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Faculty in Focus: Judy Tegtmeyer

Many students will immediately recognize Judy Tegtmeyer as the friendly face who always smiles at them during their visits to Skoglund Athletic Center. However, they may not know much about this Director of Recreation and RESA Facility Coordinator or what she does.

Tegtmeyer, who grew up as the daughter of a college athletics coach, leaned toward a coaching and teaching career when she entered Denison University in Ohio, but became interested in environmental studies and received her bachelor’s degree in geology. After graduation, she worked for the Bureau of Land Management before being hired by an environmental consulting company. After realizing the field was not a good fit, Tegtmeyer went back to school to earn her M.S. in Kinesiology at Indiana University. She coached for three years in Missouri, then came to St. Olaf.

“I’m living the liberal arts,” she said. “You just never know where your path is going to take you. You get out and try different things, and sometimes you end up in places you weren’t expecting to see. Or you find yourself back to where you originally thought you wanted to be in the first place.”

Tegtmeyer has worked at St. Olaf for 22 years. At the beginning of her career here, she coached women’s soccer for seven years. Desiring a change of pace and to work with the wider student body, the former collegiate athlete entered her current post and has never looked back.

“My favorite part of my job is working with students…To watch this age group grow from their first year with deer-in-the-headlights [expressions] to watching them graduate, and just watch the changes in maturity,” Tegtmeyer said. “Some of them are just tremendous changes. Maybe they’ve found a passion, or their calling, and it’s just really fun to watch that emerge in people.”

Tegtmeyer enjoys the special community of students, but also the relationship between students, faculty and staff. Her position within the community allows her to work with both sides, from teaching student exercise classes (including the ever-popular rock climbing course) to working with administrators to develop recreation opportunities. It’s why she has stayed.

“It’s the physical-mental combination of things that you see in this building,” she said. “You see them at their absolute best, and at their worst. Everyone struggles at different times and with different things, and it’s just about what you learn here about how to overcome challenges.”

The recreation department exists not just for the 66 percent of St. Olaf students involved in intramural and club sports, but also to improve the quality of life and wellness for every student on campus. With the college’s new framework plan, changes – such as an indoor ice rink – could soon be coming to the RESA facilities. Tegtmeyer also sits on the college’s wellness committee, made up of members from Health Services, Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN), Residence Life, Student Congregation, the Wellness Center and other groups, which aims to increase awareness of holistic wellness and support student health.

“The more programming we can offer, the more opportunities students have to engage in healthy behaviors, and hopefully that would help them be healthier and better students,” Tegtmeyer said.

The professor herself models an active, balanced lifestyle. Outside of St. Olaf, Tegtmeyer enjoys cycling, rock climbing, camping, backpacking, canoeing, Nordic skiing, gardening, theater and art. She has led two Interim off-campus study programs, once on the Theater in London trip and another to Arizona to lead a course that explored the relationship between biomes, biology and health.

Tegtmeyer’s story truly embodies St. Olaf’s key values of community, vocation, involvement, care and holistic wellness, and her joyous attitude exemplifies the power of finding a sense of belonging. Next time she smiles at you on your way to the gym, be sure to say hi and thank the woman who devotes her days to creating quality spaces for your active endeavors.

meeder1@stolaf.edu

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"Streetcar" revels in tragedy, emotion

Track teams host Ole Qualifier meet

The St. Olaf men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted the Ole Qualifier at Tostrud Center on Feb. 22. Individuals from around the conference competed for entry into the MIAC indoor track and field championships, which take place Feb. 28-March 2 at Tostrud Center.

The meet was the Oles’ first home meet since Jan. 25 and second of the indoor season.

“Running at home is awesome,” said Moriah Novacinski ’14, women’s team captain. “It is so nice to run on a track we are comfortable on and get to practice on every day. Plus to have Ole fans cheering for us makes everyone perform better than ever.”

Several Oles performed commendably, placing in their individual events. Reggie Woods ’13 sprinted the 60-meter dash in 6.97 seconds, earning first place by a margin of 0.18 seconds. Aaron Dunphy ’15 finished second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.71 seconds. Ole men also dominated longer distances: Snatching places first through fourth in the mile run were Tim Lillehaugen ’13 4:20.53, Paul Escher ’16 4:21.72, Calvin Lehn ’16 4:22.48 and John Christian ’14 4:22.79. In the field, shot-putter Ethan Lunning ’16 threw 15.43 meters, earning second place.

On the women’s side, Sophie Pietrick ’13 finished first in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 10:39.68. Meanwhile, Emily Stets ’15, Shaina Rud ’14, Dani Larson ’15 and Novacinski raced to a 4:06.33, second-place finish in the 4×400-meter relay.

“Placing second in the 4×400-meter relay really lit a fire under us,” Rud said. “It definitely lets us know where we stand against other MIAC teams before Conference next weekend. Moving forward, that race will motivate us to cut even more time.”

Several Oles will compete at the MIAC indoor championships. Athletes’ performances at this meet will determine admittance to the NCAA D-III indoor championships, which take place in Naperville, Ill. on March 8-9.

“I think we proved we are ready,” Novacinski said. “We have been competing well, and if everyone performs, we will be great. I can’t wait to see how we do.”

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"Streetcar" revels in tragedy, emotion

‘Poe Pieces’ ensemble devised show’s script

Combining short, dramatic scenes, haunting musical pieces and darkly comic puppetry, “Poe Pieces,” which ran Feb. 8 through 16, formed a theatrical anthology of Edgar Allen Poe’s work that gave audience members a look into Poe’s often disturbing creativity. Interpretations of Poe’s various literary works, including “Mask of the Red Death,” “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Raven,” came to life on stage as actors, student musicians and theater technicians presented their work.

HANNAH RECTOR/Manitou Messenger

“Poe Pieces,” devised in a theater interim class, paid tribute to the life and work of Edgar Allen Poe.

“Poe Pieces” was a devised play, which means that unlike a traditional play, actors did not start with a script on which to base their performance. Instead, students spent the four weeks of interim in a theater course where they assembled the performance from the ground up. This type of “workshopped show” allows actors to become more involved with the piece because they have a hand in its creation.

Assistant Professor of Theater Jeanne Willcoxon led the project and has past experience in devised-theater production.

Various elements of Poe’s life and works came together during the show’s creation, providing audience members with a multifaceted look at the author’s work. Actors and other students working with the performance began by reading several of Poe’s poems, short stories, letters and biographies. Along with Poe’s work, students studied Sigmund Freud’s essay “The Uncanny,” which defines “the uncanny” as something familiar, yet strange, an experience that produces an eerie feeling of uneasiness. By holding this essay in the background while assembling the different elements of the performance, students lent the play a dark, off-putting mood that fit Poe’s melancholic style.

After reading through Poe’s short stories, poems and letters, students began interpreting the pieces for theater. The students formed small groups and were all assigned the same piece of Poe’s literature. Despite having the same literary work, each group focused on a different element of theatrical production. For example, when the students worked with the poem “To My Mother,” one group concentrated on text, another on movement and another on sound. Focusing the students on different theatrical elements encouraged them to completely dissect each piece and understand how to effectively communicate Poe’s emotion throughout the entire scene.

After working in groups, the students came together and discussed each element. Willcoxon reminded the students that each theatrical performance has a variety of elements, and she prompted the students to layer them. Because the groups worked separately from each other, their interpretations would occasionally conflict.

During this process, which lasted for a few days in January, students strove to understand Poe’s purpose in each work and asked themselves what they wanted to convey to the audience. This intense focus on each piece eventually allowed students to successfully layer the different elements into a cohesive production.

Once students established which pieces they liked and began interpreting them for the stage, they tied the stories and poems together into a loose plotline of Poe’s life, using letters and biographical information. They incorporated Poe’s mournful love for the various women he had lost in his life and details about his psychological instability. Students got the information partially from a biography. However, recognizing the biography’s potential bias, they also used the letters Poe had composed himself, including letters to his wife, his friends and the letter he wrote before a failed attempt at taking his own life. Because the letters came directly from Poe, students were able to integrate Poe’s voice directly into the performance.

Isaac Rysdahl ’14, an actor in “Poe Pieces,” appreciated the opportunity to devise a play because it allowed him to connect to the work in ways that other performances had not.

“It was a great experience for the actors to be involved with the creative process,” Rysdahl said. “There is a certain sense of vulnerability that is necessary when trying to create a piece because you have to be willing to try things and know they’re going to fail. We failed many times during the creative process, but I think we succeeded in coming up with a great cohesive piece.”

According to Rysdahl, the creation of “Poe Pieces” was a wholly collaborative effort. Although the end goal was to create a single theatrical performance, the unique creative process behind “Poe Pieces” provided a valuable experience for every student involved.

slater@stolaf.edu

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"Streetcar" revels in tragedy, emotion

Awkward Ole tales

Although we may pretend embarrassing moments don’t happen to us Oles, the opposite often proves all too true. In fact, St. Olaf’s small size and inclusive campus usually heighten the awkwardness of any given situation – sometimes to the point of social anxiety or emotional stress.

If you accidentally crank a bookshelf into the boy from choir, the only open spot in the reference room will be the one next to him. If you and the girl from biology share a Pause dance you’d like to forget, you’re sure to see her when you’re the only two walking across the quad. If you trip walking up the stairs to Stav in front of your secret crush, you are guaranteed to see him or her at breakfast next week – probably the one day you don’t bother to blow dry your hair or forget to wear deodorant.

It’s just our luck.

Maybe it’s the stress of organic chemistry, delirium from staring at a philosophy paper for six straight hours or years of ridicule as a high school choir kid, but this unfortunate reality affects us all.

As a person who experiences awkward situations more often than most, I’m proud to say I’ve learned to handle them with grace – or at least I try. Here, I take you through an embarrassing yet painfully average day for me, proving laughter is the best medicine.

I arrived at the cafeteria around 11:30 a.m. I decided to reward myself for resisting the tater tots by dousing my salad in French dressing and Goldfish YOLO. However, I encountered more than a few difficulties while pouring the Goldfish, and experienced a momentary – and involuntary – breakdown.

“These, ah … these things, they’re, ah, uh … ah, I don’t know,” I said to the person I thought I knew but did not behind me in line.

Apparently unable to formulate coherent English, my breath grew heavy as sweat dribbled down my back – it was gross. Ready to give up, I gave the dispenser one last shake. The Goldfish came rushing out, landing on the floor, on the person behind me and between the buttons on my shirt.

“Sorry,” I said to the poor person witnessing my struggle.

We both looked at each other, looked at the excessive Goldfish and laughed.

“No problem,” she said, picking a Goldfish off of my scarf.

Clearly not mentally equipped to handle the Caf, I ordered a cheese cup at the Cage – apparently, it was one of those days. I handed the cashier what I thought was my ID card.

“You can’t pay with this,” she said, holding up my Lifetime Fitness card.

Oops.

“Sorry,” I said, handing her a crumpled five-dollar bill, “I’m really tired.”

“You want some coffee?” she asked jokingly.

“Please,” I said, chuckling along with her.

Later that day, as I walked up the staircase with my friend, I tripped a little bit. In other words, I completely ate it.

“Wow, drunk at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday?” I heard the person behind us mutter.

1. I was 100 percent sober.

2. I took precautions by holding the handrail.

3. Yes, it happened regardless.

My friend tried to console me, but failed to contain her laughter, as did I.

By embracing the moments that make me cringe – by laughing at myself – I get through those I-can’t-believe-that-really-just-happened-I’m-never-coming-out-of-my-dorm-room-again moments. And you know what they say: As the following Oles confirm, the worst moments make the best stories.

cron@stolaf.edu

Andrew Lindvall ’14

“I’ll meet you upstairs,” I said to my cute Caf date score.

So focused on keeping my plate steady, I unknowingly walked into the railing as I rounded the corner. Fortunately, because I possess such acute reflexes, I avoided spilling my food – using only one hand. Impressive, I know.

However, I lost track of the rest of my body in the process. Tripping, I attempted to catch myself by grabbing the railing, but overestimated my reach. My entire arm got stuck between the railing at the wall, keeping me captive in a kneeling position in the stairwell.

I watched numerous Oles walking by me – it was the 5:30 p.m. dinner rush, of course – either laughing, clapping or pretending not to notice. Frantic, I tried to free myself, but because the railing had jammed my elbow, I remained helpless.

After struggling for nearly 15 minutes, a Stav worker finally rescued me.

“This wasn’t in the job description,” he said as he lifted my arm over the railing.

Wincing with pain, I thanked him and continued up the stairs – plate of food still in hand.

My date was still waiting for me. Nice.

Eric Crees ’15

As if navigating the cafeteria as naive, over-eager first years isn’t awkward enough, my roommate and I could not locate our friends. We walked aimlessly around the first level, scanning the cafeteria – what I like to call the “creep sweep” – and avoiding eye contact at all costs. But, I mean, I played it cool.

As we ventured up the stairs we felt a fine mist hit us. We briefly acknowledged our concern, but ultimately chose to shrug it off, and continued walking up the stairs.

As we turned the corner to head up the second set, we looked up and saw the source of the mist: an Ole lunging towards the railing with puke violently flying out of his open mouth.

Speechless, we stood in utter disbelief for a few moments before fully realizing that chunks of puke landed in our food, clothes and hair.

Whimpering, we went to get a fresh plate.

Amanda Tveite ’15

Exhausted after a long day of class, I trudged through the snow back to Larson for a pre-dinner nap. I thought about taking the stairs for about seven seconds, but considering I live on the 11th floor, I opted for the elevator. Although I was in a daze, it was hard to miss what happened next.

Waiting for the elevator with a somewhat anxious, extremely sweaty first year, I sensed him looking at me. I looked over to acknowledge him, but he spontaneously started coughing.

“It really is flu season, huh?” I said.

I waited for a response, but obviously, due to his uncontrollable cough, he could not speak. I pretended to fix my hair and turned away. When the elevator arrived, the awkwardness increased exponentially.

Clearly in the middle of making out, a couple in the elevator paused briefly when the doors opened. I walked in standing as far away from the lovers as possible, and the sickly first year bolted towards the stairs.

As soon as the doors closed they went right back to their PG-13 canoodling.

Awesome.

And by that, I mean, gross. I understand your need for affection, but it’s Tuesday afternoon. You need to learn to contain your passion.

Kristine Kroker ’15

“Hey, you!” I said to the boy making a panino.

I stood there waiting for him to respond, but after a minute or two of standing by the salad bar smiling to myself, I concluded that he did not hear me. My voice doesn’t tend to carry well in noisy settings, so naturally, I decided to yell louder. And wave. With both hands.

“Hey! Hey! Look, I remembered who you are!”

I’d met this boy the previous week, and he didn’t think I would say hi to him after our initial meeting.

“Oh . . . yeah,” he said, looking confused.

There was a tense pause. The only sound I could hear was the panini maker sizzling. I let out a lingering giggle to fill the silence.

“Yeah, I remember you too?” he muttered.

He did not remember me because as I later found out, this person was not the boy from the previous week. Two months have passed, and he continues to say hi to me. I’m not sure if this is a sign of blossoming friendship or pity, but either way, I see him everywhere. Constantly.

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"Streetcar" revels in tragedy, emotion