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The women’s pentathlon has five events. The shot put demands strength. The 800-meter run requires speed. The 100-meter hurdles and the long and high jumps call for agility. As a runner and jumper in high school, Emma Dewart ’12, M.S. ’13, had an offer to be a pentathlete and turned it down.
“I didn’t want to do it because I’d never thrown a shot put, I’d never hurdled, and I didn’t run an 800,” she said.
Weeks before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in health education, Emma won her second consecutive NCAA national pentathlon championship with one of the highest point totals in the history of women’s Division III track and field. She was also named the 2012 Empire 8 woman of the year in recognition of her academic achievement, athletic excellence, and community service. Her rise to national acclaim began her freshman year at IC.
“When Coach [Jennifer] Potter first explained that I’d make a good pentathlete, I had lots of doubts,” Emma said. “But I knew she was very good at recognizing strengths, so I couldn’t say no.”
The next day, Emma began her hurdling career.
“I’ll never forget how awful I was. The difficulty wasn’t just learning new physical skills but developing the mentality to switch from event to event, to recover from a bad performance and move on.”
A full course load, which included a four-credit anatomy class, also challenged her. “Like track, juggling athletics and academics takes discipline.”
That discipline rewarded Emma while student-teaching health education.
“I’d never taught high schoolers. I didn’t feel prepared, but having competed in big meets, I knew how to handle my nerves. After the first week, students began telling me how classroom topics such as ‘disease and lifestyle’ related directly to their experiences. Gaining that new perspective, I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life connecting with students.”
Currently preparing for a teaching career, Emma is pursuing a master’s degree in health education at IC.
“Coming out of high school, I never expected I’d be so successful in track,” she said. “Responding to a coach’s challenge taught me to aim high in everything.”
>> More on this story: "Dewart Named 2012 Empire 8 Woman of the Year" - Bombers Athletics
Some day in the not-so-distant future, as cities expand and climate change continues, Andreas Jonathan will be working to strike a balance between urban growth and environmentalism. “We’re living in a world that is very quickly urbanizing. There are a lot of mega-cities continuing to grow, and I think cities will be the battleground for sustainability in the future,” Andreas says.
As a freshman at Ithaca College, Andreas was drawn to the environmental studies program. “There was a course called Environmental Sentinels, where the purpose was to discover what you’re trying to save. We had class at night in the natural lands where we were blindfolded and had to get back to campus just by listening. It made me think about my place in the natural world.”
Andreas also felt a calling he hadn’t yet fully identified. “I needed something to complement what I was learning, so I could channel my desire for a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive society.”
Luckily at Ithaca he had mentors to help him find the right program. "It’s been very easy for me to find people who care about my future. I learned about architectural studies by speaking with professors in the art history department.”
As a sophomore, Andreas secured an internship with the Institute for Urban Design in New York City. He joined the institute’s project team for the Venice International Architecture Biennale, an event where architects and designers from around the world showcase themed designs. The U.S. theme was “spontaneous interventions”—designing to solve urban problems and create new opportunities for the public.
“What I love most about architecture is that it's so much more than building and construction. There’s history, theory, stakeholder relations, and social and environmental consequences,” Andreas says. “It struck me that anyone working in design professions must constantly be balancing, learning.”
For Andreas, learning to strike that delicate balance began with the conversations he had with mentors at IC. He plans to extend his knowledge of design beyond graduation as he pursues dual master’s degrees in architecture and city planning followed by a Ph.D.
“When I was little and was asked, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ I didn’t really know. But I knew there was this scar on the world that needed to be fixed. Then I started falling in love with architecture, city design, and social justice. It was what I always planned on doing before I even knew what it was.”
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