In Bryant Paul’s Defense, Catching up with Phoebe, Swimming with Walt, and Annie’s Socks

Objects in Faculty Offices, Segment 8: Bryant Paul

In an end of the semester sendoff to the Objects in Faculty Offices series, Professor Bryant Paul wanted to set the record straight.  Because of his research interests in sex and the media, people often assume things not only about him, but about the types of things he must keep in his office.  “The most popular misconception we see with this type of research is that people immediately think that you are some sort of pervert.  The assumption that students have when they walk into my Sex and the Media is course is that I must have countless pieces of sexually explicit material.”  Actually, the only time that Bryant comes across that sort of material is when he is looking for stimuli for a study.

As a result, Bryant took some time to show us around his office and to prove that he really is just a normal professor with nothing to hide:

Catching up with Phoebe

For former MS student Phoebe Harris Elefante moving from Bloomington to Brooklyn after completing her studies was nothing too daunting. “I’d lived in New York before so it was more like coming home,” she says. Phoebe used her experience in game design projects here at IU to find similar work as an independent game contractor out East. In fact, Phoebe’s current gig was initiated through contacts made during a semester-long project as a research assistant.

Working virtually from New York for a startup game company called Edutainment Systems based in Philadelphia, Phoebe chooses a different “office” each day, usually in the form of a table at a coffee shop in Brooklyn, Gettysburg, and Washington, D.C., among others. She’s currently spending her hours working on a game for kids, and she guarantees the finished product will be more than solely educational. “The user experience will be fun because I’m making it that way,” she says. The coffee shops have also fostered future job opportunities. “By working at coffee shops, I’ve met lots of people that want my game design skills, so I’m building my contacts,” Phoebe adds.

When she isn’t making games, Phoebe has recently begun training for competitive cycling, and her first sport bike arrived just this week. Her flexible hours allow her to work training sessions into her midday routine during the few hours of daylight New York City can offer during winter months. Phoebe got the idea to take up the sport after several friends encouraged her to join them. The season starts in March, so she has a bit of time to familiarize herself with her bike and the strategy of competitive cycling. “It’s been a long time since I played a competitive sport,” she says, “so I’ll probably try several types of races at first.”

Phoebe hopes to eventually race with a team after successfully competing in her first few races. In the meantime, Phoebe will continue using her other bike to get around the city. “I guess I like the bikes because it’s the way I’ve always gotten around, and I still use them as my main way of going anywhere,” she says.

Swimming Laps with Walter Gantz

When department chair Walter Gantz started running at age 17, he probably didn’t think his passion for that sport would eventually lead him to a swimming pool. Walt ran for 32 years and estimates his total mileage at around 50,000 or 60,000 miles. At the height of his training, he held a streak of about 2,000 days of running without a day off, which required a bit of planning at times. “I was in the middle of the streak when both of my children were born,” Walt says.

After 32 years of frequent running, dozens of pairs of shoes, and several marathons, Walt was told by doctors to end his running career. Instead of panicking, Walt switched his interest immediately to swimming. “It was my next best option,” he says. “When I was told not to run any longer, I jumped in the pool the next day.” Walt joined a swimming masters group that meet on campus daily for workouts. At first, Walt felt like an outsider, as the oldest and slowest swimmer, but the time outside of the pool allowed him to settle into the group. “Swimming is a social activity. You wouldn’t think it because you’re underwater, but it’s in the few minutes in between workouts that the conversation happens,” he says.

Planning each daily workout is a big undertaking, and after several years, Walt was approached to become the one that plans them. “They knew I’d be there, so they asked me to plan them,” he says. Walt consults various websites when planning the workouts, and he bases the workouts on what the group is interested in doing. He also plans the workouts to last exactly one hour.

Walt’s exact timing for every workout is sometimes a problem when the lifeguard on duty is late or doesn’t show up, and Walt has taken steps to prevent having to cancel or modify the workouts. As a teenager, Walt received his lifeguard certification, and he took the time over the course of the past summer to become a re-certified lifeguard. “They told me I’d have to take lifeguarding class sessions and pass the test again, and I don’t think the people at the SRSC thought I’d actually do it,” Walt says. Much to their surprise, Walt showed up for the first day of classes alongside a handful of 17-year-olds enrolled in the summer lifeguarding course.

Walt can now officially serve as a lifeguard for the group in a pinch, and his qualifications to do so have already come in handy over the course of this semester. He misses out on the group workouts when he must stay out of the pool as a lifeguard, but for the rest of the group, his skills as a renewed lifeguard ensure that their sessions still get to last the full hour. Last year, the group elected him president because of his consistency and dedication.

Colors of Annie

Professor Annie Lang’s passion for knitting and collecting knitwear is well known to many in the department. Enjoy the colors:

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Credits

Katie Birge:  Catching Up with Phoebe, Swimming Laps with Walter Gantz

Nicky Lewis:  Bryant Paul’s Defense, Colors of Annie

Special Thanks

Annie Lang:  For agreeing and pictures

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