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NEWS BRIEFS: Aggie Freeskier Off to 2nd Olympics

By Dateline Staff on February 6, 2018 in University

Brita Sigourney wins Women’s Ski SuperPipe silver | X Games Aspen 2018

Quick Summary

  • Group Mentoring Program returns
  • UC sets up Retiree Health Benefits Working Group
  • ADMAN 2018: Registration underway
  • Student reps on new sexual violence prevention board
  • Faculty-staff training topic: Students’ mental health
  • USA, Canada rugby teams to practice here

Brita Sigourney, once an Aggie, always an Aggie, is off to her second Winter Olympics — the Games that open later this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She is a freestyle skier, competing in the halfpipe, and she’s on a tear with first- and second-place World Cup finishes and a second-place finish in the X Games, all in January.

Sigourney enrolled at UC Davis in 2008 — the daughter and sister of UC Davis graduates: parents Thad and Julie, both ’76, and brother Brendan ’09. Brita would leave the university early, in 2011, to join the newly established U.S. Freeski team. Three years later she participated in freeskiing’s Olympics debut in the Sochi Games, placing sixth in her event. Now, at age 28, she has a second shot at an Olympic medal.

Brita Sigourney holds 2018 X Games medal.
Silver medalist at X Games in Aspen, Colorado, in January.

Not familiar with what she does? Maybe you’ve seen snowboarders doing twists and turns in the air after launching themselves from a halfpipe. Freeskiers do the same thing — only they do it on skis, two of them! Sigourney’s winter acrobatics have made for quite a career, with achievements that include medals in four X Games since 2011. See her page on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard website.

Going into the Pyeongchang Games, in South Korea, Sigourney is ranked third in the world by the Association of Freeskiing Professionals.

The opening ceremony is set for this Friday (Feb. 9). Qualification runs in the women’s halfpipe are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. PST Monday, Feb. 19, and final runs are due to start at 5:30 p.m. PST Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Follow Sigourney on Facebook.

Group Mentoring Program returns

UC Davis’ Group Mentoring Program for staff is back for a third year, seeking applications from people interested in being mentees and mentors. The deadline is midnight Feb. 26.

Human Resources’ Talent Management and Development runs the program, which serves the Davis and Sacramento campuses. “We look forward to participation from across the UC Davis organization, and anticipate great interest in this year’s program which is designed to promote a culture of leading by example in support of professional development,” the organizers said.

The six-month program consists of approximately 32 hours, inclusive of professional development activities and estimated travel time. 

More information and application links.

ADMAN 2018: Registration underway

Registration is open for the 2018 ADMAN Conference: “Everyone Matters!” It will be from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at the Conference Center.

Presented annually by the Administrative Management Group (ADMAN), the conference addresses current topics of interest, looks for ways to improve and simplify business operations at all levels, promotes professional growth, and encourages work-life enrichment through training and understanding.

The conference is open to staff at all levels. “Please register early as the conference fills up fast,” said Jamie Brannan, conference co-chair, who works as the business operations and finance manager at the California Lighting Technology Center.

More information and registration. A limited number of scholarships are available; look for the link on the registration page.

UC sets up Retiree Health Benefits Working Group

The UC Office of the President announced the formation of the Retiree Health Benefits Working Group to explore options that will ensure the long-term financial viability of the retiree health benefits program and the quality of the benefits offered. The work pertains only to retiree health benefits; it does not affect UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) pension benefits.

The workgroup — 16 faculty and staff members, including retirees — is scheduled to meet about every three weeks and present its analysis to UC leadership by June. The results of the working group’s deliberations and/or any proposed changes to the retiree health benefits program will be shared with the UC community.

Read more in this UCnet article.

Student reps on new sexual violence prevention board

Claire Chevallier and Jessa Rae Growing Thunder, undergraduate and graduate student, respectfully, have been named as UC Davis’ representatives to the new systemwide board that gives UC students a formal voice in the university’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The Student Advisory Board to the UC Systemwide Title IX Office met for the first time Feb. 5.

The 19 members are tasked with advising the office and providing their fellow students with information about those efforts, and relaying students’ feedback to the systemwide office.

The board comprises one undergraduate and one graduate student from each campus, except for UCSF which does not offer undergraduate programs and will be represented by only one graduate student. 

Read more in this UC news release.

Faculty-staff training topic: Students’ mental health

Mental health trainings are again being offered on campus as part of a study examining the effectiveness of two “gatekeeper” training programs. These trainings are designed to equip staff and faculty with skills and the knowledge they need to comfortably and confidently speak to students about mental health concerns and then refer them to appropriate mental health resources.  The term “gatekeeper” derives from the fact that faculty and staff often serve as students’ gateways to help.

Sixteen trainings have been scheduled, two a day, as follows:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 28 — 9:50 a.m.-noon and 1:50-4 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, March 6 — 9:50 a.m.-noon and 1:50-4 p.m.   
  • Wednesday, March 7 — 9:50 a.m.-noon and 1:50-4 p.m.   
  • Tuesday, April 10 — 8:50 a.m.-11 a.m. and 1:50-4 p.m.   
  • Wednesday, April 11 — 9:50 a.m.-noon and 1:50-4 p.m.    
  • Thursday, April 12 — 9:50 a.m.-noon and 2:50-5 p.m.     
  • Tuesday, May 15 — 9:50 a.m.-noon and 1:50-4 p.m.    
  • Wednesday, May 16 — 9:50 a.m.-noon and 1:50-4 p.m.        

If you or your department is interested in a training, send an email to the study team, specifying one training date and time. In return, you will receive an email from “Support UCD Wellness Study” with the subject line, “Invitation to a UC Davis Pilot Study of Training to Support Student Mental Health,” and instructions for completing a pretraining questionnaire.

For more information, contact Professor Carolyn Dewa by email, or you can send an email to her research assistant, Bushra Shaikh.

USA, Canada rugby teams to practice here

The U.S. and Canadian national rugby teams will practice at UC Davis this week before squaring off this weekend in Sacramento in the 2018 Americas Rugby Championship.

The Canadians (0-1 in the six-team tournament) are scheduled to practice Wednesday and Thursday (Feb. 7-8) on Hutchison Field, while the USA Eagles (1-0) are scheduled to practice Thursday on Russell Field. But here’s the thing: We don’t know the times yet! So follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter, and we will let you know as soon as we know.

The Eagles defeated Argentina, 17-10, last weekend, while the Canadians in their first game lost to Uruguay, 38-29.

The U.S.-Canada match is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 10) at Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo. More information and tickets.

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or