Faculty Profile: a Q & A with Professor Yousuf Al-Bulushi, Peace Studies

Emily Coons

Staff Writer

This week The Quindecim had a chance to sit down with Professor Yousuf Al-Bulushi, the newest addition to the Peace Studies Department. Throughout the course of a short interview, we were able to find out a few interesting things about one of the new faces at Goucher.

Q: Where are you from?         

  A: I was born in Bahrain. I  grew up between Bahrain and Seattle. However, my family is from Tanzania, Oman, and Washington State.

Q: How did you discover Goucher?

A: I discovered Goucher through the job advertisement that I came across. The position in Peace Studies was advertised through the Association of American Geographers.

Q: What made you want to be a professor in the Peace Studies department?

A: I think Peace Studies is an exceptionally exciting field. Firstly, it’s interdisciplinary. This means you can approach problems like peace and conflict from many different angles. That’s been something especially important to me. Secondly, this particular program at Goucher is one of the more interesting Peace Studies programs. It really embraces that sense of the interdisciplinary, and I think it puts front and center social justice, which this school holds quite dear. Thirdly, I think the position was aimed to focus on urban issues, which is an exciting and cutting edge sub-discipline in Peace Studies. So, my own scholarship looks at urban issues and as an urban geographer, this position in this department was particularly appealing.

Q: What classes are you teaching this semester?

A: I am teaching an introduction to Peace Studies course and an upper level course- Global Cities, Global Slums.

Q: Is this your first time as a professor?

A: No, I’ve taught before at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is where I received my PhD in geography.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your first semester?

A: Hmm, developing relationship with students and seeing them grow, watching the ways that they inform my own thoughts about research and teaching, and then see what they do out in the world.

So I’m sure it’s no surprise, but Goucher is kind of a quirky place.

Q: Have you seen anything strange or out of the ordinary in your first week here?

A: Hmm, I haven’t seen anything weird yet. However, I heard that if you venture off into the woods you might see some strange things, more or less. 

Q: If you had to give a first year advice on how to succeed in college, what would be?

A: Reach out. Reach out beyond your comfort zone. Approach your professors, go to office hours, get involved beyond the classroom. The more the connections you make, and although I know it may be terrifying when first in a new environment, the more you reach out the more you will eventually feel comfortable.

Q: Any fun interest of hobbies that you want the Goucher community to know about?

A: I’m a huge soccer fan. I follow Valencia in Spain. And I’m always looking for a good pick up game.

Ha, I’m sure our intramural soccer team could rise to the challenge.

Q: Any final thoughts?

A: No, just really excited to be here. I keep telling my family and friends from the moment I visited the campus to when I showed up here for my first day of work that I’m tremendously excited for this position and for this school.

Volleyball team welcomes new head coach

Madeline St. John

Staff Writer

Enter the front doors of the Sports and Recreation Center (SRC). Navigate through narrow corridors, past workout equipment, past students doing sit-ups on the floor, up and down stairs. You will come upon a door. It will most likely be on the left. Through this door, you will be greeted by the young and friendly face of Coach Kelli Wilkinson.

Don’t let her youthful appearance fool you. Goucher’s new volleyball coach is seasoned and experienced. Prior to coming to Goucher, she coached for 12 years at St. Paul’s School for Girls, for 8 years at Notre Dame (Md.), and for two years at Stevenson. “It’s my passion,” she says, a glow in her eye. “I’ve been coaching for over 20 years.”

In Goucher’s women, Coach Wilkinson sees a future full of possibility. “It’s a great group of girls and a small team, so they will all get a lot of minutes [of] playing time. And there is a lot of potential recruiting-wise.”

Last weekend, the team challenged Stevenson, Hopkins, and Bridgewater in the Greg Giovannazzi Memorial Tournament. Coach Wilkinson is proud to represent Goucher. “I am thrilled to be here, working with a great group. I am looking forward to building a winning program.”

Luckily, the team seems to be just as excited for the season. According to team captains Hannah Kuehl and Michelle Tweedie, Coach Wilkinson has some winning qualities, she is “straight-forward, encouraging,” and “approachable.” In her, they see potential for change. “It’s a really positive environment,” says Kuehl. “I can’t think of a better word for it than positive.”

“She believes in us,” says Tweedie. Kuehl and Tweedie, who have been on the team the past two years, are enjoying Coach Wilkinson’s direction. “She cares about us,” says Kuehl. “Not only as players, but as students, as friends. She takes in all aspects.” “And she took us to the movies!” adds Tweedie, with a laugh. “10 points, right there!”

The team has enjoyed each other’s company in a number of settings: participating in a scavenger hunt, going to a movie, and having lunch together. “When you spend time together outside of practice, you can relax and get to know each other,” says Coach Wilkinson. “You see each other in a different light.” And since volleyball season is a short and intense two-and-a-half months, the team must come together quickly.

Even after 20 years, Coach Wilkinson has not grown weary of doing what she does. “I wanted to give back to a game that gave so much to me,” she says. “I want to inspire these girls to give back.” So far, Coach Wilkinson seems to be achieving this goal.  According to Kuehl and Tweedie, they “just love to come in and play.” “It’s a support system outside of school,” says Kuehl. “It is really nice to have that support system away from home. And we get to do something we love every day.”

“The more passionate you are, the harder you’ll play,” says Coach Wilkinson, with a smile. “I love getting them to love the game.”

Athlete in the Spotlight: Jessica Leffers

Megan Meluskey

Sports Editor

The women’s soccer team has yet to allow a single goal to be scored against them this season in neither their season opener draw nor their back-to-back wins. Class of 2016’s defensive back, Jessica Leffers, has played a crucial role in these early season shut-outs. Since the graduation of All-Landmark, defense woman, Caroline McDowell ‘14 , Leffers, a Dean’s list, psychology major from Germantown, Maryland has stepped up as one of the leaders on the team’s defensive unit.  While the team is composed of a young back line, they have along with their goalkeepers, Lexi Rudolph and Liz Stradtman, allowed only 19 shots against them in three games while their Gophers offense has managed an effort of 34 shots in three games. According to Leffers, the backline “works really well together and there is a lot of communication…we always drop in and have each other’s backs.”

Some new preparative measures the team’s head coach Tati Korba has taken include the use of a defensive belt during the team’s training sessions. This belt has been used by many other college programs nationwide and works to keep the shape of the defensive line by tying the four backs together. The belt forces the line to fall into proper position when other members of the line step up to play the ball. While Leffers questions whether or not her coaches are using the new equipment just to laugh at their struggled movements, she admits that it has been extremely helpful. Moving forward with the season, Leffers is optimistic about the team’s expectation for more shutouts. “We’re just looking really solid,” states Leffers.

Off the field, Leffers is a hard-working psychology student. This summer, she participated in a prestigious internship at Johns Hopkins in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit. Her work there included surveying the effects of different drugs on an individual’s decision making. “It was a great experience and gave me insight on possible career paths after I complete my education,” Leffers said. She hopes to either be a psychology professor or conduct research in the field of psychology.

Field Hockey Team fundraises for trip abroad

Litza Jimenez

Staff Writer

For the first time in Goucher history the field hockey team will travel abroad to strengthen their field hockey skills and their bonds as a team. All twenty-two players will travel to Argentina to train in a rich field hockey environment, filled with stiff Argentinian competition. “There are three countries known for Field Hockey: Australia, Argentina and the Netherlands,” explained team captain Justine Ruhlin ‘15. Argentina has most recently won the Women’s Field Hockey World Cup.

The team will have many unique experiences while abroad. “When we get there,” Ruhlin added, “we will be working with some of their national and Olympic coaches.”  In order to compete abroad, Goucher’s field hockey team must learn the international field hockey rules which are often passed down until they become official rules in college. Taylor Striar, a sophomore on the field hockey team, explained they will “see what the new rules are for international hockey,” enabling them to better “know what to expect for college,” in coming years.

Even before planning their trip to Argentina, the women on Goucher’s field hockey team formed a tight bond. While starting in a new school can be difficult, Striar remembers that with field hockey, “it wasn’t just like you were that awkward freshman, you automatically came in with a family.” But as head coach Megan Williams explains, getting to “be away with the team in a new place, getting to see new things,” will allow the team to grow even closer together in what is “definitely a hotspot for hockey.”

In order to embark on this trip the team has been working hard to fundraise on top of preparing for their current season. Goal clubs have made up a large portion of the money raised so far, which allow donors to pledge donations to the team for specific achievements such as goals, shut outs, or defensive saves. The team has has designed and sold t-shirts, but as Ruhlin points out, “a sophmmore did that, it’s not just the coach or the seniors, everyone is participating.” Through these fundraisers, Goucher’s field hockey team is over halfway to their fundraising goal. Now they are in their “final push,” according to Coach Williams, as they leave for Argentina on December 12th. The team will continue to sell t-shirts and baseball game tickets on campus. You can also “like” the team on Facebook to stay informed on their latest fundraisers and events. While the trip may only be 10 days, team captain Ruhlin is sure “the effects from Argentina will be seen for a long time after.”

The first and last time I watch the VMAs

Adeena Ellison

Staff Writer

So I’ll admit I’ve never watched the Video Music Awards (VMAs) before this year. Growing up in a house without cable made it really easy to avoid obnoxious networks like MTV. Honestly, I didn’t even realize how popular award shows like the VMAs were until Miley Cyrus’ infamous performance went viral. I remember scrolling Facebook this time last year and all I could see were videos about Miley Cyrus dancing with teddy bears and twerking all over Robin Thicke. Maybe because of that, I didn’t really care to go back and take the time to watch the show. When a friend sent me an article about Beyoncé’s ‘feminist’ performance at this year’s VMAs, I decided to check out what all the fuss was about. Maybe I was missing out on something. I was excited to finally contribute to my friend’s gossip about the awards show. Like me, my roommate had also never seen the VMAs. It was exciting to share our first impressions with each other.

Before I even noticed any performers, my attention was caught by the awkwardness of the audience – bored out of their minds. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all those people, sadly swinging their arms and halfheartedly cheering on Ariana Grande as she energetically jumped around the stage and sang. Honestly, before this performance, I didn’t know who Ariana Grande was, but now I know she’s basically a tiny human who has a loud voice. Good to know.

Everything was a blur until Nicki Minaj came on the stage… I didn’t know it was possible to shake your ass in so many ways. But now I know, and there’s no going back. It can’t be unseen. Then Jay Pharoah, the host of the evening, did his sketch. This is a name I was more familiar with, as I have spent many afternoons watching Satuday Night Live trying to avoid work. I had high hopes, thinking he would lighten up the awkward mood of the audience. He only made the show more uncomfortable to watch. At one point he commented on Ariana Grande saying “I’m a little attracted to you and I feel a little weird about it. She looks kinda young, don’t she? You should not be a grown man enjoying Sam & Kat as much as your five year old nephew.”- What were his writers thinking? Did nobody else think this was a super creepy comment?

In the end, I just did not make it through the 90 minute segment to see Beyoncé’s performance. I just YouTubed it to save my time and energy. But I did learn a great deal from this experience. I couldn’t be happier that I’m not an artist who has to sacrifice my dignity by attending or performing at these horrible events. I learned that not having cable was the best gift my parents gave me. I will never again attempt to keep up with MTV and its nonsense. All in all, VMAs watched and lesson learned.

I’m gonna miss you, Genie

Noah Kahan

Staff Writer

Robin Williams was many things to many people. He was a stand-up comedian, an actor, and an all-around good person. But he had a secret persona, following him wherever he went. Robin Williams was severely depressed. Depression has grim effects which present themselves in many different forms, and our society can stigmatize those it affects. This included Robin Williams, who suffered from alcoholism. The sad reality is that many people use alcohol to self-medicate their depression.

Self-medication is a serious way someone with depression can induce self–harm. 

Robin Williams had also recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which could have led to a significant increase in his depressed feelings. Illness can be both physical and mental. Tragedy and Comedy often go hand-in-hand. That is, those with a comedic gift often have tragic lives. Robin Williams was an extreme example of this phenomenon. He was a man with a beautiful gift, the ability to touch hearts, and make others who were suffering smile. But he was also a man with a curse, he walked around with deep sorrow.

On August 11, 2014, Robin Williams ended his life, but this did not remove him and his penchant for making us smile from the world. In fact, his death saw a re-emergence of many of his films and his specials. Robin Williams’ death was tragic in that it removed a comedic genius from our midst. Williams’ comedic genius transcended his deep sorrow.

    Despite his dark and sad exit from the world, Robin Williams will always be remembered as someone who cured the emotional pain of others through his comedy. It takes courage to put on the facade that he did, and bravery to be able to make other people happy despite his own pain. Let us remember Robin Williams for the comedy he brought into the world and the genius he strived to show us.

Scoop’s Corner: “The Giver”

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

Most of you have probably read the book, “The Giver.” It’s the children’s version of “1984,” and “Brave New World,” and the predecessor of all Young Adult dystopia novels. Which are apparently a huge thing right now, and I wouldn’t mind if there weren’t so many love triangles! It’s getting ridiculous…

  The book version of “The Giver” had the slightest tinge of a romance, in that 12-year old Jonas develops a crush on his friend Fiona, but these are promptly eliminated with pills designed to take care of that issue. The book is mainly about a boy realizing that everything that he knew is wrong; there is a thing called color, another called music and in the time before there were Communities, people lived with their biological parents and siblings, and they felt things: both good and bad. Jonas learns about all these things from the Receiver of Memory, who he calls the Giver, because he is being trained to take his place. It’s an amazing book, full of symbolism and emotion. It’s terrible to see Jonas go through so much and make such difficult decisions, especially at such a young age.

The movie ages Jonas up to about sixteen, and has him played by a twenty-three year old (I get it. You’ll get more people if he’s hot but other than that, why?)

This makes all his actions seem more ridiculous, and idiotic in the film.

It also makes his feelings towards his friend Fiona more intense, and a bit odd especially considering that most of the time, she really doesn’t know what he’s doing. The concept of kissing and affection is absolutely foreign to her.

  The movie also changes around some of the most basic plot points of the novel, in  order to make it more “action-oriented.”

The action happens in the last third of the movie, and seems to exist only to make the movie more marketable to the “tween/young teen” crowd.

For example, in the novels, pills are distributed only to block out romantic feelings while in the movie injections are given to all citizens in order to block all emotions.

  There are other book-to-movie differences: the movie incorporated an unneeded villain, the Chief Elder, whose only goal was to stop Jonas, while in the book, the Giver (and therefore Jonas) was always contacted by the Elders before they made any major decisions and that the identifying “Giver” mark was changed from light eyes to a birth mark.

If you would like to compare the two, read the book and go out to see the movie. You will see major differences. While I understand that books and movies are two different mediums, I feel as though they could have tried harder with “The Giver,” especially since they’ve been working on a film adaptation for ages. It’s disappointing to wait for so many years, only to get a movie that won’t even be remembered by next summer. Percy Jackson fans, I now know how you feel…I never want to go through this kind of pain again.


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