The Meaning of Love and Honor: Video Transcript

Lisa Werwinski (BS Math Education, Miami, 2013; MS Statistics, Miami, 2013) [Head Diving Coach at Loveland High School and Aquatics Program Director at the Wyoming Swim Club]: I got to where I am today based on a combination of the experiences I had while I was a student here at Miami. I was on the varsity swimming and diving team, so that set me up with the diving background. And since I was at Miami at the pool, then I also worked as a lifeguard at the Aquatics Center, and I was a head lifeguard so I was a student supervisor, so I had experience. I got trained as a lifeguard instructor, so I taught lifeguard classes and did training videos for our staff, and I worked with a bunch of staff teaching swim lessons and anything they needed me to do. I also was a graduate student in the Department of Statistics, so I got to know Dr. John Bailer really well — he's the chair in the Department of Statistics — and other faculty members and everything together. I loved everything I did at Miami, and I wanted to find a way to integrate all of those when I moved beyond Miami, and that's exactly what I did.

My favorite aspect of my current job is that every year, it's a new group of students. Things are constantly changing, so you have the opportunity to influence lives for the better, and you meet a new crowd of people every single year. I love working with kids because that's the future of America, and it's really exciting, it's dynamic — I'm always learning. I love working within academia because I'm working with people who know a lot more than me, and then I'm able to transfer that knowledge onto students. But even in the context of aquatics and the context of coaching, I'm always learning and growing, and that's something that I enjoyed at Miami and have carried forward.

One of my fondest memories at Miami was when I got on the bus to depart for the MAC Championships in 2011 — that was my sophomore year. I remember one of the strong divers on our team transferred, and that was my opportunity to step up and compete, and getting on the bus validated that it was actually my turn to shine and compete for Miami. And then when I got there I had a really great meet. I ended up winning consolation finals, and that's when I really learned the meaning of Love and Honor and working hard, and that hard work is rewarded. I was so thankful for my coaches and teammates, and that was really rewarding.

My liberal arts degree taught me how to think. I was presented with a variety of challenging problems in grad school and beyond, and I've learned that when attacking a challenging problem you first look at, "Okay, I need to solve part A, and then I can get to part B, and then I can get to part C, and all of that together can lead me to my final answer or final desired result." And that's something that can be applied to any context, I think. In diving, for example, if I'm trying to teach a kid how to learn a front two-and-a-half, which is a simple skill that can be done off the 3-meter board, I have to think, "Okay, I need to fix their hurdle, I need to fix their take-off angle, their entry, and all that together will lead to the dive."

I teach Stat 261 to non-majors, and so when they talk about wanting to major in biology or political science or speech pathology, I at least have an idea of what they're talking about. I feel like I can relate to them because I have that general background. I can include examples from a variety of different contexts. And so it's good to know, even when you meet someone in a career as a speech pathologist or anything else, you have at least an idea of what they're doing, although you may not be as competent in that area as your own chosen field.

At the end, that sense of accomplishment when you work through it is one-of-a-kind, and it teaches you that can-do attitude that you can do anything if you put your mind to it and think through it instead of being intimidated and scared.

[July 2014]