IRL Fellows

Meet the IRL Class of 2020!

Interested in applying for the Class of 2021? Applications accepted on a rolling basis until April 1st!

Class of 2020

Beckham IRL Headshot

Dan Beckham

B.A. - College of the Holy Cross

Dan began his rowing career as a walk-on to the men’s team at Holy Cross in the fall of 2015. As a freshman, he spent his first spring season in the program’s fifth varsity eight. During his sophomore and junior years, Dan progressed through the ranks and raced several times in the first varsity eight - winning races and contributing to program victories along the way (including the varsity eight bronze medal at the Murphy Cup in 2017). 

While at Holy Cross, Dan developed an interest in rowing-specific sports videography. Since 2015, he has annually created videos that highlight rowing at Holy Cross. Dan has also had the opportunity to produce video content for rowing clubs up and down the east coast. More recently, Dan has taken an interest in live broadcasting, and hopes to use his time in the IRL to develop solutions that make rowing broadcasting less expensive and more accessible. 

Outside of rowing, Dan enjoys photography, DJing, and woodworking.    

Kirsten Girard IRL Class of 2020

Kirsten Girard

B.S. - University of Tennessee (expected May 2019)

Kirsten Girard began rowing in the summer after 8th grade in Seattle, Washington. After starting high school on Vashon Island, she joined their rowing club where she found her passion for being on the water and competing. She competed in three consecutive Youth National Championships in a variety of sculling boats, medaling in one at the end of her junior year.

After high school, Kirsten was recruited to row for the University of Tennessee. While there, she has medaled at the Big 12 Conference Championships in the varsity 8+ every spring, and she recently earned a medal at the Head of the Charles Regatta with her teammates. To get her start in coaching, Kirsten has coached the learn-to-row camp at Stanford University, the masters team at the Duwamish Rowing Club in Seattle, and was the assistant coach for Northwest Rowing Center's high school team. She loves being able to work with athletes at all levels!

Outside of rowing, Kirsten loves exploring new places, watching football, and drinking lots of coffee!

Alex Lynn IRL Class of 2020

Alex Lynn

B.A.- Ithaca College

Originally from Vermont, Alex began his rowing journey in the Fall of 2012 at Ithaca College. Looking for a new sport to engage in, he joined the Ithaca Men’s program as a walk-on, and quickly fell in love with the sport due to their inclusive culture, and the physical and mental demand Ithaca Crew has to offer. Over the course of four years, he worked his way up the ranks; earning a spot in the Men’s 1V8, medaling in the New York State Collegiate Championships in 2016, and winning the Tallman Award for Excellent Oarsman that same year.

After graduating with a degree in History and minor in Islamic Studies, Alex continued to live in Ithaca, NY. As the assistant coach and boathouse manager at Cascadilla Boat Club he has worked with athletes of all levels, from adults to middle schoolers. Alex enjoys training in the 1x himself and has primarily worked with the Varsity and Novice Men’s’ program. His contributions have helped both teams win multiple races over the course of three years, including several medals and grand final appearances at the New York State Scholastic Championships. He was promoted to Men’s Head Coach in 2017.

Outside of rowing, Alex enjoys football, yoga, woodworking, and trying/cooking the most unique foods out there.

Ben MacDougald IRL Class of 2020

Ben MacDougald

B.A. – College of the Holy Cross (expected May 2019)

Ben MacDougald began rowing in the fall of 2011 at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford Connecticut. He spent one season as a novice rower and then transitioned to the coxswain seat in the Spring of 2012. In the coxswain seat, Ben found his love of rowing and found satisfaction in helping his oarsmen improve year after year. He coxed the Varsity 4+ for two years before accepting an offer to go to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

A four year member of the Holy Cross rowing team, Ben was the recipient of the Francis ‘Bud’ Ermilio Freshman Award in 2016. He was in the boat that set the course record at the Quinsigamond Snake Regatta in the Fall of 2016, and was also part of a Varsity 4+ that qualified for Grand Finals at the IRA regatta in 2018. Ben has coached novices and masters at Old Lyme Rowing Association, and volunteered to work with the novice coach at Holy Cross. He was encouraged to apply to the IRL when a fellow in the class of 2019, Kevin McCarthy, did his practicum at Holy Cross.

When away from the boathouse, Ben likes the Baltimore Ravens, his dogs, and comic books.

John ONeill IRL Class of 2020

John O’Neill

B.S. - Fairfield University

John O’Neill, Originally from Abington MA, spent his college career rowing with Fairfield University in Fairfield CT where he played an integral role growing the program to where multiple boats compete at the IRA level and the team is recognized with a national ranking in the Men’s Lightweight 8+.

During his tenure at Fairfield University, he began his coaching career with Fairfield Preparatory High School and later moved on to be the Assistant Varsity Coach with Norwalk River Rowing in Norwalk, CT.

Upon completion of his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering he accepted the Assistant Coaching position with Massachusetts Maritime Academy for the Fall of 2018, being promoted to Head Women’s Coach for the Spring 2019 Season. When not coaching John is also a Personal Trainer, actively studying for his Personal Trainer Certification.

In his free time John enjoys bodybuilding, fishing, reading and music. He is excited for the year to come and can’t wait for the opportunities ahead through the IRL.

Aisyah Rafaee IRL Class of 2020

Aisyah Rafa'ee

B.A. - National University of Singapore

Aisyah grew up in Singapore where she picked up rowing in 2005 and has represented Team Singapore as a rower from 2005-2016. She mainly rowed in the single sculls, but has competed in the double sculls and pairs. Aisyah trained with Mosman Rowing Club in Sydney, Australia from 2013-2016 where she had the opportunity to represent New South Wales in the Women's Single Scull at the Australian National Championships in 2016. She became the first and only rower to represent Singapore at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In 2018, after 13 years of competitive rowing, she made the tough decision to hang up her oars. She is currently rowing with CRI's Women's Competitive Team because her hands and legs were itching to get back into the boat. 

Aisyah owes her successes as a rower to her coaches who believed in her and have dedicated their time for her. This is her source of inspiration to explore coaching, hoping to be able to pass the deed forward and help other rowers achieve their goals. Aisyah has experiences as a Learn-To-Row coach in Australia and Singapore and has also coached for one summer at Craftsbury Rowing Camp in Vermont in 2018. She is excited to see what the IRL program has to offer and how it can help her become a leader and a role model in the sport.

Besides rowing, Aisyah loves to run and cycle and hopes to compete and complete her first marathon this year. Aisyah is currently taking up a Personal Training Certification and will be starting her Masters in Sport Psychology after the IRL in 2020. She strongly believes in the benefits of mental skills training and hopes to increase the awareness on the importance of mental strength in becoming a great athlete. 

Aisyah is new to Boston, only having recently moved here from tropical Singapore in early 2019 to live with her fiancé and hopes that the New England weather will be kind to her! 


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