At Oberlin, the period between fall and spring semesters known as winter term is an opportunity for growth, reflection, and new experiences. Throughout the month, formal classes are suspended, and students have the option of completing a project of their choice for half or full credit. Regardless of the project, the central objective of winter term is to continue the process of personal and academic discovery outside the confines of a classroom.
The members of the Oberlin women's lacrosse team, like those of many Oberlin athletics teams, scatter during winter term, with teammates heading around the world to complete a wide variety of projects. Along the way, they keep in contact through their team blog, with each member posting at least once during January.
“It’s important for everyone to share their experiences because it’s another way for us to connect,” says Madeleine O’Meara, senior cocaptain. “The blog reminds us that we are always on the team — even when we’re thousands of miles away from each other.”
Besides chronicling their winter-term projects, the team members use the blog to keep up with their workouts.
"The players believe that their fitness is an absolute priority," says head coach Jacqueline McDevitt, and staying in touch plays a vital role in motivating each other to keep up with the training.
"It reinforces our team attitude," says O'Meara. "If I feel like I'm going to pass out after I run my timed mile, I know that everyone else is feeling that way. We trust that everyone is working toward the same goal."
"My players are amazing at balancing everything they do," says McDevitt. "They work super hard and do some of the most interesting projects."
Here’s a look at what they accomplished this winter term:
Being a science major doesn’t only mean spending your winter term in a lab — though that is what senior Christina Perez-Tineo did, working with Associate Professor of Chemistry Rebecca Whelan to find a better early screening mechanism for ovarian cancer. Junior co-captain Phoebe Hammer also worked in a lab for plant biology and genetics with Visiting Assistant Professor Nick Ruppel. Sophomore Kate Frost went outside of Oberlin for her project, shadowing neuroscientist Robert Wurtz ’58 in the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland. Junior Sarah Orbuch shadowed professionals at three medical facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota — a rehabilitation and physical therapy facility for children, a private physical therapy facility, and a University of Minnesota community clinic. O’Meara, a biology major interested in public health, worked at the Mother’s Milk Bank of Denver, a nonprofit organization that provides pasteurized breast milk for newborn babies.
Several teammates kept their focus on lacrosse. Junior Hannah Christiansen spent January in Baltimore working for Inside Lacrosse magazine, the sport’s leading publication. Sophomore cocaptain Bronwen Schumacher worked at the Santa Barbara Lacrosse Association, a nonprofit organization founded by Jeff Sears ’81 that teaches children how to play the sport. While working for the Bonner Center of Service and Learning on campus, senior Ilyssa Meyer also tried out for the Israeli women’s national lacrosse team, which will compete in the 2013 Women’s World Cup.
Several teammates travelled abroad in January. First-year Emily Kipling went to Paris with a group led by Visiting Assistant Professor of French Steven Spalding to study the art and architecture of dozens of Parisian museums. Sophomore Jodi Helsel travelled to southeast Asia, backpacking through Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. Junior Sarah Andrews, a computer science major, worked as an nformation echnology intern at the Western Academy of Beijing.
The remaining teammates completed a variety of projects in the country. First year Grace Barlow worked at the Great Basin Outdoor School in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, teaching school-aged children outdoor survival skills. Fellow first year Suzanna Doak stayed in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, working on an analysis and translation of Pablo Neruda’s poetry. Back east, sophomore Kate Hannick interned with Judge David Matia of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland. In Oberlin, sophomore Heewon Kwon worked with Assistant Professor of Psychology Travis Wilson to study the achievement gap between low- and high-income children, and senior Molly Bloom took a practicum course in museum education at the Allen Memorial Art Museum.
The women's lacrosse team plays their first game on March 2 at the University of Mount Union. For the full schedule, visit goyeo.com.