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Keuka College News > Author Archives: Gretchen Parsells

Poet Michael Jennings to Read from His Works as Part of Keuka College’s Spotlight Series

Keuka College’s Spotlight Series will continue Tuesday, April 7 with a poetry reading by Michael Jennings.

The reading, free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the Gannett Room of Lightner Library.

Jennings is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently River Time and Bone-Songs and Sanctuaries: New and Selected Poems.

Born in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Jennings grew up in east Texas and the deserts of Iran. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and was a Fellow in Creative Writing at Syracuse University. He is also an internationally recognized breeder and judge of Siberian Huskies and the author of three books on the breed that are recognized as definitive.

Jennings began writing poems as a way to recapture the Iranian landscape of his childhood and early youth, resulting in a chronicle of a soul’s interaction with the spirits of place, what he calls inner and outer weather.

“My poems are ritual soundings, in the ancient oral tradition, for the bones and colors of experience, which is to say, they are written to be heard—sound paintings, sounded-out stories, and sometimes songs,” said Jennings.

At age 19, Jennings visited the Picasso Retrospective in Paris and was intrigued by his different periods displayed in different rooms. Jennings believes various sections of Bone-Songs and Sanctuaries, are roughly equivalent to different “rooms,” not necessarily chronological but psychically ordered into a kind of plot or journey.

Said Jennings: “I have recorded this rather long work in large part because I believe that the sound in the air is essential to the authentic form of a poem, the ‘body’ that is breath and timing and the movement of the tongue.”

Spring Break Offers Chance to Serve Others

A group of Keuka College students take a selfie before heading to the tropical country of Costa Rica—but not for the average spring break.

In answer to the age-old question ‘what did you do on your spring break?’ a group of Keuka College students will not reply with an answer you’d expect them too.

That’s because these students traded bathing suits for paint brushes, flip flops for feather dusters, and sunscreen for visiting orphans and senior citizens as part of the College’s sixth annual Alternative Spring Break.

Alternative Spring Break provides students an opportunity to give to others as well as experience personal reflection, growth, and fun along the way. The annual Alternative Spring Break trip serves as a tool for letting Keuka College students become more familiar with the world, introduce them to experiences they have never had, and exemplify the College’s vision and mission.

This group of Keuka College students traveled to Quesada, Costa Rica March 19-26, and while the temperatures average 86 degrees in March, the students are not working on their suntans; they were simply working—hard.

Hosted by Mary Curtiss Miller ’49 and her husband Ralph, and led by Rev. Eric Detar, Keuka College chaplain and director of the Center for Spiritual Life, and Tim White, assistant director of residential life and director of the Success Advocates. The Millers have been missionaries in Costa Rica for more than 50 years.

“This is our second trip seeing the beautiful country of Costa Rica,” said Detar. “We will spend time at an orphanage and a senior living center, clean and paint at a Christian school, and attend a worship service in Spanish. Costa Rica is very refreshing; yet personally and spiritually challenging.”

Junior Kathryn Standinger, an occupational science major from Candor, and Sean Boutin, a senior criminology major from Purling, agree.

Standinger hopes to experience a culture “that is different from our own in so many ways,” while Boutin views this trip as having the ability “to learn about religious beliefs that may be dissimilar to my own.”

“I see this trip challenging me spiritually,” added Standinger, “because it’s going to require a lot of hard work and patience, and it may be harder to communicate with the people who we will be working with. But I’m really looking forward to it.”

Emily Scholl

For junior Emily Scholl, an occupational science major from Saugerties, the trip provides the chance to “experience meaningful connections, learn from one another, and learn more about myself through our service work in Costa Rica” that she looks most forward to. “I hope to further identify and explore the spiritual aspects throughout what we do.”

Emily Pidgeon, who went on the Alternative Spring Break trip last year, is excited to see the changes in the boys living at the orphanage.

“I think the biggest challenge will be saying goodbye at the end of the trip, knowing that I am graduating and this opportunity may not arise again,” said the senior social work major from Onenota.

Freshman JuneAnn Chadima, a Grand Island resident and occupational science major, is anxious to “offer my service to people that need us. I think the language difference is going to be challenging, but I am excited for this trip. I can’t wait to help other people and see what it is like in a different part of the world.”

The Keuka College students had the chance to visit a waterfall in the Costa Rican jungle.

While the students will not be tourists, they will be able to explore the country through activities such as speeding down a zip line, going horseback riding, and swimming in the hot springs of Arenal Volcano.

Other students participating include: Caitlin Jones, a junior clinical science major from Weedsport; Scott Thielman, a senior sociology major from Amherst; Megan Hall, a junior exploratory major from Scottsville; Roland Trajano, a sophomore occupational science major from Westlake Village, Calif.; and Francisco Rodriguez, a senior sociology major from New York City. Xang Song Yang, international student advisor, also participated in the trip.

Geoffrey Rosenberger, Steven J. Sasson to Deliver 27th Annual Fribolin Lecture at Keuka College

Geoffrey Rosenberger

Geoffrey Rosenberger, charter school proponent and managing member of Lily Pond Ventures LLC, and Steven J. Sasson, 35-year Kodak veteran and inventor of the digital camera, will deliver the 27th Annual Carl and Fanny Fribolin Lecture Friday, May 1 at Keuka College.

Rosenberger will speak from 6:30-7:15 p.m. while Sasson will deliver his remarks from 7:15-8 p.m. in Norton Chapel. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture series carries the names of Geneva resident Carl Fribolin, an emeritus member of the College’s Board of Trustees and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2004, and his late wife, Fanny.

Rosenberger began his career in 1976 as a security analyst and portfolio manager for Manning & Napier Advisors Inc.

In 1984, he co-founded and was managing director of Clover Capital Management, Inc. until his retirement in 2004. The investment management firm which, subsequent to its 2008 sale to Federated Investors, is now known as Federated Clover Investment Advisors.

Rosenberger earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from the University of Kentucky, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), which he received from the CFA Institute, formerly Association for Investment Management & Research (AIMR).

Rosenberger serves on several boards of directors in the Rochester area including the Broadstone Net Lease (REIT), where he also serves as lead independent director; Broadtree Homes; SiMPore Inc.; Vnomics Corp.; True North Rochester Preparatory Charter School; Greater Rochester Health Foundation; Holy Sepulchre Cemetery; and is an advisory board member for the Greater Rochester Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Rosenberger also serves as chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Gatton College of Business & Economics at the University of Kentucky. In 1996, Rosenberger was a congressional candidate for New York state’s 28th Congressional District.

Steven J. Sasson

Joining Kodak in 1973, Sasson worked as an individual contributor in the Kodak Apparatus Division research laboratories and engaged in a number of early digital imaging projects. Among these was the design and construction of the first digital still camera and playback system, as well as the first mega pixel digital camera utilizing DCT compression that stored images to flash memory cards.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Sasson served in a variety of positions, including development manager of output systems for Kodak’s Professional Products organization, which developed and introduced a number of groundbreaking products—including two families of thermal printers that provided the output engines for large kiosk placements. He also served as the chief engineer on the “Colorease” printer project, which produced Kodak’s first high volume page size thermal printer, and the development manager for the emerging thermal printing platform within Kodak.

In 2001, he transitioned to the position of R&D development manager for the Retail Photofinishing Platform. Three years later, Sasson moved to Corporate Commercial Affairs (CCA) where he served as the project manager for a major intellectual property litigation, and testified at a number of International Trade Commission litigation hearings on behalf of Kodak. He continued to work in the Intellectual Property Transactions (IPT) group at Kodak until his retirement in February 2009.

Sasson graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. He has been publicized in “Thirty Years of Digital Photography Development at Eastman Kodak Company,” from the Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) International Symposium on Technologies for Digital Fulfillment in 2007.

He has earned numerous awards including the Eastman Innovation Award; Progress Award from the Photographic Society of America; Visionary Award from the Photographic Manufacturers and Distributors Association; the Economist Magazine Consumer Products Innovation Award; Professional Photographers Association (PPA) Technology Impact Award; George R. Stibitz Computer & Communications Pioneer Award (American Computer Museum); and the Stevens Institute of Technology Honor Award.

Sasson has also received recognition from around the globe, including praise from England’s Royal Photographic Society, earning both the Progress Medal and Hurter and Driffield Lecture Medal. He has also earned the Distinguished Scholar, School of Journalism & Communication from Peking University (China), Culture Award of the Photographic Society of Germany; as well as His Highness Sheikh Salem Al Ali Sabah Informatics Badge of Honor from the State of Kuwait.

Sasson has received honorary degrees from the University of Rochester and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and has been inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Hall of Fame, Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Imaging Science Hall of Fame, and the Brooklyn Technical High School Hall of Fame.

He is also the recipient of the Davies Medal for Engineering Achievement (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association Distinguished Inventor of the Year, and earned the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Currently, Sasson is an independent intellectual property consultant in the field of digital imaging.

Pedagogy with Technology

To celebrate Digital Learning Day, set for Friday, March 13, Keuka College, in conjunction with the Flipped Learning Network, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and the Keuka College Center for Teaching and Learning, will host a presentation fair that features technology tools and resources, and highlights the innovative ways Keuka College students and faculty use digital learning in the classroom.

Two members of the Keuka College faculty will open their classroom doors to allow members of the College community and the public to see how students are using digital learning and technology in the classroom.

Nicholas Koberstein, instructor of child and family studies, will host an open house session in conjunction with the Flipped Learning Network and a digital learning presentation; the flipped classroom open house covering adolescent development will be held in Hegeman Hall room 104 from 9-10 a.m. His digital learning presentation session, on the use of cell phones in the classroom, will be from noon-12:45 p.m. in the Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) conference room, located on the second floor of Keuka Business Park in Penn Yan. 

Nicholas Koberstein

“My flipped learning open house will showcase some of the ways that students set up their discussions, and the professionalism they convey while mediating the discussion,” said Koberstein. “My teaching style revolves around creating an optimal learning environment, which is when students feel like they matter, when students’ unique learning styles are acknowledged, when students’ concerns are heard, when students are able to take risks, and when students are modeled flexibility.”

Part of that flexibility—and example of how a flipped classroom could work—resulted from a lack of student motivation and poor attendance on Fridays, “so I created ‘no work Friday,’ in an attempt to motivate and revive Friday classes,” Koberstein said. “No work Friday is a student-led, student-prepared discussion-based class meant to be an open, accepting, and thrilling class meeting. Students are in control of the topic, and discussion, and the feedback on no work Friday has been excellent, and is usually students’ favorite part of class.”

Enid Bryant, assistant professor of communication studies, will be hosting a digital learning open house. Bryant will use her Understanding Digital Communication course for her digital learning open house. Her class begins at 2:30 p.m. in Lightner Library computer lab 001.

“The flipped learning classroom open house will allow members of the College and surrounding community to come into our two classrooms and learn along with the students,” said Koberstein. “We want this day to be about students’ learning styles and outcomes by showing off their digital learning skills. We want to showcase the things our students can do with technology to enhance their particular style of learning.”

Part of that learning could be a blend of a flipped classroom and a traditional classroom, such as Bryant uses for her Understanding Digital Communication class. 

Enid Bryant

“Every day, we discuss topics central to media literacy, as that is the focus of the course,” said Bryant. “We use digital tools, such as social media, blogs and Moodle, to communicate outside of the classroom and share work. During my open house, we will discuss how to be critical consumers and producers of Wikipedia. My students will become Wikipedians, which is what the site calls its editors.”

According to Koberstein, more Keuka College faculty “seem to be trying the idea of a flipped classroom to get students to be self-initiated learners. Most of the work is done outside of the classroom and when we get into class, we work on projects and application of what they have learned outside the classroom. It provides room to expand what they learn inside the classroom and I think it brings students to higher levels of learning.”

So does Bryant.

“At times, it is very effective to flip a class, especially when I want to use the class time to work on production of digital projects or discussion of topics,” said Bryant.

For example, recently students in Bryant’s Understanding Digital Communication class focused on the upcoming FCC Net Neutrality debate, which she believes is crucial for young people to understand, as they are likely to be the ones most impacted by this regulation.

“On their own time, the students researched the topic, wrote blogs and tweeted about the FCC Net Neutrality vote,” she said. “We were then able to spend valuable class time clarifying what Net Neutrality really means and how it could impact them. They came to class well prepared to converse and actually debate a heavy topic because of the independent learning they did outside of the classroom.” 

Denise Love

Denise Love, associate professor of education and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, who also teaches a flipped learning class, agrees.

“I believe the method empowers students to be responsible for their own learning, and guides them to a deeper level of a given concept,” she said, as flipped learning allows direct instruction moving from the group learning space to the individual learning space.

The resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter. Digital learning can be used for professional learning opportunities for teachers and to provide personalized learning experiences for students.

Laurel Hester

Jason McKinney

Two other faculty members, Laurel Hester, assistant professor of biology, and Jason McKinney, assistant professor of social work, will also be presenting. Hester will discuss the use of Moodle, an open-source software program used by Keuka College students for their class work, from 11-11:45 a.m. in the ASAP conference room.  McKinney will present “Taking it to a new level: A DIY approach to blending towards online” from 1:15-2 p.m. also in the ASAP conference room. In McKinney’s presentation, he will share work-arounds for finding efficient, flexible, and relatively easy ways for managing classes while also preparing for a future goal of blending face-to-face and online learning. By using devices and technologies comfortable for him as a starting point, McKinney has found some simple strategies to develop online lectures.

According to, Love, the idea of having a digital learning day presentation fair came out of a faculty retreat held in January.

“After the retreat, Nancy Marksbury [special assistant to the president and director of digital learning] sent a survey to find out how those in attendance felt about the retreat,” said Love. “Many people said they liked the sessions they went to, but wished they could attend more. So we wondered what we could do to keep the momentum going. I think people see digital learning simply as technology, but in all reality it is about student learning in which educators use technology as a tool to guide students to a better understanding. ”

Digital Learning Day, started in 2012, is a national celebration that features innovative ways educators are incorporating digital resources into the classroom. Digital learning strives to create student experiences that maximize the many learning opportunities available through technology. In its fourth year, this national campaign celebrates educators and the potential of technology in education for learning and teaching.

The flipped classroom open houses and participation in Digital Learning Day “is a great opportunity to see what kinds of digital learning are happening every day on the Keuka College campus,” added Bryant.

Local and regional public and private school educators, administrators, and students are invited to attend Keuka College’s flipped classroom open house and presentations. Space is limited so reservations are advised. Reservations for Koberstein’s classroom can be made online at Those wishing to attend other presentations can email Dr. Love at

For more information about the Flipped Learning Network, visit

For more on Digital Learning Day, visit

Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz to Deliver Address at the 107th Commencement


Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, president of Gallaudet University, will deliver the address at Keuka College’s 107th Commencement Saturday, May 23.

Hurwitz became the 10th president of Gallaudet University Jan. 1, 2010. Prior to Gallaudet, Hurwitz served as president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Hurwitz also served as dean of NTID from 1998-2009, and as vice president and dean of RIT from 2003-2009.

Hurwitz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from St. Louis University, and a Doctor of Education in curriculum and teaching from the University of Rochester. Hurwitz began his career in the engineering field as an electronics engineer and computer programmer/analyst at McDonnell Douglas corporation in St. Louis, Mo.

Hurwitz serves as chair of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Presidents’ Council, the first deaf person to hold this position in NEAC history. He previously served as the NEAC Presidents’ Council vice-chair. Hurwitz is also a past president of the National Association of the Deaf as well as the World Organization of Jewish Deaf.

In 2013, Hurwitz received the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II Chief Executive Leadership Award and the Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering Alumni Achievement Award.

Throughout his career, Hurwitz has been involved with many professional and deafness-related organizations including American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities, Association on Higher Education and Disabilities, American Association of Higher Education, American Society for Deaf Children Inc., Telecommunications for the Deaf Inc., and American Educational Research Association.

Hurwitz has been widely published and lectured extensively throughout the world on topics such as education, rights for people with disabilities, deaf culture, and American Sign Language.