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Keuka College News > Author Archives: Gretchen Parsells

Bridgette Fletcher Takes a Different Look at TeamWorks!

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of 2015 Experiential Learner of the Year award nominees. Students who are nominated must submit an extensive portfolio in order to be considered for recognition. Their portfolio must document an outstanding Field Period™ experience, strong co-curricular learning, and a community service/service learning component.

Each year before the new academic year kicks off in August, students new to Keuka College participate in several TeamWorks! Adventure program activities on the high and low elements of the Birkett-Mills Challenge Course.

And senior Bridgette Fletcher was no exception. But she wanted to dig deeper than the physical challenge TeamWorks! provides.

“Having participated in a few TeamWorks! programs, I approached Molly [McGuigan, adventure program and TeamWorks! manager] and asked if anyone had ever evaluated what the facilitators do from a psychological perspective,” said Fletcher, a psychology major from Walton. “When the answer was no, I knew I wanted to do my last Field Period™ with this program, and really delve into what it is all about.”

“Bridgette was initially interested in observing my staff facilitation training purely to learn and apply her psychology courses to the groups development,” said McGuigan. However, during our planning it became clear that with her skill level she needed a much larger challenge.”

So, with three days to go until McGuigan’s new staff came, she handed Fletcher a textbook, gave her the facilitators’ personality assessments and a brief overview, and asked if she would use the week of training to determine whether or not this assessment would be useful for adventure facilitators.

“My main objective was to observe and analyze the training process new facilitators undergo before classes start in the fall, to learn the DISC as a tool to assess behavior, and to have the new facilitators be aware of different behavior styles by having them take the DISC themselves,” said Fletcher. “My goals were to better understand adventure therapy, team building, and positive and negative reinforcement. Each participant learned how to manage their behavior style and adapt it to the group so that they all effectively and efficiently worked together.”

“Bridgette single-handedly taught 12 College students about their behaviors, how to interact with others, and how to adapt programming and communication to the personality of clients,” said McGuigan. “Her work not only changed these individuals, but will improve the quality of programming they provide, and has made them better communicators in general. Due to the success of Bridgette’s seminar, and the noticeable improvement of staff quality, this is going to be made common practice for staff training.”

The training for the program consisted of a dozen undergraduate students during a 70-hour week. The facilitators had to work together in various activities to meet a goal, complete every activity the course uses, and create their own.

“Bridgette’s results are comparable to those of certified professionals, which is even more impressive given she had less than one week of preparation,” said McGuigan. “When it comes to working with assessing individuals and groups, she is a natural. She is compassionate, intelligent, and has a follow-through that I don’t see in students any more. She doesn’t just say ‘this is a great idea’ or ‘this would be cool’ she immediately looks to implement it.”

And Professor of Psychology Dr. Drew Arnold agrees.

“In Bridgette’s courses and Field Period™ experiences, she has consistently gone beyond the immediate course requirements to gain a more comprehensive and personally satisfying understanding of her experiences,” said Arnold, a licensed psychologist. “In all of her academic pursuits, she has been a fully engaged and active learner who has shown initiative and very effective critical thinking skills.”

For example, during the three weeks Fletcher took to complete her Field Period™, she observed or participated in more than 100 group activities.

“I found I needed to learn so I could become a better observer, as my behavior style makes me want to participate, be a leader, and complete tasks,” said Fletcher. “Once I stepped back though, I watched the group grow in a variety of ways.”

According to Fletcher, the group celebrated achievements when finishing critical thinking and trust activities, and got frustrated with each other when activities took longer and were more difficult to complete.

“They stepped outside of their comfort zones, did things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, and developed a strong trust with each other,” said Fletcher.

Prior to starting this Field Period™, Fletcher admitted she had not been aware TeamWorks! was therapeutic.

“I merely thought what the facilitators did was icebreakers and had a goal to get strangers familiar with one another,” she said. “I now know it is so much more than that. I am taking away the importance of debriefing, as it puts every participant on the same page with an activity. I believe debriefing is therapeutic, particularly in activities that increased frustration levels, it was helpful in decreasing tension within the group.”

“Bridgette accomplished an extraordinary amount in a few short weeks with very long hours,” said McGuigan. “Not only did she learn all technical facilitation skills needed to be an advanced challenge course professional, she also learned to teach and implement a behavioral assessment that she had no prior experience with. Bridgette has a versatile skill set and an innate ability to understand the big picture. Her meticulous work and passion for the subject resulted in a phenomenal program.”

Arnold adds he believes Fletcher “is a reflective, personable, and thoughtful person who is open to the feelings of others, as well as to differing value systems and new ideas,” he said. “She is effectively self-critical and has insight into her learning and personal developmental needs.”

Added Fletcher: “This Field Period™ changed the way I look at group interaction, and the skills and techniques I learned will be something I possess for the rest of my career. From this Field Period™, I believe I am a better observer, stronger leader, and I began to think critically and analytically. I learned an incredible amount about teamwork, behavior styles, and communication. I could have never imagined that I would learn and grow so much in such a short amount of time.”

In addition to her Field Period™ experiences, Fletcher is a member of the Equestrian Club, KC Tom’s Club (president), Adventure Club, Psychology Club, a New Student Orientation mentor, serves on the Student Senate and the Campus Rec Advisory Council, and is an admissions Gold ambassador, earned a received the Board of Trustees Scholarship.

Kelsey Brown Explores Inner Workings of Hornell City Hall

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of 2015 Experiential Learner of the Year award nominees. Students who are nominated must submit an extensive portfolio in order to be considered for recognition. Their portfolio must document an outstanding Field Period™ experience, strong co-curricular learning, and a community service/service learning component.

Kelsey Brown

For senior Kelsey Brown’s last Field Period™, she chose to explore the inner workings of Hornell City Hall, which she believes will be of great value to use in her future classroom.

The adolescent social studies/special education major from Hornell was able to work in three different departments Codes, the City Assessor, and the City Clerks’ Office.

Each day, she was able to do something different and get an overview of what each department does in order to keep the city running smoothly.

“For my first week, I was working with the city clerks and organizing older historic documents such as birth certificates, building permits, deeds, death certificates, and family tree history,” said Brown, who worked under Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan.

Her second week found her with the codes office. While she enjoyed her experience, she admits it was not as interesting as she would have liked.

“In the codes office, they provide a variety of services to the city, such as issue building and demolition permits, zoning and construction review, and enforcing local codes and zoning laws,” said Brown. “I was able to do a little of everything in the office, including file old property deeds. Some of the deeds date back to the late 1800s, which was amazing. This was probably my favorite job responsibility while I was in this office.”

Brown was also able to work with the city assessor, who she said is in charge of estimating property assessments, grants, and city parallels.

“I thought this office was especially interesting because of the grant writing process,” she said. “There were all different types of grants that were processed in this office, from educational grants to the STAR application. STAR is a New York State School Tax Relief program which provides an exemption on a portion of school property taxes for owner-occupied, primary residences.”

Brown believes that each office plays an “absolutely vital role” in the running of the city.

“The politics in this building are also very distinctive at the city level,” she added. “Although I am interested in politics, working in this on a daily basis made me realize it was something I did not want to do with the rest of my life. But this was one of the most unique opportunities I have had in my time at Keuka College.”

During her tenure at the College, Brown has been a resident assistant, note taker for Academic Success at Keuka (ASK), a front desk worker in Harrington Hall, a student senator, member of the Special Education Club, Lambda Theta Lambda, and Pi Gamma Mu, officer in Sigma Alpha Pi, member of the Education Club (officer and Student Senate representative), Special Education Club, Secondary Education Club, Up Till Dawn, Fit Rewards Plan, and choir.

She also been on the Dean’s List since 2011, has received the Keuka Grant, Blyley Grant, and George H. Ball Achievement Award. She has volunteered in a letter-sending party and participated in walks to raise awareness for suicide prevention and Operation Home Front.

Final Field Period™ Helped Lauren Esposito Reflect on Her Four Years at Keuka College

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of 2015 Experiential Learner of the Year award nominees. Students who are nominated must submit an extensive portfolio in order to be considered for recognition. Their portfolio must document an outstanding Field Period™ experience, strong co-curricular learning, and a community service/service learning component.

During senior Lauren Esposito’s final Field Period™, she learned several things—including that she does not like conducting research.

She would much rather interact with people to obtain the necessary information.

Lucky for Esposito, this Field Period™ allowed for plenty of face time.

“During the Fall 2014 semester, I completed my Field Period™ with Pete Bekisz in the Office of Marketing and Communications to plan the inaugural Green & Gold Weekend and the 125th Anniversary Celebration of Keuka College,” said Esposito. “Most of my Field Period™ was independent in terms of my tasks and duties, as I was given research tasks. In addition to my research, I was able to interact with students, faculty staff, trustees, and alumni to hear their thoughts on the College.”

Leading up to this event, Esposito assisted with the planning of events that occurred during the weekend. She credits her involvement as a student member of the Keuka College Board of Trustees, and being active in student activities and Campus Activities Board as proving to be beneficial in the planning process.

“The weekend was extremely busy with a variety of on campus events, but we tried to ensure there was something for everyone who attended,” said Esposito. “This weekend was rich with history, pride, school spirit, and anticipation for the future of the College. It was a real pleasure to see how much everyone enjoyed themselves.”

Also as part of her Field Period™, Esposito was asked to read through a book on the history of the College and highlight some of the more important and crucial aspects. The information she gleaned will be utilized for the planning of the 125th Anniversary of the College, as well as for writing a sequel to the current book.

“I didn’t mind reading through the history of the College because I love it so much, ,” Esposito said. “It was incredibly interesting to see what has changed, and what has become part of the Keuka College culture.”

After finishing the book, Esposito began to research what other colleges and universities do for their anniversaries, and to see the different ways in which institutions celebrate such an occasion.

“Reading about these celebrations made me incredibly excited for next year’s Green and Gold Weekend, especially because it will be my first year as an alumnae,” said Esposito.

As Esposito’s Field Period™ was directed at the planning of the College’s 125th Anniversary, and because she completed her senior practicum with the Office of Marketing and Communication, she became a permanent member of the 125th Anniversary Committee.

“In addition to reflecting on this Field Period™, I have also taken time to reflect on all four of my Field Period™ experiences, and realized each one has incorporated a passion of mine—student activities, travel, Keuka College, and photography,” said Esposito. “I believe these four Field Period™ learning opportunities have given me invaluable experience and knowledge and have made me into a very well-rounded communicator.”

Added Esposito: “This Field Period™ has given me a variety of takeaways that I will be able to use in my future. I have always loved this campus, but to read, hear, learn and experience it in all forms past, present, and future truly left me with a remarkable appreciation for the institution. This experience gave me a deeper appreciation for Keuka College.”

In addition to her role as a student member of the Board of Trustees, Esposito is a member of the Campus Activities Board, Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, Sigma Lambda Sigma Honor Society, President’s Leadership Circle, Health and Fitness Club, serves as secretary of her Class Council, is a New Student Orientation mentor, received the Residence Life Recognition and Senate Leadership Scholarship, Mentor Recognition Award, is on the Dean’s List, is a resident assistant, and serves as a tutor for Academic Success at Keuka (ASK).

Ann Tuttle Reprises Role as IACBE Vice Chair

Ann Tuttle, professor of management, was elected as vice chair and member of the executive committee of the Board of Directors of the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)

Tuttle, a resident of Watkins Glen, was elected to the post during the IACBE’s 2015 Annual Conference and Assembly Meeting, held in Baltimore, Md. last month.  She previously served as vice chair in 2009, and has served as an at-large member of the board.

The Board of Directors is the governing and policy-making body of the IACBE, and is responsible for the general oversight of the organization’s operations and activities. It is composed of the five officers of the board, an elected board member from each of the Regional Assemblies as defined by the Board of Directors, and two academic business unit members-at-large.

IACBE is the premier business accrediting body for business programs in student-centered colleges and universities throughout the world. In addition to Keuka College’s accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the College has received specialized accreditation for its business programs through IACBE.

Founded in 1997, the IACBE’s mission is to promote and recognize excellence in business education in institutions of higher education worldwide, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, through specialized accreditation of business programs. The IACBE has hundreds of member institutions and campuses worldwide, and has accredited over 1,200 business and business-related programs in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Central America, and South America.

Tuttle, who joined the Keuka faculty in 1998, was selected the 2006-07 Professor of the Year.

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Brittany Heysler Got the Most From Her Field Period™, Senior Internship

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of 2015 Experiential Learner of the Year award nominees. Students who are nominated must submit an extensive portfolio in order to be considered for recognition. Their portfolio must document an outstanding Field Period™ experience, strong co-curricular learning, and a community service/service learning component.

Whether it was the flashing lights or the noise of the siren that piqued her interest, senior Brittany Heysler has wanted to be a police officer for as long as she can remember. But she wasn’t sure which area of law enforcement she wanted to pursue.

Enter Keuka College’s Field Period™. Heysler completed her Field Period™ experiences at the City of Sherrill Police Department, the Oneida Indian Nation Police Department, the U.S. Federal Marshal’s Office, and Oneida County Probation.

But it was her required 490-hour semester-long internship that she believes is the best example of experiential understanding and application of learning she has achieved. She chose to conduct her internship with Ontario County Probation, specifically with its STOP-DWI program.

“The Ontario County STOP-DWI program’s mission focuses on decreasing deaths and injuries related to alcohol and other drug-related traffic offenses and promotion of DWI prevention,” said Heysler. “During this internship, I actively participated—from start to finish—in Operation Personal Responsibility, a program designed to hold DWI offenders accountable by collecting their delinquent unpaid fines.”

Heysler conducted research, created a database and complied data for the purposes of identifying and contacting individuals with outstanding fines. Results revealed that almost $250 million was owed to Ontario County by 156 individuals convicted of DWI charges.

“When Ms. Heysler chose to complete her internship with the Ontario County Probation Department, I knew it would be an excellent fit,” said Dr. Janine Bower, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice. “In planning for the internship, she readily imagined gaining first-hand experience that would help to reinforce lessons learned in the classroom.”

And some of those lessons she learned in Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Athena Elafros’ class. Heysler is “very strong” in the classroom, so much so that Elafros requested that she become a tutor in both SOC 302 Ethnic Diversity and SOC 301 Methods of Social Research.

“She has done a wonderful job tutoring both of these classes,” said Elafros. “Brittany is one of the best and brightest criminology/criminal justice majors we have in the program. She excels in academics, leadership, and experiential learning. In fact, Brittany was one of the students that I specifically requested as an advisee, after Dr. Regi Teasley’s retirement, given her excellent academic and interpersonal capabilities.”

Perhaps it was her interpersonal capabilities that helped her become an “immediate asset” to the STOP-DWI program.

“She dove into the projects she was given and completed them with the professionalism of a seasoned employee,” said Suzanne Cirencione, STOP-DWI administrator, and a 1996 graduate of Keuka College. “Brittany became widely known throughout the county for the work she was doing at the STOP-DWI program. She attended leadership meetings for Ontario County’s top leaders and presented information competently and professionally. I have no doubt she will go far in any career path she chooses and know that any employer would be fortunate to have her.”

According to Bower, Heysler speaks of her work with this program with a high degree of accomplishment and pride.

“Her work on this and other projects serves as a powerful demonstration of her ability and readiness to apply knowledge and skills gained over the course of her academic career to make meaningful, positive change,” said Bower. “It also illustrates the intent with which Ms. Heysler seeks to make a difference, and takes on the responsibility to do so, even at this early point in her professional life.”

Elafros agrees.

“In each experiential learning experience, Brittany has gone above and beyond what was expected of her,” she said, “and she has truly been a wonderful representative of the criminology and criminal justice program, of Keuka College, and of the Center for Experiential Learning.”

Elafros adds that Heysler “has set herself apart from other criminology and criminal justice students in terms of academics, leadership and experiential learning. I can confidently say that she is a true role model for the transformative power of experiential learning and I have no doubt she has a bright future ahead of her.”

Said Heysler: “My Field Period™ experiences and internship allowed me a chance to learn first-hand how classroom academic knowledge translates to the real world,” said Heysler. “The experiences provided me an opportunity to apply knowledge, theories and research to actual work settings, thus thoroughly enhancing my educational experience. This will be an asset as I venture into the workforce after graduation.”

Heysler also serves as an admissions student GOLD Ambassador, New Student Orientation mentor, Academic Success at Keuka student tutor, development office assistant, is a member of Sigma Alpha Pi and Pi Gamma Mu honor societies, received a George H. Ball Scholarship, and is on the Dean’s List.