AUGUSTA, ME-- The Danforth Gallery is home to many phenomenal instillations, exhibits, and shows throughout each academic year. It is an incredible space on campus which showcases the work of many of UMA’s talented students. This past February, the Danforth Gallery was home to an impressive showcase of architecture exhibits created by our very own UMA architecture students. Sam Gerken, Meganne Radway, and Shauna Riordan all showcased their hard work within this exhibit. While all three are students in the architecture program, they also have something else in common: they are all student-athletes.
The demands of an architecture program can be rigorous; students take what they learn from the classroom and then spend countless hours in the studio trying to bring their ideas to life. Students in this program sacrifice a great deal of their time to improve, working long nights and weekends to develop in a field that is both art and engineering. This field of study can be a great choice for someone who has technical skills, artistic vision, and a competitive drive. These same qualities also make for great student-athletes.
“As part of a bachelor of architecture pedagogy, UMA is committed to a liberal arts broad-based education. This includes activities outside of the classroom such as community work and athletics. A number of our students work very hard to balance the demands of a rigorous architecture degree and their athletic pursuits. While certainly not easy, it is laudable that they exercise both the mind and the body. Finding this balance is important for overall well-being. Go Moose!” – Eric Stark, Associate Professor of Architecture, Architecture Program Coordinator
There are currently five student-athletes from various sports in the architecture program at UMA. The participation of these student-athletes spans over five teams including men’s cross country, women’s cross country, men’s basketball, men’s track and field, and women’s track and field. Each of them have used athletics as way to engage in the UMA community outside of the architecture program while developing the skills that are necessary to achieve a balance between both academic and athletic excellence.
Meganne Radway, a student-athlete featured in the student architecture show, is in her first year of the architecture program. “As a first year Architecture student, I have been focusing on some of the fundamentals,” Meganne noted when asked about her work in the show. “In one of my projects I applied verb actions to a simple rectangular prism. I then repeated the same shape and aggregated them together which created the spiral of shapes that I refer to as 'The Dragon Tail'.”
As a first year student-athlete in the program, Meganne has learned that time management is critical to success both in the classroom and in competition: “ I find that I am most successful when my time is limited. That way I can better plan out my schedule. If I have tons of free time then I tend to procrastinate. Being part of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams has kept me busy in the best way!”
Sam Gerken is in his second year competing for the Moose as a member of the cross country team and will run for UMA in the upcoming inaugural track and field season. Gerken was part of several of the collaborative projects displayed throughout the gallery. When asked about his individual piece that was featured he said, “The work on display was a study in chaos versus order theory and how it could be represented in architectural form.”
Gerken is in his 4th year in the architecture program and has a strong understanding of the balancing act between a demanding program like architecture and the commitment to athletics at UMA: “Athletics help me stay focused and on topic in class. In a major that is demanding on your physical and mental health, athletics help keep me motivated and healthy. Despite the pressure of school.”
Head coach Brendan Gilpatrick sees academics as the priority for his student-athletes. Athletics is an opportunity for student-athletes to challenge themselves physically, while gaining experience developing teamwork and time management skills that will help them both during their time at UMA and after graduation. “There are some academic majors where traditionally, due to the time demands of the program, students often feel like they no longer have the opportunity to compete in their respective sports at the college level. What I have found is that if a coach is flexible and creates an environment with open communication, it opens up opportunities for student-athletes to be part of a team, even if they are in rigorous programs such as architecture. I often see these students achieve a high level of academic success when we are in season, as they have to really learn to manage their time to meet all of their obligations.”
These student-athletes have also yielded both local and national recognition for their efforts both athletically and academically. Anthony Preston was awarded USCAA Academic All-American this past winter. This award is given to student-athletes with at least 24 credits and a 3.5 GPA. Both Sam Gerken and Meganne Radway were named YSCC Academic All-Conference in the winter of 2018. Shauna Riordan was named YSCC All-Conference for her efforts in the YSCC Championship meet at Hampshire College.
Three of the five Architecture student-athletes will also be a part of the inaugural outdoor Track and Field team. Sam Gerken, Meganne Radway, and Christian Alley will take part in both running and throwing events for UMA. As a freshman, Christian Alley is looking forward to competing at the collegiate level. Alley, a Messalonskee high school graduate added, “Being able to continue my track and field career in college allows me to relieve the stress from college and be able to comeback from an injury that ended my high school indoor and outdoor career in my senior year.”