Ralph Merkel and Sam Fuehring
Ralph Merkel and Sam Fuehring

From sharing snacks to setting up volunteer opportunities, UofL faculty will do whatever it takes to help their students succeed in school and life. Just ask the members of the Cardinals women’s basketball team.

The team is celebrating UofL’s faculty and staff at its Dec. 5 game versus UT Martin. Before they take the court, we asked a few players on the team to choose a favorite faculty or staff member and interviewed the players and the professors about their experiences at UofL.

Myisha Hines-Allen, senior forward

Who is your favorite faculty member and why?
When thinking of a favorite professor three professors come to mind, Professor Hancock, Professor Presley, and Professor BJ Levis. Professor Hancock and Presley both work in the SPAD department and BJ works in the HSS department.

I have gotten to know BJ because I was in her class freshman year and ever since then our relationship has grown outside the classroom. I help Ms. BJ with volunteer opportunities such as wheelchair basketball, kickball, dances and many others. When I committed to UofL I never would have known that a class could change my life for the better. Ms. BJ works with people with disabilities, which makes it even more special in my opinion because I have gotten to know a lot of them personally and have created relationships that will last a long time.

As for Professor Hancock and Presley, their classes were interesting and definitely gave me insight on more things than sports. I loved all the classes that I took with them and will never forget the things I learned in them.

Why did you choose UofL?
I chose the University of Louisville not only because of the basketball program and what it has to offer, but also because of the amazing college atmosphere, and the SPAD program was definitely a bonus.

What’s your major and why did you choose that major?
I major in Sport Administration and minor in Communication.  I chose this path because not only is the program one of the top in America but also I just love learning more about sports and what it has to offer. The SPAD program at UofL is an awesome way to enjoy learning more about sports, even the ones you wouldn’t think you would like. It is also cool that you get to learn and explore different fields such as Sport Law, Facility Management, as well as the internship which they require you to work over 400 hours.

What’s your favorite thing about UofL?
I have a number of things that I enjoy about UofL such as all that basketball has to offer, the sense of community, professors, friends that I made here, as well as the city of Louisville itself. 

BJ Levis, lecturer in Health and Sport Sciences, CEHD

How does it feel to be selected by Myisha as her favorite faculty member?
Oh my goodness, I am speechless.  Myisha is a very special person.  Myisha was in my class as a freshman and we instantly hit it off. Her love for people is amazing, but the love she has for people with disabilities is what I love best. I’m so blessed to have her in my life. Myisha just makes me smile.

Myisha Hines-Allen and BJ Levis

What is one thing you hope that Myisha – or any of your students – takes away from your classes?
The one thing I want my students to take away is that people with disabilities are PEOPLE. I always say to them that we need to focus on a person’s ability.  I’m a firm believer that we all have some type of disability – some are just more apparent than others.  We all have the same needs and wants and that’s to be accepted and loved. If you don’t take the time to interact and speak with a person with a disability, you could be missing out on an amazing friendship.

What is one piece of advice you offer to students?
Volunteer. I hire a lot of people with my full-time job with Louisville Parks and Recreation. I always look at people that have volunteered more closely. It shows that they have initiative and that they took their own free time to give to others.  Serving and helping others is very important. Not to mention, it’s a great time to get in the field and make sure that the direction you are going in is what you want to do.  I feel it’s important to love what you do so that each day you go to work, it is not work – it’s a passion and a lifestyle.

Sam Fuehring, junior forward

Who is your favorite faculty member and why?
My favorite faculty member would be Professor (Ralph) Merkel. The video communication class he teaches is fun. He interacts with the class and I feel like he gets to know everyone. He has a funny side to him.  You can joke with him and he will joke back. He also is my snack buddy. When I bring snacks to class, I’ll share with him.

Why did you choose UofL?
I chose UofL for the basketball program and the chance to win a National Championship. The fan base and atmosphere that surrounds the program also caught my attention. UofL offered a lot of opportunities for me.

What’s your major and why did you choose that major?

My major is Sport Administration with a minor in Communication. I decided to choose that major because I wanted to still have a part of the sports world when I stop playing basketball. I am not quite sure what I want to do with the major yet, maybe become a coach or an athletic director.

What’s your favorite thing about UofL?

My favorite thing about UofL would be the sports programs. I feel like every sport is in good standing. Other than sports, my favorite thing would be campus. The size of the campus isn’t too big but it also isn’t too small. With that being said, I can walk campus within 10 to 15 minutes, which is very convenient.

Ralph Merkel, professor of communications, College of Arts and Sciences

How does it feel to be selected by Sam as her favorite faculty member?
I’m delighted Sam chose me as her favorite, she lets me steal her snacks. She’s the perfect example of a student athlete, excellent in the classroom and on the court. 

What is one thing you hope that Sam – or any of your students – takes away from your classes?
I ask students to treat class like a job: be prepared and punctual. Sam demonstrates both traits flawlessly.

What is one piece of advice you offer to students?
College is challenging, but you can succeed if you properly balance class duties with your free time. Of course you’re going to have fun — just remember to do the necessary class work daily. Post-school life won’t allow you to ‘cram.’ The habits you develop during college will serve — or hinder— you for a lifetime.

Arica Carter, junior guard

Arica Carter

Who is your favorite faculty member and why?
My favorite teacher is Professor Jessica Gibb. She was the first professor I had in my major classes. She made sure that my fellow classmates and I understood the curriculum, and if we didn’t she found a way to help us. She was always willing to help me whenever I needed it. To be honest all of the teachers that I have had for my major classes are all great.

Why did you choose UofL?
I chose UofL because I am a very family-oriented person and when I came on my visit, it felt like a family. Also after being here for a few years, I feel that with my team but also with the other sports teams. Another reason I chose UofL was because of the fan support here. We have the best fans in the nation.

What’s your major and why did you choose that major?
My major is Exercise Science and I am minoring in Psychology. I originally chose that because I thought that I wanted to be a physical therapist, but I have realized that that isn’t what I want to do. Now, I would really like to be a sports psychologist or a coach.

What’s your favorite thing about UofL?
My favorite thing about UofL is the connection between the community and the university. 

Jessica Gibb, program director/instructor, Health & Sport Sciences, CEHD

Jessica Gibb

How does it feel to be selected by Arica as her favorite faculty member?
I am honored to be selected by Arica as her favorite faculty member. It is wonderful to know she had a positive experience while enrolled within my courses.

What is one thing you hope that Arica – or any of your students – takes away from your classes?
An appreciation for the field of exercise physiology.

What is one piece of advice you offer to students?
Get involved. The more opportunities students take advantage of while in school, the more opportunities they will have available to them after graduation.

Tickets to the Dec. 5 UofL women’s basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center are available for $3 per person for faculty and staff. Purchase tickets online here and use the promo code Martin.

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Erica Walsh

Erica Walsh is the senior marketing manager in the Office of Communications and Marketing where she manages the UofL Magazine and the President’s Report and contributes to the university’s branding and advertising efforts. Walsh joined UofL in 2014 after previously serving as the public relations specialist at Indiana University Southeast for seven years. Prior to her career in higher education communications, she was a reporter at The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, Ky.