Leah Dudziak & Lisa Ruggero
Two ESF Students on SU Dance Team
Posted February 2007
Center court of the Carrier Dome on game day might not be the first place you'd expect to see ESF students, but two of the College's own are there every time the Syracuse University basketball team takes the court.
ESF senior Leah Dudziak and freshman Lisa Ruggero are members of the Syracuse University Dance Team. They perform at SU football games and men's and women's basketball games.
Thanks to a longstanding relationship with neighboring Syracuse University, ESF students enjoy the intimacy of a small, specialized college with all the benefits of a large university. The ESF/SU relationship provides students with the complete gambit of activities and sports. Students can join any of the 300 extracurricular SU clubs or activities. ESF students can't participate in SU's Division I NCAA sports, however that doesn't mean our students don't get in on the action.
Dudziak, a biotechnology major from Marcy, N.Y., was elected dance team captain this year. She joined the team while a freshman at SU but transferred to ESF her sophomore year. With 15 years of dance experience to her credit, Dudziak wanted to attend a college with a dance team. At ESF, she got the best of both worlds - the science of ESF next door to the dance team of SU.
"There were many reasons to come to ESF," she said. "They have a better program for what I wanted. The science is definitely more vigorous."
For Ruggero of Long Island, joining the dance team enabled her to get involved in college life while using her dance and cheerleading skills.
"I was very extracurricular in high school and wanted to keep it up," she said. Having danced since she was 2 years old, Ruggero felt she had a good chance to make the team but she said the auditions were difficult.
"I knew I had a strong dance background. I just had to show them," she said.
An environmental and forest biology major, Ruggero is looking at the many educational tracks available to an EFB student. "There are lots of options to consider," she said. "I know I like science and I know I want to help the environment."
The opportunity to mix science and dance was a huge draw for Ruggero.
"It's a big selling point," she said. "I knew I was coming here and that I also had access to all SU had to offer. I think that should sell anyone on ESF. It's such an amazing thing."
Both young women emphasize the importance of time management to successfully balance academics and dance. Days are spent in classes and Moon Library completing the days' assignments and then it's off to nightly three-hour dance practices or games.
"I look forward to (dancing) after a hard day," said Dudziak. "Dancing is a huge stress reliever."
The dance team performs at the 16-minute breaks in the first and second half of the game, at half time and during timeouts. They also learn shorter sideline routines they do with the cheerleaders and spirit squad.
"We try to switch it up all the time," Ruggero said. "We're always learning something new." One of those new things was a routine Ruggero choreographed to "Calabria" by Enur. The minute-long routine was performed at two games this season.
"The energy in the Dome when 27,000 people are watching you, it's addictive," Ruggero said.
Being on the team also presents an opportunity to travel with the sports teams. As a senior, Dudziak is looking forward to traveling with the men's team for the NCAA Tournament in March. "Hopefully we'll make it to the Big East," she said.
The dancers do more than encourage team spirit. They also contribute to community spirit. The team members participate in a couple community service events each month.
"We've raised funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, drawn attention to literacy by reading at schools and helped call attention to health issues," said Dudziak.
The community involvement helps break a stereotype that troubles the dancers. "We wear little outfits so people think we're not smart," said Dudziak, who is premed at ESF. "We're very intelligent people."
ESF Students Make their Mark
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- Chemistry Student Wins AwardGraduating senior Curtis Wilhelmsen recognized by environmental division of the American Chemical Society
- ESF Announces Commencement Weekend ActivitiesNumerous events celebrate students’ achievements
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- ESF Students Win StoryFest CompetitionTop prize is trip to Brazilian Rainforest for storytelling expedition
- Student from Nepal Finds Her Niche at ESFJyotika ‘Nicci’ Shah plans career in water quality
- ESF Education a Family Affair for Schiavone BrothersThree siblings share a major and a graduation date
- ESF Nordic Skier Competes in World University GamesConducts study on perfluorocarbons between races
- Academics, Athletics, Affordability Lure Soccer Captain to ESFHeather Carl makes her mark on campus
- Daily Adventures Mark Trip to South AmericaRosen Fellowship funds experience of a lifetime
- Student from Italy Finds Motivation at ESF"Here I am constantly pushed to do more"
- Walk on the Wild SideFellowship Funds Trip to South Africa
- USA President Focuses on Building RelationshipsBen Taylor leads 'growth year' for student government
- ESF Junior Honored as 'Unsung Hero'Shewa Shwani to receive award at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
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- Dedication to Environment Brings Student to ESF from Mexico'There is no other place like ESF,' freshman says
- Beer Eases Final Moments for Euthanized InvertebratesGraduate student seeks humane method for ending lives of research subjects
- ERE Major Tackles Wastewater Plan in IcelandFink Fellowship Supports Summer Abroad
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- ESF Alumnus Begins Peace Corps Service Caleb Rudge to spend two years in Paraguay
- Dream Becomes Reality for ESF SeniorRosen Fellowship supports summer internship in Stockholm
- Summer on the FarmFink Fellowship sends ESF junior to work on Thousand Islands farm
- SRC Fellowship Supports Student in Battle against Mosquitoes Chemical compound could help stop spread of disease
- ESF Landscape Architecture Students Receive ASLA HonorsHonor and merit certificates presented
- ESF Student Finalist for Olmsted Scholar AwardKathryn Chesebrough recognized for academic excellence
- ESF Graduate Joins Teach for America Peter LeDuc finds passion for teaching at ESF
- Advice for Graduates: Stay United, 'Enjoy Your Wisdom'Class of 2016 celebrates at Commencement
- Two ESF Students Earn SUNY Chancellor’s AwardFoley, Zubair honored for excellence
- Closed-Loop Art: Woodburner Uses Material at HandSenior donates artwork to Student Showcase Symposium
- Honors Student Works with 'Best Thing Ever': ElephantsTravel takes Yvonne Lim to Elephant Nature Park in Thailand
- ESF Ph.D. Student Selected as Junior Fellow in Korea
- The Cheer Fun of ItESF student leads SU cheer team
- Ph.D. Student Appointed to Federal Advisory PanelYang joins National Coal Council
- ‘Great Experience’ Takes Grad Student to BulgariaMLA student spends summer monitoring primitive horse population
- ESF Senior Wins Fulbright Research AwardGabriel Smith heads to Sweden to study fungi
- ESF Grad Student Awarded Rare Book School ScholarshipProgram delves into history of hand papermaking
- ESF Senior Honored at National STEM ConferenceCSTEP student Danielle Berry wins second place for poster
- Meghan JohnstoneTraveler in Australia, Nature Conservancy Intern
- Michael AmadoriAquaponics Research
- Ryan HenrySU's biggest sports fan.
- Lauren AlteioHarvard Forest Program
- Brookhaven National Laboratory InternsCourtney Buckley, Daniel Larkin, Michael Norman and Beverly Agtuca
- Brendan-Michael Galloway Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship
- Lynne BeattyMarine resources workshop participant
- Kristen AnthonyLandscape Architecture student, and SU competitive skier
- Craig LazzarEssay Contest nets ESF Senior $10,000
- Zachary KingBiotechnology Researcher
- Daniele BakerSUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence Recipient
- Greg BoydESF Senior, biodiesel expert
- Khristopher DodsonPublisher of Envi magazine
- Cara StaffordInvasive Plant Technician, Catalina Island
- Irony SadeBiotechnology Major
- April Karen BaptistePh.D. Candidate, Fulbright scholar, ESF
- Leah Dudziak & Lisa RuggeroTwo ESF Students on SU Dance Team