King David

The morning is already halfway done by the time David West strolls out of his Manor House apartment and heads off to class. As he works his way toward Alter Hall, the residential mall fills in around him, becoming more and more alive with students rushing around as fast as their backpack-burdened bodies will carry them. West is in no hurry, though. For two years the starting center on the men’s basketball team listened to former coach Skip Prosser harp about time management. “If you can’t be on time, be early,” Prosser would say. The message sank in; he’s early.


As he arrives in the class, he heads straight for the back corner. The last row is often the hiding place of the academically challenged, but that’s not why West is there. Although many athletes clamor for center stage anywhere there’s a crowd, West’s inclination is to shy away from the spotlight. As class begins, he sits quietly, paying attention but letting others speak out and get the glory for their knowledge.

It’s hard not to notice West, though. At 6-foot-9, he stands-or, in this case, sits-head and shoulders above most of his fellow students. But he’s also hard to overlook because in the last two years he’s become an increasingly familiar presence, not just on campus, but in the country. Since arriving on campus two seasons ago, West has established himself as one of the nation’s premier basketball players. He’s now showing up on the pages of magazines, newspapers and television sets nationwide. He’s a Wooden and Naismith college player of the year candidate, an Associated Press preseason All-American and the Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year. He’s been featured in Sports Illustrated, SLAM and ESPN magazines. Most recently, he was pictured in Playboy as part of that publication’s All-American team lineup. And all of the media attention makes it hard for West not to have strangers pointing at him while he walks down the mall, or stare at him while he eats or be the focal point of a classroom discussion. It’s uncomfortable, and the seat in the back row helps.

At the same time, though, it’s understandable why others stop and stare, because from November through March, when he steps onto the floor of the Cintas Center, he is more than just another kid on campus; he’s one of the best-if not the best-player ever to pull on a Xavier uniform. And that is hard to ignore.

“Man, it’s always hot in this classroom,” West says. He’s dressed in gray sweatpants, a gray hooded sweatshirt, a white T-shirt and Nike basketball shoes, size 17. He reaches up and opens the window above his head to let in some fresh air as professor Debbie Pearce hands out a behavioral-type test known as the Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument. The test assesses how an individual reacts in certain conflict situations, and West pulls off his sweatshirt and starts working his way through its 30 questions. As some of the students finish the test, Pearce begins quizzing them about their results. After a while, she spots West, whose test indicates he’s highly competitive.

“Why do you suppose that is?” Pearce asks the communications class.
“Because he’s an athlete,” someone answers.

“Of course,” she says. “You don’t go into a game trying to tie or saying, ‘Let’s share the points.’ ”
West laughs at the idea. So does his coach, Thad Matta.

“He hates to lose,” says Matta.

What makes West such a dominant force on the basketball court, though, isn’t just the results of the Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument. West’s skills are no secret. He can score, averaging nearly 18 points a game last year. His 902 points through his first two seasons are second in school history only to Byron Larkin. He can rebound, averaging nearly 11 rebounds per game last year. He also blocked a school-record 61 shots and collected two assists per game-a frequently overlooked statistic, but one that reveals his unselfish willingness to pass up a scoring chance if it will help the team.

“He’s almost like a point center,” says St. Joseph coach Phil Martelli. “A lot of big guys will throw it only to the person who passed it to them, but David finds guys all over the floor.”

Xavier has seen its share of high quality big men-Tyrone Hill, Brian Grant, Derek Strong, Aaron Williams-but West appears to be the best of the group, at least so far.

“Right now, he’s head and shoulders above where Tyrone and Brian were at this point in their careers,” says Larkin, the University’s all-time leading scorer and radio analyst. “What makes him so good is his patience. Most players get the ball and want to go straight to the basket. He takes a look at the situation, analyzes it and does whatever the defender gives him.”

“The thing that impresses me is that he has a great shooting touch,” says Matta. “But he also has the ability to pass the ball and has a great knack and timing for rebounding.” Still, says Matta, he has room to improve.

“The two things we worked on over the summer were developing more of a perimeter game and his awareness on defense. He made huge gains in his defensive play.”

West nods in agreement. Each summer he identifies a part of his game that needs improvement and concentrates on that area. After his freshman year, he spent a lot of time in the weight room getting stronger. Last summer it was defense and his jump shot. A 6-foot-9 center taking 3-pointers can change the complexity of a game, and West is excited about the idea.

“There’s always something to learn,” he says. “I think I can get a lot better.”

As the class is dismissed, West pulls his sweatshirt back over his head and returns to his apartment, which is decent in size for a college student. The main room has a stove and sink on the far wall and is just large enough to hold a queen-size bed, desk, small couch and television stand filled with a myriad of stereo and video game electronics. He walks into the adjoining room, which serves as a bathroom, closet and pantry, grabs a bag of Doritos and sits down under a framed print of two African children playing basketball in a yard. The scene, he says as he crunches a couple of chips, reminds him of playing against his brother, Dwayne. The two would go head-to-head in the driveway, even though Dwayne was 15 years older and already played college basketball at Jersey City State College, a Division II program. Little David, who hadn’t started to grow yet and could still count his age on both hands with a few fingers to spare, mostly just took his lumps. Until he turned 14. Then things changed. He’s been winning ever since.

The picture is one of the few hints that the person who lives in the room has any interest in basketball. Above his bed is a framed picture of a skinny, long-armed West from his first game at Xavier, and on the desk are two basketball books, For the Love of the Game, by Michael Jordan, and 11 Lessons in Leadership, by Bill Russell. “Those are the only two basketball books I’ve read,” he says. The Russell book was given to him by assistant coach Alan Major. Otherwise, the room is atypical of what you’d expect. It’s neat, the bed is made and a Glade Plug-In fills the room with a fresh scent. Candles rest on the tables, more African art hangs on the walls, a net in the corner above the TV holds about a dozen stuffed animals.
“I love stuffed animals,” West says. “I won all of these at state fairs and carnivals.” He points to a white teddy bear sitting inside a wicker basket on the table. “That one I won by shooting baskets at a state fair, you know, where they cheat you by making the rims crooked or loose. Cost me $4, but I was determined.”
The stuffed animal collection is only overshadowed by his stereo and video game equipment-PlayStation 2, DVD player, 60-disk CD changer, 850-watt amplifier-which draws the attention of everyone, including Sister Rose Ann Fleming, the athletic academic advisor. She lives in the apartment across the hall and frequently knocks on his door requesting that he turn it down.

Having Fleming ask about the stereo, though, is better than having her ask about academics, says West. Fleming has a well-earned reputation for getting athletes to study.

“When I was a freshman,” West says, “she once left seven messages on my machine. She doesn’t need to be on me now, though. I take care of my books.”

West looks at the clock and realizes his hour of freedom is over. He rolls up the Doritos bag, grabs his keys and heads out the door for his next class, Theology 267-The Death of Jesus. When West came to Xavier, he couldn’t have imagined himself electing to take a theology class that requires papers and presentations. But times have changed. He’s much more settled now, both as a student and a person.
West wasn’t highly recruited out of high school, thanks to poor grades and matching attitude. Only the smallest colleges expressed interest. It’s not that West was a bad kid, though. The reason was rebellion.
He grew up in northern New Jersey, just 10 miles outside of New York City. He loved the city life and frequently crossed the Hudson River to play pick-up games in churches and youth centers in Manhattan. When he was a junior, though, his family moved to Garner, N.C., a tiny town just outside of Raleigh. “I hated it,” he says. “It killed me. I wanted to stay with my friends in New Jersey and kept trying to get back.”
Finally, his dad, Amos, sat him down.

“Look, son,” he said. “You’re 18 years old. There’s no playing around now. You have one last chance to make it, or else you’re going to be stuck here for the rest of your life. It’s all up to you.”

Reality set in. It wasn’t pretty.

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” West says. “I figured I might as well try to make it with basketball because I was halfway good at it. I considered junior college, but coach [Eddie] Gray took a liking to me and helped me get into Hargrave.”

Hargrave Military Academy is a college preparatory school in Virginia and a frequent stepping stone for talented but academically deficient players. West grew up quickly the year he was there, and caught the attention of the Xavier coaching staff.

“My brother told me that I should go somewhere where I can compete and play,” he says. “That would be the best way for me to make a name for myself. When I came to Xavier, though, it was tough. All of a sudden I was playing against these tremendous athletes who could jump high or do all kinds of acrobatics. I didn’t do one thing extremely well, and I was having a problem with it. But my dad told me, ‘Just because a guy is taller or faster or can jump higher doesn’t mean he’s better. You can always be the hardest worker or the most diligent.’ And that’s what I try to do. What I lack in talent and in God-given ability, I try to make up for with hard work.”

As class lets out, West heads to the Cintas cafeteria. He checks out the menu and then makes the rounds. He loads his tray with two helpings of biscuits and gravy, a slice of pizza, a hamburger and fries. In 15 minutes, the food is gone. “That,” he says, “was good.” He drops off his tray and grabs a frozen yogurt and two cookies to go. “Now the work begins for me,” he says. It’s 2:00 p.m. and he has an hour to lift weights and prepare for practice.

He walks into the locker room, which is still quiet. As with his apartment, there’s nothing here that indicates his status on the team or in the collegiate game. His locker looks the same as every other, save for a few pieces of paper loosely taped to the inside. One deals with desire, another with goals. The third is from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War: “First you must put yourself above the possibility of defeat. Then you may go about the task of defeating your enemy.”

It’s here, though, that West becomes a different person; the boy becomes the man. Here, he moves to the front row, leading the way, grabbing the spotlight as the team’s unquestionable leader.
“He’s very demanding on his teammates,” says Matta, “and doesn’t accept anything from them but the best. He does a good job of leading the team, too, although right now he mostly leads by example. I’m trying to get him to be a little more vocal, but that’s how David is: He’s a very polite, quiet young man who becomes a different person when he steps on the basketball court.”

Test Questions

To ACT or not to ACT, that is the question.

In admission offices around the country, the long-standing method of predicting a high school student’s likelihood for success on the college level is undergoing a bit of Shakespearean questioning. In fact, some offices are doing to standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, what Hamlet debated doing to his uncle—killing them. Nearly 400 colleges and universities have dropped standardized test scores from their admission processes or made them optional for high-achieving students. And there’s an ongoing push to get the rest of the country’s higher education institutions to join the movement.

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) is behind the effort, urging colleges and universities to put less emphasis on standardized test scores and more on other factors, such as essays, course rigor and grades. It’s an argument many are buying into.

“The institutions that have dropped the tests or made them optional represent a sizeable movement within admission offices around the nation, as many schools realize that such tests are not needed for sound admission practices,” says Christina Perez, a reform advocate for FairTest.

Many of the nearly 400 schools on its list are public institutions, where admission requirements are less stringent, but there are also highly selective private colleges on the list, such as Mount Holyoke and Middlebury, and other schools that specialize in areas such as art or religion.

“Mount Holyoke believes the SAT is a narrow measure of a student’s academic ability, and therefore it’s used in the context of the rest of the student’s application, if at all,” says Sara Schick, associate director of admission at the prestigious Massachusetts liberal arts college for women. “Requiring standardized test scores is inconsistent with our institutional philosophy and values. We take an individualized, holistic approach to education and the admission process.”

Many others, including Xavier, still require the scores. At Xavier, though, the tests are only viewed as one of many criteria.

“This is literally just one of the factors we consider when we make our decision,” says Marc Camille, dean of admission. “By no means is it the most important criterion.”

Students who apply to Xavier submit their test scores, a high school transcript, an essay, a recommendation from a guidance counselor and the application form itself, which includes an extensive profile of extracurricular activities.

“If we were simply taking a test score and a grade point average and letting the computer spit out a formula,” says Camille, “I would feel uncomfortable about using the score at all. But we have people reading every application and giving each student a fair chance. We pride ourselves on offering a personalized and individualized education, so it’s our responsibility to make the admission process that way as well.”

Other schools are also finding new ways to make standardized test scores meet their institution’s needs. Eastern Kentucky University, which draws students from the state’s rural areas, uses a tiered admission policy. Applicants who score an 18 (of 36) on the ACT or equivalent on the SAT are fully admitted. Those with at least a 15 can be admitted and placed into remedial courses, while those who score 14 or below are admitted only after enrolling in a special student retention program to meet their academic needs.

“We also use the ACT scores in the academic advising area to place students into remedial courses in English, math and reading,” says Tricia McWilliams, an admission counselor at EKU. Students who score below 18 on the ACT are required to take placement tests developed by the university to prove their proficiency in subjects.

At Iowa State University, in-state students who rank in the upper half of their high school class are automatically admitted, regardless of their test scores. Applicants to public universities in Texas don’t have to submit SAT or ACT scores if they finish in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

Admittedly, the issue can become more dicey at private institutions, where competition for admission is often steep. “The problem is that at too many highly selective colleges, the test has become a primary sorter, and it never was intended to be that,” says Robert Massa, vice president for enrollment, student life and college relations at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.

So why use a standardized test score at all?

“Unlike high school GPA or class rank, ACT and SAT scores allow us to compare all applicants on an equal basis,” says Phil Caffrey, associate director of admission at Iowa State. “High schools vary a lot in how they grade and rank their students. These factors are controlled for you when you look at ACT and SAT scores.”

That issue opens another can of worms for admission counselors—the fairness of standardized tests. FairTest points out that while females earned higher grades in high school and college in 2000, their SAT scores were, on average, 38 points lower than males. Even a 1994 study by the Educational Testing Service, which administers the SAT, found that males scored 33 points higher on the SAT math section than females who earn the same grades in the same college math courses.

African-American, Latino and Asian immigrant test takers typically score significantly lower than white students.

The timed nature of the exams can also impose a huge burden on students for whom English is not their first language. Rigid use of test scores in the admission process usually produces freshman classes with few minorities.

“It’s a very legitimate argument,” says Xavier’s Camille. “If we receive an application from a student with a non-native language or a student of color or a student who grew up in a very rural area, and the test scores are low yet high school grades and a quality curriculum are there, I have no trouble admitting that student. The argument has been supported there are some biases and flaws with the tests.”

Admission experts at schools on FairTest’s list, plus many others, agree that class rank, high school grades and rigor of classes taken are better tools for predicting college success than standardized tests. Scores are used only to confirm what admission counselors already believe, says Paul Deutsch, Kent State University’s director of admission. They’re used at Iowa State, says Caffrey, to help students gain admission, “not to prevent them from being admitted.”

At Xavier, “We place the greatest emphasis on the quality and rigor of the curriculum students completed in high school,” says Camille. “Did the student pursue the most challenging curriculum available to them? We are going to look at ACT or SAT results, but that’s just one factor we look at.”

Game Boy

Courtney Tudor, a 1994 M.B.A. graduate, likes to play at getting rich in the stock market. He opens his board game and throws down $100,000 on a growing company, pretending to be a big shot and laughing all the way up the board to his million-dollar fortune.

It may be only time, though, before he’s really laughing all the way to the bank. After five years of grueling research compiling financial data on more than 500 companies, Tudor developed Mr. Bigshot, a board game that is to the stock market what Monopoly is to real estate. And though he’s spent nearly nothing on advertising, Tudor’s real-life gamble caught the attention of two of the largest online toy sellers, Amazon.com and Toysrus.com, just before the Christmas season.

Tudor got the idea for the game when he first entered the market in 1995 and realized how little he knew. He wished he had a game so he could practice. “When I first started investing I was just guessing,” he says, “and I thought, Wouldn’t it be nice to play the market without all this risk.”

So he started doing the research, squeezing in weekends at the library while working as an engineer at GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati. He finished in 1999, cashed in his investment portfolio—“It was successful investments that helped me put this together,” he says—and took the game to the streets. Now, for $29.95, anybody can play the market without the risk. “You can guess just like your stockbroker does,” he says.

Doctor’s Discovery: The Heart Matters Most

Dr. Brian Vaughan is in his first year of orthopedic residency at North Carolina Hospitals, but he already knows what’s at the heart of being a physician—human life.

The 1997 graduate, who finished first in his class at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, learned about the value of life—and death—in September, when he was charged with the post-operative care of an 80-year-old man suffering from pneumonia and an aortic aneurysm. The man never recovered from surgery, leaving Vaughan to discuss with family members whether to discontinue care or keep the man alive with a ventilator.

“I was very comfortable being able to discuss both sides of the issue with the patient’s family,” he says, “because Xavier gives you that compassion and ability to think. We came to the decision he would have a good death. They trusted me, but they understood their father’s wishes.”

Vaughan, 26, is just beginning his five-year residency at the Chapel Hill, N.C., hospital, which often includes 100-hour weeks. He’s learned to add a dose of coffee to his cup of perseverance, though. He’s also learned to pull from his past. His biochemistry class at Georgetown, for instance, was mostly a review of a similar class he had at Xavier, he says. And the life-and-death issues he now faces daily are simply practical applications of his philosophy, theology and ethics classes.

“All of the truly great physicians have not only been men of science,” he says, “but also men of great compassion and thought. The core curriculum at Xavier is at the heart of this process.”

Profile: Steven Easley

Steven Easley remembers vividly the moment his life turned around. It was the day he arrived by bus at Valley Forge Military College in rural Wayne, Pa., expecting to take a tour but discovering it was actually check-in day.

He had nothing with him–no bags, no papers, no parents. Not even a toothbrush. School officials were astonished. But because he had registered by mail in their ROTC program, they were able to process him through.

And that night, as he lay in bed, the 18-year-old boy heard the sweetest sound he could imagine–silence. No sirens, no gunshots, no swearing, no partying. Just silence. It was a stark contrast to the life he knew in the inner-city neighborhoods of Buffalo, N.Y.

“When I went to military school was the first time I realized everyone didn’t live like that,” he says. “I always thought everyone had raggedy cars and lived in gang neighborhoods with vacant lots.”

Though Easley lived like that from the age of 8, it wasn’t always so. His aunt, the most important person in his life, raised him from infancy through his first eight years. She provided him a stable family life on Cincinnati’s west side, taking him to church, and constantly pushing his remarkable academic ability.

“I got a real sense of confidence from her,” Easley says of his aunt, Brenda Williams, whom he still calls Ma. “She always pushed me to get good grades. For me it was no B’s. She said I could always do better and it stuck.”

Williams says it was tough raising her own three children by herself and taking in Steven and a cousin. But she was determined. “Mine wasn’t a very good childhood and it taught me the importance of family and love and to always try to achieve,” she says. “I would tell Steven all the time, you can be anything you want. I just didn’t want him to be nothing.”

That solid home life fell apart, though, when Steven’s father, whom he’d never met, suddenly appeared, taking the boy to Buffalo when he was 8. The dominoes then fell in rapid succession. His father, a drug user, moved out after one year, leaving Steven in the care of a stepmother who hardly knew him. His own mother lived nearby but had little to do with him. He regularly saw drug dealing in his neighborhood and once saw a man shot in the head outside his stepmother’s house. He died in the driveway. Of the 18 boys he hung out with in the neighborhood, only three, including himself, aren’t dead or in jail.

By the time he was 14, an angry and rebellious Steven moved out of the house and in with his 16-year-old sister, whose home was a crack house. He would tire of the noisy all-night parties and drug-dealing and go up to his attic room, throwing the covers over his head to shut out the noise and, if possible, the reality of the life that surrounded him.

Still, he was able to graduate from an exclusive public high school for high-achieving students, even though, with no parent around, he often skipped school.

By the end of his junior year, Easley was realizing he didn’t want to live this life and began thinking of military service as a way out. He joined the Army after graduation but scored so well on the entrance tests that he was steered to a session on military schools, where he learned about Valley Forge. He applied and was accepted on a full scholarship for the two-year associate degree program.

Easley distinguished himself at Valley Forge with a 3.93 grade point average, finishing at the top of his graduating class and becoming the school’s first black valedictorian. He started a black student group, played football, and participated in ROTC. Aunt Brenda came to his graduation and through tears pinned his medal to his uniform.

Then he was accepted to Xavier where he completed bachelor degrees in information systems and marketing with the class of 2000. Now he’s a technology and information systems coordinator for Xavier and, at age 23, has started his own data-processing business as well.

Now married to his high school sweetheart, who was 13 when they met, Easley is looking forward to a family of his own. He’s begun by offering to pay for his 15-year-old brother, Grant, to attend Valley Forge, and by writing to his father, who’s serving time in Michigan for robbery and rarely writes back.

“The thing I wanted most was somebody’s time, and that’s what I want to give my family,’’ he says.

Profile: Bryan Reinhart

The first time Bryan Reinhart traveled in a foreign land, he went for fun–backpacking, scuba diving, and surfing for five months across New Zealand and Australia. The second time, he reflected on his life and his goals while traipsing across South America. During those three months, he realized the thrill of experiencing other cultures is an adventure in itself – and sure beats sitting in an office all day.

Now Reinhart, 28, is embarking on a third adventure that has the word “mission” written all over it. This time it’s to Kenya with the Franciscan Mission Service for a three-year tour that will place him in a home for orphaned boys. The goal is to serve others, but in doing so, Reinhart hopes to discover himself.

“I’ve been praying to God to reveal to me what my passion is. I want to be like a baseball player who wakes up doing what he loves,” Reinhart says. “I think I’ll get there and there will be something that will speak to my heart, whether it’s helping AIDS victims or teaching impoverished people or working in an orphanage. I don’t know what it is, I’m just confident this is leading me to the right spot and I’ll bump into it and I’ll embrace it and do it feverishly.”

Reinhart has faced physical challenges in his past travels. But this time, he’s putting himself to a true emotional test, entering a country that is smothered in death, where coffins are sold on street corners and people tote them on their bicycle seats. The AIDS epidemic has devastated the Kenyan people to the point where their mantra has become, “Eliminate AIDS before it eliminates most of us.”

Reinhart says he’s not afraid to live in a country where the infant mortality rate is 59 deaths per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy is 47 years. The government has declared the AIDS epidemic a national disaster and estimates 760,000 people have developed AIDS since 1984, and most of them have died.

And politically, Kenya faces turbulent times with the possible replacement of President Daniel Arap Moi during elections this year. Moi has led the country since 1978.

“I will try to just be smart about what I do. There are certain places you don’t want to be at certain times. It’s true of anywhere in the world you go. You have to be smarter there, not because it’s more dangerous but because you’re unfamiliar with it.”

Reinhart left Dec. 31 for Kenya and won’t return until January 2005. He doesn’t expect to come home during that time because of the expense. He’ll live in Nairobi in a center run by a Cincinnati priest, the Rev. David Lemkuhl, who’s been in Kenya nine years as head of the National Catholic Youth Association of Kenya. Father Lemkuhl lives at the boy’s home, the National Catholic Youth Centre for young men ages 12 to 22. Reinhhart will be one of his assistants, and the only other American there.

The work will be a world apart from the jobs Reinhart has held so far. After graduating from Xavier in 1995 with a BS degree in finance, he became an account manager for a San Francisco company that manufactured CD Roms. He left after four years to take his first trip, then invested in a start-up company in Columbus selling Yellow Pages advertising. The company was sold last February.

After his second trip through South America, he spent time thinking about his future. “Through a lot of prayer and research I decided I wanted to get into some sort of Third World help work. I wanted to learn the language and culture. I wanted to do something more noble and not as ridiculous as the Yellow Pages.”

Franciscan Mission responded immediately to his on-line query, and by August, he was at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., for three months of training. He studied Kenyan history and culture, learned Swahili and trained in the works of St. Francis of Assisi. Where it all will lead him he doesn’t know, but he believes Xavier’s focus on service to others had an effect on him.

“I might come back and get a masters in economics or work for the UN, but I don’t want to do anything until I have a clear understanding of what I’m excited about, and when I know, I’ll put a path together,” he says.

Career Choices

Teacher education programs across the country are reporting increasing numbers of students who want to become teachers—especially among older applicants who are switching careers. What’s bringing about the increase? A New York Times story linked the increase to not only the slumping economy, but also to the increase in soul-searching among mid-career adults following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Whatever the reason, the University is no exception to the increase. James Boothe, chair of the department of education, says the increased interest in adults switching careers and moving into the classrooms began showing about five years ago. Now, about 80 percent of students studying to become high school teachers are people who already have degrees and plan to teach that subject.

 

“People who have degrees are linked naturally to their subject matter like math or chemistry or English,” Boothe says. “The reasons are the private sector world out there is not as interesting as it used to be. A lot of companies have cut back and it’s not as much fun, and middle management compensation is not what it used to be. They may not make more money as teachers, but they’re going to enjoy life more.

 

“One of the things happening is people are taking stock of their materialistic views, and when we’re in a crisis like Sept. 11, people are thinking that maybe life is a lot more tentative than they thought it was and what do they want to do?”

 

Of the 1,350 graduate level students studying for their master’s in education, about 400 are people who have decided to switch careers, says John Cooper, director of graduate services. Though more plan to teach at the high school level, there is also a lot of interest in early childhood and Montessori education, and overall, the number of graduate level students is up. But new Ohio standards requiring more hours of study to earn a state teaching license have started to cut into the numbers of career-switchers, Cooper says.

 

“I know more and more back out after seeing the required hours,” he says. But the department is trying to address the problem by making the required courses more readily available.

Profile: Kip Noschese

On Saturday mornings, 6-year-old Kip Noschese had a routine: a bowl of cereal for breakfast while watching “Speed Racer,” “Scooby Doo” and the rest of his favorite cartoons. Fast-forward to today, and the 26-year-old Noschese’s life isn’t much different. He still has a bowl of cereal for breakfast before settling down with his favorite cartoons. Only now he draws them instead of watching them.

Noschese turned his childhood love of cartoons and habit of doodling little characters in his school notebooks into a career after some post-graduate soul-searching.

“When I was getting my degree in advertising, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” says the 1997 graduate. “I always loved animation and decided to give it a shot and moved out to California.”

He planned his move to coincide with the annual World Animation Celebration in Los Angeles. “I intended on it being a springboard for my career,” he says. “I worked as a volunteer and ended up meeting the president/CEO of the company I work for now.”

That company is Klasky Csupo Inc., which produces cartoons for Nickelodeon. Noschese started in 1998 as a production assistant. Three months later he was promoted to background designer. He works on “Rugrats,” “The Wild Thornberrys” and “As Told By Ginger,” a cartoon about a shy junior high girl seeking popularity.

“ At first, ‘As Told By Ginger’ looked really bad and nobody was excited to work on it,” he says. “Now it’s the envy of the studio. It was nominated for an Emmy. I would watch it even if I didn’t work on it.”

There’s a whole set of steps a cartoon has to go through before it’s even ready for Noschese’s drawing board. The script is written, the voices are recorded and the storyboard artist makes a rough image of the backgrounds. The background designers then make the scene look nice and clean.

He says his inspiration for creating backgrounds varies from show to show. “For ‘Ginger,’ it’s in Connecticut, so we’re drawing change of seasons. A lot of that I take from memories of my own childhood in Pennsylvania. Sometimes I have to design a kid’s room and I put a lot of my own room into it. It’s been fun to put a lot of myself into the cartoon, or sneak friends in by using their initials on graffiti or license plates.”

For “Thornberrys,” though, Noschese discovered that images from his own life weren’t going to be enough. “I have to draw places like China, Africa and Antarctica since the Thornberrys travel all over the world. I can’t draw from my life experiences, so I watch the Nature and Discovery channels.”

Currently, Noschese’s working on background scenes for six special “Thornberrys” episodes that tie in to a “Thornberrys” movie. One day Noschese hopes to have his own cartoon show. But, until then, he just enjoys going home, kicking back and seeing his work come to life. “It’s great,” he says. “At work we’re analyzing them. But when the shows are on TV it hits me that all these kids out there are watching them.”

Profile: Molly Humbert

For most people, laundry and housework are boring, but not for Molly Humbert. Her love of Tide and Gain and Swiffer have taken her from coast to coast and to racetracks around the country.

Humbert, a supervisor of external relations for Procter & Gamble, is responsible for the media communication strategies for fabric and home-care products such as Tide, Gain and Swiffer. The 1993 graduate also manages media relations on new products such as Febreze fabric freshener and Dryel at-home dry cleaning kit. It’s all fun and challenging, she says—a promotional idea for Swiffer included a 14-city tour—but getting to work with Tide Racing and NASCAR racing, which is at the height of its popularity, is the most glamorous part of her job.

P&G has sponsored the No. 32 Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series—the major leagues of stock car racing—for several years. In fact, three-time champion Darrell Waltrip won nine races in the Tide car in the late 1980s, including the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s most prestigious race; Bristol, the circuit’s toughest track; and the longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C.

In return for its investment, a company that sponsors a car receives immeasurable advertising publicity from the millions of spectators and television viewers each week. Race cars painted with the sponsor’s logo drive as long as three or four hours during each week’s race. Drivers travel the country between races, representing their sponsors.

Though the Tide car hit tough times lately, changing drivers three times in as many years, 2001 was a comeback season. Ricky Craven won his first Winston Cup race in October to put the bright orange Tide car back in the Winner’s Circle. Tide Racing has its own public relations person to handle Craven’s appearances, but winning makes Humbert’s job easier.

“Meeting Ricky Craven and his family added a whole new dimension to the sport for me,” says Humbert, who knew virtually nothing about racing before this job. “I’ve gotten a close, behind-the-scenes look at the sport.”

One of Humbert’s favorite projects, in fact, showed her the kinder side of what some view as a dangerous sport. Tide partnered with NASCAR to raise money for a charity called Give Kids the World, which sends severely ill children to a village near Orlando, Fla., for a much-needed vacation. Children competed to design a special paint scheme for the Tide car to race in Charlotte, N.C. For each lap Craven completed, Tide donated money to Give Kids the World.

The winning paint scheme was designed by a young boy with no arms. He used his mouth in a technique called blow art to paint the model car. Craven finished the race and raised $300,000. Proceeds from sales of a die-cast replica of the car also went to charity.

“That’s what I love most about my job,” says Humbert. “It’s challenging and fun, but I also get to work with good people who want to do good for other people.”

 

Scholarships: Funding Future Students

Hidden behind all of the new and renovated buildings The Century Campaign created lies a little-recognized benefit of the nine-year effort: scholarships. Nearly 80 endowed scholarships were created in the campaign, ranging from full rides to just enough money for books and a beer.

The University trustees set a standard of using 4.5 percent of an endowment’s annual income for distribution, meaning it takes roughly $375,000 to establish a full scholarship. Only a few people donated that much. Most of the donations come closer to the minimum amount of $25,000, which equates to $1,125 a year in scholarship aid.

While the $25,000 is still a lot, says Paul Lindsay, assistant to the vice president for university relations, a number of donors got creative by spreading the payments out over several years, or chipping in with family members to create a scholarship in the name of a relative. “It’s not a bad idea,” he says. “A student gets some money and the family gets to name a scholarship after a loved one.”