William & Mary

Graduation 2016

  • Jen Koontz, Alex Richards, & Malorie Polster
    Jen Koontz, Alex Richards, & Malorie Polster  Waiting for ceremony to begin.  Jennifer Koontz
  • Trinkle Hall from stage
    Trinkle Hall from stage  View prior to ceremony starting.  Prof. Scott
  • Prof. Deschenes giving his speech
    Prof. Deschenes giving his speech  View of stage during ceremony  Chris Wilson
  • Maria Kapral & Nathan Vassey being awarded the Majors of the Year
    Maria Kapral & Nathan Vassey being awarded the Majors of the Year  Maria Kapral & Nathan Vassey being awarded the Majors of the Year by Chair Michael Deschenes  Nathan Vassey
  • Maria Kapral & Nathan Vassey
    Maria Kapral & Nathan Vassey  Majors of the Year giving their Roast Quiz- Guess who the professor is.  Nathan Vassey
  • Prof. Deschenes & Brittany Stover
    Prof. Deschenes & Brittany Stover  Brittany receiving her diploma  Brittany Stover
  • Maria Kapral, Prof. Deschenes, & Jennifer Koontz
    Maria Kapral, Prof. Deschenes, & Jennifer Koontz  Graduates posing after ceremony  Maria Kapral
  • Maria Kapral, Megan McKinney ’17, Marlowe Muehlbauer, & Nathan Vassey
    Maria Kapral, Megan McKinney ’17, Marlowe Muehlbauer, & Nathan Vassey  Anatomy TAs posing one last time together.  Maria Kapral
  • Melody Wong, Eleanor, Prof. Burnet, & Mary Simpson
    Melody Wong, Eleanor, Prof. Burnet, & Mary Simpson  Posing for photos after the ceremony  Melody Wong
  • Prof. Queen & Kristen Askew
    Prof. Queen & Kristen Askew  Posing with Professor after ceremony  Kristen Askew
  • Caroline Casey & Brittany Stover
    Caroline Casey & Brittany Stover  Friends hugging after ceremony  Prof. Scott
  • Prof. McCoy & Kristen Askew
    Prof. McCoy & Kristen Askew  Posing with professor after ceremony  Kristen Askew
  • Courtney Pennill & Prof. Scott outside Campus Center
    Courtney Pennill & Prof. Scott outside Campus Center  One last picture before leaving W&M.  Prof. Scott
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The Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences would like to welcome the class of 2016 to the growing family of our alumni. Of the 128 students who graduated from our department this year, 97 of you attended the graduation ceremony along with 6 Interdisciplinary graduates. Your graduation weekend started on Saturday at William & Mary Hall where the main commencement ceremony was held and where Jill Ellis ’88, coach of the World Cup winning U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, delivered a commencement speech. During the speech she thanked Dr. John Charles, “who believed in the potential of a shy, English kid.” She also mentioned our major, Casey Douma, who is going in the Peace Corps.

On Sunday you returned to campus for the department ceremony where degrees were handed out while around 800 family and friends looked on. During the department ceremony Maria Kapral and Nathan Vassey were named as the Kinesiology & Health Sciences Majors of the Year. Below is there acceptance speeches and the “roast- name the professor.” When the proceedings concluded, everyone was invited to stay and share in cake, morning foods, and drinks. I want to thank all the graduating seniors for sending in the above pictures. Good Luck!

Roast- Pick the Professor Quiz!- that Maria Kapral and Nathan Vassey did before they gave their acceptance speeches.
  • McCoy = I can take apart a tractor and a human body but I can only get one of them back together!
  • Deschenes =Looking at digestion when you eat a pepperoni pizza the grease floats on the top of your soda due to its hydrophobic nature. And if that description didn’t work let me come up with another analogy to describe it, oh and please, no electronic devices today
  • Randy = Don’t forget to sign your I-Could-Die-From-Sarcasm form before taking my class. (Canoe away)
  • Queen = I’m from North “Carolina”, and please don’t make me call 9-11
  • Harris = Lance Armstrong did love him as much after he got busted? OR If you are have a 2hr exercise at 90% of your VO2max please describe what would have
  • John Charles = before we move on to debates about land ethic, let’s talk GMOs : the flavr savr “tomahto” but then saying “or as you all say here “tamatuh” then continuing with “patatuh”
  • Kohl = So what we have here is the information processing...which fly fishing is a prime example of.
  • Burnet = “what do you need before a max-test, spirometry, or an EKG? Oh, and did y’all knowingly consent to sitting through more graduation speeches today?” INFORMED CONSENT OR Her favorite color is baby blue and it’s not because she has a kid.
Maria Kapral Speech

In order to truly explain what being a Kinesiology student has meant to me over the past four years, I have to go back to the beginning – my Day for Admitted Students. Knowing that I was going to attend The College and knowing that I wanted to be a Physical Therapist, I mostly came that day for the tour of Adair with Professors Deschenes and McCoy so that I could begin to meet the professors I would be interacting with during my college career. During the tour, Professor Deschenes took the group of us down to the basement and talked a little bit about his research and showed us the laser microscope that he uses for the imaging of neuromuscular junctions. Having just finished the section in my Human Physiology class in high school that dealt with the muscular system, I felt relieved that I could piece together what I knew to understand what he was saying, at least that’s what I thought back then. Looking back, I laugh at my excitement and feeling so confident because I could follow this baseline conversation with my extremely watered-down knowledge. However, this was the moment I decided that I wanted to do research with Professor Deschenes, and it gave me the courage to come to The College and feel confident in my abilities as a student.

True to the stereotypes about a “Typical WM Student,” I came to the College my freshman year with a list of the classes I planned to take and needed to take, not just to complete my major, but also the courses I needed as prerequisites for PT school. In fact, though some slight changes were made as I realized I needed extra courses or made notes for completion of my minor, I still have this sheet, and it has been posted in every room I’ve lived in and served as a quick check to make sure I was on track for this very day. One of the first additions I made came from Professor Looft-Wilson, my pre-major advisor, when she recommended her own Cardiovascular Physiology class. I added this course to the list unabashedly and knew it would be at least my junior year before I was ready for this class. Little did I know that this course could very easily have waited until after I graduated and actually been a class I take in future schooling, especially considering that by the end of the semester our practice questions suddenly were being taken from practice tests for first year Medical school students who have taken their cardiovascular course. Though this detail never filtered down to me as an underclassman, I had heard of the terrors of the blue, white, and yellow powerpoints, and Prof. Looft-Wilson did not disappoint.

I was an eager freshman, and my first ever college exam was in Professor Deschenes Intro Human Body class. I was the worst combination of anxious and confident, and finished the exam quickly and seemingly unscathed.  I quickly learned the sad truth though. Upon returning our grades, Professor Deschenes explained that it took him a little longer because a student had put their name in the wrong section of the scantron, switching their first and last name and messing up the entire alphabet worth of grades from there on in the computer. My first reaction was to think “wow, what a rookie mistake.” Then I got my test back. It was me. I was mortified, and I swore I would never ask to do research with Professor Deschenes, after all, he would never forget that and why would he want a student in his lab who couldn’t even figure out a simple scantron?? Thankfully, I grew in both confidence and assuredness in my abilities as a student who could be of use in a research situation.

As the semesters rolled onward, I loyally started to go through my lists of courses and check them off one by one. During that time, I met Dr. Burnet and had the concept of informed consent drilled into my head only to promptly forget to ask for consent in the mock test for the exercise physiology lab practical. That’s what it finally took, and I don’t even help a friend who has a sprained ankle without first saying, “okay, I’m going to touch you now, is that okay?” Even more intimidating though, I took the heart rate of Professor Harris during a max-effort test only to realize that each time he checked me using his fitness tracker. Talk about pressure. Most importantly though, I survived Professor Kohl’s infamous True False exams and made it through his Motor Control course without attracting enough attention to be the brunt of any lasting jokes. 

But being a Kinesiology major is much more than the classes I took, in fact, looking back on my time at the College, I remember the moments I had with the people in the department much more vividly. My best Kinesiology friend is someone I didn’t even meet until the Fall of this year, and she and I TAed for the anatomy lab for a semester and then continued to prep together even when we no longer were partnered. As crazy as it sounds, I had more fun at the College this last year when I essentially lived in the basement of Adair doing research and TAing than in the previous years combined. Now before you think, “wow, she worked all the time, how was there time for fun with all that?” let me explain with a few funny stories. One night, Professor Queen, my TA partner, and I all stayed a little later than usual in the anatomy lab because we had to hunt for Prof. Queen’s earring. For those five minutes, the hilarity and horror of the possibility of finding an earring loose in the lab made us all laugh and fear the worst. Thankfully, that earring was not in the anatomy lab after all. Another time, doing research with another friend, we had a sudden visit from a centipede falling from behind a light and had to scurry to kill it before it contaminated what we had been doing, all the while giggling and screeching over who would be the brave one and kill it. But my personal favorite is a moment when I was doing image analysis by myself late at night and was listening to music in the darkened room at the end of the basement hallway. Of course, thinking I was by myself, I was singing along and being a goof, when all of a sudden a group of swimmers emerged from the pool room right next door. I don’t know if they were more surprised at my presence or if I was by theirs.

Finally, being a Kinesiology major has given me the confidence to continue on to the next phase of my life. The skills I learned here, from the best way to study that I utilized in Professor Looft-Wilson’s class, to learning that the moments that you think will forever follow you and prevent you from moving forward don’t have to, will take me far in life. Not only did I learn these more specific skills, but I learned how to confidently convey myself to others thanks to Health Ethics with Professor Charles. Most importantly though, I learned the value of laughing at myself and humbly accepting the mistakes I make as part of the path I travel. Gaining the grace to handle myself in those situations has boosted my confidence, not only in myself as a member of an academic community, but also as an individual who can make an impact on the world. I am eternally grateful for all that William and Mary has taught me, but even more so to the professors and friends I have made over these past four years who challenged me to be the best student and person that I can be.

Nathan Vassey speech- Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

    When I was told to talk about what I learned here, I said well shiznit because I learned that turning expletives into adorable phrases makes them alright in the presence of children and grandparents and because at the end of a 5 year journey here, I feel that I have learned such a colossal amount of knowledge both in the classroom and much larger classroom of life that it was almost impossible to sum that up into a 10min speech. I mean I have filled 5 journals and 10 binders of notes from my time here. To say that I am student and a thinker is understatement but maybe the answer comes in the form of not one mind but many. What I’m trying to say is it’s impossible for one mind even with its trillions of neurons and quadrillions of synaptic connections to comprehend the growing complexity of life (reference to Deschene’s speech) but maybe with many minds and collective memory. Collaboration: this is the theme of how I will attempt to sum up my experience here.

   Down in the dungeons of Adair where we keep the bodies, some of you may have seen a sign that says, “Everyone does better if everyone does better.” I guess it’s simplicity is what makes it so catchy. This phrase reminds me of a time when I was backpacking. I’ve spent over 60 days in the wilderness on two separate trips and mother nature has a way of facilitating the learning process when you are stuck in a tent with people who stink to high heaven in a rain storm with no food. One day in particular on my last day of the second trip, we were supposed to hike out of a canyon by climbing up a ravine and bushwacking 5 miles. However the ravine was impassable for us and our 60-70lbs packs so me and my group, we decided to hike out of the canyon, through a retirement community, and up the road to the take out point instead. Along the way we encountered a litany of obstacles that included a grandmother with warm cinnamon rolls as well as hidden trails, private property, and lack of water. And at one point, we stopped in this catacomb of 4-wheeler trails and took a break under the sun but when we took out our water bottles only one of the guys had any water. Rather than drinking it himself, he shared it with all of us because he realized that all of us being partially dehydrated was better than him having to carry all our asshizzles up the road.

    I also see this type of collaboration in the human body. In addition to the obvious interaction of organs and cells all working together to make this living, breathing body, we see collaboration in muscle anatomy. For any given action, there are 2-3 muscles that help in the movement. For example when you are ABducting the leg, the TFL, Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Minimus assist in this motion. At a physiological level, we have three energy systems: glycolytic, creatine phosphate, and the aerobic systems. But these systems don’t work independently. No, the CP system provides the transport molecule for the phosphate group from the mitochondria to the actin-myosin complex because ATP is too big to make the journey and on the other side, (and this blew my mind when I learned it) the lactic acid produced by glycolysis is pumped to not only surrounding muscle fibers but also into the circulatory system and transported to other organs like the heart and maybe even the brain to be used as an energy substrate. This type of collaboration is just phenomenal! Lastly as a Prof. Kohl knows, in a complex motor task, the brain activates both hemispheres via the corpus callosum while a simple motor task only requires one hemisphere.

    At this point, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who helped us get to this point. I liked to thank everyone in the department Mrs. Venus and Mr. Chris as well as the professors. I’d like to thank our friends and family for their support and I’d like to thank the facilities because they took care of our basic needs here. I don’t want to overlook the Calvin who took care of the Adair building, the Latonyas, the Raymonds, Terrences, Keiths, Tairrons, Mrs. Joannes, Mrs. Patties and all the other ones that I didn’t get the chance to know.

    In an environment that stresses individual achievement and academic assessment, I found it easy to forget this point of collaboration, but the moment, I saw through my independence to my interdependence is when I finally started to thrive. While you may only need food, water, and shelter to survive, we need people...people to thrive because we won’t last very long without them. So in closing I want to wish everyone good luck as they search for a new tribe.