Pals Rylaarsdam named new Faculty Athletics Representative
July 18, 2008
Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
Robin Pals Rylaarsdam, Ph.D., an associate professor of biological sciences at Benedictine University, has been named as the school’s new Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR). Pals Rylaarsdam succeeds Ralph Meeker, Ph.D., who was promoted to an administrative position with the school.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know another part of the University as I work with the coaches and staff,” said Pals Rylaarsdam of her appointment as the FAR. “It will also be nice to meet students and get to know them outside of the classroom.
“The FAR position will give me another good reason to take my family to sports events on campus. Both my husband and I grew up attending small-college athletics events and it will be nice to introduce our son to that fun tradition here at Benedictine, as well.”
Pals Rylaarsdam brings a distinguished background in athletics with her. As a collegian, Pals Rylaarsdam amassed accolades both in competition and in the classroom, participating in both volleyball and track and field.
She began her career at Dordt College (Iowa) where she played both sports and – as a freshman in 1987-88 – set the school record in the discus, earning a berth at the NAIA national championship meet. Her discus record still stands at Dordt.
Pals Rylaarsdam then transferred to Northwestern College (Iowa) to continue her college career. Her senior season of volleyball in 1991, she earned third team NAIA All-America honors and led her team to the NAIA national tournament for the first time in school history. In addition to her on-court awards, she was a two-time College Sports Information Director (CoSIDA) Academic All-American. She was tabbed as the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for volleyball in 1990. She was also a two-time NAIA scholar-athlete in volleyball.
In track and field, she competed in both the discus and shot put at Northwestern College. She was an NAIA national qualifier all three seasons in the discus, earning All-America status as a senior. She also qualified for the indoor national championships in the shot put in 1989. She earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors and NAIA scholar-athlete recognition twice in track and field, as well.
Pals Rylaarsdam earned her Bachelor’s degree in biology from Northwestern College (Iowa) in 1992. She earned her Doctorate from Northwestern University (Ill.) in 1997. She did post-doctoral studies at the University of Chicago (1997-99) and at Northwestern University/Children’s Memorial Hospital (1999-2000).
Pals Rylaarsdam joined the Benedictine University faculty in 2007, teaching Principles of Biology lecture and lab, as well as Cell Biology. She began her career in academia at Azusa Pacific University (Calif.), where she was an assistant professor from 2000-01. She then relocated to the Midwest and became an assistant/associate professor at Trinity Christian College, where she worked from 2001-07, serving on the school’s athletics committee for a portion of her tenure there.
The FAR position serves as the primary liaison between the athletics department and the academic side of the campus community. The position is also very crucial within the conference, and at the national level, in terms of setting policies and procedures regarding the welfare and growth of the student-athlete.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.