Student Spotlight IV: Ultimate Haverford

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Student Spotlight IV: Ultimate Haverford

Maya Barlev, Aubrey Clark-Brown, Isaac Ellman, and Rudy Lamy

It wasn’t the beaches, the mountains, the weather, or even the telescopes on Mauna Kea that brought four Haverford students to UH this fall. Well, these things certainly had something to do with it, but what really clinched the deal was the siren call of Ultimate (Frisbee) League play.  Four close friends, united by joy in teamwork, strategy, running and flying discs, crossed the continent and the Pacific Ocean to spend a semester at UH and soak up Ultimate, Hawaiian style.

At the top of the Stairway to Heaven: Isaac Ellman, Rudy Lamy, Aubrey Clark-Brown, and Maya Barlev

Maya, Aubrey, Isaac and Rudy all play Ultimate at Haverford, a small, liberal arts college near Philadelphia.  In fact, Haverford has a history of sending Ultimate players to UH through A Semester in Hawai‘i.  Last year Simon Vickery and Meaghan Ryan attended, and 3 years ago, Zach Weiss made the trip.  Play happens anywhere from 1 to 4 times a week at Ala Moana or Koko Head.  Many UH graduate students participate as well, but most of the players are from the Honolulu community.  “It’s a great source for meeting people,” say Maya and Rudy.

Of course the crew does a lot more than Frisbee.  They enjoy biking, hiking, the beach and class work.  Maya says it’s been great to be outdoors so much this semester, but academically it’s been rewarding as well.  As an astrophysics major she is taking 2 graduate level courses even though she is a just a junior.  She is also working remotely with her advisor at Haverford, researching the detectability of stealth galaxies. Through connections with her advisor’s colleagues Maya was able to get some rare and precious time with the telescopes on Mauna Kea and observed two nights at Waimea at the base of the mountain.  At this time she also spoke with people about being an observational astronomer.  Her research this semester will result in a presentation at the American Astronomical Society Annual Conference in Seattle over the summer.

Another class Maya enjoyed was Ethnic Studies 221, taught by Dr. Davianna McGregor.  The course included land restoration work on Koho‘olawe, the smallest island in the main Hawaiian chain, which, for Maya, proved to be one of her “most meaningful experiences”.  Badly damaged, first as a cattle-grazing ground and then as a bombing range by the US Navy, the island is eroding and marked with unexploded shells that still lie underneath the ground.  The students help plant seeds on the ground with mulch, stopping the erosion and turning the land once more into fertile ground. Unexpected sights are sprouting vegetation from phone books, laid out on the earth.  Other sights at the island were dolphins and monk seals.  For more information about the course, Dr. McGregor, and the Ethnic Studies Department, use this link:

Aubrey’s favorite class here at UH was Middle East Politics.  Not only is he a good student and Ultimate Frisbee aficionado, but he is also one of the top-10 croquet players in the nation.  As Aubrey says, croquet is not the most popular sport, but top 10 is top 10.  (Evidently croquet players are more macho than you’d think.)

Rudy is a history major with an environmental studies concentration, and he has enjoyed taking science courses here that he wouldn’t be able to take at Haverford.  His classes Organic Food Production and Humans, Animals, and Agriculture included daily field trips around the island and lots of classroom time outside.  Rudy was also brave enough to register for a 7:00 AM class, but I didn’t ask how that panned out…

Isaac enjoyed the Organic Food Production class, but as a philosophy major, particularly enjoyed his Eastern philosophy classes. This was the first semester his philosophy classes strayed from Western thought.  He also became certified in scuba diving through the UH Leisure Center and recommends this activity to incoming students.  In fact, Isaac is staying in Hawai‘i over the holiday break, hosting friends and family and taking a trip to the Big Island.  He won’t return home until right before Spring Semester classes begin at Haverford.

Serious students

Back to Pennsylvania all four will go.  They agree that the large school experience, with a diversity of students, in a community of many ethnicities has been well worth the trip.  They all will return with memories of good classes, fun times, new friends, and of course, Hawaiian style Ultimate Frisbee.

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