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Keuka College News

Local Legislator Gives His Take on Cuomo Spending Plan

Last month, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his annual State of the State and Executive Budget address.

Phil Palmesano, a Republican who represents the 132nd District in the New York State Assembly, commented on the governor’s spending plan on the most recent edition of Keuka College Today, hosted by Executive Director of Grants, Government Relations, and Compliance Doug Lippincott and aired on WFLR (Dundee), part of the Finger Lakes Radio Network.

Palmesano offered his overall take on the budget and addressed some specific higher education issues, including:

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Putting Classroom Skills to the Test

 Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of 2015 Field Period™ scholarship recipients. Seniors Samantha Staino and Denise Dolph each received a Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka College graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.

Samantha Staino

Senior occupational therapy (OT) major Samantha Staino enjoys OT’s flexibility, diversity and how it can be used to help people, but believes that she must travel in order to maximize her burgeoning skills, to best serve her future clients.

Staino’s classmate Denise Dolph, also an OT major, wants to further develop her interpersonal skills she believes will be essential when talking with a future client. She also wants to connect with someone who might benefit from OT and how it may help them.

Both Staino and Dolph will have the opportunity to expand their current skills and learn new ones as they travel to Santa Domingo, old district in the Dominican Republic. They will travel to San Jose de Ocoa and nearby villages, where they intend to learn more about ways to further their knowledge of OT and discover new ways to treat future clients.

The classmates are completing their Field Period™ through EF Tours and are a part of a wonderful experience that also includes social work and nursing students. The tours are a large part of the Association para el Desarrollo de San José de Ocoa (ADESJO). The organization promotes integrated and sustainable development of the province of San José de Ocoa and surrounding areas through the participation of its people in self-management programs of a social, economic, educational, cultural, environmental, and health.

“The idea of having OT students participate in an emerging area Field Period™ is a unique and beneficial experience,” said Staino. “This challenges us to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and put our skills to test. Not only is it beneficial to us as future therapists, but also in educating the local community about the importance and value of our profession.”

Dolph agrees.

Denise Dolph

“Over the span of eight days in the Dominican Republic, we will be exposed to a number of learning opportunities,” she said. “On an individual level, I will further develop my interpersonal skills that will be essential in my field, while gaining valuable knowledge of the island’s culture. Some of the most exciting aspects of the trip will be the visit to the vegetable processing center, participating in a service project in the health center in San Jose de Ocoa, learning about the different aspects of the agroforestry tree nursery and hydroelectric plant, and meeting a midwife.”

And meeting midwives is something both Staino and Dolph both look forward to, as they want to understand the differences in healthcare, illustrate the importance of occupational therapy and how it can be beneficial to one’s overall health, and demonstrate how OT can be implemented in a non-traditional setting.

They also plan to conduct a semi-structured interview on a patient in the Santo Domingo Health Center, generate an occupational therapy evaluation for a patient in the local clinic, and create a potential treatment plan for a client after an elder home visit.

“Saint Augustine once said ‘the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page,’” said Dolph. “By never leaving the northeast region of the United States, I have been on the same page of my book. But after completing this Field Period™, I will be able to explore a new culture, turn the page and read more, and begin a new chapter in my book.”

So will Staino.

“Being able to travel to the Dominican Republic will expose me to another culture and way of life,” she said. “I will benefit from this experience as I challenge my skills and knowledge, expand my imagination and creativity, develop my treating style and clinical reasoning, as well as allow myself to be more culturally aware of others and appreciative of our profession.”

Staino believes that having the opportunity to introduce occupational therapy will be an important step in bringing the significance of its benefits on a more global scale.

“Every individual—no matter their background or culture—deserves to live their life to the fullest. Being able to make that difference in someone’s life will never be a day of ‘work’ to me,” she said.

Staino added that her trip will allow “me to combine my cultural experience with occupational therapy which will in turn continue my growth as a future therapist. Being able to travel will allow me to help others, and develop a greater appreciation for life, and all it has to offer.”

Added Dolph: “Surely, traveling to the Dominican Republican will open an entirely new chapter in the world’s book that I am so unfamiliar with.”

Keuka College to Change Athletics Nickname at End of Season

At the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season, Keuka College will stop using the athletics nickname “Wolfpack.” At the start of next season, the College’s teams will be recognized as the “Wolves.” The change comes after legal pressure from North Carolina State University. The College’s mascot will remain the same, as will the wolf head image and much of the Keuka College athletics logos.

The Keuka College athletics nickname “Wolfpack” came about as a result of student recommendation after the student body came together in a powerful group to clean up after a serious flood hit and severely damaged the area.

However, several months ago, North Carolina State sent Keuka College an official request to stop using that nickname, claiming an infringement upon NC State’s trademark.

Many athletics teams co-exist with the same trademarked nickname, which is legally possible because the litmus test is whether there was a likelihood of consumer confusion between the two marks.

“No one could reasonably confuse Keuka College with NC State given the significant differences in our schools— from our size, to our division, to our colors,” said Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College. “While NC State may be willing to spend their monetary resources on legal challenges at a time when the very value of higher education is being called into question, Keuka College is not.”

About Keuka College

Keuka College is a small, private liberal arts college located on the shores of Keuka Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. The College offers a broad spectrum of programs in education, business, social sciences, health and human services, math and science, and the humanities and fine arts. The home campus hosts nearly 1,000 undergraduate and 60 graduate students, while an additional 900 students earn Keuka College degrees at branch campuses and partner sites throughout New York state.

Keuka College is a VITA Tax Center

Stacey Mirineviciene

Keuka College will serve as an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) center for the 2015 tax season.

Stacey Mirinaviciene, assistant professor of accounting and certified public accountant, and Christy Wentz, assessment coordinator, are in charge of the College’s program.

According to Mirinaviciene, the Keuka College VITA center will prepare tax returns for individuals with earning less than $54,000 a year. The IRS provides computers, software and printers, training materials, and all of the forms.

“Open to everyone, the Keuka College VITA program is a free service completed by IRS-certified volunteers,” said Mirinaviciene.“We will accept taxpayers by appointment or we can come to taxpayers’ homes if they are disabled.”

Wentz adds that “Keuka College’s VITA center will prepare New York state, out-of-state, and federal tax returns. While we encourage residents of Yates County to use this free service, we will help anyone needing assistance.”

According to Mirinaviciene, this program was created by the IRS and New York state to “help individuals with tax preparation so they can have it done for free. All volunteers must have completed their certification exams and will be supervised by representatives from the IRS.”

Directly connected to the IRS, Keuka College’s VITA Center will not only prepare and submit tax returns, but can also review returns to ensure they are correct. Last year, the average return was sent by direct-deposit within 7-10 business days.

In addition to Mirinaviciene and Wentz, four Keuka College students will also be on hand to help prepare and review tax returns.

With her own full service accounting practice, Mirinaviciene is experienced in audits, tax, and business consulting. She has more than 20 years of experience in both international and national business financial management, and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSCPA).

Wentz holds earned a bachelor’s degree in facilities management from the University of Southern Colorado and a master’s degree in public administration with emphasis in nonprofit development from Walden University. She has held previous positions in government, corporate enterprises, and nonprofit organizations.

Mirinaviciene is located in Hegeman Hall while Wentz will be in Lightner Library. To make an appointment, call Mirinaviciene at (315) 279-5451 or Wentz at (315) 279-5853.

Keuka College’s 125th Anniversary Concert Series Continues Feb. 14 with i3°

As Keuka College continues to celebrate its 125th year, it will host a series of concerts through April.

Sponsored by Lyons National Bank, the Keuka College 125th Anniversary Concert Series continues with a performance by i3° Sunday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. in Norton Chapel. Selections of known music—including popular, jazz, and standards—will be chosen spontaneously from the stage.

Pronounced 13 degrees, the trio is comprised of Ithaca College faculty members Nicholas Walker, associate professor of performance studies (double bass); Greg Evans, lecturer of performance studies (drums); and Nick Weiser, lecturer of performance studies (piano).

The group believes that music elevates the human condition, and that access to music is a basic human need. They also believe that music ignites the empathy sectors in the brain, which builds intimacy, and leads us all to compassion, morality, and love.

Walker makes a return appearance to Keuka College, as he helped open the College’s 2015-16 Spotlight Series. He earned a doctoral degree at Stony Brook University, and has been named president-elect of the International Society of Bassists (ISB). Walker will also serve as the artistic director/convention chair for the 50th Anniversary ISB convention to be held in Ithaca next year.

In addition to teaching, Walker is a composer who has presented performances and master classes in more than a dozen countries, including guest residencies at leading conservatories in Korea, Russia, China, Netherlands, and Norway.

A Fulbright Scholar, Walker has given solo bass recitals on four continents, and has performed at music festivals worldwide. An active chamber musician, he is a member of the multi-media ensemble Ardesco and Ensemble X. Walker has performed with the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada, and the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic.

Frequently heard on NPR’s Performance Today, Walker has also performed with the Cornell Chamber Orchestra, the Berlin Double Bass Festival, the Kaleidoskop Double Bass Festival in Germany, and the International Double Bass Festival in Beijing, China.

Weiser earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas where he studied piano with the late jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Frank Mantooth and earned the prestigious Dick Wright Jazz Award.

He has performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, and Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as with Peter Erskine, Ingrid Jensen, Rich Perry, John Abercrombie, and Gary Foster, among others.

After graduating from the University of Kansas, Evans attended the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with artists Harold Danko and Bill Dobbins, and was a member of Downbeat, the award-winning Eastman New Jazz Ensemble. The group performed with renowned trombonist, composer, and arranger Bob Brookmeyer and garnered international acclaim.

In addition to teaching at Ithaca College, Weiser serves on the faculty at Cornell University, and has given lectures and master classes at universities and institutions nationwide. He also teaches privately and maintains an extensive jazz and classical performance schedule throughout the Northeast.

Evans earned a bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a master’s degree from Ithaca College. Evans has appeared with many artists including the Count Basie Orchestra, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, and Hank Roberts, among others. Evans has performed in multiple national tours, including ISM, Remington, and Turkuaz. He has also recorded with the Danny Rivera Orchestra, the Mike Titlebaum Jazz Band, Hank Roberts’ Phonetix, Aaron Tindall’s award-winning album This is My House…, and the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble.

In addition to teaching at Ithaca College, Evans serves on the faculty at Cornell University, where he has developed growing drum set studios. At Ithaca College, Evans conducts the Ithaca College Jazz Repertory Ensemble, and coaches various combos.

Other dates in the Keuka College 125th Anniversary Concert Series include a baroque-style concert featuring Publick Musick on March 20, and a series finale on April 17.

All concerts are free and open to the public, and are held on Sundays at 3 p.m. at Keuka College’s Norton Chapel.