Alumni Spotlight: Cross Country And Track Athlete J. Fraley Coles Tilghman

Alumni Spotlight: Cross Country And Track Athlete J. Fraley Coles Tilghman

Welcome to the second edition of the Goucher College Athletics Alumnae/I Spotlight! 

The Alumnae/I Spotlight is a Question and Answer feature of some of your favorite Gophers. We look forward to updating you on several former Goucher athletics and if you are a former Gopher and would like to participate in our Alumane/i Spotlight, Click HERE and we might use your responses for our spotlight feature!

Today we put the spotlight on Goucher legend J. Fraley Coles Tigleman:

J. Fraley Coles Tilghman C'07 was the Gophers leading cross country runner all four years, finishing in the Top-11 of the conference all four years including a fifth-place standing in 2004 in the Capital Athletic Conference and a seventh-place standing in 2007 in the first year of the Landmark Conference. In her senior year, she finished 14th at the NCAA Mideast Regional to become the first female to compete in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, finishing 210th. She was also named the All-NCAA Mideast Freshman in 2004 and All-NCAA Mideast in 2006 and 2007. In 2005, she won the 5000m at the Capital Athletic Conference Championships and finished second in the 3000m steeplechase to earn all-conference first and second-team honors.

Why did you choose Goucher College?
I chose Goucher because the students seemed down to earth and committed to the community and Coach Caslin seemed committed to his athletes and there was a strong team atmosphere. 

How did Goucher College prepare you for the real world?
Goucher prepared me to be interested in other people and our similarities and differences and how to co-habitat the world together. 

How did being a student-athlete help shape you into the person you are today?
Being a student-athlete taught me time management skills and how to be committed to a goal.

What was your most memorable experience at Goucher athletically?
It was very special to have the opportunity to qualify for the NCAA III Cross Country race my senior year, which was the result of the accumulation of four years of work with my team and Coach Caslin. 

What was your most non-athletic memorable experience at Goucher? 
I really enjoyed a class I took with Rick Pringle called "Read a Story, Write a Story" where part of the class was driving to an Elementary school in Baltimore City and reading a story to the same child every week and then we helped the child write a story about his or her life. I would then race back for practice. The experience helped me keep sports in perspective and better understand one child's experience in the local community that was very different from my own upbringing. The experience also helped me realize I wanted to work with children.

What advice would you give current college students interested in pursuing a career in your field?
I would suggest students participate in classes in psychology and social work that have a community or internship component in order to experience hands on interactions to help ensure you want to pursue becoming a therapist.  

Looking back at your time at the Goucher, what advice would you give to current Goucher students or someone looking to come to the Goucher?
I think it is easy to get sucked into the "bubble" of any school, especially one as nice as Goucher. However, to really appreciate what you have at Goucher and to make the most of what you are learning I think it is important to leave campus on a regular basis and to get to know Baltimore City. While I greatly appreciate the focus of studying abroad I think it is also wonderful to get to know Goucher's local city.   

Anything else you wish to share?
If you are considering Graduate school I think it is helpful to take at least one year off from school before starting graduate school; at least that is what worked well for me. But I would at least talk to different people about the pros and cons about going straight to graduate school. 

Give an update on what you have been up to since graduating from the Goucher College.
I graduated from Smith College Graduate School for Social Work in 2012 where I became a mental health therapist. I worked in treatment foster care before becoming a child therapist focused on trauma based therapy. I married a Goucher teammate, Matt Tilghman, class of 2007 and we have a child named John.