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News & Notes: December 2011

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In this issue: Pathway program's first graduate, new family history degree, facts about the BrainHoney transition, employee Christmas traditions, and more.
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DECEMBER 2011 l 1 EMPLOYEE NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2011 Donned in a white lab coat, Greg Klingler grabs the next patient’s chart and begins to conduct a physical exam. As the day goes on he sees patients with the flu, a sore throat, and the occasional rash. Checking his watch he packs up, walks out, and 20 minutes later stands in front of a crowded classroom discussing how pathogens cause diseases. Klingler is one of a handful of BYU-Idaho instructors who wears two hats — works full-time as an instructor in the Department of Health, Recreation & Human Performance but also Pathway Program’s first graduate » Stephen Henderson: Senior, Communication As Kendra Hawkins worked overtime as an EMT in the Bronx, she managed to squeeze in an hour each week to begin her college degree. Now, as the first-ever graduate of the BYU-Idaho Pathway program to start from zero credit hours, Kendra will take the stage Dec. 16 to receive her associate degree in general studies. “I had always wanted to live and work in New York City, but starting my college education at the same time looked impossible to me,” says Kendra. “Pathway opened the door for me; it was an answer to my prayers.” As she was deciding whether or not to move from her native Oregon to New York, she stumbled upon a link for Pathway on the Manhattan institute website. Kendra moved to NYC and began her degree in Jan. 2010, studying with nine other students from a variety of backgrounds. “I probably wouldn’t have gone to NYC if it wasn’t for Pathway,” says Kendra. e Pathway program makes it possible for students to begin a BYU-Idaho education regardless of where they live or where they may ultimately receive their degree. Students can study in any of the 36 centers around the world. “e program was flexible, had a low cost per credit hour, and worked fine with my busy schedule,” says Kendra. “Being able to get a Church education while working — especially in Manhattan — is something I was really thankful for.” Kendra and her husband, Bradford, will return to NYC in January, where she will begin taking online classes for her bachelor’s in business with an emphasis in marketing. Kendra says she recently signed up to be a mentor for students entering Pathway. “I love this program,” says Kendra. “I think it’s amazing that people from all walks of life can meet together in one place and learn from each other. I just don’t think that could happen in any other setting.” TOP: Kendra Hawkins, the first-ever Pathway graduate to begin from zero credits. BOTTOM: Kendra meeting with her Pathway cohort in Manhattan. Pulling double duty INSTRUCTORS CONTINUE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE ON THE SIDE » Jessica McIntyre: Senior, Communication continues to practice medicine four hours a week as a physician’s assistant at a local family clinic. “e benefit, for me, is twofold. Students love hearing about their instructor’s clinical experiences,” said Klingler. “ey are starving for real life, meaningful, applicable information in the classroom. And since it isn’t practical to take all my students to the clinic, I can bring the clinic to them.” Klingler isn’t the only one pulling double in this department. Barbara Nelson spends her evenings working as continued on page 5
Transcript
Page 1: News & Notes: December 2011

DECEMBER 2011 l 1

EMPLOYEE NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2011

Donned in a white lab coat, Greg Klingler grabs the next patient’s chart and begins to conduct a physical exam. As the day goes on he sees patients with the flu, a sore throat, and the occasional rash. Checking his watch he packs up, walks out, and 20 minutes later stands in front of a crowded classroom discussing how pathogens cause diseases.

Klingler is one of a handful of BYU-Idaho instructors who wears two hats — works full-time as an instructor in the Department of Health, Recreation & Human Performance but also

Pathway Program’s first graduate» Stephen Henderson: Senior, Communication

As Kendra Hawkins worked overtime as an EMT in the Bronx, she managed to squeeze in an hour each week to begin her college degree. Now, as the first-ever graduate of the BYU-Idaho Pathway program to start from zero credit hours, Kendra will take the stage Dec. 16 to receive her associate degree in general studies.

“I had always wanted to live and work in New York City, but starting my college education at the same time looked impossible to me,” says Kendra.

“Pathway opened the door for me; it was an answer to my prayers.”As she was deciding whether or not to move from her native Oregon to New

York, she stumbled upon a link for Pathway on the Manhattan institute website.Kendra moved to NYC and began her degree in Jan. 2010, studying with

nine other students from a variety of backgrounds. “I probably wouldn’t have gone to NYC if it wasn’t for Pathway,” says Kendra.

The Pathway program makes it possible for students to begin a BYU-Idaho education regardless of where they live or where they may ultimately receive their degree. Students can study in any of the 36 centers around the world.

“The program was flexible, had a low cost per credit hour, and worked fine with my busy schedule,” says Kendra. “Being able to get a Church education while working — especially in Manhattan — is something I was really thankful for.”

Kendra and her husband, Bradford, will return to NYC in January, where she will begin taking online classes for her bachelor’s in business with an emphasis in marketing. Kendra says she recently signed up to be a mentor for students entering Pathway.

“I love this program,” says Kendra. “I think it’s amazing that people from all walks of life can meet together in one place and learn from each other. I just don’t think that could happen in any other setting.”

TOP: Kendra Hawkins, the first-ever Pathway graduate to begin from zero credits. BOTTOM: Kendra meeting with her Pathway cohort in Manhattan.

Pulling double duty INSTRUCTORS CONTINUE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE ON THE SIDE

» Jessica McIntyre: Senior, Communication

continues to practice medicine four hours a week as a physician’s assistant at a local family clinic.

“The benefit, for me, is twofold. Students love hearing about their instructor’s clinical experiences,” said Klingler. “They are starving for real life, meaningful, applicable information in the classroom. And since it isn’t practical to take all my students to the clinic, I can bring the clinic to them.”

Klingler isn’t the only one pulling double in this department. Barbara Nelson spends her evenings working as

continued on page 5

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2 l BYU- IDAHO NEWS & NOTES DECEMBER 2011 l 3

Prophets and pioneers in the BYU-Idaho Center

Busts of Joseph Smith Jr. and Brigham Young now stand guard on the southeastern side of the main floor in the BYU-Idaho Center.

The busts are bronze castings of the originals that were created in the 1950s by artist Ortho Fairbanks. Bronze castings were made because the originals are too delicate to display.

“As soon as we saw them we knew we should buy them,” said Gerald Griffin, faculty member in the Department of Art. “The President’s Executive Group agreed that the BYU-Idaho Center would be the best fit because the overall artwork theme in the building is religious history.”

Additional statues of pioneers can also be found on the main floor. Avard T. Fairbanks, uncle of Ortho Fairbanks, created the pioneer statues. After the Church acquired the originals, they contacted BYU-Idaho to help create molds.

Once the molds were made, bronze castings were made and the two statues arrived on campus. For over eight years the statues were in the Spori Art Gallery, but once the BYU-Idaho center was built, President Clark suggested moving them to where they are now.

Positive results in hybrid genetics course

Ongoing research in the Department of Biology is helping students and instructors see the benefits of hybrid classes firsthand. With the help of a student research group, instructor Todd Kelson has analyzed scores between two sections of the same genetics course, the one taught in a traditional lecture setting, the other a hybrid taught both in the classroom and using an online program. (continued in next column)

“A few semesters ago we posed the question, ‘What’s the best way to teach genetics?’” said Kelson. “We wanted to know if there was a difference between what students learned in traditional and hybrid settings.”

Since Jan. 2011, Kelson has taught his section of Genetics and Molecular Biology by instructing for 10 minutes and then letting students use online genetics tutoring software developed by the University of Idaho to further learn and practice the material on their own. Instructor Mark Dewall teaches the other section of the class using the same book and exams in a traditional lecture setting, taking time to teach the details of the material during the full class period.

“Our data show that grades in the hybrid class are very similar to those in the traditional class,” said Kelson. “Students are achieving the same results under two very different approaches to learning, one of which requires less time in the classroom.”

Kelson and his research group presented their findings at the national conference of the National Association of Biology Teachers in October, and they plan to continue their research. “I think this is what President Clark is encouraging us to do,” said Kelson. “Establish pre and post tests and use that data to improve teaching.”

Teacher Education offers new online teaching endorsement

As technology continues to increase and improve, so does the Department of Teacher Education.

Starting this semester, an Online Teaching endorsement is available to all education majors. An endorsement allows a student to become certified to teach in a certain field of their choice.

“There is a tremendous amount of growth and opportunity in the field of online education. Teachers who are proficient in online instructional pedagogy will be in demand. With this endorsement, our graduates will be able to provide a broad range of skills to schools, create flexible opportunities for students, and will be more employable,” said Kevin Stanger, chair of the Department of Teacher Education.

Busts of Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, and a statue of pioneers at Winter Quarters are on display in the BYU-Idaho Center.

University News Briefs

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2 l BYU- IDAHO NEWS & NOTES DECEMBER 2011 l 3

New Family History applied associate degree

It is eight o’clock in the evening and a mother just finished putting her small children to bed. She sits down at her computer in the living room and starts reading over her notes for her family history class later this week. Even though she is living in New York, she is still able to enroll in courses online through BYU-Idaho to earn her official certification in family history.

BYU-Idaho is partnering with the Church’s Family History Department to develop an applied associate degree in family history. This degree will prepare students for employment in family history related fields.

Stan Kivett, a faculty member in the Department of Religious Education serving on the committee to help develop this new program, explained, “The courses will offer students opportunities to engage in authentic tasks related to family history research,” said Kivett. “Over the course of the two-year program, students will develop portfolios that will demonstrate mastery and experience they have gained in conducting personal and professional research in family history.”

The implementation of this program will require a large amount of course development within the college of Foundations and Interdisciplinary Studies. This online degree program represents a collaborative approach to online development that has not been attempted previously at BYU-Idaho. Specifically, there are five areas of growth that will help guide the program: 1) ability to identify and use appropriate record types and sources, 2) ability to use effective research strategies, 3) ability to communicate and publish results, 4) ability to start and maintain a genealogical research business, 5) ability to teach others about aspects of family history work and serve in the Church meaningfully.

The university is aiming to have the degree available to students beginning Fall 2012.

Department of Communication hand selects mentors for students

To better help students make effective academic decisions, graduate on time, and improve their career prospects, all students within the Department of Communication have a new guiding light: a hand-picked faculty mentor.

“We decided to revamp the system so students didn’t waste valuable time aimlessly wandering around a diverse major,” said Lee Warnick, Department of Communication faculty. “Now we hand pick a mentor for each freshman or new communication major, giving them someone who is more familiar with his or her skills, experience, and interests, and provides targeted information and help.”

In the past, a computer randomly assigned mentors. But from now on, each communication major will take a survey specifying their emphasis and specialty area interests. Based on this information students will be assigned a mentor who is the best match for him or her.

“Students within this major are so vastly diversified, ranging from broadcasting to organizational communication,” said Warnick. “Mentors are now matched with students across 11 distinct skills and interest areas. It’s a lot of work, but we’re already seeing the positive impact this will have for our students.”

LIFE-LIKE TRAUMA SIMULATION INSTRUCTS STUDENTS

Walking onto the scene it’s eerily quiet. The sight before your eyes is one of misery, carnage, and death. After two years studying nursing your instincts kick-in, but without a staff of doctors and needed equipment — what do you do; whom do you treat? This was the scenario presented to nursing students recently during the Emergency and Disaster Workshop sponsored by BYU-Idaho’s paramedicine program.

Now in its fifth year, the workshop teaches nursing students how to deal with trauma outside the hospital by simulating scenarios one might come across as a neighbor, parent, or passerby. Teaching students what to do when they don’t have their regular tools, thinking critically and decisively.

“This simulation was excellent practice because it teaches what should be done when first arriving at an emergency,” said Lindsay Dunn, nursing student. “We haven’t had a lot experience with emergency disasters, so getting to practice our skills in a variety of simulations was really helpful and prepared us for future situations.”

Eight different vignettes (from a hanging to a chemical burn) were created by paramedic students to provide nursing students a well-rounded experience. After the exercises were completed, nursing students were debriefed about what they did or didn’t do right and were then ushered into a simulated school shooting. With paramedic students acting as the victims, the nursing students had to rush into action sorting out the most critical and the dead.

“This workshop gives students a different kind of learning opportunity. They walk into a situation not knowing what is going to happen; this is when leaders arise and talents emerge,” said Steve Holley, paramedic program faculty member. “By getting them out of the clinic, they learn more about themselves and are suddenly empowered.”

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4 l BYU- IDAHO NEWS & NOTES DECEMBER 2011 l 5

Matthew Longmore in front of the Taj Majal

Huddled around groups of fifth graders, BYU-Idaho students begin instructing. The large room is filled with the sound of French horns, clarinets, and tubas, each instrument playing its own song. Cheeks puffed-up with air and eyes narrowed in, focusing on the sheet of music, they all randomly end their tunes and laughter erupts from the fifth graders and college students alike.

The work that eight BYU-Idaho students put in every semester to help teach 50 fifth graders in Madison Middle School band classes all started with an idea from adjunct faculty member and Madison Middle School band teacher, David Barton.

“Five years ago I saw a gap between the community and the university,” said Barton. “I told the Department of Music my idea, and they quickly jumped on board. Now every semester I bring BYU-Idaho students to the middle school and have them teach my band students.”

Dividing the fifth graders into winds, brass, and percussion groups, BYU-Idaho students teach the different groups in an effort to provide the middle school students more one-on-one time with an instructor. “It is extremely difficult to try to teach 10- and 11-year-olds how to play an instrument,” Barton said. “So when we can

bring in these college students and give the kids that specific instruction, it truly enhances the learning for both parties.”

Whether the college students’ instrument preference is the violin or the bassoon, they learn how to teach every instrument to the fifth graders. Having this practicum teaches the college students to feel comfortable in front of a classroom and to take the theories they have learned and apply them.

“The first time I taught the class, it was great. It felt so natural to teach these kids,” said Andrew Wilson, student teacher. “My favorite lesson to teach is about breathing. Proper breathing while playing an instrument is like putting fuel in your car. If you do not breathe properly, you cannot play properly.”

Once a week all the students in the practicum meet together to discuss the things that did or didn’t work in the classroom. “Having this experience helps the students succeed right off the bat,” Barton said. “And the fifth graders really enjoy having the college students in there. They call them their friends, and they can’t wait to have them visit class. When the college students divide into groups, they all sit on the ground and the kids run to sit right next them.”

Learning Model: Students help tune in local fifth graders

➝ LEARNING MODELSPECIAL FEATURE

Student Andrew Wilson teaches kids from Madison Middle School.

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4 l BYU- IDAHO NEWS & NOTES DECEMBER 2011 l 5

As the year comes to a close, so must a system that faculty members have used for more than 10 years—Blackboard (I-Learn 1.0). Beginning Winter Semester 2012, BrainHoney (I-Learn 2.0) will take the seat as the only learning management system available to faculty. Here is a look at just a few of the features BrainHoney offers.

BENEFITS OF BRAINHONEYTest student

With Blackboard, faculty members weren’t able to see what students saw. But with BrainHoney’s test student feature, faculty can “enroll” themselves into their classes and see everything from a student perspective, allowing them to ensure assignments and other course content work correctly.

Feedback notificationWhen a student submitted an

assignment in Blackboard, the instructor uploaded a score on one screen, but had to provide feedback in a separate section. Unless students went searching for the feedback, they didn’t know it was there. In BrainHoney, however, students are alerted

of feedback with an icon and can view their grades and instructor comments with one click.

To do listAnother benefit is the “due soon”

list. At a glance, students can see what assignments are due for the week in chronological order. Similarly, instructors now enjoy a “to do” feature listing all assignments ready to be graded. Faculty may choose to view their to-do list for just one course or for all of their classes at once.

THE FUTURE OF I-LEARNI-Learn is more than a course

management tool. Tools and links for Adobe Connect, the McKay Library, media streaming, and analytic resources are also available. The following are a few additional features being piloted right now with the potential of being added to I-Learn.

Submitting grades from I-LearnThis semester the final-grade-submit

functionality is being piloted. “It was very

successful for midterm grades and we are expecting it to work well for final grades,” said Arlen Wilcock, manager of the Academic Technology Center. “If the pilot continues as expected, all faculty members will be able to submit grades from I-Learn beginning next semester.”

TurnItInWith this tool, instructors can help

students better understand plagiarism. TurnItIn addresses plagiarism by checking students’ written assignments against 14 billion web pages. Once information is collected, the site delivers feedback to the student. By doing this, students improve their writing skills and learn the proper way to cite sources.

TRANSITIONThere are two ways to move course

content from I-Learn 1.0 to I-Learn 2.0; call the Faculty Technology Center (FTC) and an FTC employee can quickly convert your course over to I-Learn 2.0, or create the course using the Course Management tool, and move the content from I-Learn 1.0 to I-Learn 2.0.

BrainHoney officially replaces Blackboard: what you need to know» Scott Haycock: Senior, Communication

I-LEARN MYTHS

Don’t let transitioning to the new version of I-Learn scare you away. Making the change may be easier than you think.

Myth #1:I have to transfer over all of my content by myself.

False - A student employee in the FTC can assist you in making the transfer. They can help you organize your content in a way that is most understandable and navigable for your students.

Myth #2:It takes a long time to transfer course content over.

False - The amount of time it takes to convert a course to BrainHoney can take as little as 10 minutes, depending on the size of your content. Student employees in the FTC can quickly assist you.

an OBGYN, still seeing 15 to 20 patients and doing surgeries at least once a month. John Lewis and Steve Holley give their extra time working with local paramedics, and Brian Schaat is a physical therapist at a local clinic.

Practicing instructors CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

“Doing surgery is my first love; being able to teach students what I have learned working as an OBGYN is soon becoming my ultimate love,” said Nelson. “I wanted to be involved with things of most worth, and I knew that what was happening at BYU-Idaho was something magnificent.”

Devoting the majority of their time to BYU-Idaho, these professors are still able to keep a finger in their first love

— medicine. Knowing the latest trends,

outbreaks, and changes in their field makes them better equipped to teach their students.

“It benefits me to have an instructor who also practices his field in his spare time because I have been able to shadow and see for myself what the profession does,” said Mckay Pearson, a senior studying health science. “These teachers are a good way to help us students know what we can do with our degrees.”

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Students John Sais and Eric VanGenderen work on an ambulance as part of the paramedic program.

When a fire erupts from an apartment building or when cars create a tangled mess on a freeway, most people run from the scene. But paramedics do the opposite

— they run to save lives. This is the courage and skill that John Lewis, paramedic program director and other paramedic instructors are teaching their students to have.

“When you’re responsible for saving the life of somebody’s mom, friend, or child, it comes with immense pressure,” said Brittney Thompson, former student and now EMT in Phoenix, Ariz. “The paramedic program may have been extremely intense, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It was the perfect program for me.”

PRACTICING WHAT IS PREACHEDStudents in the paramedic program

hope to be emergency medical technicians (EMT) when they graduate, so now they are practicing, practicing, and practicing some more. One class that tests students’ technical skills is a trauma course that simulates real-life EMT experiences. During class, paramedic students wait until they get “the call,” then in groups of three they load the ambulance and run

to the scene with no prior knowledge, treating the patient as if they were truly in pain. Every Monday and Wednesday, paramedic students take part in labs simulating trauma, then alternate with lecture courses Tuesday and Thursday.

EARLY QUALIFICATIONAfter taking one seven-credit course at

the beginning of the program, students are already qualified to work at an entry-level position on an ambulance after passing a national exam. The remainder of their time in the program, students are capable to work as paramedics in the area. The BYU-Idaho paramedic program has trained nearly every EMT in Madison County.

PUTTING OUT THE FIRESAlong with offering students a chance

to become a basic EMT, the paramedic program also offers any student on campus a chance to learn about fire and become qualified to enter a fire academy. “We offer a fire class to help students differentiate what path they want to take at graduation,” said Lewis. “We teach them how put on their gear, analyze a burning building, and how to work as a team.”

LIFE AFTER GRADUATIONAfter paramedic students spend their

four years of schooling in Rexburg, many have difficulty transferring to larger cities where crime and injuries are rampant. To help students transition to life in a bigger city BYU-Idaho has developed a good working relationship with the paramedics in Oklahoma City, Okla. Beginning two years ago groups of 10 students moved to Oklahoma City for three months riding in their ambulances. “Students can adapt to Oklahoma City easier because it is very hospitable and has a lower crime rate compared to Chicago or New York,” said Lewis.

REAL SUCCESS

For paramedics it is a daily occurrence to save a life and for firefighters to run into a burning building, so that isn’t their definition of success. “Our type of success is seeing students take what they are learning and getting out of this area and making a difference,” said Lewis. “It is our students in Atlanta, Orlando, Honolulu, or Phoenix who are implementing their BYU-Idaho education into their paramedic or firefighting departments.”

BY THE NUMBERS

20 ...........years of service

25 ...........students each semester in paramedic courses

75 ...........students each semester in firefighting class

75 ...........students each semester qualified as basic EMTs

88% ........first-time pass rate on national licensure exam

99% ........second-time pass rate on national licensure exam

2 .............student-run ambulances

Department Spotlight: Paramedics» Jessica McIntyre: Senior, Communication

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How Do You Christmas?EMPLOYEES SHARE FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

Eight years ago, my wife and I wanted to create our own traditions. Since I studied at the Jerusalem Center, we thought having a tradition focusing on the beginning of Christmas would be great, and to do something that maybe people did during Christ’s life. We began having a ‘Christmas in Bethlehem’ on Christmas Eve consisting of Middle Eastern or Jewish foods such as humus, pita bread, baklava, dates, and challah bread. Samuel Smith, Curriculum Development

I come from mostly Scandinavian stock, and my wife from the British Isles. We have always had Christmas traditions surrounding food from our native lands. One of my earliest memories is a traditional steam pudding that my mother began

when I was kid. She would make a rice pudding and hide an almond in it. The one who found the almond in their bowl meant they would be next to be married. In my younger years it was obvious that the almond was not randomly placed. Now when she serves it, we get lots of almonds.

Now with my own family we still do things like the steam pudding, just without the almond. My wife also makes a Middle Eastern type of meal for Christmas Eve to help us

celebrate not just our own culture but the meaning behind the season.Ryan Nielson, Department of Physics

When the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas came out, my family fell in love with it. So now every year we have our own ‘Grinch’ party. We scour the house looking for anything green we can wear,

turn all of our snacks green, and my daughters create ‘Who-hair.’ After we are all dressed for the occasion and have our green snacks, we watch the movie.

This party is not us sitting around like Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, hating the Whos, but it’s a fantastically fun family party.Alan Holyoak, Department of Biology

One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions is packing up all of our children Christmas night and taking them out for Chinese food. It started when our kids were little, and their favorite place to eat was a Chinese restaurant in Logan, Utah. We noticed one year the restaurant was open Christmas day, so we decided it could be fun to take them there for Christmas, and the tradition stuck.

We spend all day playing with new toys and eating leftovers and treats, and that night we get dressed up and go out to eat. The tradition has spread and now includes extended family. It is a lot of fun to not have to cook and just worry about playing with the kids.Janna Nelson, College of Education and Human Development

Christmas is a season filled with holly and lights, smiles and gifts. It’s a time to spend with family and friends. Even though we all seem to do generic things such as decorate a tree and exchange presents, each one of us does something different and unique.

The way we spend Christmas has become as unique as our fingerprint, but no matter how unique our celebrations may be, it is filled with warmth and love from family and friends. Four employees share their favorite, distinctive holiday traditions.

Page 8: News & Notes: December 2011

8 l BYU- IDAHO NEWS & NOTES

News & NotesA monthly publication of University Communications

A D V I S O R / E D I T O R Andy Cargal

W R I T E R S Scott Haycock, Stephen Henderson, Jessica McIntyre

PHOTOGRAPHERS Michael Lewis, Doug McKay

If you have any ideas for future issues, please e-mail [email protected]

University Communications215 Kimball Building • Rexburg, ID • 83460-1661 • Phone: (208) 496-2000

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A few years ago, no one ever thought Nathan Meeker was capable of competing as a triathlete. At 6 foot 3 inches and 240 lbs., he was in no shape to walk a mile, much less run 26. But over the past few years, the Department of Sociology instructor has competed in 17 half marathons, 11 Olympic triathlons, three full marathons, and has lost 50 lbs. in the process.

“I always knew that my weight was something I needed to get a handle on,” said Meeker. “I signed up for my first half marathon to have more motivation, something to work toward.”

Meeker has since competed in all kinds of races and in all kinds of weather, from the scorching heat of St. George to the freezing temperatures of Rigby and Pocatello.

“Some of the most beautiful runs are when the snow is lightly falling and you can really appreciate the landscape of the area,” said Meeker, who’s up at 5 every morning to train. Currently, he runs over 24 miles, swims 3 miles, and bikes 75 miles a week.

Meeker’s long-term goal is to finish an Ironman triathlon, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26-mile run. More specifically, after not being able to finish the St. George Ironman, he’d love to complete the grueling race, which is famous for its heat and hills.

“Every time I finish a race, I’m still mindful of how far I’ve come,” says Meeker. “And I’m mindful of how much the human body is made to be worked. When you work it, it responds.”

Stomping through the icy snow, a loud crunch is accompanied with each step. With a red nose and cheeks Angela Nelson begins to cup the snow with her blue mittens. Forming a perfect circle, she bends down low and pushes the ball across the snow-laden yard. After an hour, trails of footprints crisscross the yard and a lopsided snowman stands proudly right in the center.

“After entering Salt Lake City to visit my family for Christmas that year, snow was everywhere,” said Nelson. “It was so incredible to build that snowman with my grandpa. It was a terrible snowman — kind of icy and poorly built. But it was amazing for a kid from California.”

Even though Nelson grew up in a land where the sun was constantly shining and snow was a sparse commodity. Raised in a family with a lot of brothers and sisters, the seed of doubt was placed in Nelson about the reality of St. Nick.

“With siblings older and younger than me, I was exposed early on to cold hard truth about Santa Claus,” Nelson said with a smile. “It was a gradual transition for me, but I remember one year my brother and I having a chat about whether Santa was real. Ever since then I have been on the fence.”

Living now in Ithaca, NY, teaching online Foundations science courses, Nelson is still able to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive for her two daughters, ages nine and two.

“I really enjoy having the chance to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas,” Nelson said.

Nathan MeekerSociology & Social WorkFaculty

Start Date: May 2005

Hometown: Richland, Washington

Angela NelsonOnline InstructionRemote Adjunct Faculty

Start Date: April 2010

Hometown: Ithaca, New York

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