Amy Fredell has made a career of helping others succeed as the recruitment services coordinator at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, but it’s her skill in the roller-skating rink that has gained her attention since she was a child.
“My best friend in kindergarten and grade school started and said ‘come do this’ so I did,” explains Fredell, who in seven years as a roller figure skater won numerous trophies and plaques.
Once she finished competitive roller figure skating, Fredell’s desire to remain on skates didn’t subside. “Being on skates helped with self-esteem, because I felt very comfortable skating. I was a typical clumsy teenager, but on skates, I wasn’t clumsy. I was graceful, stable, and confident,” she says.
Last August Fredell found a new way to continue lacing up her skates competitively — through roller derby. As a member of “Fresh Meat” (rookies), she endured a 12-week boot camp, consisting of basic roller-skating and derby skills. “You progress and build your skills as you go through it,” says Fredell, who after a year of training now plays in the more speed-dominant position of jammer.
While Fredell is building her skills at a roller rink, during the day she helps students build their skills and find employment opportunities. “I work with employers from around the world and I help connect the students to those employers,” Fredell says about her current job.
“Each (student) has diverse areas of interest. It makes them want to go on to do so many amazing things in public policy,” Fredell says. But by providing information, connections, strategies and support, she is able to help many ambitious public policy students find potential internships and job opportunities in the work force.
It’s the same diversity of interest and ambition that encourages Fredell to create strong networks with Ford School and other Michigan alumni and organizations. “This hope and aspiration that the public policy students have motivates me. I find their work to be very inspirational because they have such a passion for what they want to do,” Fredell says.
Whether it’s helping students at the Ford School or roller-skating in the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes, Fredell has a desire to succeed and help others too. “I’ll do whatever it takes. I just don’t give up,” she says.
Roller derby has become one of her passions. After boot camp she became one of 115 members playing in the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes, a roller derby league founded just over a year ago. “We’re a relatively new league and most of our skaters are relatively new as well,” she says. The recently developed league consists of two home teams, the Huron River Rollers and the Tree Town Thrashers, as well as the Brawlstars, the league’s traveling team.
Despite being a new league, it quickly garnered a large amount of popularity. “There’s been an explosion of fans interested in Ann Arbor roller derby, and of the people and skaters that want to join,” says Fredell, who skates for the Huron River Rollers as well as the Brawlstars.
With the growing interest, Fredell has been able to meet a variety of new people, all of whom have the same ambition as she does. “You get on the track and everyone is really competitive, but really what it comes down to is that we all want to see roller derby succeed,” she says.
Fredell and the other skaters embrace the good qualities of the various teams they play, creating even more eventful games for fans to watch. “(We) get really excited and say to each other, ‘Wow did you see that strategy that they’re doing there? We should totally start doing that,’” says Fredell.
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Amy Fredell, recruitment services coordinator, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, on roller-skating as a teenager: “I was a typical clumsy teenager, but on skates, I wasn’t clumsy. I was graceful, stable, and confident.”
Film screening and discussion with Mistinguette Smith, 5 p.m. Oct. 20, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.