She arrived in Fall, 2008, a new Ph.D. student from Virginia who came to work with Dr. Mary Jo Kane. From the beginning she stood out, a self-assured young woman with endless energy, a head full of creative ideas and three really cool names: Austin Stair Calhoun. She held dual graduate assistantships, in the Tucker Center and as Instructional Technology Fellow for CEHD. In 2011 she accepted the newly created position of Content Specialist & Information Technology Specialist for the School and was promoted in 2013 to Director of eLearning + Digital Strategies. In 2014 she graduated with her Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport sociology.
Today is Austin’s last work day at the School of Kinesiology. She leaves her position for a new career at the U of M Medical School as Chief of Staff, Office of Medical Education, working on education innovations and initiatives. She says, “I am beyond grateful for my eight-year tenure in the School of Kinesiology, especially the last five years as a full-time employee. It is truly bittersweet to move on.” Austin, we all would like to say…
Words From Her Colleagues…
Austin I love you and your family and Grady and his Grams! I remember Grady coming to lecture in my class when he was a young a pup, and he allowed you to bring him! He explored the class, the students came in, he was chill, munching on his fruit snacks as all proper guest lecturers do…then meltdown lol. It was great! We got thru it you took over lectured for professor Grady and he ran around the room like a little guy playing with erasers and boom the hour was over! You are amazing, patient, and a superwoman!—from Tiffany
She always comes up with cool (and sometimes crazy) ideas, (sometimes wild) jokes, and she is considered as an information booth (stand? database?) to me. Enjoy working with her! ^–^ Forgot to add: Good luck with the new job and enjoy the (maybe?) adventures!—from Nina
You impressed me from the first day we met, Austin. I thought to myself, “Holy ****– this girl is SO cool. I want to be her friend.” Not only did you welcome me with exceeding warmth and kindness, you also exuded the level of confidence, ambition, and sophistication that I was actively working to embody at that time in my life. You provided the helping hand of an older sister – one who wanted the best for me. When I accepted a new job, you encouraged me to negotiate my salary on the principle of self-advocacy. With that advice and plenty more tidbits of wisdom, you have taught me so much. Perhaps that’s why it’s been so exciting to see you excel from milestone to milestone as the years have passed, even from a distance. I continue to deeply admire your resolute sense of self, the way you use your talents to the fullest potential, and how you approach life’s every moment with purpose, authenticity, and grace. You are a role model – a shining star in the truest sense – to all who have the pleasure of knowing you. That’s why it’s no surprise that you are yet again impressing all of us with another accomplishment, another adventure – one that will undoubtedly flourish in the wake of your being.—from Molly
Austin’s contribution to the School of Kinesiology is broad, expert and proactive. I can think of a few major initiatives that were all her ideas which is above and beyond her written job description. For example, the KICKOFF seminars have place our department at the forefront of E-learning within CEHD. Another example is the WEEKLY WIRES, which connect members of the School whereas celebrating their accomplishment. With her willing and professional help, we have made our work and contributions to the college, university and academic field known. In one word, she has been the “editor” of the window to outside world. The most example of her contribution was her drafting of an American Culture Center poster used to compete for a national award. It was a short notice with little instruction from my side. Austin fulfilled the task beautifully and we won the Excellence Award from the US State Department! Besides her normal responsibilities, Austin has made significant contribution to the climate improvement and engagement effort of the School. She volunteered to be the “convener”, the virtual chair of the Inclusion and Engagement Committee. We will feel the vacancy she has created in all areas that she has touched throughout the past eight years.—from Li Li Ji, Professor and Director
It’s always a pleasure working with Austin. I’m glad to know she’s still be in the UMN system! I had the pleasure of producing this video about her research back in 2010: https://vimeo.com/40027256
Enjoy! Best of luck in the new position, Austin!—from Pete McCauley
Although I didn’t get to work with Austin very long, I truly enjoyed being a part of her team. She provided me resources to help me improve my communications and design skills, which I am very grateful for. Best wishes for your new position, Austin!—from Laurel Tieman
I will absolutely miss your awesomeness. I think I have already started the grieving process and find myself in awe of the legacy you will be leaving.
Thanks to you, I:
* Know how to use dry shampoo (kind of)
* Know how to sneak out doing a live presentation (camtasia)
* Was able to relaunch a much loved PE class
* Can see through your role modeling that mom’s can really do it all
* Saw seersucker successfully worn in Minnesota
* Know accessories are the key, I just need the confidence to pull them out
* Know that speaking up is important and putting yourself out there is rewarding
* Am painfully aware of the giant hole that will be left when you go – Socially/Professionally
I wish you only the best and am delighted that this is not goodbye, just see you later. You are going to be awesome in this new role. So awesome. I wish only the best for you and your family.—from Brandi Hoffman
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwMb38X2ogd2TFdNSWtoQmJ0Q1U—from Jürgen Konczak
Austin, thank you! You are my KINspiration and a role model in many ways.
Life in the bat cave and in the Kinesiology world will be different without you! There will be a lot of WWAD (What Would Austin Do) moments… This is a bittersweet goodbye with best wishes for your new adventures. And of course: #ITSNOTGOODBYEITSSEEYOULATER…
P.S.: Call me if you need an “emergency babysitter” for your awesome kids.—from Silke
Although, I only had the chance to work with you for a short time, you have been very welcoming, supportive, and have provided much assistance! Thank you and you will be missed!—from Colin Rogness
Thanks for introducing me to the power of athletic yoga!—from Susan
Thanks for being a talented individual who cares so much about those around you, always wants to see the best happen for others, and for inspiring me to learn more about coding. It was always a pleasure working with you, and your design skills are rad. Best wishes in your next adventure!—from Laura Siirila
Thanks for the innovative opportunities that you created for faculty and staff to keep navigating through the ever changing world of technology! Best wishes as you move on to bring your expertise to your next position. You will be missed!—from Connie
Thanks for your excellent attitude, helpfulness and management. Best wishes—from Mike W
I don’t have a particular memory of Austin, but overall feelings of fondness when I think of her. A strong, caring, compassionate woman who is loyal and super smart. I have enjoyed getting to know Austin and am very excited for her new adventure!!—from Daheia Barr-Anderson
There are so many special things about you, Austin, that I hardly know where to begin. I remember when Dr. Kane came down to my office in early 2008 to tell me how excited she was about this young woman from Virginia who had just visited the school. She was interested in a PhD in kinesiology, and her master’s adviser had told her, “Go to Minnesota and work with Mary Jo Kane. You’ll be set for life.” And so, as it happened, you did and you are. I feel so fortunate that you spent the years since then in this building, this department, sharing with us your sparkle and talent and your great big creative mind and heart. Kinesiology will never be the same. You’ve paved ways, set standards, opened minds, and pushed us to excel in unimagined ways. Over time, amazingly, it feels like we’ve become almost like family–and how often does that happen in a workplace? You helped make that happen, too. Thanks for everything, Austin. See you later.—from Marta
#AWEstin At every upward step in your career here—as a student, Tucker Center RA, IT Fellow, Content Strategist, and E+DS Director Extraordinaire—you have truly inspired all of us so much further by your sheer will in bootstrapping unique, aesthetic and super-innovative new projects right out of thin air: All the little pieces come gather to you and ask to be put together, and you mix them in your inclusive vision and then, bada boom, an absolutely brilliant solution…which 98% of the time you build yourself! TCFF, E+DS itself, #HERESPROOF, Kickstart, ATK…endless, and unreplicable. Sometimes I would just want to sit and watch you work for hours cuz it’s just straight up performance art. Among the 47 million billion other things I will miss about you, it’s this most of all, that encompassing clear focus that so, so shines. Oh, and the fact that you’re one of the most loving, accepting, and human people I know as well, and all that means in this tiny microcosm and in our big ol’ world we live in (South Minneapolis, represent!). This, then, this most of all: Authentic and in all parts ever present, the all of you. I wish you the most rich and full of everything. Immeasurably, and often, I will miss you (but you know where I am if you need me!). #ITSNOTGOODBYEITSSEEYOULATER—from Beachball Boy
Austin, you are brilliant, forward-thinking, inspiring, a born leader, an incredible communicator, innovative, creative, and authentic; you’re sure to do stellar in your new job just as you’ve done in KIN! I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you accomplish! I love that you challenge the status quo, fight for what you believe in and know is right, and always do both in a respectful and genuine way. You are the type of colleague and friend that makes coming to work everyday a joy! I’m going to miss seeing you in Cooke Hall (our stomping ground for so many years, through so many phases of life), but look forward to our continued walking meetings together over the years. All the best to you!—from Chelsey Thul
Aside from your first-class academic competencies, the most important thing is that you are a kind-hearted, compassionate, and moral human being. These qualities make you a superb role model for your colleagues, friends, and children. I am so happy for your well-deserved promotion and transition to a prestigious institution. Thank you for always being there for me and for your exceptional tutorials that have benefited this lifelong learner.
Very warmly, Mo—from Mo Weiss
Congrats on your new job! I wish you and your family the best in the future. Zan from China—from Zan Gao
Best wishes!!! I am sure we will see you around Cooke Hall from time to time.—from Don
Thank you Austin for being such an amazing boss! I have learned so much while working with Austin, and she inspires me with the creativity and leadership that she includes in all of her work. She is incredibly talented, and always puts 110% into her work. Good luck with your new position, Austin!—from Erin Keeffer
Austin, it is difficult to put in words what you have meant to me as a boss, mentor, and friend. If you hadn’t taken a chance on me as a Communications Assistant I would have missed out on knowing and learning from a fearlessly creative and innovative leader. You are a special mentor to me and I am forever grateful that you helped develop my curiosity and passion for technology. Congratulations on your new job, I am so proud of you and excited for this new challenging opportunity. There is not a doubt in my mind that you will inspire and impress anyone that has the privilege of working or knowing you.
Congratulations again, you are so deserving of this. I love you and I thank you!
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to live the live which they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau—from Brenda Senger
Thank you for everything Austin! You have been always innovative and helped others (including me) explore new ways to integrate technologies into teaching, research, and daily lives!! I hope everything will go well with your new position. Keep in touch!—from Yuhei
Austin is an incredible thinker and visionary. She always is thinking outside of the box. She is creative, hard working, and has been an incredible asset to the school. She will be missed!!—from Beth Lewis