The Secret Lives of Faculty
They're instructors by day, but what are they by night? In their spare time, professors double as artists, athletes, musicians, and much more.
Professor, Department of Public Health and Health Education
Interim Director, Office of Special Sessions and Programs
Hobby: Oil painter
When she started: Coming from a family of professional artists, Banerjee won several awards for her paintings and drawings as a child. She began taking oil painting workshops at the Memorial Art Gallery in 2004, and she currently takes classes with Rochester-based artist Peggy Martinez.
Her inventory: Banerjee estimates that she has completed more than 200 paintings over the past three years. While some remain in her home, some have owners. Her work has been featured at A Different Path Gallery in Brockport, the Hungerford building in Rochester, and the Pat Tribastone Fine Art Gallery in Canandaigua. For the past two years, Banerjee has sold her work at the 6x6 art exhibit of the Rochester Contemporary Art Center.
Her process: Banerjee is usually inspired to paint by a good photograph. She sometimes photocopies a colored photo to develop a sense of the color values, and she starts with a sketch. From sketch to finish, an 8.5" x 11" painting could take no more than 2 hours, but others could take several weeks. She sometimes applies a "glazing technique," which involves drying the under layers of paint before applying the next layers.
"Painting takes me out of what I do every day for a living. It is deeply satisfying, because I usually like how the paintings look in the end and that they give pleasure to people."
Associate Professor of Communication
Chair, Department of Communication
When he started: Chesebro started drumming in high school when "a friend made it look cool." Watching Van Halen, Rush, and later Dave Matthews Band concert videos inspired him to give it a try.
Proud moment: Being self-taught (until taking lessons in the last few years)
Achievements: Chesebro was in a band called The Deep Blue Dream for about five years, which played at major venues and festivals in Rochester, recorded a CD, and opened for Leon Russell at “Party in the Park.” Since The Deep Blue Dream disbanded in 2015, Chesebro has been a member of the band Different Every Time, which performs around Rochester.
Challenge: Constant room for improvement, which also means "it never gets boring"
What it offers that academia doesn't: Chesebro enjoys drumming because it's a nice change of pace from academic work — it’s a very different approach to leading people.
Future goals: To keep improving and possibly enroll in a music program
Where to listen: The Deep Blue Dream on iTunes
"At some point, I’d like to make original music with a fun and funky band with a horn section, with both male and female lead vocalists. If all goes according to plan, it will be epic!"
Associate Professor of History
When he started: After playing instruments throughout his life, Davila started singing and songwriting in his 20s.
His influences: His early influences included reggae; afro-beat; and bands in the United Kingdom and around Europe, such as The Attractions, The Jam, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, David Bowie, and The Clash. He has always loved jazz, especially artists like Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis. He developed a later interest in American P-Funk and soul.
His songwriting inspirations: Searches for meaning and reflections on spiritual life
His process: Davila started by recording songs with vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. He now produces full-horn arrangements with "some pretty elaborate compositions" in his home studio. He sticks to traditional pop music formats but incorporates unique chord structures and melodies.
Future goals: To someday play his songs live with one or two other musicians, a bassist and/or guitarist; to replace synthesizers in his recorded songs with real instruments
Where to listen: Carlisticeday on SoundCloud
Associate Professor of Sociology
Description: Guptill plays bass in an Ithaca-based "roots-rock/zydeco" band called the MacGillicuddies. She also plays old-time banjo.
When she started: Guptill played electric bass in her high school jazz band. She has been part of her current band for 18 years, and she started playing banjo a couple of years after joining the Brockport faculty.
Challenge: Learning new techniques
What it offers that academia doesn't: Connecting with a creative, warm, diverse community of musicians who hold a variety of occupations
"As an instructor, it’s important to me to always be engaged in something at which I’m a novice. It keeps me mindful that, while it’s exciting to learn new things, it's also stressful and sometimes really emotional. I think it makes me a better teacher to have these experiences on a regular basis."
Professor of Environmental Science and Ecology
Interim Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs
Hobby: Scuba diver and underwater photographer
When he started: As an aquatic/fish ecologist by training, Haynes became scuba certified in order to teach the course Marine Biology/Geology – Bahamas (ENV/ESC 457) from 1991 to 2016. He applied his training to teach in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, and Indonesia from 2009 to 2015.
Achievement: Earning divemaster certification from the Professional Association of Dive Instructors
What it offers that academia doesn’t: Physical exercise, peace of mind, research-free interactions with nature, and opportunities to capture beauty
Future goals: To continue diving well into retirement and improve his photography
Professor of Chemistry
Hobby: Classical guitarist
When he started: At 14 years old
His process: Hoffmann started composing around the same time he started studying chemistry. He produces his pieces as sheet music and records them.
Where to listen: The recordings and sheet music are available for free download in the SUNY Digital Repository. Donations to support undergraduate summer research stipends in chemistry/biochemistry upon downloading are welcomed.
Professor of Mathematics
Description: A former kids' camp art director, Jones is a self-proclaimed "black belt crafter." She hosts "making parties" in her home to teach others the art of scrapbooking, jewelry-making, knitting, miniature-making, and more.
When she started: Jones learned how to knit from her mother and how to sew from her grandmother. She became a serious crafter in college.
Fun fact: Martha Stewart follows Jones on Twitter.
Challenge: Teaching a group how to make a tricky craft
Future goals: To design her dream craft room(s), complete a large dollhouse to house some of her finished miniatures, and teach as much as she can
"I'm constantly creating, learning, and sharing. For the past few years, I've brought hundreds of earrings that I've made to share with students, faculty, and staff on campus."
Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education
Hobby: Olympic-style weightlifter
Description: A member of USA Weightlifting, Kozub has competed in powerlifting, bench press, and Olympic-style competitions since 1990. He trains three to four times per week. In April, Kozub will compete in the 2018 National Masters Weightlifting Championships in Buffalo.
When he started: At 15 years old
Achievements: Competing in more than 40 weightlifting events around the country in both USA Powerlifting and USA Weightlifting, placing second in a national competition, and totaling a personal best of 415 pounds in the snatch and the clean and jerk.
What it offers that academia doesn't: While Kozub teaches students about movement and physical activity, weightlifting gives him a chance to be physically active himself.
Future goal: To total 440 pounds in a USA Weightlifting event
Clinical Assistant Professor
Director of RN-BSN program
Description: Lawrence is a certified yoga instructor who practices "The Eight Limbs of Yoga."
When she started: Lawrence needed rehabilitation after falling down stairs about 10 years ago, and she turned to yoga for supplemental physical therapy.
Achievements: Completing 200-hour yoga instructor certification training and developing a course at Brockport called "Yoga for Personal Health"
Campus involvement: The Department of Nursing holds self-care workshops for incoming students each year, which includes a meditation and yoga session led by Lawrence.
What it offers that academia doesn't: Enlightenment and re-energy
"Up to 80 percent of what causes illness can be attributed to stress and lifestyle choices. Now that I have engaged in a larger scope of yoga practice, I am seeking to incorporate more alternative medicine into my clinical practice."
Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education
Hobbies: Unicycler, hiker, Ultimate Frisbee player, guitarist, biker, kayaker, runner, writer, avid reader, and traveler
Achievements: Hiking across Scotland and through part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, riding her bike across England, and writing 18 books
Fun fact: Lieberman often rides her unicycle to work, a 1.5-mile trip.
Future goal: Climb 16 more peaks in the Adirondacks in order to complete all 46
Where to find her: Lieberman plays in Ultimate Frisbee leagues around Rochester and advises the Ultimate club on campus. Her band, The Brockport Buskers, plays at the Brockport Farmers' Market and the Brockport Arts Festival. She'll participate in a triathlon as part of the Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge on April 21.
Associate Professor of Synoptic Meteorology
Hobby: Puzzle solver
When he started: While in graduate school, Rochette joined his professors and fellow students for lunchtime puzzle-solving sessions.
Favorite aspects: The "complex, and often funny, wordplay"; the trivia involved
Achievements: Rochette does his puzzles in ink and can usually complete any puzzle, regardless of the level of difficulty, without cheating.
Fun fact: Rochette once created his own Sunday crossword and submitted it to Will Shortz, the puzzle creator for the New York Times, Rochette's favorite puzzle source. (Shortz told Rochette he liked it.)
"My extensive math training developed my enjoyment of solving things, so puzzles were a natural outgrowth. Sudoku, kenken, kakuro, cryptograms, and acrostics are all great, but my absolute favorite are crossword puzzles."
Visiting Assistant Professor and Production Manager, Department of Theatre and Music Studies
When he started: During graduate school, when he bought a quality camera to take low-light portfolio photos
"I started taking shots at all my son's hockey games to share with grandparents and other family members around the country. Eventually, I started getting interested in nighttime photography, and then using simple editing techniques to squeeze different colors and textures out of the photos, discovering new ways to look at what's around us."
Top left: Schreiner edited a photo of the sun and clouds reflecting in a pond to reveal vibrant colors.
Bottom left: Schreiner lucked out when his camera shutter caught the second of three saves by his son, the goalie, in the 2017 Section V Hockey Championship Final won by Brockport High School.
Right: Schreiner inverted the colors of a photo he took of the “Joy and Happiness to All the Children of the World” fountain on a nighttime stroll.
Lecturer, School of Business and Management
Hobby: Synchronized figure skater
Description: Slifkin is part of an adult synchronized skating team through the club Mirror Images in Fairport.
Favorite aspects: Being part of a team, flying across the ice, the technicality, and the mental concentration
Proud moment: Her team winning the silver medal at the Eastern Sectional Synchronized Skating Championships in the open masters division
Challenges: Guaranteed falls, required fearlessness, and mastering new techniques
What it offers that academia doesn't: Art and performance, unlike the logic and rules required in business law
"I was always a big fan of figure skating but, as a child, could not afford to participate. My oldest daughter decided she wanted to be a skater when she was five. After spending endless hours in ice rinks over the next 10 years watching her, I finally decided it was my turn."
Slifkin is pictured seventh from the left.
Professor of Biology
Hobby: Dancing with BIODANCE
Description: BIODANCE is a Rochester-based dance company started by Missy Pfohl Smith, a former adjunct dance professor at Brockport. The style of dance "explores social, political, and environmental issues."
When he started: Tsubota took his first modern dance class as a graduate student and "fell in love with the art form." After performing with various modern dance companies after college, Tsubota did not plan to continue dancing after he arrived at Brockport in 2005 — until he met graduate student Jenny Showalter. Showalter encouraged him to take a dance course at the College taught by Pfohl Smith, who invited Tsubota to join the newly opened BIODANCE. He has been dancing with the company since 2006.
Proud moments: Performing Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land in Ann Arbor, MI, as part of a group of community dancers recruited by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; dancing with BIODANCE in the 2016 Diversity Conference on campus
"As a biologist, I have been conducting scientific research for more than 40 years. Along with logic, calculation, and deduction, science involves serendipity, accidents, and improvisation. Dance has helped me develop and utilize these less logical tools. After all, discovery is finding something you were not looking for."
Photo credit: "On the Surface" by Kevin Colton (L); “In the Palm of Our Hands" by Ralph A. Thompson (R)
Associate Professor, Delta College
Hobby: Official with the International Luge Federation
Description: Wakefield served as a luge official in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, the 2008 Junior World Championships, the 2009 World Championships, the recent Luge World Cup in Lake Placid, and more.
When she started: Wakefield met a couple of luge athletes at the 1988 Olympic trials in Lake Placid.
Proud moment: Serving as chief of control for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games
"I thought the sport was fascinating and followed up with a letter. They asked me if I would like to be an official, and the rest is history."
Arthur Graham and Janie Hinds with College Archivist Charlie Cowling
Graham: Professor, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies
Hinds: Professor of English
Group hobby: Owning, fostering, training, and supporting greyhounds, primarily through Greyhound Adoption of Greater Rochester
Description: The three often bring together their adopted greyhounds, who instantly recognize each other.
Their adoptees: Charlie owns a three-year-old black male previously named Braska Dion, who had raced on the Sarasota track for about a year and a half. He renamed him Bert. Hinds has owned several greyhounds: a black female, Geordi; a light-copper brindle female, Isabeau; a copper-black brindle female, Zia (Jadzia); her only male, Buddha; and Ezri, an eight-year-old with spots. Graham owns eight-year-old Oscar, six-year-old Felix, and three-year-old “perpetual puppy” Woody.
Volunteer work: Graham and his wife are active in the local greyhound organization, which places hounds with families after they have retired from racing. They have fostered 23 hounds over the past several years, each for a week or more. Cowling has brought Bert to various “meet and greets” and to a BOCES summer camp to meet students interested in careers with animals.
Fun fact from Hinds: Greyhounds are a 3,000-year-old breed. Because their gene pool is large, they enjoy mostly good health throughout their lives.
“My life with dogs involves watching them learn and learning myself. It also gives me a lifetime commitment, a slower pace of interaction, and the chance to get out and walk.” – Janie Hinds