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.
| During the past two years:
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 sites 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.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
| 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.
| Seventh-grader Liam Wolfram had tried sushi at Japanese restaurants, but hes 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 its 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.
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 programs co-coordinator Mo Sarakun 07.
Its 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 theyll 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 Programs coordinators tailor each session to the incoming classs 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 Centers 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.
Were just beginning to study East Asian culture, and the program here at Wesleyan really ties in with that were learning, Fentress says. Its wonderful we have Wesleyan right here in Middletown.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
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)|
by Olivia Drake •
Pictured left to right, front row: Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology; John Seamon, professor of psychology; Janice Naegele, associate professor of biology; John Dekker, candidate, department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School; Megan Carey, postdoctoral fellow, neurobiology department, Harvard Medical School; Allan Berlind, professor of biology, emeritus; Joshua Gooley, postdoctoral fellow, Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; David Bodznick, professor of biology; Harry Sinnamon, professor of psychology; John Kirn, chair, neuroscience and behavior program and associate professor, biology; Back row: Sam Sober, postdoctoral fellow, Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience, UCSF and Mauricio Delgado, assistant professor, department of psychology, Rutgers University.
| The Neuroscience and Behavior Symposium was held at Wesleyan University on Feb. 11.
Organized by John Kirn, associate professor of biology, neuroscience and behavior (NS&B) and Chair of Wesleyans Neuroscience & Behavior Program, the symposium was designed to allow current Wesleyan undergraduates to discuss the major and research with established alumni of the Neuroscience & Behavior Department. Nearly 60 people attended the symposium, which was followed by lunch and an informal panel discussion.
I think that current students like to hear first hand about the experiences of others who are a few steps further along in their career paths, says Kirn, who hoped to also attract to the symposium Wesleyan students who dont conduct research, and who have limited interactions with graduate students.
All of our current majors doing research interact with our own graduate students and I think this is a very important mentoring process – yet another reason why we are lucky to have a Ph.D. program, he says.
Kirn also says the conference was a great opportunity for current students to learn how the speakers structured their own educations at Wesleyan and to find out what their lives are like now.
Current Wesleyan students, like Emily Gallivan and Jessica Ghofrani, both Sophomore NS&B majors, were happy with the small, intimate symposium setting and found the presentations interesting.
Junior NS&B major Tarek Sami agrees.
I liked hearing about the history of the department and this was a great opportunity to meet alumni and current faculty in the department, he says.
One of the symposiums featured speakers was alumna Megan Carey 96, now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. Carey also received a masters from Wesleyan Universitys NS&B department in 1997. She presented a talk on her Ph.D, thesis which she earned from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), titled Visual instructive signals for motor learning.
Careys work suggests a mechanism for how sensory signals represented in specific brain areas can lead to changes in neuronal activities that trigger learned behaviors, such as riding a bike or playing tennis. Carey studied the repeated eye movements of monkeys in order to gather her information.
Another alumni, Sam Sober 98, discussed his Ph.D. dissertation research, titled Sensory Integration During Motor Planning.
Sober, who also received his Ph.D. from UCSF, is now a postdoctoral fellow at UCSFs Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience. He spoke about his Ph.D., which involved analyzing the movements that human subjects made when reaching towards targets in a virtual reality environment.
Sober used virtual reality to alter visual imagery, by shifting an image of the subjects arm away from its true location.
This led to people making reaching errors, explains Sober. We analyzed these errors and found that the brain is very adaptable in how it combines visual information with proprioceptive (the felt sense of posture) information.
Sober says that although his studies focused on healthy individuals, a basic understanding of how the brain integrates different sources of information could help us understand disorders resulting from strokes and traumatic brain injuries.
Sober, who earned a Luce Fellowship, took a year off after graduating from Wesleyan to study acupuncture in Korea. He told the audience that taking a year off between finishing undergraduate studies and beginning graduatestudies or medical school was a good way to stem potential burn out.
Other presentations included Entrainment of the Circadian Timing System, by Joshua Gooley 00; Reward-related processing in the human striatum, by Mauricio Delgado 97 and Single Channel Analysis of Mammalian HCN Gating, by John Dekker 98, 99.
These speakers, who once did research in our labs, are now doing excellent work and we wanted to recognize them for their achievements, says Kirn. Based on suggestions of some students, wed like to host something like this again with alumni who arent in academic positions with a theme like Just what can I do with this NS&B degree anyway?
|By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
David Beveridge, pictured at right, the University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics and professor of chemistry studies molecular dynamics of biological molecules and systems with postdoctoral fellow Bethany Kormos and research associate Surjit Dixit.
by Olivia Drake •
|Ronald Ebrecht, university organist, plays Wesleyan’s concert organ, which he designed for the Memorial Chapel. Below, the organ pipes are installed in the chapel. (Photos by Bill Burkhart)|
| Q: When did you become the Wesleyan organist and visiting instructor in music?
A: I came to Wesleyan in 1988.
Q: How did you begin playing the organ and where?
A: I started as a young child, maybe around the age of 10. I loved the organ like kids love fire trucks.
Q: Did you have an interest in piano that led to the organ?
A: I didnt want anything to do with the piano. It wasnt loud enough.
Q: You studied at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, Yale University, and Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Were you always studying the organ? What types of music in specific?
A: In addition to organ, I also studied harpsichord at all three institutions. This does not mean that I was only interested in Baroque music. In organ concerts, I play a wide range of repertoire. My research, writing and editions are of late 19th and early 20th century French music.
Q: In 1990, you founded the Young Organ Virtuosi Weekend, a biennial festival that celebrates the talents of emerging concert organists. What is the purpose of this event?
A: The festivals purpose is to be a non-contest. That is, there are too many organ-playing contests and too few concert opportunities for the laureates. It is much more pleasant to direct than a contest would be because the visitors get to enjoy the company of each other and to interact collegially with our students. The audience is a mix of students and local organ aficionados.
Q: What is the Midnight Organ Romp?
A: The not-to-be-missed event of the first week of May is themed, but different each year. It is about costumes and craziness. I share this concert with any students who are interested, which makes them more exciting for everyone.
Q: Are you still the dean of the American Guild of Organists Waterbury Chapter? How many organists are in the chapter and in the state of Connecticut?
A: We have 84 in the Waterbury Chapter. There are five other Connecticut chapters and about 3,000 members in the country. We think about 10 percent of organists belong to the guild.
Q: Why should students interested in music study the organ? What types of careers can they go into with this type of skill and background?
A: Playing the organ is the worlds best-paying part-time employment. Students with keyboard ability who study organ have every conceivable major. They often use the organ to support graduate study and supplement their income later in life. There are relatively fewer opportunities for full-time employment.
Q: During the 2002-03 renovations of the Memorial Chapel, you designed the new concert organ, a Holtkamp opus 2085. This is Wesleyans fourth organ. What makes the Holtkamp unique?
A: I designed the organ to be adaptable to current and future compositional needs. It has a very broad tonal palette both in terms of color and volume. Whatever the mathematical result is for 60 combinations, which must be several thousand, is the limit of possible sounds.
Q: Do the music students get to use this organ, or what do they practice on?
A: The beginners are intimidated to practice upstairs in public, so they often use my studio organ for the first semesters practice and then use the big organ when they feel more confident.
Q: As a visiting instructor in music, youve taught Choral Singing, Pipe Organ: Theory and Practice and Individual and Group Tutorials for Undergraduates. What are some of the courses you currently teach
A: I am trying to finish my new book, and only teaching organ and one harpsichordist these days. Usually, I direct some senior projects but not this semester.
Q: What is your new book about?
A: Aristide Cavaille-Coll. Hes the greatest organ-builder of all time. I am writing my new book about his project to build the largest organ in the world at Saint Peters in Rome. Ive also written about American music, Black organ music, Messiaen and other composers.
Q: Youre editor of Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) The Last Impressionist, which features seven articles on Duruflé’s life and work. What is your personal interest in this French organist?
A: I knew the composer and his wife and her sister, also a musician, quite well. I met them at age 18 and learned French to be able to speak with them. I studied with them and play his complete organ works. I have also conducted his complete choral works, and most of the orchestral and chamber music. I know all the other scholars who had written about them, so invited everyone to join together for the book for his centennial in 2002. I never imagined it would be acquired by libraries on every continent as the first biography of this important composer.
Q: In addition to music, what are your interests?
A: I am an avid flower gardener. I live to cook and entertain, and generally enjoy life. I also would like to make a fad of wearing dress shirts with bowties.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
| Wesleyan received a $200,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support an ongoing lecture series titled Ethics, Politics and Society. The award was given in honor of Douglas Bennets 10 years as president of Wesleyan University.
Wesleyans history of diversity, openness, and activism provides an environment that embraces the opportunity for scholarly discourse around issues of ethics, politics and society, Bennet wrote in the endowment proposal. As a liberal arts college, we have a responsibility to produce graduates who are able to think and act strategically within an ethical and moral framework. A permanent lecture fund, which does not have to compete each year for scarce financial resources, will go far in helping us achieve this goal.
The grant, awarded in December 2005, will allow Wesleyan to bring prominent speakers to campus who will engage faculty and students in intellectual discussions of critical and sensitive ethical, political and social issues.
The lecture fund will serve multiple university objectives. It will stimulate intellectual life on campus by introducing new perspectives and experiences to current issues; promote positive and civil political discourse; lay a foundation for lifelong participation as concerned and engaged citizens; and complement efforts already underway to incorporate ethical reasoning in the curriculum.
Expenditures from the Mellon-funded program, estimated at $10,000 a year, will be used for an honorarium, travel expenses and associated costs for the speaker to give a public lecture, attend a class and/or meet informally with faculty and students for one or two days.
As on many college campuses, Wesleyan recognizes that recent national events, as well as ongoing political and social unrest in several parts of the world, have altered how students view society as well as how they discuss their views, Bennet says. As students and later as graduates of Wesleyan, they will be faced with moral and ethical choices. This will be true, he says, in whatever courses of study or careers our students choose to pursue, from business to scientific research to politics to art.
Wesleyan is already stressing ethical reasoning in the curriculum. Wesleyan has hired new faculty positions in ethics and encourages faculty to designate courses that stress ethical reasoning.
The university also has established a faculty workshop to help them integrate ethics in their courses. This year, students can chose from among 88 courses with an ethics designation.
Wesleyan has a responsibility to prepare students to think clearly about current issues, to make informed choices and resolve conflict between diverse viewpoints, Bennet says.
by Olivia Drake •
Pictured left to right, 9-year-old Monica gets homework help from Wesleyan basketball players Gabe Gonzalez-Kreisberg ’09, Jared Ashe ’07 and Nick Pelletier ’08 during the Green Street Arts Center After School Program. Below, Gonzalez-Kreisberg, who helped launch an ongoing tutoring volunteer initiative goes over a book report with 7-year-old J.J. (Photos by Olivia Drake)
Students involved in Middletowns Green Street Arts Center After School Program look up to Wesleyan Universitys basketball team in more ways than one.
They always tell me that Im so tall! exclaims Gabe Gonzalez-Kreisberg, a 6-ft. 8-inch tall Wesleyan freshman, recalling how students he helps tutor at the center, like 7-year-old J.J., describe him.
Gonzalez-Kreisberg recently helped launch an ongoing tutoring volunteer initiative at Green Street Arts Center with Wesleyan Universitys basketball players.
The idea first occurred to Gonzalez-Kreisberg after Wesleyan basketball coach Gerry McDowell encouraged his team to volunteer in the Middletown area during their winter break from classes.
Gonzalez-Kreisberg remembered an e-mail he received from Wesleyans community service office calling for tutors at Green Streets After School Program. He then mentioned the program to Coach McDowell and the entire team immediately agreed to help.
As a result, in shifts of four players per day, the basketball team began to regularly tutor Middletown children enrolled in the program. Even now, with spring semester underway, a handful of players continue to tutor in their free time.
Many athletes have a sense that things should be given to them, and I wanted our team to know that they should give something back to the community, says McDowell. Our team is a solid group of guys, who all care about one another on and off the court and this is important for them to do as a team.
I love math and I always encourage the kids to stay with it and to have fun, says Jared Ashe, the Wesleyan basketball team captain and a junior Economics major from Stamford, Conn. In sports, great coaching motivates you to play your best. I want to motivate the kids with their homework in the same way.
When they arrive at the Green Street Arts Center, the students, who range in age from seven to 14, eat a snack and socialize a bit with friends. Then the students who are not enrolled in arts classes go to the homework room where several tutors, including the basketball players, are stationed to assist them.
After helping students finish their homework, which can be in a variety of subjects including math and reading, the players often talk with the kids and sometimes play board games with them.
Ashe, who has always enjoyed tutoring his peers even back in high school, says the board games help to motivate the students to follow through and finish up their homework.
Thirteen year-old Elijah always wants to finish his homework, he says, because that means Gonzalez-Kreisberg will tell him a story afterwards.
One time, Gabe told me how he touched the court at an Orlando Magic game! shouts Elijah.
During every tutoring session, Wesleyans basketball players agree that the students always seem to get excited about their schoolwork.
I think one reason why is that were such a close group of guys that are all genuinely happy to help out, says Ashe.
Gonzalez-Kreisberg says another reason why is because he and his teammates act as mentors for the students.
Because we play a sport and because these students are impressed by the NBA, it allows us to connect directly to them, says Gonzalez-Kreisberg.
We try to always stress to them that we are just people who happen to play basketball and that were strong in our academics first, then in athletics, he says.
Despite heavy academic and athletic schedules, both Ashe and Gonzalez-Kreisberg, and other players, like sophomore Nick Pelletier from Amherst, New Hampshire, are committed to continue tutoring at Green Street. Even Coach McDowell has committed to spend some time tutoring at the Center before the year is out.
Having the team volunteer during Winter break was a tremendous help as we are often left with no student volunteers until classes resume in late January, says Ricardo Morris, Director of the Green Street Arts Center. It was also especially nice to have so many male volunteers. I hope the basketball team and other males will consider volunteering at Green Street more often.
This is such a positive experience for us as individuals and as a team, says Ashe. Hopefully it will continue long after we have all graduated from Wesleyan.
|By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
Judith Brown, vice president for academic affairs and provost, will step down from her position June 30. She will spend a year on sabbatical, and return to Wesleyan as a professor of history in 2008.
Brown was recruited six years ago to help Wesleyan achieve its highest academic aspirations as a liberal arts university.
Judith brought extraordinary intelligence and commitment to what is surely one of the most difficult jobs in university administration, says President Doug Bennet. I speak for the trustees and all of us in thanking her for her leadership and celebrating her plan to return to scholarship here at Wesleyan.
Brown, who has not has a sabbatical since 1992, has worked in academic administration for 11 years. She made her announcement during a faculty meeting Feb. 14.
I am ready for a change and for a change of pace, she says. I would like to take a break, to resume some intellectual projects I have neglected, to explore new intellectual horizons, and above all, to take more time to be with and travel with my family, especially with my husband, Shannon, while we are still able to enjoy a healthy, energetic, and active life.
Bennet will appoint another faculty member as interim vice president for academic affairs and will actively consider nominations.
It is of the greatest importance that we sustain the momentum and direction to which Judith has contributed so much, and meet the objectives in the strategic plan, Bennet says.
by Olivia Drake •
|Kate Mullen, head women’s basketball coach, stands outside the Freeman Athletic Center. She has coached Wesleyan athletes for 14 years.|
| Q: When did you become the head womens basketball coach at Wesleyan?
A: The 1992-93 year was my first year at Wesleyan.
Q: What is your record so far this year?
A: As of Jan. 30, we are 13-5 overall and tied with Bates for first place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 5-1 conference record,
Q: In the last three seasons, youve had an exceptional 63-13 record. And in 2004-05, you led the team to the programs best record of 22-5. What did this mean for Wesleyan?
A: One teams success can help set the tone and standard for other teams. I believe our success helped showcase Wesleyan Athletics both on and off campus. If you attended our National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) First Round game here last March, you experienced a terrific atmosphere of excitement and positive energy.
Q: In 2002-03, you were voted by your conference peers as the NESCAC coach of the year. That must have been a great honor. What was your reaction?
A: The acknowledgement of our basketball staffs efforts by my coaching colleagues was what really made the award special.
Q: What lessons do you stress in your coaching? What do you expect out of your players mentally and physically?
A: Strong fundamentals, team defense, and striving to improve are important parts of the program. We teach everyday in practice and look for student-athletes who want to get better. A high level of fitness and mental toughness are stressed because that is what builds and maintains confidence and success over the long haul.
Q: Who are your key players this year?
A: As usual, we rely on our seniors for their leadership, talent and desire to help meet our goals for the season. Meg Robinson 06, Ashley Mastrangelo 06 and Hannah Stubbs 06 have brought this group a long way this season, and we have our most important basketball ahead of us.
Q: Where did you grow up, and when did you begin playing ball? Did you play other sports?
A: Im from Connecticut originally and began playing basketball in elementary school. I played field hockey and softball in high school and college, but basketball was my passion.
Q: Where did you attend college? What did you major in, and what sports did you play in college?
A: I attended Central Connecticut State University for physical education and to play basketball for Professor Brenda Reilly. I also played field hockey and softball in college.
Q: Did you always want to become a full-time coach?
A: Looking back, ninth grade seemed to be the year I decided I wasnt going to focus on music and lead the band, but instead I would go towards athletics and coaching.
Q: Prior to Wesleyan, where did you coach? Was your team competing against Wesleyan?
A: Prior to Wesleyan I was the head womens basketball coach and associate athletic director at Elms College, a small Catholic Womens College in Western Massachusetts. I became familiar with Wesleyan when we began playing them. When my current position was posted, I felt strongly that I would be a good match for Wesleyan and vise versa. Fourteen years have gone by very quickly and my appreciation and respect for the Wesleyan community continues to grow.
Q: Youve been a lecturer at various basketball camps. What topics do you speak on and messages do you hope to get through?
A: Depending on the age of the campers, I lecture on a variety of topics. I choose skills like defense and rebounding that anyone can improve on. Also, I like to stress the fun and teamwork found in our sport. Often, I end a lecture with giving the campers two words that I guarantee will improve their game: The words are, Yes, Coach! I have them practice those words with energy and enthusiasm.
Q: As an adjunct professor of physical education, what sports-related classes do you teach at Wesleyan?
A: I currently teach two sections of Introduction to Strength Training.
Q: Tell me about the Fundamental Basketball Camp, of which you are co-owner.
A: FBC is for girls from fifth grade through to entering your senior year of high school. We offer a great mix of skill sessions, games, drill work, lectures and fun! Our staff is made up of experienced coaches and our players from Wesleyan, which is an added appeal to the campers. Anyone interested should contact me at 860-685-2888 for any questions.
Q: Aside from sports, what are your hobbies?
A: I enjoy hiking, fitness, reading and playing the flute.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
|Mary Bolich, head of men’s and women’s swimming, wants her swimmers to be mentally strong in the pool and in the classroom.|
| Q: Mary, where did you grow up and when did you develop an interest in swimming?
A: I grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania, a town just outside of Philadelphia. The neighborhood I grew up in had a summer club pool just down the street from my home. My siblings and I lived at the pool each summer. I would say this is where my early interest in swimming started.
Q: Where did you attend college and what did you major in? What events did you swim in college?
A: I attended Temple University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Much to the dismay of my distance swimmers I was a sprinter in college. My events were sprint fly, back and freestyle.
Q: Why did you decide to become a swimming coach?
A: I started coaching in college with summer league programs to make some extra money, and really enjoyed it. When I graduated undergrad my college coach asked if I would be interested in being his assistant coach and offered me a graduate assistant position. I earned my masters and continued to enjoy the experience, so I accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh.
Q: What year did you come to Wesleyan to coach, and what are the teams records?
A: I came to Wesleyan in July of 2000. The mens team record this year is 12 4, and the womens team record is 12 6.
Q: Prior to Wesleyan, where did you coach?
A:, I spent four years at the University of Iowa as the head coach of the womens program. Before Iowa I was at Penn State for seven years as the womens assistant coach, and also taught in the Exercise Science program. I also coached at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Pittsburgh.
Q: Why did you leave a Division I school to come to Wesleyan, a Division III?
A: I had a strong interest in living on the east coast. I also was curious about Division III athletics. When the Wesleyan position opened I saw it as a great opportunity at a school that offered outstanding academics with an excellent swimming facility. A great combination for success.
Q: In 2005, the College Swimming Coaches Association of America reported that the Wesleyan team members had an impressive 3.27GPA in the Academic All-American Standings Division III. How important is it to you that your student-athletes are physically, as well as mentally strong?
A: Academics are the number one priority for the Wesleyan swimmers and divers. We discuss the importance of time management, and our individual and team goals to achieve excellence in the classroom, as well as the pool. As a program, we are very proud of the recognition both teams and several individuals have received as a result of their success in the classroom. The mens and womens team have received national honors each of the last 10 semesters for their team GPAs. Many of the semesters the teams were ranked academically at the top of the NESCAC Conference and top 10 in the country for their overall team GPAs. We have had many individuals recognized with conference honors, and several individuals have earned Academic All American accolades during the last five years.
Q: Who are the teams key athletes this season? What team or individual records been broken?
A: I would say our seniors play a key role in their leadership and guidance for both teams. Rob Mitchell, Dan Devine and Stephanie Lasby as captains, and Josh Tanz, Will McCue and Alec Zebrowski also add to the positive direction for our large underclassmen group. During my six seasons at Wesleyan the mens team has set 12 new team records, and the womens team has also set 12 new team records.
Q:: Who else do you collaborate coaching with?
A: The other members of the swimming and diving coaching staff are Mollie Parrish and Jeff Miller. Mollie is in her fourth year as the assistant coach for the mens and womens swimming teams. She came from Denison University where she majored in biology, and had a highly successful collegiate swimming career. She earned 20 All-America honors, won seven national titles and set three NCAA Division III records and was a member of the 2001 NCAA Championship Title team. Jeff was a national level diver at the University of Pittsburgh, and coached at University of West Virginia and the University of Maryland. Jeff also serves as the associate director of facility management for the universitys physical plant.
Q: The annual New England Small College Athletic Conference begins this month. How are you helping the teams prepare?
A: The Womens NESCAC Championships are Feb. 17 19 at Bowdoin, and the Mens NESCAC Championships are Feb. 24 26 at Williams. The teams are preparing to swim their fastest performances of the season at these meets, as well as at the NCAA Championships in March. Our training focus at this point is speed, recovery and attention to race detail.
Q: Why did the Swimming and Diving Team go to Puerto Rico this year?
A: The mens and womens swimming and diving teams traveled to San Juan for our winter training trip in early January. This is the time in our season where we train at a very high level. We are swimming double workouts plus dry land training that consumes a good part of our day during this training phase. Being able to do this intense training in a warm and pleasant environment enhances the experience for the athletes.
Q:I understand you have coached athletes at the Olympic trials in 1992, 1996, and 2000. What is it like for you to work with the worlds top athletes?
A: It is fun and exciting being a part of training and competing at the national and international level. It is a great opportunity to meet many people and travel to places I may have never gone to with out this experience.
Q: What physical education classes do you teach as an adjunct professor of physical education?
A: I teach Beginning Swimming, which is my favorite, and Advanced Beginning Swimming and Swimming for Fitness.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I like to run, and also enjoy spending time with family and friends.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
Ferocious Beauty: Genome premiered Feb. 3 and Feb. 4 in the Center for the Arts Theater.
How we heal, age, procreate and eat may soon change because of genetic research happening right now. The world premiere of renowned choreographer Liz Lermans Ferocious Beauty: Genome explores this moment of revelation and questioning in an arresting theatrical work that combines movement, music, text and film.
The world premier of Ferocious Beauty: Genome took place Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, in the Center for the Arts Theater.
The piece is the result of an unprecedented partnership with scientists and ethicists to confront the promise and threat of a new biological age.
For the past three years, the CFA and Wesleyan faculty have partnered with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, led by Liz Lerman, to explore the ethical and social repercussions of genetic research. The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange is a professional company of dance artists that creates, performs, teaches, and engages people in making art.
Through relationships with Wesleyans science faculty and students, Wesleyan served as a laboratory for Lermans development of the piece. This collaboration reflects both the Dance Exchanges and Wesleyans emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, as the project has initiated an unprecedented dialogue between scientists and artists. The outcome will be represented through a plurality of viewpoints, mirroring a dialogue among multiple voicesartistic, scientific and scholarlyin their varied perspectives.
Wesleyan provided extensive information, assistance and feedback in helping Lerman to create the piece.
The piece took a conceptual turn several times because of the contributions from the scientists at Wesleyan, Lerman says. And, the fact that one of the scientists is a dancer made the leap between the two disciplines easier.
The partnership with Wesleyan has also resulted in the most comprehensive residency ever undertaken by a dance company at Wesleyan. Lerman joined Wesleyans dance faculty as a visiting assistant professor for fall 2005. Students in her class had the opportunity to explore scientific, ethical and social issues related to genetic research.
Liz Lerman, who received a MacArthur Genius Grant fellowship in 2002 for her visionary work, exposed Wesleyan students and faculty to the Dance Exchanges methods and interdisciplinary approach. The ultimate goal was to refine ways to teach science to non-scientists and to gain knowledge through embodied movement.
Wesleyan and the Flint Cultural Center in Flint, Mich. are the lead commissioners of Ferocious Beauty: Genome.
The show will soon tour major performing arts centers including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and the Krannert Center for Performing Arts at the University of Illinois.
For more information on the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange visit http://www.danceexchange.org/.