Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A view to a thrill

Elliott Mazzola ’09 thrives on adventure

Skydiving over Lodi, Calif., on his 96th jump

Elliott Mazzola ’09 skydiving over Lodi, Calif., on his 96th jump, and above, on Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France.

Even in the death-defying world of extreme sports, there are few wake-up calls like nearly being swallowed by a glacier.

For Elliott Mazzola ’09, it happened in August 2012, when he and a climbing partner were traversing the more than 100-mile Haute Route, an alpine trail whose 23 ice sheets stretch between Chamonix, France, and Zermatt, Switzerland.

The pair were hiking “off rope,” confident they were safe from the glacier’s hundreds of crevasses—perilous cracks, sometimes hidden by fresh snow, that can plunge unwitting climbers more than a hundred feet into nothingness.

That’s when the ground gave way under Mazzola.

“My foot went all the way through and all I saw was this void beneath me. It was a really dumb mistake on our part, and luckily nothing came of it,” he recalls, noting that alpinists are supposed to scan the terrain hundreds of feet around them for gaps not covered by snow, evidence that a crevasse is near. “You kind of laugh it off, but it could have been the end.”

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Swinging for the fences

Kenneth Babby ’02 aims to score big as new owner of Akron baseball team

Kenneth Babby ’02There’s no professional sports team owner in the United States like Kenneth Babby ’02. His birth certificate attests to that. At 33, the new head of the Akron Aeros Double-A baseball club is the youngest team owner in the country.

In a game that loves numbers, Babby doesn’t dwell on this distinction from this northeast Ohio city known as the “rubber capital of the world.” His marathon work days—he’ll arrive at downtown’s Canal Park by 8 a.m. and sometimes not leave until midnight—are consumed by altogether different metrics.

Such as the 68-foot-wide video board he recently installed beyond the left-center-field fence. Or the 20-scoop ice cream colossus known as “The Screamer,” which debuted at the Aeros’ season opener in April. The confection is even served in an authentic batting helmet that fans can take home.

This is baseball, Babby style. [Read more...]

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Family matters

Joseph Lee ’08 brings leading-edge science to infertility research

Joseph Lee ’08As Superstorm Sandy chased tens of thousands of New Yorkers from Lower Manhattan in October, Joseph Lee ’08 played a role in an altogether different human drama less than two miles from surging floodwaters.

At the Midtown offices of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York (RMA), where Lee is research project manager, live incubated embryos awaiting uterine implantation suddenly were at risk when much of the island lost power. So were the childbearing hopes of as many as 10 women scheduled for fertility treatments that had to be performed within a 48-hour window. In the end, the power held, even as stress levels spiked.

“There was a lot of confusion and nerves were high. The phones were ringing off the hook,” says Lee, who was unable to return to his Queens home because of the storm. “We tried to answer everyone’s questions, and we were on 24/7 alert to make sure everything was OK.”

There was good reason for vigilance. Sixty blocks south, NYU Fertility Center not only lost power, but its basement flooded and generators failed, forcing frenzied staff to safeguard embryos in liquid nitrogen. No embryos were lost at either center, and RMA of New York was able to provide transportation and lodging to patients with scheduled appointments.

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