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SL STEPHENS LIFE

Inside

Holly Hmielewski’s

+

original designs

Up-and-coming designers (pages 8 and 10)

National and global news in brief (page 7)

Meet the

neigh-bors (page 14)

VOLUME 3 FALL 2013


PAGE 5

National and global news in brief

Typhoon Haiyan devastates the Philippines, Secretary of State John Kerry works on the U.S.’s relationship with Middle Eastern nations and implementation of the Affordable Care Act progresses slowly.

PAGE 6

‘A Global Converation’

Junior Nickie Bartels represented Stephens at a women’s leadership conference hosted by Barnard College in New York City.

PAGE 8

Inside Holly Hmielewski’s award-winning designs The designer who in April placed first at the fashion show organized by Dallas’ branch of Fashion Group International returned to showcase her collection.

PAGE 10

Up-and-coming designers

Hmielewski inspires other young fashion students to embrace their own aesthetics.

PAGE 12

New music, new moves

Seniors in the dance program perform original choreography to live music composed by MU’s New Music Intiative.

PAGE 14

Meet the Neigh-bors

The stables house a number of interesting characters.

PAGE 16

Athletic department faces challenges Coaches and staff strive to correct the reasons wins are few and far between.

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STEPHENS LIFE . FALL 2013


FALL 2013

SL STEPHENS LIFE

STAFF Executive Editor Paula Goldenberg Senior Editor Olivia O’Dell Copy Editor Nickie Bartels News Editor Emily Marchant Lifestyle Editor Hailey Johnson Visuals Director Kate Rudder Graphic Designers Holly Cook, Angie Westcott Communications Director Emily Park Ad Manager Aubree Schlepp Social Media Coordinator Lluvia Garcia Cover Photography Kate Rudder Concept Design Anna Leroy

ADMINISTRATION Staff Adviser Josh Nichol-Caddy

Business Manager Ann Taliaferro

Stephens Life is the student magazine of Stephens College in Columbia. Opinions expressed in Stephens Life are not necessarily the views of the college, students, administration, faculty or staff.

LETTER

EDITOR from the

As the semester winds down, the staff of Stephens Life continues to work to bring you important news, engaging features and thoughtful opinion pieces. We have spent hours rebranding our magazine to be your go-to source for relevant and compelling content, and I want to thank senior staff members Olivia O’Dell, Emily Park and Kate Rudder for dedication that has helped Stephens Life become the publication it is today, both in print and online at stephens.edu/ stephenslife. As I look back on my time on campus, Stephens and Stephens Life have prepared me for a career in the magazine industry. Take this summer, for example. If someone were to tell me four years ago that I would be spending the months before my senior year interning at Cosmopolitan, I would have laughed and said “Not a chance.” But, with the support of my network and the knowledge and skills I have gained as a student, I now know anything is possible. Although the internship started in June, the process began months prior. The Full Circle mentorship program helped with the selection process, and then came the logistical — and mental — preparations. Yes, I had spent much of high school watching Lauren Conrad, LC, work at Teen Vogue and turn down life in Paris for love on MTV’s The Hills. Still, I had no idea what this experience would mean for me.

Stephens Life strives for accuracy. To report a correction or clarification, please send an email to jnichol@stephens.edu. Stephens Life welcomes your comments and letters to the editor. If you would like to be published, please send your work to jnichol@stephens.edu.

Paula Goldenberg

I spent my time at Cosmo exploring the city that never sleeps and the rest learning how a media corporation like Hearst produces content across various platforms. Just like at Stephens Life, planning an issue takes time, research and dedication. And, like the rebranding and transition from a print product to a digital publication with a print component, practice makes perfect. Internships, no matter how small or how big the organization, give you the safety net to apply your education to the professional world. You can explore different interests with the guidance of working professionals, and it can provide you with valuable new perspectives and insights. It did for me. Working in the magazine industry not only inspired concepts for my capstone but also proved to me that what we are learning at Stephens is relevant and provides us the stepping stones to success upon commencement. We brought what we learned during the summer to this issue of Stephens Life, improving its content, design and promotion. We hope you enjoy the results.

CHECK US OUT ONLINE

stephens.edu/stephenslife

@stephens_life . STEPHENS LIFE

3


Take credit for making a smart call. For a limited time, switch to Sprint from another carrier and receive a $100 service credit for each eligible newly activated line of service. Plus, save more with special student discounts.

Visit sprint.com/promo/iL30772PC within 72 hours of port-in activation to request your $100 service credit. Don’t delay! Offer ends 1/23/2014.

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Discounts also available for Stephens College EMPLOYEES! 18% off select pricing plans. Visit www.sprint.com/save for details. Use Corporate ID: GMCTA_STP_ZZZ

Student discount

10

%

off select regularly priced Sprint monthly service. Req. new 2-yr agmt.

Activation fees waived for students For new lines of service with 2-yr agmt. Up to $36 value.

Use this code to claim your discount. Corporate ID: GMCTA_STP_ZST

*GMCTA_STP_ZST*

Call: 866-639-8354 Click: sprint.com/save Visit a local Sprint Store: sprint.com/storelocator

Discount courtesy of MiCTA Activ. Fee: May req. $36/line. Credit approval req. Early Termination Fee (sprint.com/etf): After 14 days, up to $350/line. IL Port-in Offer: Offer ends: 1/23/2014. $100 port-in credit for smartphones, feature phones and mobile broadband devices. Available only to eligible IL accounts with valid Corp. ID. Requires port-in from an active number (wireless or landline). Svc credit request must be made at sprint. com/promo within 72 hours from the port-in activation date or svc credit will be declined. Ported new-line must remain active 61 days to receive full svc credit. You should continue paying your bill while waiting for your svc credit to avoid service disruption and possible credit delay. Other req. may apply for installment customers. See store or sprint.com for details. Excludes tablets, upgrades, replacements, and ports made between Sprint entities or providers associated with Sprint (i.e., Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Sprint As You Go and Assurance), all CL and plans $10 or less. Port-in Payment Expectations: Svc credit will appear in adjustment summary section at account level. If the svc credit does not appear on the first or second invoice following the 61st day, visit sprint.com/promo and click on “Where’s my Reward”. Individual-Liable Discount: Available for eligible university students (ongoing verification). Discounts subject to change according to the university’s agreement with Sprint and are available upon request for monthly svc charges on select plans. No discounts apply to second lines, Add-A-Phone lines. Unlimited Talk, Text, My All-in Plan, Mobile Hotspot or add-ons $29.99 or less (excludes Unlimited, My Way Data). Other Terms: Offers and coverage not available everywhere or for all devices/networks. May not be combinable with other offers. Restrictions apply. See store or sprint.com for details. ©2013 Sprint. All rights reserved. Sprint and the logo are trademarks of Sprint. Android, Google, the Google logo and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc. The HTC logo, and HTC One are the N135648 trademarks of HTC Corporation. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.

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STEPHENS LIFE . FALL 2013


News you can use U.S. will remain in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed on a draft deal that will extend the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan past 2014. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Afghanistan in October to negotiate the deal. The U.S. war in Afghanistan has spanned over 13 years and will likely continue well past the 2014 deadline. Afghanistan is now experiencing conflict within itself, with the potential for a civil war similar to Syria’s approaching. The situation makes the presence of U.S. troops even more dangerous. Philippines devastated by typhoon On Nov. 8, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, with the islands of Leyte and Samar getting the worst of the storm. There are hundreds of people missing, and the death toll stands at about 4,000, according to the Philippine government. Extensive international aid has been directed to the islands to help relocate families to evacuation centers and search for those who are missing. The World Bank will provide a $500 million loan for rebuilding and recovery. Political battle shutters government At the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, the federal government shut down because President Barack Obama and Congress failed to agree on a continuing budget resolution. The primary cause of the showdown was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Thousands of employees were furloughed and many Americans felt the shutdown’s effects. The shutdown lasted until Oct. 16, when the Senate Majority announced a temporary deal had been reached to end the impasse and raise the debt ceiling through the beginning of February.

Federal health exchange opens On Oct. 1, the Affordable Care Act health exchanges debuted, beginning the six-month enrollment period that will end on March 31. The health care law expanded coverage, giving many Americans more options for health insurance. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers plans for different needs. Although initially plagued by technical issues that the federal government has worked to fix, the website can be used to search and compare plans. One of the most popular elements of the law is that health insurance providers can no longer deny coverage to those viewed as high risk. The overall success of the Affordable Care Act will be dependent on the ratio of low-risk to high-risk people.

Syria, Egypt complicate U.S. policy Secretary of State John Kerry has been working on the foreign policy initiative of advancing democracy in the Middle East. Recently, President Barack Obama has downplayed the U.S.’s involvement in the region. The U.S. suspended military aid to Egypt, causing anger among supporters of that country’s military. And there has been backlash about the U.S. failing to support the Egyptian government and its lack of involvement in Syria. Kerry has been visiting countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, to try to resolve tensions. Kerry has also said he supports supplying weapons to the opposition of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Stories By

Emily Marchant

@stephens_life . STEPHENS LIFE

5


Nickie Bartels joins [Photo courtesy of Barnard College]

A GLOBAL CONVERSATION

and a personal realization

Hi Nickie, I have an amazing opportunity for you if you are interested. It is short notice but (it is) so good, I had to nominate you. Stephens is a new partner with the Women in Public Service Project. You might have seen it on our website. We have the chance to send one student…to Barnard College next week for the following conference.

I

checked my school email the morning of Sept. 20 and had one new email from my advisor, Susan Bartel. It opened with the paragraph above. She attached some information and asked me to contact her as soon as I could. If I decided to go, I’d be in the company of women in public service from around the world at an event hosted by Barnard College in New York. The event, called “A Global Conversation: Why the U.N. Must Focus on Women’s Leadership,” would explore major issues facing women on the global level and the importance of promoting women’s leadership to

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STEPHENS LIFE . FALL 2013

address them. And I’d be leaving in five days. I immediately ran upstairs, walked into her office and sat down with a huge smile on my face. She asked, “Is that a yes?” Of course it was. She contacted the Vice President’s office and Luanne Andes, assistant to the president, who began making the travel arrangements. All of the arrangements were made possible by President Dianne Lynch’s Magic Moments fund, and I can’t thank her enough for making this opportunity a reality for me. I left for the trip the following

“I immediately ran upstairs, walked into her office and sat down with a huge smile on my face.”


BIG Names at the conference Wednesday. My flight from St. Louis landed at LaGuardia Airport in the afternoon, and I took a shuttle service to my hotel in Manhattan. It took an hour to get from the airport to the hotel, but I enjoyed seeing the city as we snaked our way through traffic. I stayed at the NYLO hotel on Broadway at 77th Street. It was an adorable boutique hotel with a bed more comfortable than anything I’ve ever slept on in my life. I’d never been to New York, and I was completely alone. I was, however, lucky enough to get there fairly early in the evening, so I could spend a couple of hours exploring the area and gathering my bearings. The next morning, I went to Barnard College and met the 10 other student delegates for lunch before our day together. It was inspiring to spend the day with young women who were so ambitious, capable and intelligent. Our interests all varied. One was interested in international teaching, one in continuing her work with the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, one studying medicine and helping her community in Ethiopia and another in focusing her future career on women’s

rights and immigration policies in the developing world. We spent the day in and out of various workshops where we discussed what we considered to be the world’s biggest problems. We analyzed our leadership skills and identified the areas upon which we could improve. Since I’ve returned, everyone has asked me how the trip was. What did I learn? What were my biggest takeaways? My biggest takeaway was the reassurance that the goals I’ve set for myself and the aspirations I have for my future career are exactly what I’m meant to do. It was the knowledge that this endeavour, that public service, is an honorable and worthwhile profession. It was the validation of the importance of women and women’s issues, both in the United States and internationally. And it was the confidence that I can and will make a difference, however great or small, in the lives of women and girls in my community. Story by Nickie Bartels Photos courtesy of Barnard College

Rangita de Silva de Alwis

Director of the Global Women’s Leadership Iniative at the Wilson Center

Farah Pandith

Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the U.S. Department of State

Jane Harman

Director, President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Helen Clarke Former Prime Minister of New

Zealand and Administrator of the U.N. Development Program

Wafa Taher Bugaighis Deputy Foreign Minister of Libya Lakshmi Puri

Deputy Executive Director of U.N. Women

Melanne Verveer

Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and former U.S. Ambassador- at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

@stephens_life . STEPHENS LIFE

7


DESIGNER LEAVES HER PRINT on

DALLAS

MUSSELMAN AWARD WINNER UNVEILS COLLECTION TO POSITIVE REVIEWS

F

rom the dance floors of Vero Beach, Fla., to the runways of Dallas, Holly Hmielewski has been making a name for herself. Graduating from a performing arts high school, Hmielewski entered Stephens intent on becoming a dancer. She wanted to double major in dance and fashion design. As a child, Hmielewski loved to dress up, but she didn’t have the same passion for fashion that she did for dance. “My first experience with fashion was here at Stephens’ freshman year ... I didn’t even know how to thread a machine,” she said. But she said when she starts “picking up on something, it kind of explodes ... I get good at it and I get good at it rapidly.” Hmielewski was the first member of her family to go to college and there is

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STEPHENS LIFE . FALL 2013

no history of design in her family. Her mother is crafty and sews but never delved into fashion. Her twin sister, Heather, is more athletic. (Although being a twin was a big part of her childhood, the two were very different. Hmielewski, though more artsy and creative, said she and her sister are closer now than ever.) Hmielewski said she owes thanks to fashion professor Kirsty Buchanan in particular. Buchanan’s classes were where she designed some of the patterns and prints that were recognized at the Dallas fashion show earlier this year. And it was thanks to Buchanan that Hmielewski had the opportunity to style a fashion show in November at Macy’s. And it was after that that Hmielewski returned to Dallas to exhibit her collection on the runway for that

city’s chapter of The Fashion Group International (FGI). Before then, Hmielewski would not share anything about her designs, which was inspired by all things Texas, specifically its flora and fauna. “I am always inspired by nature and wanted to have a tribute to Texas,” she said of her incorporation of the blue bonnet, monarch butterfly, blue topaz and black horse into her garments. Hmielewski also loves dresses and swimwear, deciding to combine the two in her latest collection. Her color palette included white, blue and orange. “I normally don’t do white, but I did a lot of trend research and later found that I was really on point.” And all of Hmielewski’s prints are engineered, giving her full control of her collection. The highlight of the event in Dallas was when spectators would come up to her and ask her who she was wearing. When Hmielewski replied, “myself… they looked at me like I was lying. Then


Left and below: Hmielewski’s garments walk the runway at FGI “Night of Stars.” Bottom left: Hmielewski meets designer Kay Unger.

their jaws would drop, and they would be in disbelief that I designed my dress.” Hmielewski also met other designers, such as Kay Unger, whose pieces have been sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, and Teen Wolf actor Michael Fjordback. “What a cutie,” Hmielewski said. Seeing her garments on the models for the first time in full hair, makeup and shoes was a special moment for Hmielewski. “I felt so accomplished and proud of myself and all of my hard work.” She also said the models were amazing and made the garments look even better. While she remains a student and plans to enter a few garments from her senior collection to the competition again, this taste of the big time has her thinking of her future beyond Stephens College’s fashion show and graduation. The enthusiasm for her work has fueled her desire to create even more unique designs and daring pieces. Hmielewski’s ultimate goal is to create her own line.

“I want people in the future to say, I’m wearing Hmielewski.” Some words of advice the designer would share with students and fellow designers would be: “Balance and enjoy life…the harder you work, the better the results. Someone great used to be a beginner.”

“I want people in the future to say, I’m wearing Hmielewski.” story by

Olivia O’Dell

photos courtesy of Alumna Jeanette Korab

@stephens_life . STEPHENS LIFE

9


“Someone great used to be a beginner.” - Holly Hmielewski

the future of fashion design Maggie Reasbeck is a freshman.

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T

he talent of Stephens’ fashion designers does not stop at Hmielewski. Stephens Life took to the halls of the fashion department to find designers in each year also excelling in their craft. The first name to pop up was junior Lauren Hulen. Hulen is from Lee’s Summit, Mo. Lately, Hulen’s specialty has been edgier garments, inspired by science fiction and fantasy movies. And her true love lies in designing and constructing lingerie. “I have been designing since I can remember. I made clothing for my Barbies with my great-grandma’s quilting scraps. I progressed to private sewing classes in middle school and took all four years of clothing construction offered at my high school. So, it was natural for me to go into design; I can’t picture myself doing anything else,“ she said. Hulen finds inspiration from her fellow classmates. “I haven’t really gotten to know very many upperclassmen, but just looking around, Holly is very inspiring with her success, and she seems to share a love for


Lauren Hulen is a junior.

Sophomore Cortney Sims fashions a garment.

cutting edge, unconventional designs.” Next was sophomore Cortney Sims from Jefferson City, Mo. Sims draws her inspiration from different cultures, her brother’s artwork and anything that has a story or concept. She sees herself designing resort wear in the future. When asked how long she has been designing, Sims said, “I wanted to be a designer since I was in the fourth grade, so I took some home economics classes, and when I got to high school, I took the only two textile classes we had that had sewing tied in.” Sims credits designer Asha Nelson as well as Hmielewski for her success and inspiration. “She (Nelson) has become a mentor since I have arrived at the fashion department. She’s a very strong person in standing up for who she is and what she wants. I feel that’s very important in this industry and good to have,” Sims said.

“Hmielewski comes up with some really interesting designs that are true to her. When you see her work, without even her name by it, you know it’s hers. Her work ethic is incredible, how much she gets done and the quality of it all.” Then there’s freshman Maggie Reasbeck. Reasbeck is also from Missouri, and she finds herself designing mostly dresses. “Dresses are my go-to project… Probably because that’s what I wear the most.” The young designer draws inspiration from artwork. “I really want my future designs to be paintings…just on a different canvas,” she said. Reasbeck’s love for design began at a young age. “I first started sewing in middle school and loved it. I started out crafty. But as I got older and started taking more classes, I got really into designing, patternmaking and challenging myself with my sewing.” Because Reasbeck is new to the fashion department, she hasn’t had a chance to

interact with the upperclass designers as much. “I actually attended the fashion show last spring and was very impressed by all the designs, the creativity and workmanship.” Stephens faculty and students are impressed by the talent emanating from the fashion design and product development program thus far. Only time will tell, but Stephens seems to be providing the foundation for these young women’s futures in fashion. story by

Olivia O’Dell

photos by

Kate Rudder

@stephens_life . STEPHENS LIFE

11


more than a

Song and Dance

Dancers perform a piece choreographed by Kramer Pruitt. 12

STEPHENS LIFE . FALL 2013


Senior dancers collaborate with COMPOSERS FROM MU

E

very year the senior dance class creates a show that includes choreography by each of the dancers. But this year a new element was added to the mix. Senior choreographers collaborated with composers from the University of Missouri to match movements with music written with each dancer in mind. When the project began this summer, dancers had to decide who would be the right composer for their piece. The solution? Speed dating. Each of the seven dancers and composers sat down to get to know one another’s music and dance styles and personal work ethics to find the perfect match. “If one of us knew someone else was really set on a certain composer, everyone understood that you give a little and you take a little,” Samari Jackson said. Kramer Pruitt spoke of the challenges that came with working with composers. “At first it was really challenging to communicate fluently with the composers. We didn’t know their lingo and they didn’t know ours, so listening to each other’s music and watching each other’s choreographic styles helped us figure out who was best for each of us to work with,” she said. Each choreographer had unique inspirations for their pieces that had to

then be translated in their composer’s music. LeeAnn Davis’ piece was inspired by her hometown in southern Florida. “Everything about my hometown was simple and slow-paced. The goal of my piece was to bring me back to the person I was in a more simple and relaxed place,” Davis said. The students spent about 10-15 hours in rehearsal with their performers and countless hours of their own time to perfect their movements. After months of hard work and dedication, the Senior Dance Concert took place in November. Audiences were impressed by the pieces, despite dancers having limited opportunities to interact and practice with their composers before final rehearsals. And they had even less interaction with the musicians who performed the pieces live, which was another element new to this year’s show. But it’s that challenge that dancers said made this experimental collaboration so rewarding. Well, that and the chance to choreograph pieces written with them in mind. STORY BY

Sammy Dorman

PHOTOS BY

Angie Westcott

@stephens_life . STEPHENS LIFE

13


from the

horse’s mouth equestrian students rely on these four-legged friends Name: Platinum aka “Devon” Age: 17 Gender: Gelding Breed: European Warmblood

devon

Discipline: Hunter/Jumper How Stephens got the horse: Donated by Alumna Sally Chetam Cutler Personality, skills and Traits: Devon is the mascot of the hunter/ jumper barn, having lived at Stephens the longest amount of time. In his younger years, he was competitive as a high-level jumper. Devon loves his stall next to the tack room because he gets extra attention from the students walking in and out. As he has aged, Devon has become a wonderful teacher, helping riders finding their timing to fences.

junior

Nichole Barth updates her blog in the Mac studio.

Name: Two of Diamonds aka “Junior” Age: 12 Gender: Gelding Breed: Throughbred Discipline: Hunter/Jumper How Stephens got the horse: Donated from alumna Sally Randall Personality, skills and Traits: Junior is a true asset to the program. He has shown all over the country in many hunter derby classes. He has earned many championships and is a top performer in the hunter ring. Many students have won championships and participated in their first USHJA Hunter Derby on him. He is a true performer and takes showing very seriously. The department said it feels blessed to have him.

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STEPHENS LIFE . FALL 2013


jerry

Name: Holy Smoke “Jerry” Age: 13 Gender: Gelding Breed: Thoroughbred Discipline: Hunter/Jumper How Stephens got the horse: Donated by Liza Gurly Personality, skills and Traits: Jerry’s sire is Kentucky Derby winner Holy Bull. He comes from a great line of famous race horses. Jerry never raced because his trainers felt he slept too much. Even today Jerry can be found lying out in the pasture, eating. He loves his frequent naps but is still a wonderful individual who has an excellent work ethic. He is great at giving students their first experience of riding a jumper for speed.

Name: Consider The Source aka “Sid”

sid

Age: 12 Gender: Gelding Breed: American Warmblood Discipline: Hunter/Jumper How Stephens got the horse: Donated by Richard Jensen Personality, skills and Traits: Sid is a barn favorite. He can carry a beginner or an advanced rider. Before arriving at Stephens, Sid and his donor would go on trails, and Sid would practice jumping. The equestrian department knew how special Sid was when they found out that his donor was in his mid-70s and that Sid had taken excellent care of him. The equestrian department said it feels blessed to have Sid here at Stephens because “he is a patient and excellent teacher.”

tuba

Name: Tuba Age: 16 Gender: Gelding Breed: Thoroughbred Discipline: Hunter/Jumper How Stephens got the horse: Donated by Olympic Gold Medalist Melanie Smith Taylor Personality, skills and Traits: In his early years he traveled with Buck Branneman, a world-famous horseman. Tuba has a very big personality and truly loves to work. He is a wonderful horse to give a student that next step up in their riding. REPORTED BY Tylar Polson

PHOTOS BY

Angie Westcott

INFORMATION COURTESY OF Equestrian Department

@stephens_life . STEPHENS LIFE

15


SPORTS PROGRAMS

FACES REALITIES

F

of

NAIA COMPETITION

rom the first step on the freshly cut grass of the soccer field to the ending buzzer of a basketball game, athletes leave it all out there. But the athletic department faces the reality of competing in an environment where athletics is treated differently than other schools in the NAIA. “Today’s athletic world, especially at the level that we are, is very competitive,” Tony Coleman, acting athletic director, said. “And not so much competitive in the sports themselves, but competitive in the schools and the academic side, making sure the school fits the students as well as a particular sport.” Head soccer coach, Xander Kennedy, said the athletic department is a good complement to the institution as an outlet for active young women. It provides opportunities and engages young women, allowing students to continue in the sports they have grown up enjoying. However, Stephens is working through a number of obstacles to generate an athletic department that is more focused. Hurdles that impede Stephens’ success in the conference include: low numbers and injuries, academic toughness, lack of home terrain and low support from the community. Chris Duncan, head basketball coach, said his team was left in a bad place this year because he doesn’t have the team he thought he would have. “I do think it’s because I’m a new coach, and there were a lot of changes made last year with me coming in,” Duncan said. “Expectations were different than the previous coach, and because of that we had some players leave.” As far as physical content, however, Duncan said he has cut down during

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STEPHENS LIFE . FALL 2013

practice. He said with only seven or eight players in practice, he is trying to keep everybody healthy. He has had to cut practice time in half and work on basic fundamentals of the game, breaking down the offense and defense. The cross country team, led by Travis Cook, has the minimum, five runners, needed to get a team score. If one runner is hurt or can’t attend a meet, Cook said it’s more discouraging because the team can no longer receive a team score. “We have 10 girls,” Rose Obunaga, head volleyball coach, said. “I normally think players get really tired, and they need a break once in a while. So if you have big numbers, you can do a few substitutions to let them rest, but since we have few numbers, I’ve trained them to have that endurance like going five games nonstop.” Obunaga said with a laugh that her team was “in the hands of God,” but she is taking precautions to avoid injuries. She tells the team not to pursue the really tight balls and let them drop, and she emphasizes the importance of being verbal on the court to avoid collision. Kennedy said the soccer team, which began the season with 20 girls, lost some athletes throughout the season due to injuries and lingering eligibility issues. “As we are slowly getting people back, we are losing people at the same time. Soccer is not American football, but it can be hard on your body. It’s a lot of running, and it is a contact sport absolutely,” Kennedy said. With the season beginning in the spring and practices well on their way during the fall semester, Tracy Dean, head softball coach, said she feels like she has pretty strong numbers – the only team confident in its numbers. “I think our name is getting out there,” Dean

said. “I really want to build a strong foundation in terms of having a lot of freshmen and new faces this year. I want to be able to develop the program so that next year when we come in, this year’s newbies can get us started and develop from there and grow in terms of talent.” Adam Samson, sports information director, said it takes time to promote the program and to get Stephens athletics, with many coaches in their first or second year, to the place and level of other teams. “There’s a lot of turnover, and so when there’s turnover with a coach, that means there’s going to be turnover with student athletes as well,” Samson said. Ideally, Duncan would like to grow the basketball program to at least 12 girls to have a competitive team. “It might take two or three years down the road to do this, but we’d like to have 15 girls on the roster just for reserve,” Duncan said. And Stephens athletics are known for academic achievements. In fact, Coleman said the student athletes’ GPAs overall are higher than the rest of the campus. “We check students’ GPA while they’re in season, and then we track them while they’re out of season to see if we are creating any problems,” Coleman said. Although Stephens athletes do well in the classroom, some degree requirements don’t promote success on the field or court. Duncan said that finding the right fit with students in a degree program that is workable with athletics is important. “I, on the soccer team, have had theater majors, fashion majors and equestrian majors, and they’re the ones coming to me with specific dilemmas or conflicts with scheduling issues with


their academic programs,” Kennedy said. That, Duncan said, is what he’s had to learn coming from another college. Compared to other teams in the American Midwest Conference, Stephens athletic facilities show some contrast and make do with the situations given to them. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say having a soccer field on campus wasn’t one of my top desires right now,” Kennedy said. “What we practice on isn’t a soccer field. It’s a relatively flat space that has a couple of goals, but we don’t have lines. Anybody could come out, and, this seems to happen all the time, push the goals to one side of the field or the other.” The soccer and cross country teams both rely on the city for the use of Cosmo Park for home matches, while softball uses the American Legion fields. Because both locations require fans to make the trek around town, Kennedy said it’s much harder for Stephens student fans to make an appearance. “Having a bigger fan base at (cross country) meets would be amazing because usually it comes down to a few parents at a meet,” Cook said. “Going back to the Joplin meet, that was probably one of the worst feelings I’ve had as a coach because of all the work the girls have put in, and I was the only one there to cheer them on.” The athletic department is taking steps to gain media attention and promote the growth of Stephens athletics, despite all the obstacles the department and teams must face. “I think one of the biggest things is to promote the Stephens College athletic department and to promote our student athletes for their achievements for their work outside of their sport, particularly their academic achievements and their work in the community, and also to try generating media attention from the local and regional media,” Samson said. With Samson in place as the full-time sports information director,

Kennedy has seen a dramatic difference in Stephens athletics. “The number of articles and press the soccer team has been getting is frankly amazing for a team that is not high profile and not particularly successful,” Kennedy said. “I feel like I’ve sat for more interviews in the last month than I have my entire life.” In his first year, Samson is already embracing his title to build the future of the sports information department and trying to expand on media records and coverage. “When you’re pushing stuff out to the media, the media is going to be one of the best sources to generate interest and get the word out there about a certain program,” Samson said. “It’s going to at least let people know that it’s there.” With the help of Samson’s outreach and the recruiting efforts of the coaches, Stephens athletics is moving in the right direction to generate athletic attention. “I think in time we’re going to start seeing some changes,” Duncan said. “The program we most frequently get asked about that we don’t have is nursing,” Kennedy said. “I really think expanding our health sciences and biology programs could be very beneficial for this school. A lot of athletes are in those areas, such as prephysical therapy, pre-med and pre-vet, and I actually think a reason that it is a decent fit is because any of those programs are academically rigorous. But as far as the time — the schedule and scheduling requirements — they seem to be slightly less demanding.” Duncan also said the addition of an athletic training and management field would attract athletes. The athletic department is staying positive with its sight set on a bright future for Stephens athletics. “We have to stay positive,” Duncan said. “We can’t let it get us down.”

Chris Duncan coaches basketball practice.

Story and photos by

Emily Park

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