Heralded among 10 Rochester-area colleges as the cream of the crop, three adult students enrolled in Keuka College Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) degree programs earned Outstanding Adult Student awards in the 31st annual awards ceremony of the Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education (RACCE) network.
The three Keuka College recipients—Ana Toomey of Marcellus, Natalie Payne of Canandaigua, and Lakesha Carter of Rochester – are pursuing master’s degrees in management with ASAP cohorts at Onondaga Community College, Finger Lakes Community College and Monroe Community College, respectively.
Toomey works as a service expeditor for Welch Allyn in Skaneateles, and will graduate May 25. A two-time winner of professional awards within her organization, Toomey said she hopes to serve as a role model for her two young children. She currently volunteers in her local community as a clown and costumed character for non-profit organizations and fundraisers, and said she takes pride in making people of all ages smile. Her most recent volunteer work was for Breathe Deep CNY (LUNGevity), a fundraiser for the Cayuga County Home Daycare Association, and a benefit for a local child with a rare form of cancer. Toomey earned a 4.0 GPA and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in leadership.
Payne has worked as the communications and programs director for the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum since 2010, and will graduate May 25. As the first female in her family to earn an advanced degree, Payne said she hopes her accomplishment will serve as inspiration to her future children, and she and her husband are expecting their first child this month. Payne’s volunteer service includes the Strassburg Sock Keuka Lake Triathlon, the 2012 Arts at the Gardens festival at Sonnenberg Gardens, and the 2013 Celebrate Service … Celebrate Yates committee. She currently volunteers for the Downtown Pantry outreach of Crosswinds Wesleyan Church in Canandaigua. In 2013, Payne was recognized as part of a female leader spotlight in the Finger Lakes Women magazine.
Carter graduated with high honors in December 2013, and was a speaker at her commencement ceremony, earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. Eager to advance into an upper management position, Carter is currently taking master’s classes in the management program with Cohort 157 at MCC. She is an active member of the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) for the Urban Suburban program in Rochester, and through her work for PAC, has helped to coordinate student volunteer activities, plan and execute health and wellness fairs for parents and children, and assist parents in advocating in their children’s educational setting. Carter said she believes her perseverance and success as an adult student has made her a good role model for her own children, and she hopes they will be inspired to further their own education too.
Additional colleges participating in the April 30 RACCE ceremony at Mario’s via Abruzzi in Pittsford included the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, Empire State College, The (SUNY) College at Brockport, Genesee Community College, MCC, FLCC and Roberts Wesleyan College.