Service is a way of life for Nick Christensen.

Nick Christensen
Nick Christensen

Nick Christensen and his Red Cross teammates stopped at Strawns on their last day in Shreveport, Louisiana. They had been regulars there for breakfast during their two weeks volunteering for victims of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. When they were getting ready to pay, their waitress told them it was taken care of. She pointed to a man in a booth in the back. The man said, “Thank you for what you do.”

For Christensen, an OSU senior and natural resource management major, getting that message was important, because he weaves service to others so tightly into his day-to-day life. In this Q&A, Christensen talks about his history of service and his work in Louisiana.

Describe your history of service.

I’ve been a Boy Scout for the last 16 years, and run a summer camp north of Mt. Hood National Forest along with three other people.

I’ve worked for Dixon for four years, which has been great. I’ve done safety programs, Emergency Response and Red Cross classes. Right now I supervise the emergency responders who go to high-impact sporting events around campus. I sit on the board of Rec Sports and am the president of the Student Activities Committee there, and in my spare time I officiate sports for high schools around Oregon

What motivates you to serve?

Serving is fun for me. I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t. I want to do positive things. I want to help people and meet new people. Serving just seems like a logical thing to do.

Did working with the Red Cross in Louisiana give you a different appreciation for the work they do?

They teach you in disaster training to be flexible, but I never understood it until I went to Louisiana. I’d come with the understanding I would be doing mass care in Baton Rouge. But when I got there I was assigned to Shreveport, six hours to the north. I was supposed to work in a shelter there, but ended up fixing computers and working in staffing services. You go where they need you.

Who were the people on your Red Cross team in Shreveport?

A lot of the people I worked with were older and had a different appreciation for what disaster did to communities and people. One was a doctor. One worked for Hummer. One was retired military. Everyone there enjoyed helping. They were all very different people, very different backgrounds. I’ve never worked with a group that hated taking days off so much. I never heard anyone complain that we were there until 9 at night.

How were you received in the community?

The people in Shreveport were absolutely hospitable. This community had been bombarded with people from all over the state, but they were happy to have us there. I love the people there. They’re amazing.

What’s it like working for people who are experiencing a disaster like Gustav or Ike?

It’s by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. By the time people got to me, it was because they couldn’t find a shelter. They were frantic and upset. So for me it was, ‘how can we get these people what they need as quickly and correctly as possible?’ It was a sensitive time — Gustav and Ike hit so close to the anniversary of Katrina, and lots of these people had been through that. You have to remember that you’re not there for yourself. You’re down there to help people.

Luke Leineweber took advantage of Ecampus classes in Iraq — and beyond.

In recognition of Veteran’s Day, we’ve gone to our archives to reflect on some of the amazing OSU people who’ve combined education with military service. We salute our veterans and value their contributions to both the nation and our university community.

Luke Leineweber
Luke Leineweber

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For Luke Leineweber, life as a Naval aircrewman on a base in Balad, Iraq had a rhythm — a day flying missions, a day of office work, a day off — but routine did not lead to relaxation. The C-130 aircraft in which he flew and relayed messages to convoys on the ground was shot at regularly at takeoff and landing. The base where he lived during his 2008 deployment (his second) is one of the largest in Iraq, and was mortared daily.

“You never do get used to it,” Leineweber says. “You can’t tell your body not to react in a certain way. Your adrenaline gets going, and your heart rate.”

It meant that his day-to-day routines on the base had even more value. In his off time Leineweber went to the base’s pool. He played games and watched movies. And he could often be found at the base’s small library, working on Ecampus classes in pursuit of a political science degree from OSU.

“You can focus on getting into a paper or finishing reading,” says Leineweber. “It’d be weird sometimes. You’d land from a mission after some pretty intense stuff and then you have to switch to school mode to try and get to some work that’s due.”

Leineweber started taking Ecampus classes in 2004, after seeing his high school friends graduate from college. “I felt left behind,” he says. “So I looked at OSU’s online program and was admitted.”

After being discharged in September, Leineweber is back in his native Portland, happy to be around his friends and family and still taking Ecampus classes. “It will take time to settle back into civilian life, but I’ll be snowboarding at Mt. Hood a lot in the winter,” he says. “And I missed the beach when I was gone. I consider Oregon my home.”

Transmissions from the Ice Sheet

This November, Logan Mitchell will spend two months working at the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide research station in Antarctica, along with 45 other scientist, students and technicians from across the United States. The NSF-funded project aims to collect a 3.5 kilometer-long ice core over three summer seasons, with the intention of providing Antarctic records of environmental change for the last 100,000 years. Portions of that core will ultimately end up in Ed Brook’s lab at OSU.

Mitchell, whose funding also comes from the NSF, faces a lengthy journey. He must first get to Christchurch, New Zealand, where he will board a military plane bound for McMurdo Station — a miniature polar city capable of housing 1,200 people — on the Antarctic coast. There, he’ll undergo a week of survival training for conditions that, even in the Antarctic summer, where temperatures average -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). He’ll learn simple mountaineering and how to deal with a crevasse, a crack in the ice that can swallow a person. And then he’ll head 1,000 miles northwest to the WAIS station. Because it is so remote, Mitchell underwent the most extensive physical evaluation he’d ever experienced. As a precaution, people visiting the WAIS must have their wisdom teeth removed. The knee-length parka Mitchell will wear is bright red; if he’s injured, it’ll make him easy to spot on the flat, white landscape.

Although he’ll have limited access by satellite to the Internet at the WAIS outpost, Mitchell is planning on filling in the OSU community on his day-to-day life, from his work as a core handler to the things, like the “ice Olympics,” polar researchers do for fun.

Check out his blog at:

Ed Brook and Logan Mitchell
Ed Brook and Logan Mitchell

Studying ice cores gives Ed Brook and Logan Mitchell a picture of climate change.

For most, a polar landscape conjures a feeling of otherworldly barrenness and unrelenting cold. But for geosciences professor Ed Brook and Ph.D. student Logan Mitchell, the most far-flung, inhospitable places on the planet — the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Greenland Ice Sheet, the
Siple Coast of Antarctica, to name a few — are fruitful grounds for research. They hold the keys to understanding the history of the Earth’s climate, as well as its future.

Brook and Mitchell study the tiny air bubbles that are trapped in ancient polar ice. Measuring greenhouse gases — methane and carbon dioxide — in those bubbles helps them reconstruct climate changes throughout the past 800,000 years. “Ice cores are unique,” says Mitchell. “The bubbles in the ice core are the actual atmosphere from that time. It’s not a proxy. We’re studying the real deal.” Brook’s lab is one of the few throughout the world that can work with a high quantity of ice core samples, enabling his team to continually draw more refined pictures of past climate changes.

As a mentor, Brook helps Mitchell make connections in other ways, as well. “He’s really good about letting me take ownership of ideas,” says Mitchell. “He lets me struggle and come to conclusions myself and provides feedback that’s constructive. He doesn’t just tell me the answers.”

Not only that, Brook encourages students like Mitchell to take advantage of as many opportunities to engage in their field as possible. Brook wants his students to branch out, to go to meetings and contact researchers at other universities, which is essential in an interdisciplinary field like ice-core research. Brook and Mitchell need to know, for example, how droughts and fires are related to greenhouse gases on a global scale. They need to understand hydrology and glaciology to help put their research into context.

“For me, the most important thing is that students should be colleagues,” says Brook. “This was done for me when I was a student. It helps them get involved in the field, and it gives them responsibility. It can be hard work. Logan was one of the most responsible students I taught. He took things a little further than most.”

Mitchell’s focus on ice-core research emerged from a longstanding love of the outdoors, hiking and colder environments. When he started thinking of the places he visited with a scientific perspective, he realized he had the potential to work in a relevant and valuable field. Brook was available when Mitchell needed advice about applying to OSU and choosing a lab, and the work piqued Mitchell’s interest.

“The science is exciting,” says Mitchell, “And Ed really has a gift for making me motivated about the research.”

OSU, Brook says, is a good place to be for anyone interested in climate change research. “There’s a lot happening here,” he says. “We all gain a lot — the students in particular — because of what’s happening on this campus.”

Marco Clark traveled to southwest China to study the effects of dam construction.

Marco Clark
Marco Clark

Marco Clark’s expedition to the Nu River Valley in southwestern China was off to a difficult start. Checkpoints lined the highway, blocking access to villages near the Nu, where there are plans to construct as many as thirteen dams. Even though Clark needed to get to the villages to do his research, he was reluctant to approach the checkpoints.

This challenge came as no surprise to Clark; his prior experiences in China had taught him to expect the unexpected. Still, he was nervous about the sensitivity of his research topic: human behavior in the face of an immediate environmental threat. But Clark continued to trek — mostly by bus or foot — approximately 230 miles up the Nu River Valley in search of an accessible village.

Clark’s research is associated with a cross-disciplinary project at OSU that unites the departments of Biological and Ecological Engineering, Anthropology, and Geosciences in order to examine the social, economic and ecological effects of dams on the Nu and Upper Mekong Rivers in China. Currently, China is the international leader in dam construction, and the project is being developed with the intent of assisting China in their quest for renewable energy. Clark’s interviews with villagers and political leaders will provide a better understanding of the effects of dam construction on people and the environment.

As an undergraduate studying political science at OSU, Clark developed an interest in human behavior. “I wanted to study how people feel about their environment and how they respond when that environment is threatened,” Clark says. Clark had visited China three times while pursuing an International Degree and was inspired to return. Currently in his second year of graduate study in anthropology, Clark was able to conduct more fieldwork in China with the help of a generous grant from the Institute for Water and Watersheds (IWW).

“Marco has done a great job of treading lightly and making good relationships,” says Bryan Tilt, Clark’s academic adviser and assistant professor of anthropology. “He was able to create connections in the area of his fieldwork through his excellent people skills.”

Clark improvised as he neared the Tibetan border, hiking two hours from the main road until he happened upon a privately owned dam under the support of the provincial government. The dam, near the village Dimaluo, was still undergoing construction when Clark came upon it. “The community was very removed and felt more secure,” Clark says. “It felt like a suitable place to be.” Dimaluo was where Clark would conduct his research.

While in Dimaluo, Clark was greeted warmly by the community. He formed a lasting friendship with a man named Aluo, who invited Clark into his home to stay with his family. Aluo assisted Clark with his interviews in exchange for English instruction and help translating for foreign guests.

Clark hopes that his research will help other scientists and policymakers better understand the potential impacts of dam construction, including the displacement and resettlement of villagers.

Clark is still deciding what to do after he receives his degree from OSU in 2009. He is thinking of pursuing a Ph.D. in order to teach and continue researching at a university. He is also thinking of continuing developmental work for either a governmental or non-governmental organization.

“Both of these paths will keep me involved in research in developing countries,” Clark says. “By completing assessments on the needs of small communities I hope to continue to help improve others’ quality of life.”

Ken Austin, OSU’s First Benny Beaver, Returns to the Homecoming Parade

An early version of Benny Beaver
An early version of Benny Beaver

When Ken Austin was chosen to be Oregon State College’s first Benny Beaver in the spring of 1952, his budget was less than $100, and he had no costume and no notion of what a student mascot would do at a football game. After all, at the time, only two other Pac-8 schools — Cal and Stanford — had live student mascots, and Austin had never attended their games.

So he took his meager funds to a costumer in Portland, who fashioned him a tail and a head made out of papier-máché, and covered both in brown shag carpeting. He drew inspiration from the clowns at the St. Paul Rodeo near Newberg, Ore., where he grew up. And then he performed.

“I had to create my own ideas,” Austin says, “I was having fun. And I think the crowd was having fun, too.”

During Beaver football games, Austin went wherever the action was. He once climbed onto the goalpost to taunt an approaching Stanford offensive line — until the referee threatened to hit the Beavers with a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Austin encouraged the Tail Flappers — the men’s cheering section — to be louder, and got the Beavers’ crowds to laugh.

According to Austin, today’s Beaver fans are even more vocal and involved than when he was Benny. “Student participation is great. It’s a much louder and stronger voice than we had,” he says. “Everything was so much more reserved in the 50s.”

Austin’s dedication to OSU hasn’t changed, though. At 77, he is returning this
year to serve as the marshal of OSU’s annual homecoming
parade, which takes place at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 1. “I’m loyal to
Oregon State,” he says. “I came back because they asked if I would.”

As a student, Austin loved participating in Oregon State’s homecoming traditions, namely the bonfire and the noise parade. His ambition, he says, was to build the loudest float in the parade, and he usually succeeded. In his first year, he borrowed Newberg’s air raid siren and hitched it to a trailer. The following year, he built a cannon, which he and his fraternity brothers from Delta Tau Delta shot off during the parade.

Austin graduated in 1954 with a degree in industrial administration and later founded the prominent dental equipment company A-dec with his wife, Joan. The two were the force behind the Austin Family Business Program as well as the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. A major gift helped renovate Weatherford Hall, where
entrepreneurship students live. Both Ken and Joan were inducted into the College of Business Hall of Fame in 2003.

“I don’t know how to be grateful enough to Oregon State for allowing me to follow my passions,” Austin says. “That’s why we supported the entrepreneurial program at Weatherford Hall. We wanted to see other students follow their passions, too.”

Benny Beaver photo courtesy OSU Archives; P017:0032

OSU’s freshmen take part in the annual New Student Walk and Convocation.

OSU New Student Walk
OSU New Student Walk

It was an ideal day for a walk. The sun made an entrance from behind the clouds and shined on more than 1,500 incoming OSU freshmen, who were gathering in the MU Quad in preparation for the annual New Student Walk and Convocation. The symbolic march to Gill Coliseum mimics the one they will make to their commencement in four years, when they become the Class of 2012. Attendance at the New Student Walk has risen every year; however, this year’s turnout is estimated at an all-time high of 1,800 students, friends and family members.

“I heard it is the future class of 2012. It is something my friends and I thought would be really fun to do in order to go out and meet new people,” said Kimberly Melendez-Rivera, an incoming biology major from Alaska. “The people have been the best part of my week. They are just so friendly. They come up to you and say ‘hi’ and make you want to do the same thing.”

The Walk is coordinated mainly by staff members of New Student Programs and Family Outreach (NSPFO), with additional help from faculty, staff and student volunteers. “The whole campus comes together to organize CONNECT Week,” said NSPFO director Kris Winter.

“[The New Student Walk] was started to increase a sense of welcome and tradition for new students,” Winter said. “The idea was to create an event that would integrate them into their academic future, thus, re-creating the same walk they will be completing four years later at their commencement ceremony.”

There was a sense of anxiety and anticipation in the Quad as the students prepared to march — some fidgeted nervously while others rapidly discussed living arrangements and class schedules on their cell phones. They were supported, though, by faculty members representing the degree programs they teach for, upperclassmen who came to see the event, close friends and parents. As the students filed into Gill, they were greeted with cheers, chants and applause.

“I thought it was pretty cool to have the upperclassmen out there,” said Randy Solanksy, an electrical and computer engineering major.

Among the incoming freshmen, there are 89 different majors declared; 125 students have been accepted into the University Honors College; and 166 were ranked first in their high school graduating class.

At Gill, new students heard from Larry Roper, vice provost of student affairs; keynote speaker Peggy McIntosh, founder and co-director of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum and the associate director of Wellesley Centers for Women; and OSU President Ed Ray.
“If you get engaged in things that inspire you, the odds of graduating go up drastically,” Ray told students.

Students weren’t the only ones participating in the walk and convocation. Many parents and families joined them as well, including Katina Atz, whose daughter is an incoming business finance major.

“The walk was fabulous. We loved it,” Atz said. “What a beautiful campus. It’s gorgeous with the trees and old buildings. Our daughter’s a freshman, so we are new to this experience.”

The Marshall siblings are pursuing degrees at OSU at the same time.

The three Marshalls at OSU
The three Marshalls at OSU

If you asked the Marshall siblings a year ago if they could see themselves attending Oregon State University at the same time, they would have laughed at you. It seemed so unlikely. At 29, Nikki Marshall is ten years older than her brother, Mike, and 6 years older than her sister, Kerianne. They never even attended the same high school at the same time.

But in 2008-09 all three Marshall siblings will overlap as OSU students. Nikki is starting her fifth year working toward her Ph.D. in microbiology . Kerianne is in her second year earning her master’s in merchandising management, and Mike is starting his first year, with the intention of majoring in marketing or management.

“This is our only year together, and we’re looking forward to making the most of our time,” says Kerianne.

Although they are pursuing different fields, the factors that enticed the Marshalls to OSU were the same, namely a love for Corvallis and OSU — and Beaver tailgating.

“I feel relaxed and at home here,” says Nikki, who finished an undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Puget Sound in 2001 before moving back to Corvallis. “I love the atmosphere and the outdoors.”

Kerianne wasn’t sure she would stay at OSU when she started as an undergraduate in 2003. But she joined the Delta Gamma sorority as a freshman, moved into the house and found a support system that helped root her at OSU. She liked having her family nearby, and liked her familiarity with OSU — the Marshalls have lived in Corvallis since 1991. Her transition from an undergraduate education to an advanced degree at OSU was seamless. She graduated in 2007 and started master’s degree classes that fall.

Both Nikki and Kerianne are hoping that Mike will have an undergraduate experience that was as positive as theirs. “I want him to find the right club or organization that will help him meet people and have a great time,” Kerianne says. Mike seems ready to do that. He’s excited about playing intramural sports —soccer, golf and volleyball, to name a few.

Although Mike had the opportunity to go to school in Boston, where his parents are from, or Seattle, he picked OSU. “I sat down and thought about it and decided, ‘I like Corvallis,’” he says.

All three are anticipating the fall tailgating season, which has been a family tradition since 2002.“ Everything’s usually scheduled around the game,”says Mike. They’ve rarely missed one.

Their family has held season tickets since 1999, and they can remember Reser Stadium when it was still called Parker Stadium. They each have their favorite moments — Nikki’s and Kerianne’s when OSU beat USC in 2006; Mike’s is the 2004 “Fog Bowl,” and OSU’s near-victory over USC.

“This is our fall,” says Kerianne. “This is what we look forward to.”

OSU’s Sarah Baxter begins a career in exploration geology.

Sarah Baxter
Sarah Baxter

When Sarah Baxter told her father she was going to study geology at Oregon State University, he gave her one of his prized possessions, the rock hammer he had used as a mining engineering major at the University of Nevada, Reno, in the 1960s. She was so touched that she won’t take the hammer with her on field trips for fear of losing it.

“I was always good at science when I was a kid,” says Baxter, who will receive her bachelor’s degree this fall. “My dad has a museum-quality mineral collection. I grew up camping and hiking and looking for rocks.”

OSU’s geology program appealed to Baxter because of its excellent reputation and because of the atmosphere she found when she visited the school. “I spent half a day in the geology department speaking to graduate students. I loved the way I was treated and how close-knit the department was,” says Baxter. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to go here.’”

OSU certainly didn’t disappoint her. Within two weeks after starting she had met professor John Dilles, who would foster her interest in mineral deposit geology throughout her time at OSU. The first time they met, Dilles invited Baxter on a field trip to the French Gulch mining district in Shasta City, Calif.  Dilles, Baxter remembers, bought all the groceries and invited her to stay in his family home. The experience cemented Baxter’s first impression of OSU as an institution that invested in its students.

“John Dilles is world-renowned in mineral deposits. I wouldn’t have gotten that had I gone elsewhere. I didn’t need to go to a mining school because I had the best at OSU,” Baxter says.

The French Gulch mine would be the site of Baxter’s thesis research. It would also be the first place she ventured underground. “I was kind of nervous,” Baxter says. “But I put on my hard hat and head lamp, and I loved it. It feels like being in the Lord of the Rings’ Mines of Moria.”

In her French Gulch study, Baxter tried to determine the geological conditions that favor the presence of gold deposits. More specifically, she wanted to see how many parts per million of gold were “trapped” in sulfide minerals, such as pyrite and arsenopyrite, that were present in the host rock quartz veins. She collected rock samples from various areas at the French Gulch mine, choosing the samples with the highest probability of having sulfide minerals associated with “free” gold. Baxter sliced the samples into thin sections and analyzed their texture and mineralogy. She completed chemical analysis of the minerals at a lab in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.

The idea was to see whether the samples she took were similar to others around the world where “trapped” gold could be found. Although Baxter’s conclusions did not support this idea, she collected valuable data about how the minerals in her samples were formed.

Now, she has turned her research and internship experience at OSU into a career. She works as an exploration geologist in Morenci, Ariz., for the international mining company Freeport-McMoRan Cooper & Gold. “My goal is to become a senior exploration geologist,” Baxter says. “I love being out of the office. I sit at my desk maybe an hour a day. Otherwise I’m in the field. I’m in the mine.”

Christina Murphy
Christina Murphy

Aquatic ecologist Christina Murphy is heading to Chile on a Fulbright grant.

It was a frigid winter night on Chile’s central coast, and Christina Murphy was standing in the surf in her wet suit with a night vision monocular, getting pummeled by waves. She was counting her research subjects — nocturnal, carnivorous crabs of the species Acanthocyclus gayi that hide in algae or rock crevices — unaware that she would later regard the experience as one that cemented her love for her work.

It was, however, an unsurprising revelation — Murphy has wanted to be a scientist since the age of six, and has never question that career path.

“I’ve always wanted to be a professor, ” Murphy says. “I got shot down as a kid. But I like getting up in front of crowds. I like talking to people. As I’ve gone further in my education, it’s a given.”

Murphy has pursued her goal throughout her education and has seized opportunities to focus on it at Oregon State University, where she was an IE3 Global intern in Chile and performed reseearch on the coastlines of Washington, Oregon and the Galapagos Islands. Now Murphy, who earned University Honors degrees in biology, fisheries and wildlife and international studies , is planning to use her research and international experience as a Fulbright scholar.

In March 2009, Murphy will return to the small coastal town of Las Cruces, Chile, to continue her work with Acanthocyclus gayi, called simply “la haiba” by the locals. She will study how these predators behave when the algae is tall, which allows more crabs to take refuge in a given area. “These crabs have a big impact on their communities,” Murphy says. “They eat a lot of invertebrates.”

The idea, Murphy says, is to understand how large oceanographic processes, like upwelling, can affect the habitat in which predators live. More upwelling, which brings nutrient-rich water to the surface, means that the crabs’ algal habitat will grow long.

“You can tell how conditions that are coming from the bottom up, like upwelling, influence top-down effects, like predation. We can help put together a model that will extend to large coastal areas and get a bigger picture,” says Murphy.

Murphy will focus on more than her own research when she is in Las Cruces. She plans to mentor local high school students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to do hands-on work with a scientist. “It’s great to get to help someone in the field,” says Murphy. Her knowledge of U.S. pop culture, like the band My Chemical Romance, helps her earn points with the Chilean teenagers, as well.

Murphy credits the international and research opportunities she had at OSU, as well as an engaged faculty, with helping her develop as a scientist and a citizen. “The willingness of OSU faculty to work with undergraduates is unusual. It makes the difference between a lackluster education and a future for someone,” she says.

Current and former OSU student-athletes head to the Beijing Games.

OSU Olympians head to Beijing
OSU Olympians head to Beijing

From Aug. 8-24, the world’s attention will turn to Beijing, China and the 2008 Olympic Games. Five current, future and former Oregon State University student-athletes will be making the trip and trying for gold. “We are very proud of our extraordinary student athletes and alumni who are participating in the Summer Olympics, and we know they will represent Oregon State University well in every respect,” said OSU President Ed Ray. Read more about our Beaver representatives and how they made it to Beijing.

Heinrich Barnes

Heinrich Barnes chose to wrestle at OSU because he thought it would help him reach his full potential. He was right. After having one of the most impressive opening seasons at Oregon State in 2007-08, Barnes qualified for the Summer Olympics, earning a berth to represent his native South Africa. “It’s a big accomplishment for me to represent South Africa in the Olympics,” Barnes said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without my coaches and teammates at Oregon State. It’s a dream come true.”

Barnes, a junior business administration major, headed to Tunisia in March to compete in the FILA-African Senior Continental Championship at 66 kilograms (roughly 145.5 pounds), defeating three opponents to take the title and the automatic berth to Beijing. Barnes’ competition begins Aug. 20.

Saori Haruguchi

Saori Haruguchi

In March, Saori Haruguchi became the first swimmer in Beaver history to capture an individual NCAA title when she won the 200-yard butterfly in a school-record 1:52:39. But that was only the first of her goals for the year. The second was to clinch a spot on the Japanese Olympic swim team. Haruguchi achieved that, too, when she qualified in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:38.94 at the Japanese Olympic trials in April. “It was awesome winning the 400 IM,” she said. “I even had fun with all the pressure. I saw so many of my friends cheering for me; it helped me deal with the pressure.”

Haruguchi, a junior majoring in human development and family studies, took a break from her studies at OSU after the winter term to train in Japan. “I am so excited to practice with the national team for Beijing,” she said.

Olivia Vivian

At 19, Olivia Vivian of Perth, Australia, is the oldest member of the Australian artistic gymnastics team that will go to the 2008 Summer Olympics. But she hasn’t even started at OSU yet. Vivian will come to Oregon State in the fall to join the Beavers gymnastics team. Until then, her focus is on Beijing. Vivian was one of six gymnasts nominated to form Australia’s national team. “I feel that we have picked the strongest team,” coach Peggy Liddick said. “The bottom line was their potential to contribute to the team score, and if all else was equal there, we had to go with international experience.”

Although Australia has never won an artistic gymnastics medal, Liddick believes her team has the talent and depth to make history in Beijing. To find out more about Olivia Vivian’s journey to the Olympics, check out her blog.

Brian Barden

Former OSU infielder Brian Barden was one of 23 players named to the 2008 USA Baseball Olympic Team, making him the first Beaver baseball player to compete in the Olympics. Baseball competition is scheduled to start Aug. 13 and conclude with medal games on Aug. 23. Currently with the Memphis Redbirds, a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate, Barden has played in 89 games this season and is batting .303 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs.

Barden, a native of Templeton, Calif., was drafted in the sixth round of the 2002 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was one of three Beavers who made their MLB debuts in 2007. He appeared in eight games with the Diamondbacks and 15 with the Cardinals.

Josh Inman

Former Oregon State rower Josh Inman and teammate Matt Schonbrich of St. Paul, Minn., originally qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in the pairs in early June. Shortly after, though, the coaching staff made a change of plans and decided Inman would row in the men’s eight. “Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I started rowing at Oregon State,” Inman said. “The choice between rowing in the eight or the pair really came down to where I was most comfortable and felt I could be the most helpful.”

Inman, the 2005 U.S. Rowing Male Athlete of the Year, lettered on the varsity crew at OSU from 2000-2002. He led the Beavers’ varsity-8 to a fourth-place finish in the 2002 Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships in New Jersey, the highest finish ever for OSU.

Update: Josh Inman and the U.S. men’s eight won Olympic bronze on Sunday, August 16 in Beijing. Inman and his teammates finished in 5:25.34, behind gold medalists Canada and silver medalists Britain.

Robbie Findley

Former OSU soccer star Robbie Findley is an alternate for the U.S. Soccer team this summer in Beijing. Findley was the first Beaver soccer player to be named First Team All-Pac-10 three times, and he finished his four-year collegiate career with OSU as the school’s third all-time leading scorer with 28 goals. Findley is the starting striker on the MLS team Real Salt Lake.