2014. 06. 20
C of I alumna a rising wheelchair tennis star
Less than 10 years ago, College of Idaho alumna Makenzie Ellsworth ’13 learned she would never walk again. But that hasn’t stopped her from spinning circles around the competition as a rising wheelchair tennis player at both the local and national levels.
“For me, it’s just great to get that competitive feeling again,” Ellsworth says.
Ellsworth, paralyzed from the waist down after a 2006 car accident, was introduced to the game in 2007 during her time at the Idaho Youth Wheelchair Sports Camp. What began as a casual interest became more competitive in 2010, when Ellsworth had her first lesson with coach Randy Corbett of the Idaho Wheelchair Tennis Association. Corbett, a nationally ranked player, taught Makenzie the basics and continues to travel with her to tournaments.
In just a few short years, Ellsworth has grown into a formidable player. She is undefeated in doubles competition, having won multiple national tournaments. Her victories include a 2011 triumph in Portland and a recent win in Dallas with her partner, Chris Cross.
“I prefer doubles because it has more of a team feeling to it,” Ellsworth said. “You have someone to help keep your spirits up when your game is not going the way you want it to.”
Playing doubles is what got Ellsworth hooked on tennis –particularly up-down tennis, a form of doubles where able bodied players team up with wheelchair players in fast-paced matches that feature numerous volleys.
“Up-down tennis is the only wheelchair sport in which able bodied people can be integrated so easily – they don’t have to get into a chair to play,” Ellsworth said. “I love the fact that I can play the game not just with my wheelchair friends, but with anyone.”
Ellsworth often travels during the spring and summer months to play in tournaments and participate in wheelchair tennis camps, including an annual Salt Lake City camp run by U.S. Paralympic tennis coach Dan James. She also trains locally at Boise State University’s Boas Tennis Center as well as Boise’s Shoshone Park.
When she isn’t serving tennis balls, Ellsworth serves the public as an AmeriCorps Summer VISTA Associate with the Idaho Food Bank, working closely with children as a part of the organization’s “Picnic in the Park” program. Ellsworth and her team recruit volunteers to come spend time with children at more than two-dozen park locations.
While Ellsworth loves her work with the food bank, she still harbors an ambition to play professional tennis. Together with Corbett, she hopes to take her game to the next level this summer as she travels the country to compete at International Tennis Association (ITA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments in Salt Lake City, Portland and Las Vegas.
“If I am given the opportunity to play tennis professionally, I would never turn that down!” Ellsworth said. “If a professional opportunity doesn’t come, I plan to return to school to get my master’s in nutrition and food science.”
If one door closes, Ellsworth will find new opportunities to pursue.
It’s a competitive spirit that has served her well, both on the tennis court and in life.
Setting the Stage: Alumni hone skills at Idaho Shakespeare Festival
Idaho Shakespeare Festival carpenter Will Ledbetter '12 constructs a theatre set on campus.
Taking center stage was never the plan for College of Idaho graduates Angi Grow ’06 and Will Ledbetter ’12. For them, the passion for theatre was not in performing on the set, but in creating it.
“I had no intention of getting into theatre,” Ledbetter said. “My major was international political economy, but I ended up spending enough time in the theatre department to double major.”
That passion and skill for the craft led Grow and Ledbetter to a job opportunity with one of the Treasure Valley’s most popular traditions: the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.
Grow has been working for the company as a painter since before she graduated and currently is employed as the lead scenic artist for ISF. Ledbetter started in 2012 as a set carpenter and has developed into a leader in the shop.
“I started here while I was in college,” Grow said. “But since I graduated, I’ve started going to the sister company in Cleveland to paint sets as well as do my own artwork on the side.”
Idaho Shakespeare Festival, now in its 37th season, provides live theatre for audiences of all ages throughout the year. During the regular season—May through September—the festival puts on anywhere from five to eight productions at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival Amphitheater and Reserve.
During the offseason, the Festival continues its homage to Shakespeare by leading two outreach programs—Idaho Theatre for Youth (ITY) and Shakespearience—into elementary and high school institutions throughout the Pacific Northwest. Although these programs are produced on a smaller scale, they still require the same, high-caliber sets as those used during the regular season.
For Ledbetter and Grow, the seasons are never truly distinct. Between building new props and sets and varying scenes, the job provides challenging and rewarding work throughout the year.
“The challenges of this job are very interesting,” Ledbetter said. “Each show is completely different, so you aren’t building the same set over again. Each new show, depending on what the director wants, is fun and challenging.”
This year provided another challenge for Ledbetter and Grow as they were not only asked to create the sets for ISF touring productions, but also to design them.
“It’s a different challenge; that’s for sure,” Ledbetter said. “You want it to be a professional set and production, but at the same time, it has to pack into a truck and be easily assembled by the actors.”
For the 2014 touring season, Ledbetter was put in charge of designing the traveling set for the Shakespearience adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Grow was asked to design the other traveling set for the Idaho Theatre for Youth’s presentation of Jabberwocky.
Together, this dynamic duo designed and built sets that toured Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming and Nevada, reaching approximately 50,000 school-age children in varying communities.
“During the regular season, we’re just told what to do and we do it, but it’s great to design our own stuff and make it our own work,” Grow said. “For my show we got to do puppets. I do so much of the painting side; it was great to finally do something different!”
Grow and Ledbetter are not the first Coyotes to be involved with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Rather, they have followed in the purple and gold footsteps of theatre professors Joe Golden and Mike Hartwell.
Golden has been an active member in the Festival since 1992, first working as an actor for the core-company and taking part in Shakespearience. In recent years, Golden has focused on co-writing and performing in the Greenshows that take place before the plays.
Hartwell, on the other hand, played some very important roles behind the scenes with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Between 2001 and 2008, Hartwell worked as the production manager, technical director, and designer for Shakespearience and Idaho Theatre for Youth.
During their time at the C of I, Grow and Ledbetter worked with Hartwell, learning and developing stage craft under his tutelage.
“Angi and Will were exceptional students,” Hartwell said. “While I was working at the Shakespeare festival, I would ask them to come help me and that’s kind of how it all began. From there they have blossomed into well-rounded individuals who are well-respected in what they do.”
To both Grow and Ledbetter, the respect they have earned in the theatre community wouldn’t have been possible without the experience they had at the C of I – particularly the support and mentorship they received from Hartwell.
“I can’t say enough about Hartwell and his mentorship, both in the field and all through college,” Ledbetter said. “The professional-level experience I received with Hartwell was really beneficial as well as how he taught. Mike means a lot to both of us and he’s the type of professor that exemplifies The College of Idaho.”
The Idaho Shakespeare Festival has taken the theatrical arts to a new level in the Treasure Valley and beyond. With a talented troupe of actors and directors, it is easy to see why the Festival is so beloved.
Sometimes, however, it is the players behind-the-scenes who give the greatest performances.
C of I student thrives at Alaska SeaLife Center
While many College of Idaho students began settling into summer routines after commencement, senior biology major Kelsey Nelson was frantically packing in preparation for one of the nation’s most prestigious internships in the field of marine biology. Just two weeks earlier, Nelson was notified that she would be serving as a Mammal-Interpretation Intern for a 12-week program at the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) in Seward, Alaska. She was one of only 24 interns nationwide selected for the opportunity.
“I only had about 48 hours between moving out of my dorm and leaving for Alaska,” Nelson said. “Figuring out what to pack for 12 weeks was a little bit hectic, but overall, it was a very exciting time.”
Since mid-May, Nelson has been living in Seward and working at the ASLC, Alaska’s premier public aquarium dedicated to developing scientific research and promoting increased awareness of the marine ecosystems of Alaska through the rehabilitation of marine animals and public education.
The internship provides a perfect opportunity for Nelson to pursue her passion for marine biology and ecology.
“I felt that I really needed to explore the opportunities in the field and see what is being done in terms of conservation and research,” Nelson said. “I was definitely interested in the Alaska SeaLife Center from the beginning because of the efforts and strides the center is making not only with public education of marine ecosystems, but also with research.”
Nelson works 40 hours per week at ASLC. Her responsibilities are split between working with the animals and working with the public, but she rarely has a set program during her work days.
“My tasks definitely change from day to day, depending on how many visitors are at the center,” Nelson said. “When working with the interpretive side, I typically work with the public through interpreting exhibits, giving behind-the-scenes tours, and teaching one-hour classes. In the mammal department, my tasks vary from cleaning and food preparation to feeding and enrichment with the animals.”
While Nelson’s internship duties keep her busy, she still finds time to enjoy the Seward experience. The small tourist community has plenty to offer, including hiking, walks at the beach, kayaking and boat tours.
Nelson proudly claims that her experiences at the C of I, particularly in the biology department, have helped her succeed in her internship so far.
“I began to use materials I learned from Dr. Eric Yensen's mammalogy class and Dr. Chris Walser's ecology, evolution and diversity class the first day in my position,” Nelson said. She also credits the College’s Center for Experimental Learning (CEL) for helping her land the internship.
With plans in place to apply for graduate school this fall, Nelson is confident that her experiences as a ASLC intern will help guide her academic future.
“This internship really has given me insight to the research that is currently being conducted about marine organisms and ecosystems, and it has put me in contact with those who are conducting it,” Nelson said.
To learn more about the Alaska SeaLife Center, visit www.alaskasealife.org.
College opens football tailgating sales
Idaho football fans will have their first opportunity in more than 35 years to tailgate at a small college game when The College of Idaho’s reinstated program kicks off this fall, and spots are on sale now.
Tailgating will take place in the parking lot behind J.A. Albertson Activities Center. Season passes cost $106 for standard spaces (cars and trucks) or $212 for an RV space. Single-game passes cost $26.50 and $53, respectively. Patrons may purchase tickets online, by phone at (208) 459-5223 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are excited to offer a fun, safe and affordable tailgating environment,” C of I Athletic Director Marty Holly said. “Our football games are going to be a fantastic opportunity for fans and the entire Treasure Valley community to come together, enjoy each other’s company and cheer on the Yotes.”
Tailgating will open at 10 a.m. on each of the Coyotes’ five home dates – three hours before a 1 p.m. kickoff. The tailgating lot also will be open for an hour after each game. The football team will play its games at nearby Simplot Stadium, just a few short blocks from campus. Buses operated by Caldwell Transportation Company will be available to shuttle fans between the tailgating lot and the stadium before, during and after the game.
All tailgaters must comply with the policies and procedures of the C of I Tailgating Manual. Click here to read the complete manual online.
In addition to tailgating, the C of I is continuing to sell season tickets in both the reserved and general admission sections. The reserved section is nearly sold out, but select seats remain at a cost of $110. General admission season tickets cost $42, or $126 for a family of four (additional children may be added for $20 each). Single-game tickets also are available for all five home games. To purchase tickets, visit https://tix.extremetix.com/Online/?siteID=3898.
For more information about the Coyote football program and its upcoming season, visit www.yoteathletics.com/kickoff2014.
Hey Yotes! The C of I fiscal year ends on June 30, which means it's time to make your gift in order to be counted for our annual alumni giving percentage. Click here to give online and help us reach our goal of 37% alumni giving this year! And remember: When you donate to The College of Idaho, Every Dollar Helps!
The College of Idaho congratulates the 176 students who made the Spring 2014 Dean’s List. To receive Dean's List recognition, a student must complete at least nine graded credits and achieve a GPA of 3.75 or higher for the semester. Click here to read the list of honorees.
Yotes in the News: Hillary Holt ’14 has been named the Cascade Conference Women's Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year. Holt, an 11-time NAIA national champion and 17-time All-American, also earned the league’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year and Track & Field Athlete of the Year awards while closing out her stellar career at the C of I...Softball coach Al Mendiola ’94 and his staff have been named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association NAIA West Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Mendiola, Patrick Gonzalez and Curt Thiel helped lead the Coyotes to the NAIA World Series, where they placed fifth…Defensive back Michael Roberts of Twin Falls High is the latest C of I football signee, as reported by the Twin Falls Times-News.
It has been a summer of discovery at the C of I! Click here to read about some interesting work being done by Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History archaeologist and curator Jan Summers Duffy. Plus, learn about the Robert E. Smylie Archives’ collection of clay Cuneiform tablets from the ancient Mesopotamian civilization of Ur!
The 2013-14 season was a banner campaign for Coyote Athletics! The Year of the Yote continued last week as the C of I received an incredible nine top-10 awards at the NAIA Sports Information Directors of America Convention in Florida – including first place for our highlight package from the men's basketball CCC championship game! Click the video player to watch the first-place video, or click here to view the full list of award winners. Go Yotes!
Coyote Classics are back! Check out our latest video with football alumnus John Park ’54, whose C of I football experiences include a cold bath in Payette Lake and an accidental “Three Stooges” touchdown run. Click the video player to watch, and view more Coyote Classics at www.yoteathletics.com/kickoff2014.