Outstanding Aztecs

SDSU Adapted Athletics Celebrates Its First Year

SDSU Adapted Athletics is proud to announce that in only its first year and in its very first collegiate event, the program’s wheelchair tennis team earned 2nd Place at the 2019 USTA Wheelchair Tennis Collegiate National Championships.

Wheelchair Tennis PlayerSan Diego State University Adapted Athletics was created to provide student-athletes with disabilities the opportunity to excel in athletics and academics at the collegiate level. Started in 2018 as the first competitive, collegiate adapted athletics program in the state of California, SDSU Adapted Athletics is housed in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. SDSU Adapted Athletics currently offers training and support for student-athletes in ambulatory track and field, and wheelchair tennis. Future plans include programs in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball, wheelchair track, and aquatic sports such as surfing and paddling. The program is headed by SDSU alumnus and former Paralympian Ahkeel Whitehead. He noted, “There’s a lot of people that are starting to be more aware that these athletes exist, that these sports exist and that we’re here to represent Team USA.”

The program started because there are more than 30,000 high school-aged student-athletes with disabilities and thousands of disabled veterans under the age of 35. For those who want to pursue a college degree and achieve their athletic goals, only a few U.S. universities provide adapted athletics programs. A group of students started working toward the goal of creating a program at SDSU several years ago and are thrilled that the program is now an official part of SDSU and, in its first year, achieved several successes. It is the first program in California and just one of 14 in the country created for adaptive athletes to compete at the collegiate level.

Michelle CrossMichelle Cross, a second-year SDSU student and track and field athlete, recently competed at the Desert Challenge in Arizona where she finished first in her age group in both the 100m and 200m sprint events, and earned a personal record for the 100m. “I was a little overwhelmed at first — but honestly, I’ve competed with able-bodied or regular athletes in high school, so it was still about the same. At first I was a little bit scared, but I did fine and I love it,” Cross said. She was among just 20 adaptive athletes who qualified for the 2019 Track and Field World Junior Championship team in Nottwil, Switzerland. At that event, she competed in the 100- and 200-yard dashes finishing 7th and 6th in her races. Cross also competed in the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru finishing 5th in the 100m and 4th in the 200m. Two incoming students who will join the SDSU Adapted Athletics track and field team this fall are former high school All-Americans, Amanda Malawski and Mikayla Chandler. Cross is looking forward to the opportunities she sees for the years ahead to bring more awareness to adaptive athletics at SDSU and abroad. “I feel very honored to do it, especially because it’s obviously new and I love how people get to come out and express themselves,” she said.

For more information on SDSU’s Adaptive Athletics program, visit https://ens.sdsu.edu/sdsu-adapted-athletics/.

Congratulations to Dr. Tracy Love-Geffen — This Year’s Alumni Association Faculty Honoree!

Dr. Tracy Love-Geffen, Director of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, is the recipient of the 2019-2020 Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Faculty Contributions to the university.

Dr. Adela de la Torre wrote, “Please accept my sincere appreciation for your commitment to teaching and scholarship. Your work and dedication are benefiting our students, the future global citizens, compassionate leaders and ethical innovators who will impact the world. “

Dr. Love joined the faculty at SDSU in 2005 and was appointed as the Director of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences in 2017. Her research includes work with adult stroke survivors with resulting aphasia, children with specific language impairment and those diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

Thank you Dr. Larry Verity

After serving SDSU for 35 years, first as a professor in Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, then as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Interim Dean for two years, Dr. Larry Verity is retiring. Although, like many retired faculty, he will continue with a part-time schedule of key service assignments. All of the administrators, faculty, staff and students thank him for his dedicated service!

Barbara GouldBarbara Gould Helps Keep CHHS Running Smoothly, Especially at Commencement

Barbara Gould has faithfully served CHHS for 23 years. She started working in the gerontology department in 1996 and then moved into the dean’s office in 1997. She is the budget analyst who works with state funds to ensure that the college has what it needs. As she says, “I like to spend money.” Her other major responsibility is organizing and running commencement each year. She says this is her favorite part of her job and she is always so proud to see the students receive their degrees. This year, she made sure that 1,203 people received their diplomas in front of 8,200 audience members in just two and a half hours. Quite an organizational feat! Not everyone attends graduation, so the college awarded 1,100 undergraduate degrees, 302 master’s degrees and 61 doctorates for a total of 1,463.

Outside of work, Barbara is a major NASCAR fan, hosting watch parties and going to tracks as much as possible. She also enjoys spending time with her two cats and doing volunteer work at her church. She laughs that it doesn’t seem like a very likely hobby to most people, but then she points out neither was her previous career – managing professional boxers.

Barbara was born at Mercy Hospital and has lived in San Diego her entire life. She is looking forward to having more time for her hobbies and volunteer work when she retires, although she isn’t sure when exactly that will be.