UAB Magazine Weekly - Features on Campus Life
UAB Student Reveals Hockey’s History
By Charles Buchanan
Chicago native and hockey fan Rebecca Dobrinski is staying close to the sport she loves by researching hockey's expansion into the South as part of her graduate studies in the UAB Department of History and Anthropology.
Life can be tough for an ice-hockey fan in sunny, football-focused Alabama. Rebecca Dobrinski, a Chicago native and follower of several teams, relies on cable television to keep up with most games, and she has season tickets to the Nashville Predators, a three-hour drive away. Now she has found another way to follow her favorite sport—by tracking it through time.
A master’s student in the UAB Department of History, Dobrinski has researched the expansion of the sport into the South over the past 70 years. She will present her recent paper on the arrival of hockey in Nashville at the annual conference of the North American Society for Sport History at the end of May.
Minor league teams expanding from cities in the northern United States and Canada brought hockey to the South as early as the 1940s, Dobrinski explains. “The National Hockey League consisted of only six teams from the 1920s to the 1960s, so many players had to rely on the minor leagues if they wanted to continue playing after college/juniors.” The new teams faced the challenge of introducing their sport to potential audiences, however. Nashville’s Dixie Flyers, debuting in 1962, got help from newspaper reporters, who wrote articles profiling the mostly Canadian players, detailing team practices, and explaining the unique vocabulary of the game. One story even featured a diagram of a rink to indicate the importance of lines and circles on the ice. Hockey practices and coaches often were compared to their football counterparts, and the sports writers made a point of mentioning the possibility of player fights on the ice—an added incentive for some curious ticket-buyers.
Even today, teams in nontraditional markets such as the South must educate the public about hockey, Dobrinski says. “It’s difficult for minor league teams to keep a fan base going and revenue coming in. It’s also interesting to see how many of the Southern NHL teams adopt some of the strategies that have proven successful in the minor leagues.”
A Pianist Reaches Out
By Jo Lynn Orr
Artist-in-residence Yakov Kasman travels the world giving piano performances. Back in his office at UAB, he welcomes future performers and talented amateurs alike for personal instruction.
As a young artist, Yakov Kasman, D.M.A., faced many closed doors—which is why he works to open them for burgeoning musicians. Kasman, an associate professor of piano and artist-in-residence at UAB, is a tireless recruiter of students to a program that has steadily gained recognition both nationally and internationally (see slideshow below). He maintains a schedule of performances that takes him around the world, and he has instructed several rising stars in piano circles, but his students are often headed for careers far from the concert hall.
“I think every person has some sort of talent in classical music,” Kasman says. “The task of a teacher is to discover it, feed it, and help this talent to grow.”
Mixing Military Life and Medical School
By Doug Gillett
Jason Patten (left) and Scott and Rozalyn Love are three of approximately 20 students from the UAB School of Medicine who are serving in the military in some capacity.
These days Jason Patten is most likely found in one of two places: in a classroom at the UAB School of Medicine, or in the cockpit of an F-16 high above Alabama.
After six years of training and flying with the Air National Guard post in Montgomery, Patten began applying to medical schools in 2006. Now he’s a third-year student living two of his childhood dreams at once—being a doctor and a fighter pilot. “It’s a lot of work balancing everything, but it’s worth it,” he says. “I have no complaints.”
The balancing act means that Patten sometimes must attend classes, then drive to Montgomery the same night to practice his dogfighting skills with fellow pilots. And regular deployments to the Middle East have challenged him to keep up with classes from 5,000 miles away.
Translating U.S. Culture for International Students
By Susannah Felts
UAB's International Mentoring Program pairs international students such as Hwasoon Kim and Michael Gottwald (left) with student mentors such as Chinazor Iwuaba and Nathan Hadley (right).
Every August, more than 200 international students arrive on UAB’s campus from all corners of the globe. Numerous challenges and adventures await them, from mastering Birmingham’s bus system to the first bites of Southern-style barbecue. But each of these students can tap into an experienced local guide as he or she becomes acclimated to a new culture: a volunteer from UAB’s International Mentoring Program.
Founded in 1997 and run as a joint initiative of Student Life and International Scholar and Student Services, the program accepts 14 students to be trained as mentors each fall. It was designed in response to a clear need, explains director Lura Foreman: An international student who was unhappy at UAB decided to leave the university, and in doing so wrote a letter suggesting that a mentoring program might help future students have a better experience.