Geneseo professors pursue vast hobbies beyond academia

Duane Mcpherson

Associate professor of biology Duane McPherson has practiced yoga since he was a student in college. McPherson’s devotion to yoga and meditation serves as a method of relaxation, even if only done in short, under-30 minute spurts. (Izzy Graziano/Knights’ Life Editor)

College students are always looking for new and effective ways to de-stress and relax from the pressure of school. Students may consider implementing yoga into their daily lives, as associate professor of biology Duane McPherson has since he was a college student. 

McPherson has been a practitioner of yoga for decades and credits the discipline as being beneficial for the mind and body, as well as something that helps him relax. 

“One of the joys of [yoga] is that it works on so many different levels,” he said. “It doesn’t care whether you believe in anything or not. It just says, ‘here try this and see if you feel better.’” 

McPherson tries to participate in a yoga session at least once a week with Geneseo’s Yoga Club and then once or twice a week at home. He has also started meditating, which he does for 10 to 15 minutes, four times a week. 

“I procrastinated meditating for a long time,” McPherson said. “But once you get over that initial resistance to meditation, it’s really relaxing for your mind to free yourself from the business of thoughts.”

McPherson is the current advisor to the Yoga Club and is teaching a directed study course on yoga and Eastern philosophy. 

For students interested in yoga, McPherson advises them to come to the free Yoga Club meetings on Friday afternoons. The club is a welcoming place to start, according to McPherson, and no experience is necessary. Like McPherson, students might find yoga and meditation to be positive outlets.

Thomas Greenfield

Professor of English Thomas Greenfield performs in the band Get Off My Lawn with Geneseo alumnus T.C. Bushnell. Greenfield and Bushnell’s band makes regular appearances in the Village, and Greenfield enjoys bringing his guitar to class as well.(Izzy Graziano/Knights’ Life Editor)

Most students are surprised to see professors out to dinner on Main Street or shopping at Walmart, but imagine finding a professor performing for an audience at the local bar, The Idle. English professor Tom Greenfield is perhaps an unlikely local rockstar, having performed at The Idle, Crickets and even for his classes.

Greenfield’s band is currently comprised of himself and another member, T.C. Bushnell, who graduated from Geneseo in the 1980s. The band is called Get Off My Lawn, having derived their name from, “what grumpy old men say,” and where they got their start—on Bushnell’s front porch, according to Greenfield. 

“It’s sort of an acoustic band,” Greenfield said. “We play a combination of songs that I write and songs that [Bushnell] writes.”

The band came about after Greenfield and Bushnell performed together for the first time.

“We ended up doing one gig together and thought ‘oh, that was fun,’” Greenfield said.

Greenfield is humble with his outlook on the band too. He notes that it’s just a hobby and that the members don’t trick themselves for a moment thinking they’ll make money with their music. 

Students of Greenfield can also be treated to performances right in the classroom. Most of the guitar playing he does are songs he has written for his classes. These songs range from syllabi to class content. 

“I have a SOFI song, I have a humanities song, I have a song for the works of literature I teach,” Greenfield said. “I probably do more performing in the classroom than anywhere else.”

Atsushi Tajima

Associate professor of communication Atsushi Tajima developed an interest in motorcycles when he was a child. After working for a motorcycle racing company as a mechanical engineer, Tajima began motorcycle racing himself.(Izzy Graziano/Knights’ Life Editor)

Growing up in Japan, associate professor of communication Atsushi Tajima was exposed to motorcycles starting at a very young age. 

Tajima obtained his motorcycle license the day after his 16th birthday. Since then,  he has owned over 50 bikes, raced on international courses and is still popping wheelies today.

As a mechanical engineering student in Japan, Tajima worked for a motorcycle racing company called Moriwaki where he learned the mechanics behind racing bikes. Soon after, Tajima made the transition into motorcycle racing.

“As a macho, wreckless young boy, why not race?” he said. 

While Tajima was a decent racer in the beginning, a couple years into his career, Tajima felt he hit the glass ceiling. Being a motorcyclist, therefore, could not be a lasting career move.

“You start out doing something because you are good,” he said. “But as you go higher, you hit the ceiling. I realized I would never be a professional.” 

The sport of motorcycle racing also involves the danger of driving at such high speeds. Tajima, unlike other racers with good coordination, was never very good at preventing injuries in the event of a crash. 

“I had so many injuries. I had to realize I didn’t have a good skill,” he said. 

Thus, Tajima left professional racing behind. 

Tajima cites his motorcycle hobby these days as something that brings him back to real people and takes him out of the critical, academic world he lives in as a professor. 

Rather than focusing on his work all of the time, Tajima finds an opportunity to lose himself in this hobby.

“I don’t want to be a 24/7 geeky academic,” he said. “[My motorcycle hobby] brings me back to old memories, but also real people.”