Monday, August 24, 2015

Catching Up With: Eddie Guen-Murray '15

Defensive lineman Eddie Guen-Murray '15 just graduated this past spring, and it looks like he'll be staying in Grinnell for one more year.  Eddie has been appointed the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Post-Bac Fellowship Position here at Grinnell.  The Fellowship is a great way for Eddie to continue his education and improve his options in his career field, while giving back to the current students at Grinnell.  Here's what Eddie had to say:

For the next academic year I will be occupying the HHMI Post-Baccalaureate Fellow position for the Science Learning Center (SLC) of Grinnell College. My job will primarily be composed of two main responsibilities: to oversee the 2nd year science retreat and to act as a full time mentor in the SLC. The goal of the 2nd year science retreat is to aid students in their transition into higher level science courses and inform them on how to pursue a future in science. As a mentor in the SLC, I will work to further assist student success by providing an ever-present mentor for Organic Chemistry I/II. Two courses generally regarded as some of the more difficult that students have to take as science majors. 

Thanks for the update Eddie.  It will be different to see you at Rosenbloom Field on Saturdays in your street clothes, but we're glad you'll be here in town!  Good luck!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer Update: Jacob Beecher

Yes, we're well past summer already!  Our pre-season practices are going well and the guys are in high spirits.  We've installed a lot in a short period of time, but they've done a good job keeping up.  Maybe that's because our schemes are significantly easier to learn than the advanced genetic engineering and chemical research done by some of our students over the summer!

Jacob Beecher '16 spent the summer working for Integrated DNA Technologies:

Integrated DNA Technologies is bio-tech company that supplies both RNA and DNA to universities and other research organizations for use in many different genetic experiments. With offices in Iowa, California, Belgium, and Singapore, IDT is the largest producer of oligonucleotides in the United States and is becoming quite prominent in the worldwide research community. This summer, as a Chemistry Research and Development Intern, I was conducting organic synthesis research looking at fluorescence dyes that could be attached to DNA sequences. My main projects this summer were providing the full-time researchers with intermediate materials to further their own research and conducting a study revolving around the methodology of a single step of the synthetic process.  I have really enjoyed my summer doing lab work at IDT and have learned more about the research process through a completely different research setting than I had ever experienced.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Tomorrow is the big day, the 2015 Pioneers will report in the morning.  Report day is always one of the best and worst days of the year, all at the same time.  It is one of the best, because we're finally all in the same place, ready to go for another exciting season.  At this point in the year, anything is possible!  It is one of the worst, because even though we're reporting, we're still not really allowed to start yet.  It seems like we can talk about and do anything we want, except football.  It stinks, but that's the way it is.  I'm just excited to see these guys!!

I also want to give you another summer update from one of our rising seniors.  Henry Cummings spent this past summer working at TIAA-CREF.  As an educator who has his entire retirement account with TIAA-CREF, I hope he did a great job!  Here's what Henry had to say:

For the last two summers and this last winter, I have worked for TIAA-CREF, a financial services firm, based in New York City. The firm's motto is "serving those who serve others" and their main product is the management of the pensions of teachers, doctors and people who have spent their careers serving others. I have been helping them launch a separate charitable business called a donor advised fund. This company and project fit right in with Grinnell college's values and TIAA is a common summer home for Grinnell College students looking for an internship. A Grinnell graduate who now works for TIAA makes sure to get a few current Grinnell students in with TIAA every year. It has been an incredible experience, seeing how a business is started and learning about all the different roles that exist in a company and how they function. I have worked on many different projects during my experience. In the last month I have helped write the policies and procedures for the business. I have met some incredible people who have advised me and helped me figure out what exactly I want to do after my senior year of college. I am planning on working for a consulting firm next year. My experience at TIAA has completely changed my prospects for my career and I am grateful that Grinnell has helped me find this opportunity. 

Sounds like a great internship!  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Alumni Update - Tom Brinkman

Coach Brinkman (rght) likes what he sees against Lawrence

Brinkman as a defensive lineman, bringing down a Monmouth Scot in 2011.
Tom Brinkman '13, of Rolfe, IA is just starting his third year as a college football coach, but this will be his first season away from Grinnell College.  Tom was the defensive backs coach for us the past two seasons, but has moved on to begin a Graduate Assistant program at Midland Lutheran, an NAIA school in Nebraska.

Here's what Tom has to say:

I am an offensive GA at Midland University in Fremont, NE coaching the WR's.  I am also the recruiting coordinator for the staff, and I manage our roster.  As the recruiting coordinator, my main duty is to completely revamp our old recruiting plan and create a new 52 week cycle for recruiting.  I am getting my MEd. (Master of Education) in Adult and Organizational Leadership.  This focuses on how to educate individuals that are 18 or older.  As a coach, this will help me better communicate with my players, but it will also give me the skills I need to educate and effectively communicate with staff members.  This is a 2 year position, and after the two years I hope to get a full time job as a defensive assistant coach, eventually working my way up to a defensive coordinator and head coach.

Thanks for the update Tom.  Best of luck to you!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Autumn's Here

The weather was a little cool this morning, the first NFL pre-season game was last night, and most high school teams are starting practice today.  Yep, Autumn's Here!!

For the second year in a row our bye week is actually week one, so we don't report until a week from today, the 17th.  The guys are anxious to get back and get to work, but fortunately for the coaching staff we've got a few more days of prep time.  I am very excited to get this season started though, I've got a great feeling about this group.  We will likely be outnumbered every week, but we won't be outworked and we won't be out-prepared.  I can't wait to see what happens!

For all of you who are anxious to get this season started, this video should help.  It's a few years old now, but it's a good one.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Junior Tackle Grant Koch Interns at Holmes Murphy in Des Moines

Grant seals the edge for a TD against Cornell
Junior right tackle Grant Koch, from Keystone, CO, has spent this past summer as a Loss Control & Claims Intern at Holmes Murphy & Associates Insurance in Des Moines.  Koch is pursuing a history major, but has always had an eye towards something in the insurance or finance fields.  He was excited to land the internship at Holmes Murphy, as it has given him insight into the insurance world.

Here's what he has to say:

Holmes Murphy has been in business for more than 75 years, with around 700 employees in 12 offices across 10 states. We work with a variety of commercial clients and almost 100 carriers as insurance brokers. My role as a Loss Control & Claims intern has been to assist our Loss Control & Claims Consultants in their daily work as they help our clients build safer and better workplace cultures. The service we provide not only helps our clients grow their business, but it also allows them to focus on their business, rather than worry about the insurance side of things. It is our job at Holmes Murphy to help facilitate the relationship from client to insurance carrier. Some days I'm in the office working at a computer, and other days I get to get out on the road to visit clients . My biggest project this summer has been to centralize and organize the safety documents all our consultants use to make the information they collect in the field more accessible between offices.  My most "interesting" experience though, was the trip I made to a meat-packaging facility in central Iowa. I never expected to see an operation like that in my internship (let alone in my life), but it was something to experience. I have really enjoyed my summer here at Holmes Murphy, and I've learned much more here in 10 weeks than I could have hoped for.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Staff Finalized for 2015

Greg Booth and Cortney Roberts
With the addition of Greg Booth and the promotion of Cortney Roberts, we have completed our staff for the 2015 season.  After former quarterbacks and receivers coach and special teams coordinator Nick Plato returned to his alma mater, the University of Kansas, to pursue his goal of coaching for the Jayhawks, we promoted Coach Roberts to a full-time role.  Roberts will continue to coach the running backs, but he will also cover the quarterbacks and coordinate the special teams.

Greg Booth joins the staff to coach the receivers.  Booth comes to Grinnell after spending the past few seasons coaching in Brazil.  He's been influential in the grassroots movement to introduce american football in Brazil.  Prior to that, Booth spent time at both Crespi High School in Encino, CA and Chaminade Prep in West Hills, CA.

I'm very excited to be able to promote Coach Roberts and to add Coach Booth to the staff.  Both bring great energy and knowledge that will help us both on the field and with our recruiting efforts.  I can't wait to get started with these guys.

Monday, August 3, 2015

More Academic Honors

Eloise Miller at the Outdoor Conference Championship
As we're gearing up for the 2015 school year and seasons, the academic awards of Grinnell's athletics teams keep rolling in.  The latest belong to the men's and women's track and field teams, as both teams were once again recognized as team Academic All-American.

The US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association annually awards team Academic All-American recognition to teams whose cumulative GPA is over 3.1.  This past season the Pioneers men's team came in with a 3.38 team GPA, and the women with a 3.61.  Both the men and the women have earned this recognition every year it's been offered by the USTFCCCA.

In addition to the team awards, standout sprinter and jumper Eloise Miller also earned the recognition.  This was the second year in a row Miller has been recognized.  For individuals, the cutoff is a 3.30 cumulative GPA and a top 25 ranking in an individual event.  Miller finished the year ranked in the top 25 in the triple jump as both a junior and as a senior.  As an added bonus for the track and field teams, Eloise will be joining the staff for the upcoming Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field seasons.

Congrats to Eloise and to the Pioneers!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

First T-Ball Game

First At-Bat
There has been a lot of discussion in recent years, and particularly this winter and spring, about the long-term benefits or drawbacks of pushing kids into youth sports.  Much of the discussion has centered around whether kids should specialize in one sport (I say no way!), but there has also been a lot of talk about how early you should start kids in organized sports.

Growing up in a very small town in Colorado, the opportunities for us to participate in organized sports were minimal at best.  We had Little League sponsored t-ball that started after first grade (age 7-9) and fast pitch (age 10-12).  We played ten games a year, and traveled up to about an hour away for a few of the games.  Our school district sponsored a pee wee basketball league for 4th - 6th graders.  We played only the teams within our own school district.  Finally, the sport we all waited for, organized football, started for us when we were in 7th grade.  As kids we felt like we were getting the short end of the stick; that there were kids out there in bigger towns and cities that had way more opportunities than we did and that we were somehow missing out.  Looking back, I'm glad things worked the way they did.  We stayed plenty busy as kids, and we were all hungry for any opportunity we got.  We had great participation rates all the way through high school, and most of us played at least two, if not three sports.  It was a great experience, one I'm very thankful for.

I say all this to lead up to Frances' first t-ball game.  I've been very conscious of not wanting to push her and Nora into too many activities of any kind, let alone too many organized sports.  Up to this point their two big activities have been gymnastics one day a week, and starting this summer we've done horseback riding one day a week.  That seemed to be plenty enough for them, but when Frances heard about t-ball this summer, she got very excited.  I was a little leery, but as I looked at the schedule for the league it was one hour, one night a week for five weeks.  This we could handle.  

Two weeks ago we went to our first practice, and this past Sunday night she had her first game.  It was very low-key, with Mom's and Dad's standing behind and beside their children, helping "coach" them all along the way.  Frances took her spot at second base feeling very nervouscited (her word), but she did great.  She ended up fielding several balls in the first inning, even throwing out a couple kids (though in this league everybody is safe).  Overall, she left the evening very excited about t-ball, and with a realistic sense of where she fit in with the rest of the group (not as good as some, better than others).  She's definitely looking forward to the next three weeks.

Celebrating With Her Biggest Fan
The old-school part in me fears that this type of setup for t-ball is just another step backwards in the "participation ribbon" attitude of our culture, but the father and the coach in me thinks it was a great deal.  Most of the kids in the league are of the same mindset as Frances.  They've been exposed to sports their whole life, but they're not as die-hard as some others.  Most are at an age where they could likely go either way with organized sports.  If they all had the experience Frances did Sunday night, I guarantee they'll want to come back for more next year, and that's all we can ask.  For my part, I hope both Frances and Nora will find one or two sports they can engage with, while also pursuing their interests in music or dance or horseback riding or any of a number of other activities.  Again, as a dad and as a coach, I can't wait to see what they do next!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Midwest Conference Releases Academic All-Conference

The Midwest Conference recently released the Academic All-Conference teams for the 2014-15 academic year, and the Pioneers were well-represented.  For the second year in a row we had 16 student-athletes that earned the recognition.  That ties our all-time high for one season, and it is over 1/3 of our team!  Couple that with the nine guys named to the Dean's List in the fall and the three in the spring, and it is clear the Pioneers are excelling on the field and off.

The following guys were named to the team:

Aamir Walton Sr. Sociology
Carson Dunn Fr. Undeclared 
Clayton Desjardin Sr. Biology 
David Ternes Sr. Economics 
Edward Guen-Murray Sr. Biological Chemistry 
Edward Hardman Jr. English 
Ethan Lahn So. Biological Chemistry 
Gregory Ruzich Jr. Biological Chemistry 
Harrison Hoegh Fr. Undeclared 
Ibuki Ogasawara So. Mathematics 
Jacob Beecher Jr. Biological Chemistry 
Joseph Galaske So. Biology 
Matthew Medrano So. Political Science & Economics 
Samuel Poulos Jr. Economics
Scott Beecher Fr. Undeclared 
William Rebelsky So. Chemistry & Mathematics

Hardman and Ogasawara were also named to both the Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field lists, Galaske to Indoor Track and Field, and Rebelsky to the swimming list.

Congrats to all these guys.  Great work men!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grinnell Professor Kesho Scott Serves on CNN Panel

Kesho Scott, Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Professor of American Studies, was asked to participate in a CNN panel discussing some of the early Presidential candidates.  The panel featured five Iowans, with Scott labeled as a "Democratic Voter."  The Republican field is one of the largest in recent memory, and between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidates should be very interesting.  Election years in Iowa are always exciting, and the hype and discussion looks to be starting even earlier this time around.  At Grinnell College, we anticipate being right in the middle of things for the next 16 months or so!

Here is a link to the video:

Monday, July 13, 2015

When the Books You Read to Your Kids are Written by the Kids You Coached

Well, not quite, but close.

I'm late posting this, but my two girls Frances and Nora loved reading Know It All Nori, written by Grinnell's own Elizabeth Hereford.

Though I never actually coached her, Liz Davis '11, worked for me in the Fitness Center and was an outstanding volleyball player here at Grinnell.  She was part of two double digit win seasons, and in her junior year of 2009 the team posted their best record since 2002.  After graduating, Liz joined Teach For America and worked in the Chicago area.  She's now teaching kindergarten at Gary Lighthouse Charter School, and obviously writing children's books on the side.

Liz is married to Pioneer standout linebacker John Hereford '10.  

It's always nice to see our graduates achieve such great success as they head out into the real world, and its particularly gratifying when they do it in the field of education.  Congrats Liz, and keep those books coming!

Friday, June 26, 2015

It Is So Ordered

Powerful stuff.

On the Road (yet) Again!

There are a million things to love about being a college coach, especially at Grinnell College and especially when you coach such a wide range of student-athletes on both football and track and field teams.  It's rewarding to help them through their struggles and celebrate in their successes, not just in the realm of athletics and not just during their time at Grinnell.  For many of them, their four years at Grinnell is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship, and for all of them the great things they do at Grinnell are far surpassed by the even greater things they do after.  It's great to be a part of such an amazing "family."

As many things as there are to love about my job though, there are a few drawbacks.  As much as I enjoy getting out on the road and visiting different places and meeting new people, it is always hard to leave home.  I mean, look how much fun these two are!

You wouldn't want to leave either!

They're very supportive though, always sending me off to thumbs up and lots of encouragement.
"Go get 'em, Dad"
So, USATF Clinic in Chicago and New England Elite in Boston, here I come!  And don't worry ladies, I'll be home for the 4th of July parade and fireworks.
4th of July, 2014

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sophomore Pioneer Also Taking Courses Through Harvard Busines School

TR Jones returning an interception
Sophomore safety and quarterback TR Jones has recently been approved to participate in a program that offers supplemental courses through Harvard Business School.  This past spring Grinnell College was selected as one of only seven liberal arts colleges nationally that have entered into an agreement with Harvard.  According to the release, "CORe is an online program, consisting of approximately 150 hours of learning, for students and early career professionals to learn the fundamentals of business on a highly engaging and interactive platform designed by Harvard Business School faculty."  The agreement with Harvard is yet another example of Grinnell retaining its core philosophies as liberal arts college, while also pioneering new ways for our students to learn and to separate themselves from the competition.  I'm excited that TR was approved for the program, and wish him the best of luck!  Congrats TR!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Dean's List

The second semester grades have been released and the Pioneers continue to do well.  The team GPA remained over 3.0 for the semester, and three Pioneers were named to the Dean's List.  First year quarterback Harrison Hoegh, and sophomores Ibuki Ogasawara and Will Rebelsky all earned over the required 3.75 GPA for the semester.

Hoegh delivers a strike in the final game of the year, a 52-14 victory over Lawrence.
Hoegh is still undecided on his major, but he was named to the Dean's List in both the first and second semesters.

Ogasawara shows his form on a long jump at the Indoor Conference Championship.
A Math major, Ogasawara also earned Dean's List in both the first and second semesters.  Ibuki also had a strong track season, placing in the triple jump at both the Indoor and Outdoor Conference Championship meets.

Rebelsky giving Hoegh time to throw.
Rebelsky was also a two-sport athlete for the Pioneers, competing as a swimmer during the winter.  Never one to take the easy road, Will is a double major in Chemistry and Math, yet he has managed to keep his GPA high.  He was also named to the Dean's List in both semesters, and several previous times as well.

Congrats to Harrison, Ibuki, and Will.  Keep up the good work men!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pioneer Football Alumni Profile: Tom Cole

Tom Cole '71, Congressman-4th District, OK
Junior defensive lineman Matt Medrano is spending his summer in Washington, DC, interning for United States Congressman Tom Cole, of Oklahoma's 4th District.  Cole is a member of the Pioneer Football family as well, having played for the Pioneers from 1967-70.  He was a member of an undefeated freshman team in 1967, and enjoyed winning seasons in both 1969 and 1970.  It's great to have a current Pioneer working for a former one, and I've asked Tom to write of his experiences as he got into politics.  Here's what he had to say:

I left Grinnell with the intention of being a history professor. I was a far better scholar than football player, winning both the Thomas Payne scholarship which goes to the outstanding senior history student at Grinnell and a Thomas Watson Fellowship for a year of independent study abroad. While I eventually got my Ph.D and was a Fulbright scholar at Queen Mary College at the University of London, my life turned in a different direction. Thanks to my mom, who served three terms in the Oklahoma State House, three in the State Senate and a stint as the mayor of our hometown in Moore Oklahoma, I wandered into politics almost by accident.

Starting with her first winning House race in '78 I began running campaigns. Frankly I found they reminded me of team sports, something I always loved. Indeed a watch party is a lot like a locker room after a hard fought game. People have come together and cooperated to achieve an objective. The bonding that goes on in that common endeavor reminded me of of the way I felt in high school and college after a game or a season. I loved the folks I had fought and toiled with and I usually came to respect my competitors, too. They had gone through the same experience. And, in politics like sports, they do keep score and there are winners and losers. But in either victory or defeat you learn valuable lessons and form lifelong friendships.  

Over the years I have played this game from just about every angle. I have been a campaign staffer, worked for a congressman, served as a state party staffer and as a state chairman, sat in the state senate in Oklahoma and served as Secretary of State, on two occasions I was the top staffer at two of the major GOP national political campaign committees, I was a very successful consultant and I still own a piece of the successful firm I helped to found 26 years ago. Of course the last 13 years the Fourth District of Oklahoma and the House of Representatives has been my focus. It has been a great ride. But the habits, the attitudes and the lessons I learned on football fields had more to do with whatever success I have had in politics than anything I ever learned in a classroom.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Grinnell to Host Summerfest Today

Headlined by Pyrotechniq, "Chicago's premiere fire troupe," Grinnell College is hosting a day long celebration and learning opportunity today.  Open to the community at large, it looks to be a fun day of hands-on activities for all.

See the article for a list of activities:

If you're in the area, make a point to stop by!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Camp Season Begins!

From Des Moines to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Ft Lauderdale, then on to the South Florida Select Clinic.  From the looks of the student-athletes who have already registered for the camp, this is going to be a good one!  I'm looking forward to seeing some of the best student-athletes in Florida, Georgia, and the rest of the south.  I'm hoping there are a few Pioneers in the group!

We will also have coaches at the following camps:
Chicagoland Showcase at Northwestern University
David Shaw Football Clinic at Stanford University
New England Elite in Boston
Washington University in St. Louis

Looking forward to a productive summer!

Monday, June 1, 2015

2014 Post-Graduate Report Released

Each year the Office of Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) produces a post-graduation report.  I've just received my copy of the report for the class of 2014 and it is impressive.  Just as Grinnell students come from a diverse background, they also have diverse destinations upon graduating from Grinnell.  The report is loaded with information, but here are a few quick things I found interesting.

Seth Howard spent the past year volunteering for Mid-Iowa Community Action as part of Grinnell Corps
1.  Roughly 60% of the class has entered straight into the job force, with 23% continuing their education, and 13% involved in service or volunteer activities.

Max Keller is working as a lab technician at Eurofins Nutrition Analysis Center in Des Moines.
2.  The graduates who entered directly into the workforce are doing so by choice, not by lack of options, 88% have a position that is related to their career goals.

TJ Goetz is working as an analyst at Principal Financial in Des Moines.
3.  Of those that are currently employed full-time, the average yearly salary is $42,743.  The top 10% of those average an impressive $89,167!  Whoa!

Andrew Clark is working at Koch Industries in Wichita, KS.
4.  Among those who are currently continuing their education, 40% are pursuing a PhD.  Grinnell has traditionally been in the top five for most PhD's per capita, and it looks like the trend is continuing.

Manager/Filmer Steph Haines just completed her Masters in Higher Education at Harvard

Track standout Christine Ajinjeru is pursuing her PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Tennessee
Congratulations to the entire class of '14.  Keep up the great work!