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Keuka College News > Author Archives: Gretchen Parsells

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 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.

‘GIVE-ing’ to Those Less Fortunate

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of 2015 Field Period™ scholarship recipients. Sophomores Aysia Smith and Emma Barden 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™.

Aysia Smith

If there is a motto that rings true for sophomores Aysia Smith and Emma Barden, it might be ‘never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.’

That’s because while these Keuka College classmates each had intentions to travel while they were still in college, they both wanted to wait until they believed they had more life experience.

For example, Smith originally intended to complete a cultural Field Period™ during her senior year.

“I thought I should wait until I had more college experience and time to raise money,” said the early childhood/special education major with a global concentration. “My plans shifted dramatically in July, when my 14-year-old little brother, Alex, was killed in a farming accident. This tragedy taught me that you should pursue experiences and make a difference whenever possible.”

Barden shares that thought, as she also experienced loss over the summer with the death of her grandmother.

“Many people, like my grandmother, don’t have the opportunity to travel, but wish they had,” said the art and design major. “Her life was taken from pancreatic cancer, and she never had the chance to travel and learn about different cultures.”

So when both young women saw the opportunity to travel, they took it. Smith and Barden will travel with Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE) to the Southeastern Asian nations of Laos and Thailand. GIVE is a Seattle-based volunteer organization that unites international volunteering with adventure travel to create a meaningful volunteer experience abroad. Both Smith and Barden will assist the local communities by teaching English to children and help build sustainable infrastructures using recycled plastic bottles as bricks.

“When I enrolled at Keuka College, I knew I wanted to spend time volunteering in Asia,” said Smith. “I have always loved volunteering, and Southeast Asia’s culture of helping each other is fascinating.”

“I believe that the best learning comes from first hand experiences of life lessons and culture that cannot be created in a classroom,” she added. “As an educator, I want to understand how to teach students who are English-learners and learn how to create lessons that are culturally appropriate.”

Emma Barden

And while Smith creates those lesson plans, Barden will focus more on understanding why Buddhism means so much to her.

“Buddhism inspires me and I am excited to learn more about this religion,” said Barden. “Buddhists conduct their lives so peacefully, and I think about the way they live as a way to help me overcome my anxiety. This journey will bring me the opportunity to speak with the local monks during a Buddhist Alms ceremony.”

Barden will also volunteer at the Asiatic Black Bear Rescue Center where she will assist with landscaping and terracing.

“Not only will I be volunteering, but immersing myself into the local lifestyle and culture,” she said. “This is exciting because I have a strong desire for traveling and learning, and this experience will help fulfill my passions. I look forward to realizing my Field Period™ goals and objectives, bringing them to life during my journey.”

Smith agrees.

“Allowing myself to be submerged in a new culture will grant me the opportunity to learn about myself, and what I can do to be a more culturally rounded individual,” she said. “I will also learn to form connections with people who are different from me as I develop a deeper appreciation for the Asian culture. This will help me become a more knowledgeable educator and citizen, as this is critical in today’s world.”

Added Barden: “Volunteering abroad has always been my dream, and I am grateful to receive the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Fund Award and follow in her footsteps. This award will allow me to have a life-changing experience which I can share and encourage fellow students to do the same.”

Penguins, Monuments, Wine, and More

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of 2015 Field Period™ scholarship recipients. Junior Aksel Jensen 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™.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca once said ‘travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.’ And new vigor is what junior Aksel Jensen intends to pursue during his Field Period™ to South Africa.

The management major will spend 12 days in the home of his friend and Keuka College senior Stuart Carmichael-Green and his family, including Stuart’s brother James, who is a sophomore at the College.

“The Carmichael-Green family has offered me a great opportunity with their willingness to show me the cultural activities of their homeland,” said Jensen.

One of the activities that will be familiar to Jensen is the opportunity to attend wine tours and see firsthand how their wine country compares to that of the Finger Lakes. According to Jensen, one of the biggest imports from South Africa to America is wine.

“Stuart and James’ father, Mark, is a wine maker,” said Jensen. “He has offered to show me the differences he sees in business between South Africa and America, as he takes trips to America for business. As a management major, this is what I am extremely excited about, as this will help me have a better understanding of international business.”

“This will allow me to discover different types of business activities and markets in another country such as the importation and exportation of different goods between South Africa and America,” Jensen added.

In addition, Jensen said the Carmichael-Green family will help him explore “attractions that regular travelers would see, but we will also tour the ‘real’ highlights of the area, such as the different historical monuments that commemorate the contributions slaves made to the city and the discrimination they faced.”

Jensen will also visit the beaches of Boulder’s Bay, which features South Africa’s largest penguin population, and try popular foods like biltong, a dried meat product similar to beef jerky.

Added Jensen: “I am extremely excited to immerse myself in a different culture for the first time.”