Phil Cotharin, temperature controls mechanic/energy management specialist, is helping Wesleyan significantly reduce energy waste and save money. A new initiative, Project $AVE, will work with the campus community to implement energy-saving ideas.

Posted 03/01/06
During the past two years:

  • The Purchasing Office negotiated purchasing contracts, competitive bidding and individual purchasing negotiations, saving $800,000.
  • Wesleyan Station contracted with a new vendor for handling first-class university mail services to save $4,000 annually.
  • The Freeman Athletic Center added energy-efficient fixtures, automated light sensors and high efficiency pumps to provide a rebate of $18,300.
  • Waste management efficiencies consolidated four dumpsters into one trash compactor at a central location, yielding $32,000 in annual savings.

    These are just a few ways Wesleyan has worked to save money and develop sustainable and viable efficiencies on campus. Now, a new initiative called “Project $AVE” will add to this success by collecting additional ideas for sustained cost savings throughout the Wesleyan community.

    Project $AVE, http://www.wesleyan.edu/projectsave/, is operated by a team faculty, staff and students who will carefully evaluate all suggestions submitted. The team will uses it own expertise in evaluating suggestions. When necessary, the team will also reach out to community members with relevant expertise to help evaluate selected suggestions.

    The status of ideas will be posted on the Project $AVE Web site as the team goes through evaluation and implementation.

    “We are most interested in suggestions that will result in permanent and on-going savings, but will also review suggestions for one-time savings,” says John Meerts, interim vice president for finance.

    Project $ave offered the first 25 people who submitted an idea with a gift coupon to Pi Café or the Red and Black Café. More than 50 people submitted ideas on the site’s launch date, Feb. 22.

    “We want all ideas whether big or small from everyone on campus,” says Ed Below, review team chair and director of Administrative Applications. “The more ideas, the more we save and the better we all get at doing our jobs.”

    Members of the Project $AVE review team are Below, Cliff Ashton, director of Physical Plant; Matt Ball ’08; Rick Culliton, dean of Campus Programs; Gemma Ebstein, director of Alumni and Parent Relations; Marc Eisner, professor of government; Diane Klare, science library reference librarian; Steve Machuga, Project Save technical advisor and director of Administrative Systems; Brian Stewart, associate professor of physics; Gabe Tabak ’06 and Jesse Watson ’06.

    To post a suggestion or to suggest a way for a process to work better, users can submit their ideas by leaving a message at the Project $AVE phone line, 860-685-2883, or by posting the suggestion on the Project $AVE Web Site.

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    By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

    Outreach Program Gives Local Students a Taste of East Asian Culture


    Pictured at top, right, Yashan Zhou ’09 and Mo Sarakun ’07 teach seventh graders from Woodrow Wilson Junior High School how to make their own sushi rolls.

    Pictured at left, Ada Fung ’06 teaches the students how to paint cherry blossoms on rice paper.

    Pictured below, Alex Weber ’06 teaches martial arts and the history of the shaolin.

    Posted 03/01/06
    Seventh-grader Liam Wolfram had tried sushi at Japanese restaurants, but he’s never attempted to make his own. Last month, Liam did just that as he and 25 of his classmates from Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Middletown experienced a taste of East Asian Culture at Wesleyan by preparing their own sushi rolls.

    “It only took about a minute to make, and it’s really good,” Liam says, chomping off a bite of his seaweed wrap, teeming with tuna, cucumber and carrot. “The rice sticks to the top of your mouth, though.”

    Sushi making, rice-paper painting and martial arts were all taught during the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Outreach Program. Now in its 19th year, the program was designed to reach students in the community by providing a range of hands-on activities that introduce them to various aspects of East Asian cultures.

    The student-run program is offered Friday mornings throughout the academic year and reaches about 300 students each year. Wesleyan students plan and run the activity workshops for each visiting class.

    “What do you know about Japan?” asks the program’s co-coordinator Mo Sarakun ’07.

    “It’s made up of islands,” one student answers.

    “They have a lot of noodles there,” another replies.

    Sarakun, a China native who studies Japanese culture at Wesleyan, taught the sushi session and talked to the students about Japan. Afterwards, the seventh graders moved to another room to learn about painting on rice paper.

    Program co-coordinator Ada Fung ’06 taught painting techniques and the students participated and went back to school with their own paintings of cherry blossoms.

    Fung, who has worked as a coordinator for three years, says she enjoys working with area children because of their eagerness to learn something new.

    “Curiosity and open-mindedness are the two most important things a student can bring when they come to participate in the program because they’ll get a lot more out of it,” she says. “It’s a crash course in East Asian culture, but if we can plant the seed, just inspire and encourage them to keep learning about other cultures and countries, I think we will have achieved our purpose.”

    The Outreach Program’s coordinators tailor each session to the incoming class’s age level, ranging from preschool through high school. Visiting classes average about 25 students in size, and are split into three smaller groups which rotate among the activity sessions. This way, each student has the opportunity to participate in three different activities.

    Other sessions offered include Writing and Language, Food in East Asia, Martial Arts, Japanese Tea Ceremony, East Asian Music, Traditional Clothing, Kamishibai Story-telling and Origami. Po-wei Weng, a graduate student in the Music Department, also has taught segments on Peking Opera, introducing the music, techniques, gongs and symbols.

    The sessions may include visits in the Freeman Center’s Japanese-style tatami room and garden, a kitchen to prepare Chinese and Japanese meals, and a gallery with changing exhibitions of East Asian art.

    Wesleyan students benefit from teaching the sessions, explains Stephen Angle, chair of the East Asian Studies Program, director of the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and associate professor of East Asian Studies and philosophy.

    “The Outreach Program gives our own Wesleyan students the opportunity to practice communicating their understanding of East Asian culture to others,” Angle says. “At the same time, our students are serving a younger generation of students in the community surrounding Wesleyan.”

    This is the second year Kim Fentress, a teacher at Woodrow Wilson school, brought her geography students to the Wesleyan program.

    “We’re just beginning to study East Asian culture, and the program here at Wesleyan really ties in with that we’re learning,” Fentress says. “It’s wonderful we have Wesleyan right here in Middletown.”

    For more information on the Outreach Program, contact program coordinator Shirley Lawrence at 860-685-2330 or e-mail slawrence@wesleyan.edu, or Ada Fung at afung@wesleyan.edu.

     
    By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

    The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

    CHINESE PAINTING: Pictured at left, center, artist Zhang Hong, from the Art and Industrial Design College at Beijing Institute of Technology, teaches Chinese ink painting during a demonstration-workshop Feb. 2 at the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies.

    Hong presented a slide-show and history on the art form, and introduced the 20 participants to the tools and techniques of traditional Chinese painting. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)