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Shannon Luckey ’11
Click here to read Alumni Spotlights
Joanne Spigner ’76
Senior Network & Systems Administrator, Information Technology Services
(photo by Andrew Daddio)
Last job before Colgate:
I was network administrator for Bank of Utica.
Path at Colgate:
I’ve worked here for twelve years. I started out on the helpline and then moved to the installation department. I moved over to network services in 2002.
Manage and maintain the computer network infrastructure — everything from the wireless network to applications such as e-mail and Banner (the records database).
Most proud of:
I was project manager for the new campus wireless network. In network services, we’re all involved with each other’s stuff, but wireless has been my niche. With a team of contractors, the vendor, and our staff, we had three months last summer to get 940 wireless access points placed and tested and learn the management system. We came in within budget and on time.
I became the first woman to join the Hamilton Lions Club in December 2001. I’ve been to Lions’ Leadership School in Chicago and have been club president and a zone chair, managing eight clubs in the area. I really enjoy it. My husband is a Lion, too, so it’s something we do together.
As an initiative inspired by September 11, I got in touch with the Red Cross and we started sponsoring community blood drives, usually at the Hamilton Baptist Church. Since the first one in September 2002, we’ve held 44 drives and collected approximately 3,000 pints of blood. My work now involves getting people signed up, and working the registration desk the day of the drive. Everybody jokes that I know more people in Hamilton by blood type than by name!
Thiells, New York
My husband, Frank, is a headend technician for Time Warner. Our son, Matthew, is 23. He’s a helicopter mechanic in the Air Force, stationed at Moody Air Force Base.
Favorite vacation destination:
When Frank and I got married, he was stationed at Fort Ord [California]. We were young and had no money, so we’d just drive to San Francisco and walk around. We feel at home there. That’s where our son was born.
My two border collies, Josh and Dee, keep me occupied. They herd everything, constantly, including our two cats. And my 2002 Miata.
Mac or PC?
I’ve always been a PC person, but I can’t live without my iPad!
Favorite kind of music:
Anything you can dance to
— Rebecca Costello
(photo by Andrew Daddio)
– Associate Professor of Political Science
– Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Civilization Studies Program
Egypt After Mubarak: Liberalism, Islam, and Democracy in the Arab World
(Princeton University Press, 2008)
– At Colgate since 2002
– Taught at a private school in Alexandria, Egypt, and wrote for an Egyptian magazine after graduating from Williams College (BA)
How did you become interested in the Middle East?
As an undergraduate, I did a summer internship in Washington, D.C., with Amnesty International. My job was to go to hearings on Capitol Hill related to the Middle East and report back about what was going on. There were a lot of hearings related to the Arab/Israeli conflict, as well as about Iran and the challenges that it posed to the United States. It was a fascinating experience that got me intrigued with the extraordinary richness and complexity of that part of the world.
What is the most important thing for Westerners to understand about the Middle East?
That Islam is a tolerant and flexible religion, and that the vast majority of Muslims want to coexist peacefully with the West. That message doesn’t often get conveyed in the media’s coverage of the Middle East. The Islamic world is often portrayed as monolithic, implicitly threatening, sometimes explicitly threatening to the United States. The experience that one gets from living in the Middle East is that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant faith.
What’s the difference between studying Egypt as a research interest versus as a current event — and how does that relate to your concept of a liberal arts education?
Lately, the current events discussions have been tightly focused on the immediate issues of conflict and regime change. In Egypt, we had the protests in Tahrir Square, violence against the demonstrators, and the removal of Mubarak from power.
The challenge from a liberal arts perspective is to help students understand the broader cultural, historical, and political pressures that produced those events. It’s the type of topic that lends itself very well to a liberal arts setting. Our goal is to provide students with a richness of understanding that enables them to put this specific situation into a broader context.
What’s the difference between democracy as it’s emerging in the Middle East and democracy as we know it in the United States?
The core difference is that, as democracy unfolds in Egypt, there will probably be an important role for religion. There will almost certainly be some parties that are explicitly religious and focus their platforms on strengthening traditional values and religious values. The key thing to underscore is that this is not necessarily at odds with democracy. There are several examples of thriving democracies that have strong religious parties.
The clearest example in the region is Israel, which has a number of religious parties. Turkey and Indonesia are examples of democracies with well-organized Islamic parties. There is a presumption that, as Islam’s role in government increases, the prospects for democracy decline — I don’t think that’s necessarily true.
— James Leach
(photo by Andrew Daddio)
– Mark S. Randall head coach of men’s and women’s swimming, director of aquatics, instructor in physical education since August 2010
– Represented Team USA at the FINA World Congress in 2008 and 2009, and medaled (2 silver, 1 bronze) at the 2007 Pan American Games (he will be a U.S. coach and representative in 2011 games)
– Member of University of Michigan coaching staff that sent seven athletes to the Beijing Olympics
– Member of three Olympic teams: Montreal ’76, Moscow ’80, and Los Angeles ’84; flagbearer for Puerto Rico in the ’84 Olympics
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. I lived in Puerto Rico until I went to college at the University of Michigan. I lived in Michigan many years, as well as in California, Brazil, Italy, and Texas. It was all related to competition and coaching.
When did you start swimming?
I’ve raced since I was about six years old. I had Stevens-Johnson syndrome; it’s a really deadly disease, and out of that I had a partial paralysis and strabismus of the eye. I had a ton of infections and nearly died. I was in a coma for a long time. When I came out of the coma, I was unable to use the right side of my body, so swimming was my therapy. As a result, I got better and I fell in love with the sport. It took me about a year and a half to really get healthy, and then I was like a fish.
What’s your personal philosophy?
There are two things that rule my life: respect people of all creeds and all colors, and respect people for who they are.
How does it feel to have coached women’s swimming to their third Patriot League Championship title in the last four years?
It is an honor to coach at Colgate, and I am happy to have been a humble part of their success. Our team worked hard, with buckets of discipline and tons of respect for those who came before us. We stand on deck at 5:45 a.m. to start a new day of practice by encouraging each team member to raise their level in academics, civic responsibility, and athletic effort.
What are some of your goals for the Colgate swim team?
I’d like to get as many Academic All-Americas as we can. Also, I’d like to see a productive team of people who are consciously trying to make the world a better place.
What’s your favorite thing about Hamilton?
There’s simplicity in it, and yet, it’s a powerful place — there’s a global aspect to it, too. Important world events are happening and discoveries are being made. I love that the student-athletes and professors have close relationships. People here are down to earth. I love the school and the people who are influencing my kids. And my boys love Oliveri’s Pizza — so do I!
Do you do any winter sports?
I’ve been learning. I got a little better at cross country skiing this year. My 9-year-old son, Thor (our other son is Francisco, 11), really enjoyed it, and my wife, Mona (Nyheim-Canales, who is a Norwegian national swimming champion), was brought up on skis and skates. As a family, I can see many fun winters to come.
— Caitlin Holbrook ’11
Shannon Luckey ’11
Shannon Luckey ’11 at a ceramics shop in Turkey
When Shannon Luckey ’11 noticed an aversion to math among the adolescent girls she mentors, she immediately began looking for a way to change this mind-set. A mathematics major and educational studies minor, Luckey found opportunities to tutor adolescents in math through connections at Colgate and at home, in hopes of inspiring others to care for math as much as she does.
Through Colgate’s Friends and Mentors group (FAM), which operates through the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education, Luckey spends one evening a week mentoring adolescent girls sent to the Madison Group Home by family courts. Luckey and the other FAM participants were given the Dean’s Community Service Award for their efforts.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done,” she said of her participation in the group. “For me, the biggest thing was getting to know the kids. The girls are so spunky! I’m not sure I’ve said anything profound [to them], but just being there, showing up every week, shows them stability. I feel like I’ve taken more away from it than they have.”
In fact, although Luckey said she originally planned to use her drive for math to become “Miss Investment Banker” after graduation, her involvements have drawn her toward a career in teaching math instead. Come May, Luckey will be preparing to share her passion for teaching math with a different set of pupils through the prestigious Math for America program.
As part of her student experience, Luckey is also a dedicated member of the Konosioni senior honor society, Phi Eta Sigma, and the director of the Student Lecture Forum on campus. In addition, she is part of Experimental Theater, a student group that performs student-written plays each semester. Having never acted before, Luckey was pushed out of her comfort zone when she auditioned as a junior and was told to write and perform her own monologue. “I went back to the room [to rehearse], freaked out, and finally got up and did it. And I got in!” she happily remembered.
Stage jitters weren’t the only challenge Luckey took on as a junior. She spent her spring semester studying abroad in Istanbul, Turkey, tackling Differential Equations and other courses as the only student who didn’t speak Turkish. True to her adventurous nature, Luckey “absolutely loved it” and wasn’t ready to leave when the time came. “I cried the whole way home,” she admitted.
Given her fervor for new opportunities, it is little wonder that the senior is looking forward to new challenges after graduation through Math for America. As part of the program, Luckey will spend the next year studying at the Teachers College at Columbia University, before teaching in New York City public schools for at least four years.
One can fully expect Luckey’s Math for America students to be equally inspired by her enthusiasm and example.
— Caitlin Holbrook ’11
Joanne Spigner ’76, Colgate Alumni Trustee
(photo by Andrew Daddio)
– Presidential Search Committee; Alumnae Leadership Council; Former president, Alumni Council; Former chair, Women At Colgate; career adviser, advancement volunteer; Wm. Brian Little ’64 Alumni Award for Distinguished Service, 2006; Maroon Citation, 2001
– Partner/founder, VisionFirst
So you’ve had a longtime hockey connection at Colgate.
I was on the first women’s team — I played defense because I knew how to skate backwards! It was different back then; we were a start-up club sport and few women had hockey experience. More recently, I’ve been involved in helping connect alumni back to the women’s ice hockey team.
Tell us about your company, VisionFirst.
We help our business and nonprofit clients lead change inside their organizations. I do a lot of meeting design and facilitation, which circles back to my psychology major — the human dynamics that help move groups forward. I’m not the proscriber; I coach and guide team visioning, decision making, and action steps.
We hear you’ve volunteered your expertise in some exciting settings.
In the wake of 9/11, I facilitated “Listening to the City” conversations among diverse representatives from Lower Manhattan about plans for rebuilding at Ground Zero. It’s been satisfying to see how those early conversations have made a difference. I also was a facilitator at the very first Clinton Global Initiative meeting. It was amazing to help guide a conversation among presidents of developing countries, philanthropists, and NGO leaders. I like bringing my professional skills to a problem where I feel I’m adding value; it’s not just another activity that I “do.”
Why have you dedicated so much time to Colgate in so many different roles?
When I left my corporate job and went out on my own, I missed having an institutional affiliation. I thought I could get that through volunteering, and I wanted to find something that really fed my soul. Colgate immediately pulled me in. I so strongly believe in its mission and I was inspired by the great people and positive experiences I connected to. And, no matter how many times I do it, I still feel a sense of excitement as I drive up 12B heading to campus.
What are the things you are focusing on or thinking about as an alumni trustee?
The future: what will keep Colgate thriving and moving forward for the next generations of students? Issues about affordability, demographic trends, and technology, for example. At the same time, it is important to understand Colgate today and honor its past. Using my Alumni Council and other volunteer experiences, I’m always thinking, “What would be the impact on alumni? How can we connect more alumni to campus?”
Tell us about your family.
My husband, Art Powell, is retired and a full-time volunteer. Our son Charlie is a junior at Tufts and son Dan is in his first year at Wake Forest. To compensate for missing my boys, I’m keeping an “empty nest journal” of things Art and I can do with our newly found free time.
What do you do in your spare time?
Art and I go to the theater a lot. I’m also a baseball geek and long-suffering Mets fan, and we go to a lot of games, including when we travel. Locally, I am VP of our school district’s education foundation board, and chair of the grants committee.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Because I love working in groups and socializing, people assume that I’m an extrovert — but I’m actually an introvert. I really need my quiet time.
— Rebecca Costello