CHEPS Pulse: All About the Team, October 2019

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All About the Team: Athletes and CHEPS
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All About the Team: Athletes and CHEPS

On Sunday, October 13th, 2019, CHEPS and Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) Ph.D. student Adam VanDeusen and CHEPS alum Sarah Bach (B.S. IOE 2013, M.S.E. IOE 2014) both ran the Chicago Marathon and each beat their previous personal record. CHEPS Associate Director Amy Cohn introduced Sarah and Adam when they were both working at Mayo Clinic. Sarah was already a CHEPS alum at the time and Adam knew Professor Cohn from his undergraduate studies. Eventually, Sarah encouraged Adam to return to Michigan and join CHEPS while pursuing his IOE Ph.D. Last year Adam ran part of a 20-mile training run with Sarah over the weekend of the CHEPS Symposium to help her prepare for the 2018 Chicago Marathon. This year, the two kept each other motivated remotely throughout their months of training leading up to the 2019 marathon.

Sarah Bach and Adam VanDeusen after the 2019 Chicago Marathon

Sarah and Adam are part of a large group of CHEPS athletes. It may not be a coincidence that so many athletes end up at CHEPS; being an athlete and a CHEPS student have quite a bit in common. For one, whether on the playing field, in the CHEPS conference room, or onsite at Michigan Medicine, it’s all about “the team, the team, the team,” as CHEPS Associate Director Amy Cohn likes to remind us, quoting the well known-speech by former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler.

Victoria Glunt, a former member of the Michigan Rowing team and an IOE Masters student, is now coaching novice rowers at Michigan. She heard about CHEPS from friend and rowing teammate, Emily Krebs, a Biomechanical Engineering Masters student who has worked with CHEPS since the fall of 2018. Victoria said this about what rowing and CHEPS had in common, “It helps to have the background of working with a team. In rowing, everything you do has to be totally synchronized. You have to work with everyone and you have to trust everyone. And I think that’s the same thing here at CHEPS. You have your teams and you need to be in sync with them and you need to be updating them and constantly working toward the same thing. You also have to trust that they know what they’re doing and they trust you to know what you’re doing.”

The Michigan women’s rowing team — including CHEPS members Kate Burns, Victoria Glunt, and Emily Krebs — after winning the 2019 Big Ten Title (photo courtesy of

Dean Golan was a rower as well in his freshman and sophomore years as an IOE undergraduate. Now in his junior year, he’s joined the Michigan cheer team. He also found some parallels between CHEPS and his athletic experiences. “Rowing for two years definitely taught me a lot – how to manage my time around different obligations, how to really push myself past my limits, how to set aside my own personal doubts for the team,” he said. “I was able to apply that to my academics and working at CHEPS – team-building skills and collaboration and just pushing on when things are tough. And then cheer is a lot about communication with each other and a mutual level of trust. You’re throwing girls in the air and they expect you to catch them if something goes wrong.” In addition to cheering, Dean brought his love of sports to CHEPS when he organized volleyball tournaments for CHEPS this past summer, some played against other Engineering units and labs. Having multiple athletes on our team made CHEPS quite competitive!

Participants in one of the CHEPS volleyball tournaments organized by Dean Golan

Kate Burns is another rower who joined CHEPS after hearing good things about the CHEPS experience from fellow rower Emily. One thing Kate has loved about rowing is learning to work with many different types of people. She used the example of pair rowing, saying, “When you’re in a pair, you have to be able to communicate honestly. You really need to be working together with one other person so you have to be able to figure out what they need and what you need.” She learned that’s a skill those working at CHEPS know as well. Rowing was her main experience working with a group so when she came to CHEPS she said she was worried it would be competitive or difficult to adjust to. “It’s just not,” she said. “Everyone wants you to learn and if you don’t know how to do something then there are so many people to ask. It’s just a good place to feel comfortable and learn.”

Dean Golan cheering (photo courtesy of Russell Photography)

Both in athletics and at CHEPS, the bonds formed have proven to last beyond a student’s time at Michigan. Linnea Apel is a CHEPS alum (B.S. IOE 2014) who was on the UM varsity swimming and diving team as a student and is now a frequent runner. She’s working in the Wealth Management Business Management division of UBS and still keeps in touch with friends from the swimming and diving team. She said, “I made lifelong friends and learned invaluable lessons that have made me into the person I am today and will continue to shape who I become. It was such an honor to represent our University in the pool, and be a part of something so much bigger than myself.”

Those bonds made it worthwhile even though balancing athletics, classes, and work was a challenge. Linnea said, “I am so thankful for professors such as Amy who understood the incredible stress we were under and helped work with us to see us succeed. Amy puts so much passion into her teaching and work at CHEPS, and really truly cares about the success of her students. I hope to grow into that type of leader and teacher in whatever field of work I wander through.”

Left: Linnea Apel pictured 1st on left in the bottom row with a group of fellow CHEPS students in 2013
Right: Linnea Apel with the swim team during her time at Michigan

Developing leadership skills is another commonality athletics and CHEPS share. Malcolm Hudson became president of the Michigan triathlon team, a team with over one hundred members, last year. Malcolm is an IOE masters student who joined CHEPS after hearing about it from Alex Fauer, a fellow triathlon team member who is an RN and Ph.D. student in Nursing and had worked with CHEPS in the past. Malcolm has recently found himself taking on a leadership role at CHEPS as well. “The teams at CHEPS, just like the leadership for the tri-team change every year. Just trying to be organized so when new people come in they know where to find information is important. Something that’s different about being project lead is just the challenge of learning to delegate and looking more at bigger picture stuff,” said Malcolm. “When I was brand new I felt like I had a checklist of stuff to do and those were my tasks. Now I’m figuring out what’s the best thing to do.”

Left: Jake Martin (24) on the field in the Michigan spring game (photo courtesy of WolverineWire)
Right: Malcolm Hudson running in a triathlon

Students develop many valuable skills in both CHEPS and athletics but one of the most important factors is being a member of a mutually supportive team and truly enjoying the people you’re working with toward a common goal. Jake Martin, a member of the University of Michigan football team and an IOE undergraduate was excited about that similarity when he started work at CHEPS in the summer of 2019. He said, “I was surprised at how great the environment was. How fun it was and how nice it was to work with other students. I like working as a team. I think it’s cool how we collaborate with the hospital – going in and getting to see appointments go through, seeing all the processes is a really valuable experience. And I like having other people on the team that have been there and can help you.”

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Karmel Shehadeh, who completed her IOE Ph.D. at U of M in summer 2019, is pictured in front of Diplodocus Carbnwgii at Carnegie Mellon University where she is now a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

See more Where in the World is CHEPS? at our webpage.

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