Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared in the South Bend Tribune on Aug. 24. Kaitlyn Rabach served as a student program coordinator for the Study of the United States Institute. Saint Mary’s has a 169-year history of women’s leadership. The college’s founders, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, crossed many boundaries as they traveled to Indiana from Le Mans, France. Over the years the sisters have worked hard to meet the needs of the South Bend community through avenues like education and health care, while also acting globally. Similarly, the students at this Catholic women’s college cross boundaries often, serving Michiana as volunteers and interns while choosing, in many cases, to study abroad. So notes Elaine Meyer-Lee, director of the college’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL). For the second summer in a row, the college has connected the global community with South Bend’s local needs in a unique way. This year Saint Mary’s hosted 19 undergraduate women leaders from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya and Tunisia for a five-week U.S. Department of State sponsored program titled “Study of the United States Institute” (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership. “We are very gratified the State Department recognized the college’s accomplishments in promoting intercultural exchange by awarding us this grant,” Meyer-Lee said. “It is this type of exchange that broadens everyone’s horizons.” This program not only offered global interaction for faculty and students at Saint Mary’s, but also for several service organizations in South Bend. Each of the 19 participants volunteered in the community for a total of 12 hours, Meyer-Lee said. “For the participants’ curriculum, we cover various proficiencies we think women should acquire to become effective agents of change,” said Mana Derakhshani, the SUSI academic director and associate director of CWIL. “The theory they get in the classroom is reinforced with the practice at the service locations.” This year’s service locations included the Center for the Homeless, Chiara Home El Campito, Hannah’s House, Hope Ministries, Saint Margaret’s House, Sister Brannick Clinic and North Central Indiana YWCA. “We picked the locations carefully to fit the theme of women’s leadership and rights,” Meyer-Lee said. “Many of the service placements have strong women leaders running the programs and many of these places are focused on serving women’s needs, which dovetails with the curriculum.” Derakhshani said many of the participants only knew about the United States from Hollywood movies and TV shows, contributing to misconceptions. “They see extremes like gangsters and criminality as well as very rich and very plastic Hollywood images of women,” Derakhshani said. “The service component, among other aspects of this program, helps to debunk some of those stereotypes. This way, participants can meet individuals from diverse ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds.” Anood, an 18-year-old Jordanian college student, volunteered at Saint Margaret’s House in South Bend for her 12 service hours. (The State Department does not permit the participants last names to be published.) She said volunteering at the day house for women allowed her to see the importance of communicating and befriending others. “This house is all about giving to people in need,” Anood said. “You give to them by being friends with them, by communicating with them and by becoming close to them rather than just offering them food, money or other needs.” For most of these women, this type of service is not common in their home countries. Hajer, a 21-year-old Libyan college student, said volunteering in Libya is very different from volunteering in the States. “What I saw at St. Margaret’s House was volunteers giving their time on a regular basis and volunteering long term,” Hajer said. “In Libya, this kind of volunteering is usually only for a few days. Most of my peers volun-teer for nonprofits as project managers.” Kathy Schneider, executive director of St. Margaret’s House, said the young women have been working with the house’s Girls Club, which serves young girls from ages 8 to 13. “This has been a very humanizing experience,” Schneider said. “These young girls see their world being much bigger than just their house and town. They then think if these girls could come all the way here maybe one day they could travel the world as well.” Anood said her experience with the Girls Club was very much related to the concepts learned during her SUSI experience. “SUSI is all about overcoming obstacles and crossing borders together to make a brighter future for each and every woman,” Anood said. “At the Girls Club, we learned a leader should be a person who gives support to others and serves others. If a leader can’t give to the community or the people around her than she is not a true leader.”
Sophomore defensive end David Gilbert (11) was one of four recruits to enroll early last season. This year, his fellow defensive lineman Warren Herring is the only Wisconsin recruit who chose to forego his final semester of high school.[/media-credit]At first glance, there’s nothing especially remarkable about Warren Herring.Herring, a freshman defensive lineman on the Wisconsin football team, isn’t the biggest guy at his position. At 6-foot-3, 252 lbs., he’s actually among the smallest defensive linemen on the team, dwarfed — relatively speaking, of course — by the 6-foot-6, 284 lb. J.J. Watt.Herring isn’t the most highly-touted recruit in the 2010 class, and he’s not especially boisterous, but exceptionally quiet. He has a soft voice for a man his size.So in a sport where athletes must be remarkable — in size, skill, or sometimes, personality — to be noticed, what makes Herring remarkable boils down not to inches or pounds, but a simple decision. The decision he made and the decision his peers elected not to make.Herring was the only 2010 Wisconsin recruit who decided to enroll early. Recruits who graduate high school early are allowed to enroll at the university for the spring semester that would normally be their last semester of high school.As a result, they can participate in spring football practices.It’s not uncommon for athletes to enroll early. Last year, four recruits decided to get the jump start: defensive linemen Jordon Kohout and David Gilbert, offensive lineman Travis Frederick and quarterback Jon Budmayr. Three players enrolled early in 2008.But this year, it’s just Herring.Gilbert and Kohout agreed that having peers to commiserate with made the experience easier.“It helped a lot. Warren’s by himself. I had a roommate; I had someone to talk to, someone that was kind of going through the same new experiences, going from a big fish in a small pond,” Gilbert said. “To have a peer is invaluable, and he doesn’t have that.”Although Herring has every opportunity to feel alone, his new family at Wisconsin is trying to ensure he has every opportunity to feel welcomed. Wisconsin defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said Herring’s status as the lone early enrollee was not lost on the coaching staff.“We were very cognizant of that when he came in. We were proactive in that we asked some of our older guys to make sure and reach out to him,” Partridge said.“You’ve got to try to be someone he can ask questions to. It helped a lot for me, just having those four guys — a lot of the time it was just the four of us in the Regent watching TV, and he doesn’t have that,” Gilbert said. “So it must really suck for [Herring], I don’t know how he did it.”Whatever Partridge asked his players to do, it worked.“They’ve opened their arms up like family, so I walked on in. They’ve been treating me to everything,” Herring said of his teammates.So what does it take to sacrifice that last hurrah of high school?While many high schoolers are in the middle of their senior slides, Herring is taking challenging college courses.What it all boils down to for the native of Fairview Heights, Ill., is the future.“It was pretty tough. I didn’t really get a chance to hang around with my friends and stuff like that, have fun and joke around,” he said. “It was more about business; what was most important, what was going to help my future more.”Gilbert and Kohout both acknowledged the advantages that came with enrolling early last year. While Kohout was redshirted and put on the scout team, Gilbert played in 12 of 13 games, mainly on special teams. He had two fumble recoveries, one for a touchdown, and a highlight-reel worthy blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown against Purdue.With the Badgers’ defensive line being the position group with the most question marks, Kohout is in line to start at defensive tackle in the fall. The redshirt freshman attributed a lot of that to getting an extra spring of practice.Partridge noted how beneficial enrolling early can be, particularly in the case of defensive linemen. He stressed how the position relies on fundamentals — things like hand placement and footwork that can be the difference between being pancaked or getting free to make a tackle.“The transition happened earlier so they got their fundamentals in line,” Partridge said of Gilbert and Kohout. “They’re truly a full semester ahead fundamentally. Some of the guys that are only coming out of their redshirt freshman year, they had camp and then I couldn’t coach them anymore; they were on the scout team. I was able to coach [Gilbert and Kohout] for a full spring and coach them for camp.”But even with all the benefits of being a semester ahead of the other incoming freshmen, he doesn’t try to encourage kids to enroll early.“I wouldn’t, and I don’t. I enjoyed the last semester of my senior year, and I don’t talk kids out of it,” Partridge said. “But I make sure they understand what they’re missing when they make that choice.“I want to make sure they understand the sacrifice that they’re making, because if they really understand it, then they’ll come in and produce. If they come up here early and then they’re thinking about all that stuff, then really they won’t get as much out of it.”
A study led by Sarah Townsend, assistant professor of management and organization at the Marshall School of Business, discovered a new mechanism for coping with stress.Stress-free · Marshall assistant professor Sara Townsend hopes her study will eventually be beneficial to solving stress in the workplace. – Photo courtesy of Sarah TownsendThe study asserts that those in a stressful situation will benefit from discussing their feelings with those who are in a similar emotional state.Townsend’s study involved analyzing 52 female undergraduates who were paired up into teams of two for a public speaking exercise. The students were then told to prepare for and deliver a speech that was taped on video with their partner.Before their speeches, the participants were encouraged to discuss their feelings on the upcoming task. At this time, as well as during and after the recorded speeches, researchers measured each student’s level of cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone,” which is released by the adrenal glands during the body’s fight-or-flight reaction to stress.USC News reported that, according to the study, the results showed “that sharing a threatening situation with a person who is in a similar emotional state, in terms of her overall emotional profile, buffers individuals from experiencing the heightened levels of stress that typically accompany threat.”Having people in similar situations is key to the intended results.‘When you’re facing a threatening situation, interacting with someone who is feeling similarly to you decreases the stress you feel,” USC News reported.Marshall professor Trudi Ferguson, a lecturer in management and organization, discussed different coping mechanisms for stress in the workforce.“My personal experience is that stress can be reduced by grounding to validate people’s feelings, basically taking a step back and putting the project or presentation into context as to how big of a problem it actually is and will it matter a month from now,” Ferguson said.In addition to this study, Townsend is also spearheading a new Culture, Diversity and Psychophysiology Lab at Marshall.“My intention in the CDP lab is to get a group of graduate students and graduate research assistants to develop and run studies of high-impact research,” Townsend said. “As the name suggests I am interested in cultural differences and how people’s backgrounds shape their behavior, perceptions of the world, expectations and values, which in the end can lead to important benefits for future business leaders.”In an interview with USC News, Townsend went on to mention the future possibilities of her study in creating a better workplace.“We’ve found that emotional similarity is important,” she said. “So now the question is: How do we get people to be more similar? What can you do to generate this emotional similarity with a co-worker? Or, as a manager, how can you encourage emotional similarity among your team?”This post has been updated.
In February Ashland University announced they would begin an esports initiative stating they would be vetting for teams in League of Legends and Overwatch, among other popular titles. Ashland University Esports (credit: Ashland University)Last week the private university in Ashland, Ohio added Fortnite to their arsenal of games for their esports program in the coming months offering $4,000 in scholarships per year. They will now become the first collegiate institution to recruit for a Fortnite team as well.While Ashland U’s esports program is still young, it’s already a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) and is beginning construction of an esports arena in the school library later this month.Esports scholarships have become more and more common as esports becomes more accepted as “mainstream”. Universities and even High Schools are recognizing the trend and taking advantage in hopes of attracting more students. While most institutions have invested in long-standing and heavily popular titles like League of Legends, Ashland University has taken a risk adding Fortnite to their program. The risk comes from the fact that Fortnite esports technically doesn’t exist…yet. Currently creating custom games isn’t available to the public but developer Epic Games is obviously working out the kinks as they host regular Fortnite “Friendlies” with content creators along with a hosting an offline tournament at DreamHack: Winter and the most recent event at Esports Arena Las Vegas featuring popular streamer and ex-Halo competitor, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.Ashland isn’t the only organisation taking the risk, notable esports organisations such as Team SoloMid and FaZe Clan have all signed teams for the inevitable beginnings of Fortnite esports.Esports Insider says: Fortnite is growing in popularity day by day, especially to the younger, high school players. Offering scholarship opportunities like this is a smart move and a big step for collegiate esports as a whole. We’re sure to see other institutions following in their steps soon.