Dog agility training, “TSD” rallies and more: Explore the hidden talents of the CWRU community

Members of the Case Western Reserve University community are known for their innovative thinking across campus—creative mindsets that can be seen in their countless unique and fascinating hobbies. National Hobby Month is celebrated annually in January, leaving no better time to spotlight some of the talents that inspire our faculty, staff and students. 

Their interests, which range from competing in dog shows to playing “Go,” the ancient board game, are as diverse as the individuals who pursue them. 

Read on to learn about five university community members who shared their hobbies with us, and, if you missed it, meet five others who were featured earlier this month

Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Kevin Lewis

Advisor and associate dean, Undergraduate Advising Support Office
Hobby: Dog agility training

For about six years, I’ve been doing agility training with my rescue dog, Bernie, a Husky/German Shepherd/Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix. The photos* show him in action—plus a photo of his awards and accolades from the 2022 CPE Nationals event, where he finished among the top dogs in his class.

*See gallery images.

SaraJean Petite

Bibliographic access librarian, Law Library at the School of Law
Hobby: Quilting

Two years ago, I started quilting. I’d been sewing most of my life, and I’d pieced a couple quilt tops for my church’s quilt ministry, but when one of my friends was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I wanted to make him a chemo quilt; I went online and learned how to finish a quilt, which involves sewing the layers (i.e. top, batting, and backing) together and adding a binding.

After that, I rented a long-arm quilting system at a local quilt shop and finished a quilt that I’d started years ago. That led to buying a quilting frame and a mid-arm sewing machine for my house, and starting a YouTube channel where I’ve shared videos about a few of my projects.

Walter Zhao

MD/PhD student, biomedical engineering
Hobby: “Go,” the board game

One of my hobbies is “Go,” a strategy board game where players aim to surround a larger area on the board than the opponent. While the rules are very simple, “Go” is an extraordinarily complex game and is played by millions worldwide. “Go” has been referenced several times in popular culture, including in the films A Beautiful Mind, Tron: Legacy, and Knives Out. In particular, “Go” was the subject of the documentary AlphaGo, which covered the first computer program strong enough to defeat a professional player in 2015.

I have been playing “Go” since my childhood, both casually and in tournaments. In addition to being an incredibly fun and rewarding game, it also taught me important life lessons such as about learning, progress, and competition. 

Amanda Barabas

Research associate, School of Medicine
Hobby: Dog shows

My main hobby is competing in dog shows with my beagles, which I have been doing since I was in middle school. My dogs compete in conformation events, where they are evaluated against a written breed standard; scentwork trials, where they must find a hidden odor in various environments; and lure coursing, where they run a timed 300 yard dash chasing a plastic lure. The dogs enjoy the extra training that is needed to prepare for these events and the competitions create more bonding opportunities for dogs and their owners. We mostly compete in the Ohio/Pennsylvania area, but I have traveled as far as Wisconsin, North Carolina, Tennessee, and California for shows.

Josephine Schelling 

Fourth-year undergraduate
Hobby: TSD rallies

One of my hobbies right now is TSD rallies. TSD stands for Time Speed Distance; it’s a kind of road rally where the teams are competing to complete the route as close to an average speed as possible. It’s done on back roads at legal speeds (the roads are not closed off for the event) along a route that takes about 5-6 hours for the top class group, or over seven hours for me in the novice class. Each team consists of a driver and a navigator, who work together to follow the route directions (on paper, no GPS) and maintain the goal average speed. 

My family has been active in the Sports Car Club of America community for years, so my parents have experience with TSD rallies, autocross, and other types of events, some of which I’ve participated in as well. This year, my friend from CWRU invited me to team up with him for the Ohio Winter Rally on Feb. 3, which I’m really excited about.

In order to prepare and practice, I did a rally with my mom on Jan. 6 in upstate NY, where we had perfect weather for a nighttime winter rally (several inches of snow and still coming down). I navigated, and we ended up getting third out of four teams in our class (the fourth car didn’t finish) and ninth out of the 10 cars that finished overall (the 10th car spent some time in a ditch). I had a great time and I’m looking forward to the Ohio rally and many more in the future!