University Communications intern Joe Bailey ’15 looks to fellow Rochester students to find out what’s buzzworthy.
THE BUZZ welcomes submissions from student writers, photo essayists, and videographers! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
University Communications intern Joe Bailey ’15 looks to fellow Rochester students to find out what’s buzzworthy.
THE BUZZ welcomes submissions from student writers, photo essayists, and videographers! Email us at email@example.com
WHAT: The University of Rochester’s Ballroom Dancing Club will bring dancing and mystery to the River Campus with this year’s masquerade themed Annual Viennese Ball. The event is open to the public.
TIME, DATE, PLACE: 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Oct. 25, in the May Room, located on the 4th floor of Wilson Commons, on the University of Rochester’s River Campus.
ABOUT: Students, faculty and community members join together to don their formal attire and masks to dance the night away at the annual Viennese Ball, sponsored by the University of Rochester’s Ballroom Dancing Club. At 7 p.m., a complimentary crash course in Viennese waltz will take place for those who would like to learn or brush up their skills before the ball. The event will commence at 8 p.m. and includes live performances from a string quartet of Eastman School musicians, a local Rochester dance troupe, and the Argentinian tango club. A contest will also take place for the best dressed dancer, and the winner will be rewarded with a free lesson series from the Ballroom Dancing Club.
TICKETS: Tickets are available at the Common Market in Wilson Commons. Tickets are $12 for University students, $15 for University faculty, staff and graduate students and $18 for the general public. Masks will be available for sale at the door for $2.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Common Connection at 585.275.5911
Elan Bacharach is a freshman from New York City. This summer he saved a man from drowning in the East River. I caught up with him earlier this week to discuss his spontaneous heroism. Here is his story:
It was too fast to think. If there had actually been any thinking time, I’m sure someone would have come up with a smarter way to deal with it, because what I did was pretty stupid. I work down at South Street seaport, and we train for man overboard drills all the time. They always say the last thing you should do is jump in, because then you have two people in the water. It was the first week of August. It was a maintenance day–if it wasn’t a maintenance day we would have been sailing. I wouldn’t have been there, and who knows what would’ve happened. I was walking back from the bathroom, and the ship I work on was on the opposite end of the pier. And suddenly I hear a commotion. I run over to where this speed boat, a touring vessel, was I figure they were having boat trouble, and I could lend a hand.
There’s this guy in the water with a life jacket. People are trying to pull him up, and he’s bleeding from the mouth…everywhere. Apparently he was a line handler, and the boat he worked on was trying to pull out–it was a massive boat–but the captain didn’t realize that the line was still attached to a cleat. So this guy was trying to get it off the cleat, and it actually ripped the cleat out of the dock, it hit him in the chest and punctured his lung. This spike from the cleat went into his chest, and he was pitched into the water.
There were three or four of us trying to stop the boat with our legs from crushing him into the dock itself. It was a bad situation. There’s all this activity going on, and no one knows what the hell is happening. Finally, we manage to get the boat to stop backing up. And this was a big guy in the water–he’s about 220 pounds. Some other guys from the company he works with come over. So I figure I should stop and let them handle it. I hand the part of the life jacket I was holding to another guy, jumped over the railing, and I turned around and the guy in the water was gone. The people who were trying to pull him out were holding his lifejacket. His PFD was open, which is how the cleat punctured his lung, and he slipped out of it, into the East River.
The tide took him out into the river, and people were throwing life rings for him–there were still a lot of boats in the area. But he wasn’t really conscious, he was drifting in and out. He was floundering, and he couldn’t really grab on. He got 10, 15, 20 feet out, and his head went under the surface. I looked around and no one was doing anything. I remember, someone was yelling “don’t lose him, don’t let him go under.” It wasn’t really doing any good. My grandfather, he died under similar circumstances, he drowned in our pool, so I guess I was kind of sensitive to it or something.
I threw my phone out of my pocket, I dove in, and I dove down. And the thing is, with ‘man overboard,’ you’re supposed to keep a line of sight on the guy at all times. There was someone pointing to where he was, which was good, because if it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have been able to find him. The East River is really nasty and dirty and dark. I went down a few feet, and luckily, my aim was good, and I found the guy. I found him and then I got my arm around him and I swam back up to the surface. At this point I’m just treading water with him, because for one thing, he’s a big guy, and he’s just dead weight. Plus, I had my work boots and my rig on me, all my gear for rigging and sailing–which is a lot– and I was weighed down. It was difficult, so I couldn’t do anything but tread water. The current was against me, and he was bleeding everywhere.
At this point, another civilian, dove in and helped me with him. The crew of the boat I worked on managed to commandeer a small Zodiac, which is a rubber raft, to where we able to swim him over and get him aboard, and then get him over to the dock. Shortly after that the police came, and took him to the hospital. I went right back to work.
After the events of that August day, Elan got to shake hands with the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, and the company of the man he saved. Elan also had an opportunity to meet Ron Carter, widely regarded as the best jazz bassist of all time, who congratulated him on his meritorious actions.
The man Bacharach saved is recovering from his injuries. Elan has been a deck hand on ships for the past three summers.
Interviewed by Joe Bailey
Lifesaver image by VancityAllie.com/Flickr
When Anima Ghimire’s history advisor recruited students for an archaeological dig in Bermuda, Ghimire instantly responded, “I’m on board!”
During the summer of 2013, Ghirmire, a double major in neuroscience and history, joined a four-student team and Professor Michael Jarvis for a five-week course excavating Smith’s Island, one of the earliest known settlements in Bermuda.
Jarvis has been working summers on the 60-acre island since 2010. The dig concentrated on what has come to be known as the “Oven Site,” named for the several stone ovens at the location.
The Oven Site is believed to be the remains of Boaz Sharpe’s house. Sharpe settled on the island in the late 1600s, and remained until his death in 1707. Sharpe’s household included nine Native American slaves, most likely from South Carolina—two older couples and their children.
The introduction of slavery to Bermuda—and especially the role of Native American slaves—is important to understanding the history of slavery in the Atlantic World.
“I didn’t really appreciate how important archaeology was until I did it,” Ghimire says.
Excavation of the site has revealed a chimney, hearth, and several ovens. The team also uncovered hand-shaped chert flakes that had not been found in Bermuda before.
“Dr. Jarvis had an inventory that suggested these people lived there,” Ghimire explains. “But then we found evidence that this was, in fact, where Boaz Sharpe lived. We found chert stone flints that only Native Americans used.
Identifying the Oven Site’s original occupants was a major milestone for the hard-working team.
“Most of the time we dug—and it was a very meticulous process. It took us five weeks to dig five feet down,” Ghimire says. “And you can’t really use a shovel. You have to use a trowel because it’s very delicate work.
“Dr. Jarvis is really, really chill and awesome, but when it comes to archeology, he’s very organized and systematic,” she says.
“We found was a lot of fish bones. A lot, a lot, of fish bones! We also learned they kept cats,” Ghimire says.
“And there was a lot of pottery, and that was important. For example, there is a specific kind of pottery that was only made during a 30-year period. So it kind of tells us what the time period was when people settled in the house. There were a lot of clay pipes—the size of the bowl tells you when the pipe was made,” Ghimire says, explaining that the bowl sizes changed along with the fluctuations in tobacco prices throughout the 17th century, making it easy to date the artifacts.
“You can learn about people in class, but you can’t really experience what they were doing firsthand until you get to do archaeology,” she says.
“What was good about this year was that we got a lot of local Bermudians to volunteer. It was awesome. We had all age groups, and they were really enthusiastic. They came back everyday, so that was awesome!
“Bermudians are so chill. We talked a lot about their lifestyle, how they grew up, and their customs,” she says.
“They were really excited to find every little bone. I was too . . . at first. Then it’s like, ‘here’s another fish vertebra!’ But Dr. Jarvis never got jaded. He is so enthusiastic.”
“We were always afraid of finding human bones,” Ghimire confesses. “There was a circular area within Sharpe’s trash site that was big enough to fit a man—like a grave. And Jarvis was really reluctant to dig it, because if there was a body then we’d have to stop the dig, call in a forensic team, and everything would come to a halt. But, luckily, it was just a natural depression in the soil layer.
“It didn’t feel like five weeks, it went by so fast. It’s a six-credit course—though it didn’t seem like I was doing a lot of work because it was so much fun.”
Even though Ghirmire is on a pre-med track, she says studying history has helped to her hone skills that are important to her success in medicine.
“History is a passion. It teaches me how to think, and how to see the world,” she says.
“History in college isn’t anything like it is in high school. It’s not about remembering dates. It’s about finding evidence to support why something happened. I just love that aspect of it. And now I like archaeology, too.”
Senior Luke Kortepeter came to college on the pre-med track, but a class project in the library’s archives turned him into a computer science and history double major.
He’s been working on the Seward Family Papers digital history project for two years. Students involved in the project take Professor Thomas Slaughter’s history class on the family of William H. Seward, and also transcribe and digitize letters from a collection in the Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation department of Rush Rhees Library.
“This spring we focused on the family correspondence,” says Kortepeter. “It’s a whole new primary resource that hasn’t been utilized yet.
He says the 15 students in the class spent the spring on letters from 1862. Once digitized and online, the papers will be more accessible, he says.
After four semesters working on the project, Kortepeter knows a lot about the Sewards. “I must have read 500-1,000 letters so far, and it’s awesome,” he says.
“We have thousands of letters covering a sixty year period. We are going through every single one,” he says. “And that’s really cool for me, actually, knowing that you’re the very first person reading the letter since it was first read.”
The project is expected to go “live” in the spring of 2015. Kortepeter and his classmates are racing to get as many letters transcribed, annotated, and digitized as they can before the project’s debut.
That said, the process requires keen eyes and a good understanding of the Seward family’s historical context.
In addition to serving as Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln for two terms, William Henry Seward was the Governor of New York and a US senator. He also negotiated the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for two cents per acre—a purchase many considered foolish at the time.
Just reading the letters can be a challenge. “Since the handwritings on the letters are pretty awful for the most part, we are transcribing them—once you get used to it, it’s not as bad,” Kortepeter says.
“And, we are also annotating them. The user will be able to read the transcription right next to the digital image, and if they see a name they are interested in, they can click and it will say who that person was.
“Having been with the project for a while I’ve read basically everyone’s handwriting. It’s definitely interesting to see how different they are.
“Fanny Seward’s is very curly—beautiful handwriting—and she loved writing about her daily life,” Kortepeter says. “She’s a teenager at this time, and so you can see how she’s growing up and how the world is changing so much around her.
“She’d have fine descriptions of gentlemen, and will talk about things as basic as their jawline and how it curves perfectly. And so it’s very interesting to read—I mean, it’s her diary. She wasn’t expecting anyone to be reading it,” says Kortepeter.
“Then on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have William Henry’s wife, Frances, whose handwriting is awful.
“It’s up for debate how ‘into’ the whole political thing she was in terms of supporting him,” says Kortepeter. “Some historians say that she wasn’t very supportive and it was a pain for her to have go to these conventions
with him. But,” he says, “we are finding that might not be true.
“She would go to Washington, DC, and say how awful it was and how she had migraines the whole time. And how at social events she would go, but then sit in a room by herself.
It’s “really cool” to pick up on people’s personalities in the letters, according to Kortepeter. “A lot of these resources weren’t available, so when [researchers] only had a snippet of letters and she’s angry in every single one of them, then you’d say ‘yeah, of course, she’s angry and hates her husband’s career,’” he explains.
“But when you see these other letters and she’s so passionate about slavery—she hated slavery—or just her opinions about political scandals at the time, it just really shows she was interested, and she definitely had opinions about what was going on.
“The DC social life wasn’t for her. She found it incredibly stressful. Especially since her husband was so incredibly social—it was hard to live up to that,” Kortepeter says.
Kortepeter, who started out doing pre-med, says the Seward letter project “has definitely changed my college path completely.
“I had been doing premed stuff all through high school—I worked in labs, both my parents are doctors, and I figured, ‘yeah, sure, I could be a doctor, too.’ And that winter break of my freshman year, I followed a surgeon around for a little bit, and I was just… ‘I hate this—I have no desire to be a doctor.’
“Then I floundered around a little bit, trying econ. I took a history class with Professor Jarvis, and my freshman writing teacher worked with Slaughter and said, ‘Why don’t you talk to him, he’s my favorite professor—and just take a class with him’? And I was like, ‘okay, sure.’”
Kortepeter says his parents had different reactions to his change in plans.
“My father was excited for me to explore my own thing. My mother was confused because I was always so sciencey—all throughout high school,” he says. “All my AP classes were in science.
“It was very new to me to go into a history class. I came here because I know it’s a strong science school,” Kortepeter says, “and then ended up studying something totally different.”
He says his two majors complement each other. “Usually with computer science I’ll do my projects, but I don’t really get to apply it. Like, I can only make Tetris so many times,” he says with a laugh.
“With this, I really get to be on both sides of the project: I get to do the history things and work with the letters, but then as a computer science student, I am also working on the website and the database—helping with everything, really,” he explains.
“It was the perfect project for me.”
If your body was an instrument, what would it sound like? This is one of the questions that David Heid ’13 attempts to answer with the Rochester Laptop Orchestra, an interactive exhibition that blends art and science. The event, featuring two performances on Thursday, September 18th and Saturday, September 20th, is one of many showcases at this year’s Rochester Fringe Festival.
Inspired by performances at Princeton and Stanford, Heid’s computer-based compositions explore the ways that the digital and electronic sciences can intersect with music. “This one’s different in the sense that it’s more interactive,” he said. Heid’s exhibition will allow the audience to be a part of the musical experience. The Laptop Orchestra promises to provide a multimodal, interactive experience that showcases the breadth of creativity and innovation that the University of Rochester has to offer.
Heid believes that the project well represents the focus of his studies of music education and electrical and computer engineering. A former dual degree student at Eastman and the River campus, he is now a second year masters student pursuing a degree in musical acoustics and signal processing. In many senses, the creation of the Laptop Orchestra is a fusion of Heid’s dual interests and various talents by showcasing the combination of music and engineering. “Music has never felt academic enough for me,” he admitted. “This is a nice way to blend it in a way that it can be.”
Instead of conventional instruments, the “orchestra” makes use of computers and motion sensing controllers used by undergraduates to generate sound. One piece involves a dancer from Ballet Performance Group creating sound through movement. Through a Wiimote and gesture recognition technology, dance moves are translated into music. A similar piece allows a dancer to generate pre-recorded sound bites from the Yellowjackets according to specific steps on electronically wired tap shoes. Another performance brings in the Plank Road North Elementary Drum Ensemble creating a composition of pre-recorded vocal percussion.
Heid’s event is just as interactive as it is collaborative, which differentiates it from the earlier digital orchestras. One segment of the performance allows an audience member to control the rhythm of the piece through the use of a hacked Bop-It. Another allows the audience to decide the progression of a musical landscape as produced by the campus Carillon Society.
One of the more personal pieces involves mapping viruses to music. Using data from translated genomes, Heid created compositions that function as musical representations of HIV and ebola, among other illnesses. Last spring, Heid was quarantined after the measles outbreak, which was an experience that put a strain on his academic momentum as a grad student. Instead of viewing it as a setback, he used the experience as an opportunity, working with an epidemiologist to create the virus-themed pieces.
While the Laptop Orchestra is in many ways the apex of Heid’s academic career, the show is not entirely about him; the project actually brought in the knowledge and talent of over 40 different students. “I know I’m not an expert in everything, and that’s why I brought these people in,” Heid said. “At Rochester, we do great things in every discipline. With the Laptop Orchestra, we can do those things together.”
Proceeds from ticket sales will go to RocMusic collaborative, which offers classical and instrumental music lessons to children in the downtown Rochester area. Getting a musical start in Pennsylvania through a similar program, he hopes that this early opportunity program can provide children with the same access to the arts.
All in all, Heid hopes that the performances will bring attention to the many possibilities that music has to offer in the modern world. “There’s not a lot in the industry that tries to blend stuff like this; I want to get people thinking.” With the Rochester Laptop Orchestra, he’s sure to do just that.
The Rochester Laptop Orchestra will have two shows on Thursday, September 18th at 6:00PM and Saturday, September 20th at 2:30PM at the TheatreROCS Stage at Xerox Auditorium.
By Blake Silberberg ‘13
Did you have trouble adjusting to life on campus as a freshman? Well now there’s an app for that! University of Rochester undergraduates Keyu (Sky) Song ‘15 and Xiayan (Eric) Huan ’15 are the founders of OdysseyLife Inc., a self-funded startup with the goal of helping International students adjust to life on American college campuses.
Song, a political science major, entered the University as a Chinese international student. He chose Rochester because of the diverse student population and was excited to meet lots of new people from different cultural backgrounds. What he found was a gap among international students when it came to making friends with American students. “When I first arrived here, I talked to people in dining hall lines,” says Song, “I met a lot of people that way, but it was definitely awkward at times. As an international student, it can be hard to get a sense of what’s right or wrong to say to someone you’ve just met.”
Song’s experiences inspired him to find a way to help other students in his position adjust well to American college life. “The crucial period of adjustment is the first two months. After that, it becomes much harder for international students to make friends, since a lot of students have already formed groups or circles,” says Song.
With the goal of helping international students bridge this gap, Song worked with fellow student Eric Huan to create OdysseyLife, a startup corporation that works with international students at the University of Rochester, and has expanded to New York University and SUNY Buffalo. Song describes OdysseyLife as a corporation with a focus on providing a mix of both nonprofit and for profit services. OdysseyLife offers numerous free resources, including an iPhone app, guides for social and professional situations, and weekly lectures on cultural differences open to both international and American students. OdysseyLife goes beyond these services by employing “captains” to serve as student mentors for international students who sign up for OdysseyLife. Captains are university students who teach weekly classes, bring students to networking events, and are available to meet with one on one to help with any situations that might arise during a semester. “The captains help demonstrate behavior and offer a theoretical framework for adjusting to American college life,” says Song, “and they act as both a model for the international students and a wingman in social situations.”
Creating the corporation proved to be an excellent learning experience for Song and Huan, as they had to navigate a large number of legal and technical aspects to form an official corporation. Song had to first obtain work-study sponsorship in order to legally work in the U.S., and without any law experience, this proved a difficult task. Song and Huan contacted law students at both Cornell and Harvard for help with their company, and also received support from David Primo, associate professor of political science and business administration, and Michael Rizzo, professor of economics. Huan and Song also worked with an accounting student at the Simon School, who helped them file insurance and tax forms, and other necessary corporate materials. The pair also received support from the staff at Wilson Commons, Office of Admissions, College Center for Advising Services, Center for Entrepreneurship, and International Services Office. “I think our experience forming OdysseyLife is a great example of how strong the interdisciplinary network is here,” says Song. “We were very fortunate to have access to so many resources, and this wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support of the University’s staff.”
In the future, Song and Huan hope to expand the services to American students as well, to help them connect in a greater capacity with International students. “We want to build a bridge that will help both American and International students use college campuses as a place where they can freely exchange ideas,” he explains.
What are you doing at 4:30 a.m. on a school day? For most undergraduates, an average morning involves sleeping, or perhaps some last minute work on a paper or project. For Tyler Breen ‘16, it is the start of his workday during waterfowl season. In New York State, the waterfowl season consists of a 60-day period in the fall, a season that sends Breen out to the field and in position before sunrise. “Legal sunrise takes place at about 7:07 a.m.,” says Breen, who serves as a local guide for hunters, “which means that the heaviest flights times for ducks are at 6:37 a.m.”
Breen, an ecology and evolutionary biology major at the University of Rochester, became interested in hunting at an early age. Breen’s grandfather was the president of the New York State Chapter of the National Turkey Federation, an organization which focused on raising turkeys and bringing their population back to New York during his tenure. Breen went on his first youth hunt at age 12 with a family friend. He then began to hunt mallard ducks for the next two years, teaching himself the tactics and calls as he went along. This past summer, Breen passed the exam to become a New York State Licensed Outdoor Guide, a position which allows him to serve as an escort for hunting groups.
While to some, Breen’s hobby of hunting might seem at odds with his major, to Breen these interests are perfectly aligned. “I like to think of myself as both a conservationist and a sportsman,” says Breen, “A lot of experienced hunters are environmentally active, and we try to put two ducks in the sky for every one that we take.”
Licensed guides in New York are hired by groups or individuals looking to hunt waterfowl. Breen currently works as a guide at Fish and Frontier Outfitters in Farmington, N.Y., where his responsibilities extend way beyond simply taking people out hunting. Guides are responsible for scouting locations and negotiate with landowners for permission to hunt on their property. Another key element of the guide’s job is placing decoys before taking their clients out in the field. Decoys are incredibly detailed “fake” birds that are placed in clearings to attract live birds flying over to land in range of the hunting group. These decoys are specific to each different species of duck, and are made with extremely detailed materials in order to successfully fool the live birds, who can be notoriously difficult to trick. “Geese and ducks are a lot smarter than most people think,” says Breen, “To hunt a duck, you have to be a duck.” In addition to the day to day tasks, as a guide Breen is also responsible for knowing every Federal regulation surrounding different species of waterfowl and flyway locations. In an average season, Breen hunts a large number of different species of both geese and duck. Regulations surrounding “Daily Bag Limits,” or how many birds you can take during a single trip, differ for each type of waterfowl, and differ further depending on if the bird is a hen (female) or drake (male). As a guide, Breen must be able to identify the species of duck and its sex while the bird is flying above him, or risk breaking federal regulation; this is an extraordinarily impressive skill given the differences between the species are often very minute.
Environmental conservation is an important subject for Breen, and he is currently on the board of directors for two local waterfowl organizations, the Canandaigua Lake Duck Hunters and the Lima chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Both organizations focus on fundraising and conservation efforts, including building nesting boxes to help increase the local waterfowl population. Taking part in these conservation activities led Breen to his academic interest in ecology and evolutionary biology. As a Rochester undergraduate, Breen has pursued research focusing on the genetic makeup of common ducks, which can often be hard to differentiate. Two common species of ducks in the Western New York region are mallard and black ducks. “The hybridization process has begun fairly recently and lead to a sharp decline in black duck populations due to migration of mallards into historically black duck specific breeding grounds,” says Breen. “The future survival of the American Black Duck is in serious question as mallard genetics are rapidly polluting the gene pool of black ducks.”
Breen is examining the underlying cause of why black duck hens prefer drake mallards over drake blacks on the breeding grounds, specifically how the hybridization is a function of mallard genetic dominance that overcomes the recessive alleles in the black duck which have gone to fixation due to genetic drift. During his research, Breen connected with a fellow ecology student in Beverly Hills, Calif., studying a similar topic. Breen helped the student by sending him information and samples of the mallard/black hybridization. “Understanding the process of hybridization is important to increasing our understanding of these species, this information is very important to conservation efforts and to preventing the inevitable loss of the species,” says Breen, who hopes to continue to work outdoors, both as a guide and a conservationist, as well as possibly pursuing a doctorate in ornithology.
In addition to being a licensed guide and full-time student, Breen also is an accomplished Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America organization. He views the outdoors as almost a second home, and scouting was an excellent introduction into the world of camping and outdoor adventure. Breen served for two summers as a counselor for an Ohio Scout camp, where he taught wilderness survival and other skill courses. Another element of hunting that Breen is passionate about is the trust and bonding that hunting with the same group can build over time. During summer 2013, Breen was encouraged by one of the members of his hunting group to pursue volunteer firefighting. Breen had been trained in First-Aid during his time as a scout, so he embarked on the application process, where he was required to learn and pass tests on necessary skills and situational responses. Last summer, he took a firefighting course at the Public Safety Training Facility of Monroe County, which consisted of learning the skills necessary to successfully fight fires both indoors and outdoors, including how to navigate burning buildings safely, and use the respiratory and protective equipment properly. The course involved nights of real fire training, which Breen describes as “intense.”
While Breen has many interests, his main passion is the outdoors: “I love the sense that I’m alone in the outdoors,” explains Breen, “When I take a trip into the remote wilderness I’m seeing and experiencing things that most people don’t get to.”
Do you know anyone who places frozen spoons every morning on her eyes just to wake herself up? Well if you know Jeni Stolow ’14, then you do! If you have not met her, you may have heard her infectious laugh or the “snap, crackle, pop” of her body! Her residents call her a bowl of Rice Krispies because you can hear the effects of her rheumatoid arthritis every time she moves!
Stolow balances four campus jobs with her extensive extracurricular activities and Health Behavior and Society Major, started a Substance Abuse Clinic, and even has a book in the works. On top of work, school, and extracurriculars, Stolow serves as an outreach coordinator for a non-profit organization in Haiti.
She’s “the most interesting person on this planet,” according to Courtney Wagner ’15, co- captain of women’s club soccer with Stolow. “She’ll say anything, whether it’s to make someone laugh or for an intelligent conversation.”
At 21, Stolow has traveled to all 48 continental states and has been proposed to by a stranger in Toronto, but even that doesn’t live up to her most interesting journey. When she was 16, she went on the fairly common trip with her language class over to Europe. Instead of sticking to the itinerary, when she touched down in France, Stolow and two friends embarked on a one month backpacking trip, only going to the necessary checkpoints to get in touch with their parents. The three friends had a joint credit card with an allotted amount for the month. However, one of the girls went on a shopping spree, leaving them with a third of their original budget, and worse still, proceeded to leave her European purchases behind on a train. Stolow, who has the skills to do just about anything she sets her mind to, used atypical means to travel from country to county. She worked in an Italian bakery for money; made it over to France where she waited tables at a café; and, eventually took refuge in Switzerland.
Stolow’s unconventional approach to travel may seem a bit strange, until you hear her family history. Her parents, who met at age 12, recently gave up their home in White Lake, New York (home of the infamous Woodstock) and left behind their pet bear so they could check off an item on their bucket list. Currently, they’ve taken up the pirate life, and are sailing around the Gulf of Mexico treasure hunting. Her parents’ relocation currently leaves Stolow ‘homeless’ but she plans to reside at graduate school following graduation.
One could say that Stolow’s adventures have made her wise beyond her years and helps her maintain a good life perspective. “No one cares about what kind of shirt you wear on a date,” she says, noting that she tries not to dwell on trivial matters. “Don’t take anything seriously, except helping people; that you should care about.”
By Bob Marcotte
“If you really enjoy something, you are going to find time to do it,” says Lauren Bailey, a rising senior in Chemical Engineering and star of the University of Rochester women’s swimming team, after being named an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
This is one of the highest academic awards that a student-athlete can earn. And that is no small achievement considering the difficulty of her major and the time commitment involved in being a member of the swim team. Team members practice about 20 hours a week during the swim season, but during competitions, swimming sometimes takes up 30 hours a week. And yet Bailey has managed to excel in both the classroom and the pool.
Bailey, who is also pursuing a minor in mathematics, carries a 3.87 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.00 scale). That earned her a place on the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Team. She is a Second Team Academic All-America selection after earning First Team Academic All-District honors. She is just the third Rochester women’s swimmer to earn Academic All-America honors from CoSIDA in the past 29 years.
She also has been breaking swim records left and right. At the 2013-14 Liberty League Championships, she won seven league titles, broke seven league records, and six Rochester records. In three years (freshman through junior seasons), she has won 17 Liberty League titles and set 14 Liberty League records. She earned All-America honors in four events at the NCAA Division III National Championships this spring: the 100- and 200-yard butterfly, the 200-yard freestyle relay, and the 200-yard medley relay.
So how does she balance a rigorous course load with the demands of varsity athletics? “College is all about priorities,” Bailey says. “I try to plan ahead, and if I have assignments due the following week and a swim meet over the weekend, I will try to do my work on Thursday or Friday to avoid stress over the weekend.” It helps that the swim team’s coaches understand that school comes first, she added. “If I am behind on school work, they can work with my practice schedule to make sure I get my assignments completed. My good friend, Zoe McCauley, is also a chemical engineering major and is on the swim team, so worst case scenario, we will do work together on the bus rides to away swim meets.”
“Being on the swim team keeps me very disciplined with my school work and helps me manage my time very efficiently.” As much as she enjoys setting a new swim record, the most important thing is being part of a team, Bailey added. “I know that every time I am in the water competing, I have 50 fellow swimmers rooting for me and cheering me on. At the end of the day, it feels great to know that you are part of a team where people have your back and show you continuous support and love.”
Bailey said she was “slightly unsure” about which major to pursue when she arrived at UR as a freshman. But after taking a few chemical engineering classes, she knew what she wanted to do. “My interest in chemical engineering stems from how versatile the field is. It is a great background to have, and getting a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering shows that you have great discipline and work ethic due to the difficulty of the major.”
“Also, the chemical engineering professors at the University of Rochester demonstrate a great understanding for the material they teach and show sincere respect for their students, which solidifies my choice to be a chemical engineer.” After graduating next spring, she plans to start working. “I may work for a couple of years and then go back to get my MBA or masters in chemical engineering,” Bailey said. “I am still unsure of where I want to work, but I know that when I retire one day, I want to run an alpaca farm.”
Photo courtesy of University Athletics.